The Minarets High boys Varsity basketball team (2-16, 0-1 West Sequoia League) played their home opener against the Riverdale Cowboys (8-6, 1-1 WSL) last week in an exciting contest that would end in a Cowboy win within the final 20 seconds of the game.
The first quarter of play in O’Neals would be one sided as it looked like Riverdale would run away with the game in a blowout, scoring the first 8 points of the game. The Mustangs did not help their cause by missing 4 different layups. The first quarter would end with a 19-6 deficit and the game looking bleak.
Already playing without their starter EG Walden, Minarets starter Preston Conti who had all 6 of the points in the game so far would get into early foul trouble and have to sit with 3 fouls with 6:41 left in the second. However, the Mustangs would rally in the second quarter behind Tyson Ellis’ defensive play, leading the game with 8 steals going into halftime with a 26-14 deficit.
During Halftime, coach Anthony Pitino would make adjustments in the 3rd quarter. With a 3 pointer by Conti, a 3 point play by Redman and a layup by Ellis, the Mustange pull to within 7 at the end of the 3rd quarter 33-26.
Redman started the final quarter with a three point play to pull the Mustangs within 4 points, and the two teams would go back and forth until the final minute where clutch steals and layups by Preston Conti and Gage Sandoval would tie the game at 44-44.
After a Riverdale time out, the Cowboys would press the Mustangs into a steal and layup with 7 seconds remaining going up by 2 points. With a final time out, Coach Pitino would draw up a play to tie the game, however, on the inbound, the Cowboys would steal the pass to seal the win for Riverdale 46-44.
“I was proud of the adjustments and the heart the team played with”, coach Pitino said,” We were down early, and the team never gave up. We beat them each quarter from that point. Just came up short at the end.”
Conti would lead the way with 19 points, Redman with 10, and Tyson Ellis would fill up the stats with 5 points, 10 rebounds and 8 steals.
The loss puts MHS at 0-2 to start league play. The Minarets varsity basketball team has a home conference game vs. Fresno Christian (10-9, 1-1 WSL) on Tuesday, January 16 @ 7:30pm.
Caruthers beats Minarets in Season OpenerThe Minarets Mustangs (2-15, 0-2 WSL) lost their Season opener to the Caruthers Blue Raiders (7-10, 2-0 WSL) in a second half one sided contest in Caruthers on Jan. 9.
The entire first half of play was a defensive battle, the Blue Raiders playing in a full court defensive press that the Mustangs handled well. With the score at half time having the Mustangs trailing by 1, 18-19.
Coming into the second half, the Blue Raiders full court defense would fluster the Mustangs into 13 second half turnovers, and a 18-4 run in the 3rd quarter. The During that period, EG Walden , Christian Varner and Zack Redman would get into foul trouble, and with the Mustangs playing without 2 players already, the Caruthers defense would be too much to handle.
Dring the 4th quarter the Mustangs would make a run, but it would not be enough to overcome the late deficit.
The Mustangs with a solid start of the game would fall to the Blue Raiders 57-34. In the low scoring contest for the Mustangs, their Top 3 players would combine for 27 of the 34 points, Walden (11), Conti (9) and Redman (7).
Minarets High School Correspondent