The Minarets High boys varsity basketball team (3-21, 1-6 West Sequoia League) traveled to Riverdale on Jan. 30 to play the Cowboys (10-9, 3-4 WSL), losing 72-45. This game would be a different story than the exciting prior meeting in O’Neals that ended in a 2 point loss in the last seconds of play.
Riverdale would come out fast hitting their first 5 straight shots and running to a 19-5 first quarter lead.
But as has been the case all season, the Mustangs would handle the Cowboy full court press easily, and the Mustangs would battle back. During the first half, and without the game being very physical, the referees called 28 fouls, with the ame in the first half turning into a free throw contest. The Mustangs would hit 8 of 11 free throws during the second quarter which would help with a 17-9 second quarter, putting the Mustangs behind by only 6, 28-22.
During the third quarter, Mustang point guard Preston Conti would get into foul trouble and leave the game. Riverdale would step up the full court press and force the Mustangs to commit 8 turnovers in the quarter which resulted in 16 easy points. Riverdale would outscore the Mustangs 27-12 in the third quarter.
The fouls would continue, with referees calling another 20 fouls in the second half for a total of 48 total fouls in the game.
“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.”
Although only playing 2 quarters, Conti would score 14 points, EG Walden had 9 points and Gage Sandoval added 8. Walden and Zack Redman would lead the team in rebounds with 9 and 8 rebounds respectively.
Mustangs come up short at Fresno Christian
In hopes of rebounding with a Feb. 2 win, the Mustangs traveled to Fresno Christian to face the Eagles (11-13, 2-5 WSL), but the Mustangs would come up short, losing 60-50.
Minarets would play even with Fresno Christian during the first quarter only behind by a 14-12 difference. In a defensive second quarter, neither team would score many points, but the Eagles would win the quarter 10-5 to go up at half time with a 7 point lead, 24-17.
After some halftime adjustments, Minarets would close the gap behind Walden who had a season high four 3-pointers, 3 of which came in the third quarter. The Mustangs would have a 20-15 third quarter advantage.
Fresno Christian would play a slow down offense in the fourth quarter, and would match the Mustangs scoring point for point. The loss would drop the Mustangs to 1-6 in league play.
Walden would finish the game with 16 points, while Conti scored 15. Redman had 12 rebounds. He is leading the WSL this season with 225 rebounds.
Minarets will play their final game this week, Friday Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. against Parlier (10-13, 3-5 WSL).