BRAWLEY — The Brawley Wildcats boys’ basketball squad finished up this season’s Imperial Valley League (IVL) play with a 6-0 record, including a 58-42 win on Feb. 14 over the Central Spartans. The Wildcats won their previous three IVL games in closely contested match ups against Southwest, Calexico, and Central, and were looking to make a statement to end the regular season.
Early on, it looked to be a competitive match up until senior center Isaiah Bustamante reeled off seven straight Wildcat points in the first quarter, giving the Wildcats a 16-9 lead early on. From there the Wildcats did not look back as multiple steals, fast break points and second chance opportunities proved to be too much for the Spartans. They would go into the half with a 39-18 lead.
In the second half, Jonathan Zarate came off the bench and provided a spark for the Wildcats’ already potent offense, scoring on three separate bast break layups, started by the pressure provided by the Wildcat defense.
With seniors Adalberto Lopez (11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists and 2 steals), Moises Lazos (13 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist), and junior Jonathan Zarate (12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists) leading the way, the Wildcats cruised to a 58-42 final leading by as much as 30 points in the fourth quarter.
“This was a huge ‘validation’ win for us tonight,” said Brawley High Head Coach Jeff Deyo.
“But, the unfinished business lies in front of us. Calipatria on Thursday, then CIF and hopefully, the state tournament are all on the path,” he added, speaking about the next step in the season.
With the victory, Brawley continues its path towards the CIF San Diego Section Division VI tournament. Next, they head to Calipatria High school Thursday night before beginning the Division IV playoffs next week.
Currently ranked #1 in San Diego Section Division IV, the new ranking system has led to Valley-rich Division IV basketball tournament. The division includes Southwest High, Calexico High, and Calipatria High — all ranked high enough to make playoffs. Local sports enthusiasts say it will make an intriguing tournament with the Valley’s best shot at bringing home a basketball CIF title.