Mustangs climb In national rankings

Minarets defeated by Caruthers in overtime

editorial@sierrastar.comeditorial@sierrastar.comMarch 11, 2014 

According to stats kept by Maxpreps.com, the Minarets High baseball team (4-2), is one of the top teams in the nation, ranking in the top 25 in six of the 12 categories recorded by Maxpreps. Official ranking will come out April 14, but as of now, Minarets ranks third in the nation in stolen bases (75 in six games), and while the second place team has played 10 games, first place Sanger, Texas has played 15.

The D-VI team has yet to play a team in their division and yet it has some impressive numbers. In the Mustangs six games the team has 74 hits (21 for extra bases) in 220 plate appearances for a .409 team batting average, good for eighth in the nation, sixth in the state. With a .596 slugging percentage, the Mustangs also rank eighth in the nation, third in the state. The teams .505 on base percentage has them 18th in the nation.

The Mustangs have six home runs, placing them tied for 14th in the nation, second in California. With all those stolen bases come runs scored, with 71, the Mustangs are fourth in the state. The teams on base percentage of .505 ranks them 18th in the nation, sixth in the state. The Mustangs have a 1.22 ERA, 26th in the state, 29th in the nation.

Individually, the Mustangs have a long list of stand out players. Senior catcher Keenan Reardon ranks in the top 10 in the state in 10 of the 12 categories according to maxpreps.He has a .562 batting average (sixth), including a .687 slugging percentage (ninth), and a .556 caught stealing percentage, fourth in the state. .

At third base, senior Conly Biglione has the rare combination of speed and power, and his eight stolen bases places him first among third basemen in California, 8th in the nation. His power is evident with his slugging percentage of .941 (third at his position), his .471 batting average, is 15th in the state. More than half of Biglione's hits have gone for extra bases.

Senior Sam Romero plays first base for Minarets. Standing 6-foot-4, he recently led the nation in batting average. Romero has cooled off a bit but still ranks among the best in the state at his position. His 11 stolen bases are first in the state, tying him for 36th in the nation, of the players ranking above him, most have twice as many games played as the Mustangs. His .667 on base percentage is fourth in state.

Center fielder Cedar Robertson is ranked second for stolen bases (9), a seventh for runs scored (6) in the state.

Completing the infield are Scott Parker and Sam Reyes. Parker falls in the top 10 of the rankings in three categories. Starting the season with a line drive triple and following it with a home run, Reyes is one of the best shortstops in the valley.

Coach Don Watkins' team beat Lindsay 16-3 March 3, and lost to Woodlake 7-3 in the championship game of the Immanuel Invitational Tournament March 4.

On March 5, the Mustangs ran all over the Rough Riders of Roosevelt (0-5) 22-1, Biglione went deep, not once, but twice. The Mustangs batted through the lineup in three different innings, had 19 hits, and sophomore Riley Hillerman pitched five innings with five Ks to record his first win of the year.

Delano (1-3) will visit Minarets today (Thursday). On Saturday, the Mustangs host the Indians (0-4) from Palm Springs for a double header (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.).The Mustangs split the two game series in Palm Springs last year.

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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