Minarets opens season 1-3

The Minarets Mustangs (1-3) started the basketball season last week dropping its season opener to Orosi, 78-63.

In game one the Mustangs got off to a cold start and couldn’t recover as they went to the half down 42-26 to the Cardinals (3-1). Following the break, Orosi extended their lead 49-37 before the Mustangs got on track, forcing a couple turnovers and outscoring the Cardinals in the final period 26-19.

The Mustangs didn’t fare much better in the tournament’s second game, losing to Riverdale (2-3), 41-36. Again the Mustangs struggled in the first period, scoring 10 points to the Cowboy’s 18. At the break, Riverdale was up 25-18.

Minarets broke into the win column against host team, Sierra Pacific (2-1). The Mustangs led at the half 29-23 behind the shooting of Mason Ellis (21 points) and Caanin Fausone’s 15 points. The Golden Bears made it a game outscoring Minarets 19-11 in the third period to take a 42-40 lead going into the final period.

Ellis, with 21 points, was the difference as the Mustangs team captain made clutch shots down the stretch. Kaleb Fausone added 10 points, Christian Conti and Jacob Fredrick had four each four a piece, Michael Rendon contributed three, while Luke Pritchett had two.

Minarets lost to Kern Valley as the two teams played for a fourth place finish. It was a lopsided victory for the Broncs as they defeated Minarets 71-43 as the Broncs improved to 3-1 on the young season and dropped Minarets to 1-3. Stats were not available at press time. Minarets trailed 33-25 after two periods but were unable to close the gap as they were outscored 19-3 in the fourth period.

Up next for the Mustangs is a rematch with the Cardinals of Orosi, Dec 7, at Woodlake. The Mustangs look like a formidable opponent on paper but have to stay with the Cardinals early to have a chance at a revenge victory.

“I look forward to an exciting season this year,” said Athletic Director Jay Smoljan. “We have some good players returning for us like Mason, one of the better players in the mountains, and Kaleb. I expect great things from those two as well as Grant Denny, guards Dwayne Backmen and James Kale. I think we’ll be competitive this year.”