Dublin turns back Granada, stays tied atop EBAL standings with two games left

DUBLIN — With Dublin’s advantage over Granada down to one point late in the third quarter Saturday night, Donovan Cooks did what seniors aim to do on Senior Night.

He took charge.

Cooks scored on a three-point play. He followed that with another basket.

Then, as time was about to expire to end the period, he launched a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.


Yes, it was that kind of game for the bearded guard.

Cooks finished with 25 points as Dublin — ranked ninth by the Bay Area News Group — held off eighth-ranked Granada 67-60 in East Bay Athletic League play.

The Gaels improved to 17-7 overall and 6-1 in the league.

Granada dropped to 16-7, 3-4 after losing its third consecutive EBAL game, all by single digits.

Dublin coach Tom Costello couldn’t say enough about Cooks after his team finished a week that included road games against San Ramon Valley and Amador Valley without a loss.

“Too many to list,” Costello said when asked about Cooks’ contributions. “Leadership, defense, rebounding, high IQ, hits big shots, wants the ball, hits free throws. Everything you can ask for in a guy. This was a great opportunity to honor our seniors tonight because that was a hell of an effort.”

Dublin’s Donovan Cooks (32) makes a basket at the buzzer over Granada’s Kevin Grant (30) at the end of the third period of their game at Dublin High School in Dublin, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Dublin defeated Granada 67-60. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Even with Cooks’ huge third quarter, which gave the home team a 47-39 advantage, Dublin couldn’t breathe comfortably until the final seconds.

What else is new in the EBAL?

Just about every game this season between the league’s top seven teams — which obviously includes Dublin and Granada — has been highly competitive.

Saturday was no different.

“We knew our offense was going to come, so we had to stay together on defense, get our rotations right and really focus because they have that big 7-footer,” Cooks said. “We had to really work our butts off tonight.”

That 7-footer, Andrew McKeever, is listed as 6-11 on Granada’s roster.

Not that an inch makes much difference.

The Saint Mary’s-bound center led his team with 28 points, 19 after halftime.

“It’s just hard to guard a center like that,” Cooks said. “He’s a really good player. We give him his props. But we did a job tonight.”

Dublin’s Mehki Thomas (3) and Donovan Cooks (32) double team Granada’s Andrew Mckeever (45) during the second half of their game at Dublin High School in Dublin, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Dublin defeated Granada 67-60. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Courtney Anderson Jr. finished with 17 points and Mehki Thomas had 15 for Dublin. Both are seniors.

NaVaughn Long scored 18 points and Spencer Langowski added 11 for Granada.

Dublin will enter the final week of the EBAL regular-season schedule tied for first with Dougherty Valley and De La Salle.

Dougherty Valley plays host to De La Salle on Tuesday and visits Dublin on Friday.

Dublin will be at home Tuesday to face Foothill.

“All I am thinking about is Foothill right now,” Costello said.

When Granada won at California on Jan. 20, coach Quaran Johnson made sure to note that the gauntlet was on its way.

It sure was.

Granada lost by two at home to De La Salle on Tuesday, by one at San Ramon Valley on Thursday and now by seven at Dublin.

Dublin’s Donovan Cooks (32) goes up for a basket against Granada during the first half of their game at Dublin High School in Dublin, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

As he emerged from the locker room after the latest defeat, Johnson said his team still has high hopes.

“I don’t think it changes the outlook of our team,” he said. “I just think we’ve got to make some adjustments headed into the last week and the EBAL playoffs.”

Saturday, the Matadors were without one of their best players, Salesian transfer Tyler Harris, because of an ankle injury he suffered before the De La Salle game.

He played against DLS and San Ramon Valley but watched from the bench against Dublin.

“We just want him to get healthy so we’ll be at full strength come playoff time,” Johnson said.

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Author: Darren Sabedra