November 14, 2017 (Tucson) -- The San Diego Kings, East County's new minor-pro basketball team, only needed two contests to register their first-ever victory. And they did it the hard way.
Playing without arguably their best player, the Kings survived a seven-hour drive to slip past the host Tucson Buckets 111-106 in Sunday's ABA Far West ballgame at Pima Community College.
Small forward Javonte Byrd paced the Kings (1-1) with 23 points. The former Lincoln High standout played in Italy for the past two seasons. However, Byrd played without former high school teammate Victor Dean, also a member of Lincoln's CIF state championship squad, who hurt his ankle in the season opener.
In addition, Braxton Smith (Palomar College/Germany pro league) added 21 points for San Diego.
For Tucson (0-1), the Buckets' leading scorer was Charles Palmer with 22 points.
However, this Palmer was not the player with the same name who set a New York state prep scoring record by a deaf player. That Palmer once scored 2,875 points for the Rochester School for the Deaf.
The confusion comes from another coincidence, Tucson did have a deaf player on the roster last season. He has since retired, yet still practices with the Buckets.
The Kings return home this Saturday, hosting the crosstown rival San Diego Surf at Grossmont College. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
Kings scoring: Byrd 23, Smith 21, Perez 13, Sampah 10, Hancock 10, Roark 10, Terry 10, Wright 7, Felix 5, Cleveland 2.