CALEXICO — The reigning CIF Champion Calexico Bulldog basketball program locked onto the home varnish, for the first title defense season in school history, versus Central High Friday, May 7, in a contest where the dramatics resumed from a previous playoff tussle.
A game that featured bonafide ballers came down to the final seconds of a Calexico clutch time 59-52 t-bone.
Central won the road-game tipoff and returned to Calexico with a three-point statement play from downtown.
Julian Beltran repped the home hardwood immediately with a baseline finish via Aaron Tabarez telegram.
Central suffered a first quarter 17-7 setback in the last half of the opening period as the Tabarez brothers made it a family affair that sparked defensive hustle and hanging jumpers.
The first quarter ended with Aaron Tabarez swishing nylon before the buzzer rang on a first quarter 19-10 Bulldog lead.
Central’s offense sank into quicksand in the second quarter — netting eight points throughout the period.
Calexico’s O had no problem finding the bottom of the net in the second stanza with another 18-point output.
The Bulldogs were all but licking their chops at halftime up 38-20 against the leagues projected rival.
On the ropes, and down 18, Central’s Jordan Reed went berserk with 13 third quarter points. Along with the epiphany of Reed, the Spartan defense held Calexico to two made buckets in the entire third quarter.
As a perceived blowout turned into a rock fight, one position determined the contest heading into the fourth quarter at 46-46, Bulldogs.
Like an old fashion wild, wild west pride battle, Calexico and Central set the stage at 52-52 with 1:56 remaining in the game — winner takes all.
Calexico swung the ball around the perimeter with a minute left to play when the rock found Aidan Carrasco who loaded up and drilled a three-point splash waterfall. Calexico pulled ahead 55-52 with 1:03 left to play.
The Bulldogs fed off the third quarter what if’s and sealed the envelope, 59-52.