Wildcats have narrow miss against Rancho Mirage in men’s basketball

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Isaiah Bustamante sets up for his free throws. He would make both, putting Brawley in the lead until Ranco Mirage rallied. Photo by Gus Garcia

BRAWLEY – The Brawley Union High Wildcat boys basketball squad hosted the Rancho Mirage Rattlers Friday in a back and forth contest that ended with the Rattlers biting late in the game and taking home a 72-60 hard-fought victory.

The Rancho Mirage Rattler squad started last season 30-0, and came into the contest with a 14-2 record this season.

“Rancho Mirage is the best team we’ve played this season,” said Wildcat Head Coach Jeff Deyo. “It’s disappointing, because for 28 minutes we played them even up.”

“We had a four minute dry spell where we couldn’t buy a bucket. That cost us,” said Deyo of the contest.

The Rattlers came out hot early on in the first quarter, but the Wildcats found their groove halfway through the stanza and took a 14-11 lead after a jumper from Wildcat sophomore Casey Kline.

The Rattlers would go on a 9-0 run from there though, and closed out the quarter with a two point 24-22 lead.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats again overtook the lead 38-36 after a pair of free throws from senior center Isaiah Bustamante, but again, the Rattlers rallied late in the quarter and went into the half with a 41-40 lead.

Behind senior Captain Charles Neal in the third quarter, the Rattlers took control of the contest, utilizing a 19-12 edge in scoring for the quarter to give them an eight point lead heading into the last quarter, and the Rattlers never looked back. They would finish the night with a 72-60 victory.

For the night, Wildcats’ Moises Lazos finished with 21 points, followed by Adalberto’s 18.  Casey Kline added 10 points of his own.

“We have time to improve and we’ll work on doing that over the next week,” added Deyo.

Up next, the Wildcats will prepare for Imperial Valley League play, with the first game scheduled for January 17 at Southwest High School.