Brawley Basketball Evens League Record, but Halted By Southern Section Powerhouse

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Brawley Union High's Isaiah Bustamante goes up for a lay-up against Rancho Mirage High in a game Saturday in Brawley. Photo by: Gus Garcia
Brawley Union High’s Isaiah Bustamante goes up for a lay-up against Rancho Mirage High in a game Saturday in Brawley. Photo by: Gus Garcia

BRAWLEY — Brawley Union High’s boys’ basketball had an impressive rebound from an opening loss to Calexico in Imperial Valley League two Fridays ago by winning a road game in Holtville and then hosting two much-anticipated games of the season last week.

After a dominating 92-27 win in Holtville Jan. 26, the Wildcats faced Central Union High this past Friday in an IVL showdown with the Wildcats hoping to get back into league contention after a disappointing start the week before.

Brawley came out firing, jumping out to a 13-2 lead to start the game and never looked back. Behind strong showings from juniors Jeremiah Crane (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Adalberto Lopez (14 points, eight rebounds, four assists) the Wildcats cruised to a comfortable 66-48 victory.

“It was a typical Brawley-Central game… hard fought, we hit the threes and when we hit the threes we’re really tough,” said Brawley head coach Jeffery Deyo. “They were raining tonight and we had that advantage.”

Saturday night, the Wildcats were back in action hosting undefeated, state-ranked Rancho Mirage of Southern Section. Although the final score would show a 76-52 loss, the Wildcats did have their bright spots in the competition including senior Kyle Kieldson finishing the game with 21 points, knocking down five three-pointers against the heralded Rancho Mirage defense.

Rancho Mirage came into Saturday’s contests unbeaten at 22-0 and ranks in the top 100 of the state of California.

Rancho Mirage jumped out to a lead early and only allowed the Wildcats three points in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Kieldson and the Wildcats caught some fire and scored 19 points, cutting Rancho Mirage’s lead to just ten, with the score reading 32-22 heading into the half.

In the second half, Rancho Mirage put on a show as point guard Tyrell Robinson scored 12 of his 14 points in the half helping Mirage pull away late.

Up next, Brawley will be on the road as they take on Palo Verde Valley High Feb. 2 and Southwest High on Feb. 5.

Both games are away with tipoff slated at 7 p.m. for both.