Minarets defeated by Caruthers in overtime

editorial@sierrastar.comFebruary 18, 2014 

The Minarets varsity basketball team (7-12, 4-4) split games last week — an overtime loss to Caruthers 74-68 and a 68-59 win over Parlier.

Winning in Caruthers is never an easy task. The D-IV Blue Raiders (20-5, 8-0) have a loud and avid fan base packed into a compact gym. The Blue Raiders (20-5, 8-0), under first year coach Josh Henderson, are on a roll. Since Jan. 21, Caruthers is 9-1 losing only to D-II Hoover 72-70. A program with a lot of tradition, the team has won 20+ games since the 2010/2011 season under three different coaches.

Caruthers destroyed Minarets 85-43 in O'Neals on Jan. 24, and Mustang's coach Paul Varner's squad wanted payback — they almost got it, overcoming a double-digit deficit to force overtime, before losing by six points.

Caruthers jumped out to an 8-6 lead with Khush Thind scoring six of the eight points. Thind, maybe the top player in the WSL, torched Minarets for 30 in the fist meeting. Caruthers pushed the lead to 17-12 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Blue Raiders Brandon Waltrip hit two threes and Thind seemed to score at will as Caruthers built a 22-10 lead with 6:18 left in the half. Caruthers then went on a 10-0 run. Thind ended up with 18 at the half and the Blue Raiders had what seemed like an insurmountable 42-24 lead.

Varner made critical halftime adjustments, starting with a match-up zone. The zone limited Thind and the Blue Raider offense and Minarets stormed back on a 12-2 run as Caruthers missed their perimeter shots and six free-throws.

Minarets outscored Caruthers 18-6 in the quarter and was down only 48-42 going into the fourth quarter.

Albert Ellis, Mason Ellis, and Bo Campbell each scored at the start of the fourth quarter, narrowing the Caruthers lead to just one point — 49-48 — but the Blue Raiders pushed the lead to 58-48 with five minutes to play.

Mustang Mitch Pritcheet hit a 3-pointer, a layup, and blocked a shot. Conly Biglione hit a two from a Pritchett pass.

The score was 60-57 with less than two minutes to play. Sam Millar hit a two pointer and with seven seconds to go. After being fouled, Campbell hit one of two to force overtime. In overtime, the Mustangs missed key shots down the stretch and Caruthers stayed undefeated in WSL play.

Campbell led Minarets with 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Albert Ellis, Biglione, and Millar each had 12 points. Pritchett added 11 points and eight boards. Mason Ellis had six points and 11 rebounds.

Mustangs win a close one against Parlier

The Mustangs bounced back last Friday against winless Parlier (0-8, 0-20). The Panthers were determined to get its first win of the season, falling behind the Mustangs by just one point at the end of the first quarter, 19-18.

An Albert Ellis 3-pointer jump started Minarets in the second quarter. Two layups from sophomore guard Sam Delk pushed the lead to 28-22. Then Minarets took control with a 9-3 run and went into half up 39-33.

In the third period, Albert Ellis hit a three and Mason Ellis worked the inside for two baskets. Minarets led 50-45 going into the fourth. Millar drove the lane for two layups and Biglione hit a shot from the perimeter. The Mustangs had some breathing room, pushing the lead to 62-47 on a 10-0 run.

A 3-pointer by Albert Ellis gave Minarets its biggest lead 65-50 with 2:48 left. Key free throws down the stretch gave the Mustangs the 68-59 victory.

Albert Ellis finished the game with 18 points and Mason Ellis had a double-double with 16 points and 16 boards. Millar added 10 points, 11 rebounds and had two blocked shots.

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