CALEXICO- The Calexico Bulldogs guarded their home territory on Tuesday night as they chased down the Kofa Kings 62-53 in a scrappy boys’ varsity basketball high school pre-season match-up.
The Bulldogs ran off with an early 10-4 lead as center Cesar Parra (#20) scored four of Calexico’s first five buckets on three lay-ins and a seven-foot turnaround hook shot.
Kofa replied with seven unanswered points when forward Brian Montenegro (#3) buried a long ball from the left wing, followed by shooting guard Chuy Ortiz (#2) who downed a mid ranged pull-up jumper and pair of free throws to claim an 11-10 advantage with 3:25 remaining in the opening period.
The consistent perimeter shooting continued for the Kings as guard, Jeremy Smith (#4) swished a three ball from the top of the key to close out the first quarter for his squad up 18-17.
Calexico guard Frank Moreno (#11) caught fire dropping in nine of his game total 16 points in the second period.
With their lock down defense surrendering only one basket and aggressive offensive output of 19 points in the second period, the Bulldogs took a bite out of the Kings’ momentum helping to build a 36-21 advantage going into the half.
Kofa came out guns ablazing in the second half with Montenegro scoring an opening three pointer from the left wing followed by Smith raining in back to back threes of his own to pull to within eight at 38-30 early in the third quarter.
Bulldog’s guard Sebastian Jimenez (#1) drained a three from the top of the key on the last possession of the third period to maintain a 47-33 pillow going into the fourth.
The game’s leading scorer Smith scorched his fifth three-pointer of the game (21 points total) to bring Kofa within six points with 2:17 left to play at 57-51.
Moreno put in two more layups and a free throw down the stretch to fend off the Kings and pulled out the 62-53 victory for Calexico.
“The way we played defense in the backcourt was good. We’ve been trying to get better at our man-to-man defense. And we are going to get right to work on that tomorrow at practice. We didn’t let the back and forth tempo of the first quarter allow us to deviate from out game plan of solid defense in the second quarter,” said Calexico boys varsity head coach, Jose Briseno.
“It’s still early in the season. We must continue working hard on our man-to-man defense. There are still a couple of tournaments left and a lot of games to play in league,” added Briseno in regards to this season aspirations.