EL CENTRO – The 2017 boys Varsity High School Basketball Summer League concluded on July 12 with a match-up of last year’s IVL, CIF, and State Tourney journeymen Wildcats and Eagles where Brawley’s fundamental consistency determined the 71-55 victory over host squad Southwest in El Centro.
The first half of the game remained tight as the Wildcat’s patented full court press forced the Eagles to make near perfect passes to thread the needle to find the open man.
A driving runner by Southwest cracked the scoreboard for the opening 2-0 Southwest lead but Brawley struck back with an entry pass into the post that resulted in a routine lay-in to make it 2-2.
The Wildcats baited the Eagles on inbound passes for turnovers that lead to high percentage shot attempts and an early 8-2 lead.
Two put-backs and a turn-around hook shot momentarily shifted the momentum to bring the game back to within two scores at 10-6 Brawley.
Midway through the opening period the Eagles completed a three-point play and knocked down a 12-foot fade-away to chop the margin down to 13-14.
Sensing the Southwest blitz, Brawley began to pound the paint with post entry passes that pinned down the Eagle defenders under the basket negating any effective shot block attempts.
As Southwest found a sweet spot on both baselines, isolation and driving lay-ups brought the game to 22-21, Wildcats, with 8:48 to go before intermission.
The Brawley ball handlers continued to penetrate and threaten the soft spots in the Eagle defense as the persistence eventually impacted the Southwest defenders in such a way that late rotations would lead to easy buckets and a 37-29 Wildcat halftime lead.
In the last period, Brawley outscored the Eagles by the same margin but never allowed Southwest to come closer than nine points at 36-45 with 10 minutes left play.
Both teams threw out different styles on offense, trying to polish up before the beginning of the regular winter season.
Southwest drew up various formations of set plays to find open snipers on the wings hoping to shoot their way back into the game with the long ball, but the rock wasn’t finding the nylon.
For the Wildcats on the other hand, a two-man game between the shooting guard and center continued to produce made layups and offensive put backs that repeatedly thwarted the Eagle’s defensive schemes.
After a made three pointer at the buzzer for Southwest, it was the Wildcats that came out victorious 71-55.
Now, coaches and athletes must wait until after the fall sports season at try-outs to reassess and revisit the talent and game plan for the upcoming 2017-2018 Winter Basketball season.