IMPERIAL — The Brawley Wildcats stifled the undefeated visiting Islanders of Coronado 70-43 to claim their third victory of the 2016 Boys Varsity Basketball Tiger Classic in Imperial Thursday evening.
Brawley’s full-court trapping press suffocated Coronado’s ball handlers from the first whistle and pounced on an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on an inbound lay-in by forward Casey Kline (#44), a three-ball from the right wing by shooting-guard Moises Lazos (#1), and a post-up hook-shot by center Isaiah Bustamante (#33).
Midway through the first period, Wildcat guard Adalberto Lopez (#12), the game’s leading scorer with 17 points, would knock down a three from the top of the key followed by a layup, to put Brawley up 12-2.
Coronado’s forwards answered by crashing the offensive boards with put-backs by Scott Hendricks (#20) and David Grant-Williams (#24) to stay within a basket, with Brawley up 18-16 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, both teams began to execute their offensive sets more effectively. Islander guard Myles Manning (#1) would contribute eight points in the quarter on driving layups and a short jumper, keeping the game close, with Coronado only down 26-24 with four minutes remaining in the half.
The Wildcats’ ball movement constantly found the open man to keep Coronado at bay with the high percentage perimeter shooting of Jeremiah Crane (#2), Lopez, and Johnathan Zarate (#24) to close out the first half with a 38-29 lead.
Brawley’s superior conditioning became more evident as the second half progressed, holding Coronado to only two baskets and a set of freethrows in the entire third quarter. Meanwhile, the Wildcats continued to roar offensively, more than doubling the Islanders’ offensive output, taking a 52-35 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Another series of long range shots by Brawley forwards Justin Polanco (#3) and Kline, and the relentless Wildcat defensive intensity, never allowed the Islanders to regain their offensive rhythm and earned Brawley the win with 70-43.
“The press was very effective in this game,” said Brawley Head Coach Jeff Deyo. “We’re getting better at sharing the ball and hitting the open people offensively and we just have to keep building on that.”