BRAWLEYÂ â€”Â The Brawley Wildcats hosted the Southwest Eagles in a CIF semi-finals game resulting in an epic battle with Brawley finally securing a spot in the CIF finals after a nail-biting defeat of the Eagles, 61-58.
Both teams battled back and forth during the first quarter and the Eagles led the Wildcats 18-17 at the end of the first.
The Wildcats pushed back in the second quarter and obtained a five point lead over the Eagles, with a score of 27-22. Brawley added to their lead with Jonathan Zarate (#24) snagging his own rebound for a successful layup. The Eagles bounced back with Rven Silva (#15) driving into the key for a layup, while drawing a personal foul for one successful free throw, bringing the score to 29-25.
As the second quarter progressed, the Wildcats distanced themselves from the Eagles with a long three-pointer by Isaiah Bustamante (#44), giving Brawley a six point lead. The score was 38-32 going into halftime.
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, the Wildcats’ Adamberto Lopez (#12) got a steal and drove down the court for a layup. The Eagles answered with a layup by Tyler Saikhon (#3) who was fouled on his shot and made a successful and-one free throw. The score was 44-35. Saikhon got another personal foul call, resulting in two good free throws that gave the Eagles a score of 37.
Heading into the later minutes of the the third quarter, the Wildcats pushed forward with clean shots from Lopez and Casey Kline (#44), bringing the Wildcats’ score to 49.
The Eagles’ Eric Pompa (#1) made it a two-point game with a drive into the key for a layup. Southwest closed out the third quarter with a pass from Saikhon to Grant Hansink (#26) for a jump shot on the left side of the basket, tying the game at 49.
In a quick start of the fourth quarter, Hansink rebounded a missed shot by Saikhon for a layup, giving the Eagles the lead. The Wildcats answered with Lopez being sent to the free throw line on a personal foul call for one good free throw, bring the score to 51-50, in favor of the Eagles.
Both teams fought through the fourth quarter trading shots that made it a close, exciting game. With two minutes left on the clock, Brawley’s Joel Barriqa (#30) made a jump shot. On the next possession, the Wildcats’ Bustamante rebounded and passed to Lopez for a layup, giving the Wildcats a one-point lead with a score of 59-58.
The Wildcats followed with a steal by Lopez from Saikhon that ended in a layup that secured the win for Brawley with a final score of 61-58.
â€œThis was a hard-fought game against the Eagles, but we were able to come out in the second half and play our game,â€ said Jeff Deyo, head coach of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats will move on to face Chula Vista’s Olympian High School March 3 for the CIFDS Division IV finals.