IMPERIAL — As this year’s annual Tiger Classic Basketball Tournament concluded, the Brawley Wildcats and Southwest Eagles battled it out for the championship, and the Wildcats took home the big tournament win with a score of 76-46.
Both teams began strong with even back and forth offenses as Brawley stayed on top 6-5 until Wildcat Adalberto Lopez (#12) shot a three from way back, bouncing it off the glass and made it a 9-5 ball game.
Not long after, Brawley grabbed an Eagles rebound and passed the ball down the court to Moises Lazos (#1) who drove it up the middle for a lay up and two more points early in the first period, giving the Wildcats an 11- 5 lead.
The momentum on the court shifted slightly when the Eagles’ Tyler Saikhon (#3) drove down court to the basket, but got fouled. Upon making the two free throws, the Eagles minus their deficit by two, making the score 11 to 7.
As the game continued its back and forth pace, both teams managed to put up points, but the Wildcats still maintained their lead with a score of 14-11 heading into second period.
The second period saw Brawley rebounding again from Eagles’ shots with Wildcat Casey Kline (#44) finishing the play with a two-point lay up.
The next possession, the Eagles failed to score on a one and one free throw chance and the Wildcats recovered the ball, driving down the court, Kline tipped in the ball for two points after a missed lay up from teammate Adalberto Lopez (#12), making the score 18-11.
Following the successful Wildcat play, the Eagles answered back with two points of their own.
The Wildcats ended up going into the locker room with a big lead of 35-23 at the half.
As the game picked up again in the third quarter, Brawley remained the dominate team when Wildcat Isaiah Bustamante (#33) posted up in the key and shot for a successful two pointer.
Eager to answer back, the Eagles made a much-needed three point shot from way back from Saikhon giving hope to his team, bringing the score to 35-26. Following the big three, the Eagles rebounded from a Wildcat shot and moved down court for two more points.
Despite the Eagles’ efforts to make a come back, Brawley got a favorable call as Lopez went in for a lay up and was fouled for a one and one free throw. After making the free throw, the two-point shot turned into three and secured the Wildcats’ lead to 40 to 28.
As the third quarter ended, both teams continued putting up points, but the Wildcats maintained their big lead with a score of 57-39 going into the fourth period.
In the start of the fourth period, the Eagles struck first as Saikhon pumped up his team once again with a big three-point swish.
As the game moved on to the next possession, the Wildcats did not disappoint as they put up two points, and continued scoring through the fourth period with their defense holding the Eagles to a minimum number of baskets.
Brawley secured their championship victory with a final score of 76-46, giving the Wildcats a big boost for the remainder of the season.
“We played a few hard games to make it to the championship, and our team was able to work together to make it happen,” said Wildcat Head Coach Jeff Deyo. “But we still have a long way to go to make it through our season.”