Wildcats win 84-50 in first round of state tourney over New Design Watts

Brawley forward (#44) Casey Kline fades away against New Design Watts High on Wednesday. Kline finished with a 17 point and 18 rebound output on the night. Photo by Javier Guerrero.

BRAWLEY — After sweeping through their Division IV CIF boys high school basketball playoffs, the Southern Section Champion Brawley Wildcats continued their historic season Wednesday night at home in Round One of the 2017 Division V State Tournament in an 84- 50 blowout over the Los Angeles City League Tournament Champions, the New Design Watts Knights.        

The first quarter opened with a full barrage from Brawley. Wildcat shooting guard Jonathan Zarate lit up the crowd on a three-point swish from the left wing to start.  The Wildcats pulled out their patented full court press after the made basket which flustered the Knight ball handlers resulting in turnovers, outlet passes, and transition buckets.

Midway through the first quarter, a behind-the-back pass from Jose Cristerna to Moises Lazos set the place on fire after the converted finger-roll, giving Brawley a 15-4 lead. Lazos laid into the Knights for 12 points in the first to help the Wildcats claim a comfortable 29-8 lead at end of the opening period.

In the second quarter, the nine manned Knights were already showing signs of fatigue as shortcuts on defense opened up space in the back court for the Wildcats to capitalize and shred the nets from beyond the arc. Lazos hit two from his sweet spot on the left wing, Zarate knocked one down from each side, and Joel Barriga banked in a long ball from the top of the key to close out the first half with a total of five three-pointers in the period and a 49-20 lead.

By the second half, Brawley had lured the Knights into deep water where their superior conditioning continued to suffocate New Design Watts preventing any major comeback attempts as the third quarter closed at 62-37 Wildcats.

Brawley outscored the Knights 22-13 in the fourth quarter to stamp the 84-50 first win. On Saturday, March 11 at 6:00 p.m. the Wildcats as the (5) seed will host the (12) seeded Olympian High Eagles in Brawley in a second round rematch of the CIF Division 4 Southern Section championship game.