The Minarets Mustangs, 2-11, 2-2, traveled to Fowler Jan. 27th to take on the league leading Redcats, at 15-3, 5-0 in league Fowler is distancing themselves from the pack with impressive wins against Caruthers and now Minarets. In a battle that went to the final seconds of regulation, the Mustangs had several opportunities to pull off the upset, but lost 63-61.
Down 18-8 following the first period, coach Paul Varner's team turned the tables and out scored the Red Cats 18-11 in the 2nd period to go to the break 29-26. Solid defense and a slower tempo allowed the Mustangs to to pull with-in 3, while minimizing turnovers. Coming out of the two teams traded baskets with the Mustangs out rebounding Fowler and taking the lead as the 3rd period expired, 46-45.
Coming into the game the Mustangs were averaging 42 points a contest, the Red Cats 63. The lead changed several times in the final period, with Fowler eventually taking the lead with 8 seconds to play on a 3 point shoot. The Mustangs had a chance in the final seconds but it wasn't meant to be as the ball was mishandled, resulting in a turnover to end the game.
Although they didn't come away with a win, what they did take from the contest is the confidence they can play with anyone in the West Sequoia League. After struggling to find their way in the pre-season, Varner's club is developing with every game. It will take their best effort from here out to climb back into contention and have a chance to go to play-offs.
The Mustangs game scheduled for Jan. 30th was canceled due to dense valley fog, a re-scheduling date has not been announced. Minarets travels to Fresno Christian this week to take on the Eagles, at 10-11 and 2-3 in league, Coming off a 54-48 loss to Fowler last week, the Eagles find themselves in a similar situation as the Mustangs, both teams must win out to salvage their season. The Eagles hold a slight advantage on paper, averaging 51 points a game compared to the Mustangs 46. Seniors Trevor Beal and Chris Grossman lead Fresno Christian in scoring, with each averaging 14 points per game. The Mustangs will need to contain both big men while minimizing turnovers in order to come away with a win.
The road meets the rubber Feb. 6 as Caruthers, 11-7, 3-1, comes to O'Neals to take on the Mustangs. Embarrassed by a 68-33 loss earlier in league play, Minarets will look to avenge the tough loss. After losing to the final seconds against Fowler, on the road, the Mustangs should enter the game confident in their ability to play the Blue Raiders to the end. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30.