CALIPATRIA — In Tuesday night’s nonleague high school boys’ basketball matchup it was a tale of two halves for the Central Union and Calipatria high squads here.
The first half belonged mostly to the Hornets but the Spartans finished strong to earn the 59-37 win.
The Hornets opened the game on a strong note as they took an early 7-2 lead before the Spartans were forced to take an early timeout to regroup.
“Coach just told us we needed to bring some energy and play defense,” Central’s Eric Lopez said. “We came out flat and we just needed to pick it up.”
Central took that advice and were able to get back in the game and cut the lead to 11-8 by the end of the period.
In the second period, the Spartans pick up right where they left off and were able to tie the game at 16-all heading into halftime.
“The first half was encouraging we just have to hit more shots and be more consistent with our ball movement,” Calipatria head coach Robert Romero said. “We needed to move the ball inside and not just settle for perimeter shooting.”
In the second half is wehre the game took a drastic change.
Late in the second period, Central began running a couple of full-court press defense plays and were successful so they replicated that to open the third period.
“We went to the press a few times in the first half and it worked for us and at halftime coach gave us a speech and we came out really aggressive with it,” Lopez said. “And I think it was frustrating them a little bit.”
There was some frustration to say the least as the Spartans kept the Hornets off balance and off of the offensive boards for the third period to push for a 35-26 lead.
“Against the zone press you have to reverse it to the weak side but we kept going the other way and they kept jumping in the passing lanes and creating takeaways,” Romero said. “We tried to have them adjust but it just wasn’t translating.”
The Spartans put the game way away in the fourth period as they opened with a 19-0 run and eventually put the game away 59-37.
In the game for Central, Saad Awan had 19 points, Gurkamal Pummay had 12 points and Brandon Argandona finished with 10 points.
“We had more heart tonight and we just wanted to win this game,” Lopez said. “ We want to go undefeated in league and get those rings at the end of the year.”
Central (12-7, 0-0 IVL) will play at Southwest High at 7 p.m. Friday while Calipatria (3-12, 0-0 DL) will host Holtville High at 7 p.m. Friday to open Desert League.
“We are trying to be consistent for four quarters but if we’re not going to run what we ask to do and be more consistent its not going to happen,” Romero said. “Now we head into league trying to defend our title, our strength is our speed but it kills us because we rush everything so we will look to make the adjustments moving forward.”