Varsity Boys’ Basketball Tops Vista Ridge 63-55

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  • Eyeing his man, Santi Campos '20 anticipates his assignment's next move. Thanks to good defense, the Warriors were able to prevent the Rangers from scoring on this possession.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

  • Keeping his eyes on the basket, center Carson King '22 prepares to shoot a free throw. Although King missed this foul shot, the Warriors were able to pull down the offensive rebound, allowing for another possession.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

  • Clutching the ball in his hands, forward Christian Robinson '20 drives to the rim. Robinson finished off a fast-break opportunity by scoring a layup for the Warriors.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

  • Staying in front of his man, forward Zach Engels '22 shuffles his feet as the opposing Ranger stumbles with the ball. Due to tenacious defense, the Warriors were able to force a turnover on this possession.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

  • Preparing to start the next offensive series, guard Marcos Martinez '20 gets set to take on his defender. The Warriors weren't able to get a bucket on this possession, though.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

  • With a defender in his way, Justin Chen '20 shoots a floater. However, Chen was called for a charging foul, negating the basket and giving the ball to Vista Ridge.

    Photo By Sourav Dhar

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After a tough loss to Hendrickson, the varsity boys’ basketball team bounced back on Vista Ridge’s home court with a triumph in the back-and-forth clash on Friday, Jan. 24. Following a slow first quarter, both offenses got going and racked up the points, but neither team pulled away. After a fourth quarter with six lead changes, the Warriors pulled away in the final couple of minutes to take the game 63-55.

“We were down one of our best players, Brandon Parks (‘20), and we came to another team that has nothing to lose,” Christian Robinson ‘20 said. “So it means a lot and feels really good to hustle and get this win.”

In the first period of the game, neither offense truly found a rhythm. Both defenses were aggressive, repeatedly attacking passing lanes for deflections and steals and challenging shots. After six empty possessions, guard Santi Campos ‘20 was the first to get on the scoreboard with a quick cut to take the lead 2-0. The Rangers quickly responded with a contested layup to tie it at two, and the teams scored alternatingly for most of the quarter. Late in the first, the Rangers took their first lead of the game with a 3-pointer to go up 9-6, but a shot by center Carson King ‘22 cut the deficit to one to close out the defensive quarter.

“Coach always emphasizes in every single game, to remember that one stop on defense is one possession on offense,” Robinson said. “So we just want to take it one play at a time and let it add up.”

The pace increased in the second quarter as both teams raced down the court to score.The Warriors quickly grabbed the lead off of a score by Robinson and went up 13-11 with a corner 3 from King. The Rangers continued to match the Warriors’ point production and after three quick lead changes, the Warriors were down 18-15. A 3-pointer from guard Marcos Martinez ‘20 tied it at 18 and a finish at the rim by forward Zach Engels ‘22 tied it at 20. A Campos assist to guard Luca Cipleu ‘21 put the Warriors up late, but the Rangers finished strong to take the lead at the end of the half 29-27. Heading into halftime with a two-point margin, the game could still go either way.

To open the second half, the Rangers were the first on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer that marked the first two-possession lead of the game. However, the Warriors immediately responded and cut the lead to three points with a King bucket assisted by Martinez. A few scores later, the Warriors would fall behind 39-33, but they quickly rallied back and with four points from Robinson and a free throw by Martinez, the deficit was one point again. A couple minutes later, the quarter finished with a quick finish in the post by Robinson to take the lead 42-41.

“When we were driving, we first had to make sure that there was nobody in the middle, because they were looking to take charges all game,” Martinez said. “Make sure you’re making the open pass. I’m a pass-first point guard!”

The final quarter of the game began with the Rangers reclaiming the lead 43-42, but an and-one from Robinson immediately took it back. The two teams fought hard, and five lead changes later, the score was tied at 53. 

“We knew that they wanted to push the ball in transition,” Martinez said. “So we wanted to stop them before they could get open and make some 3s in the corners. We also knew that we would have to make some free throws in that game because we knew that they were going to foul and play hard defense.”

With little time left on the clock, the Warriors did just that as they consistently drew fouls inside and took the lead 56-53 on free throws. Following a timeout with a minute remaining, Engels converted an and-one which increased the deficit to 59-53. A few free throws and a late Rangers score later, the Warriors celebrated a 63-55 victory.

“We’ve been in that position all year long, every district game is [this way]. We just had to make the one or two extra plays,” head coach Brad Hastings said. “Zach Engels had an and-one there that was great. I was happy with the way Christian Robinson, Santi Campos, and Marcos Martinez played, all those seniors. We know where we’re at in the race in the district, we can’t afford to drop games. Those guys found a way to [win] it.”

The Warriors will face Round Rock for the second time this season on Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the field house.