Wildcat Boys’ Basketball Closes Regular Season with Wins

A Brawley player cutting into an opponent's defense.
A Brawley player cutting into an opponent’s defense.

BRAWLEY— The Brawley Wildcat High School boys’ basketball regular season came to a close this past week with consecutive home victories including a 68-53 win over the Calipatria High Hornets Feb. 16 and a 51-30 IVL league victory over the Southwest High Eagles on Thursday night.

Against the Hornets, the Wildcats found themselves in a tight game as Calipatria kept it close until Brawley could pull away late in the fourth going on a 19-9 run to close out the last six minutes. The Wildcats ended the game with a 68-53 final score and standout Wildcat Kyle Keldson would finish as the game’s leading scorer with 17 points.

In the final game of the regular season, as well as the final IVL game for both the Wildcats and the Southwest High Eagles, Brawley fell behind as the Eagles came out soaring to a quick 20-7 lead in the second quarter.

But from there on, the Wildcats would dominate, outscoring the Eagles 44-10 en route to a 51-30 victory. Brawley Wildcat Moises Lazos, a junior, scored 24 points, while junior Isaiah Bustamante would add 12 rebounds.

“It was a 30-plus point turnaround against a team who had beaten us earlier this year,” said Brawley Head Coach Jeff Deyo of the Wildcats’ comeback Thursday night.

“If we are able to sustain that intensity throughout the CIF tournament we will be hard to deal with,” he said.

With the wins, the Wildcats now take their overall record to 19-9 and 3-3 in IVL play. Although the victory did ensure Brawley a number one seed in the CIF San Diego section Division 4 playoffs, the Central High Spartans finished as this season’s IVL champions with a 67-58, fourth quarter comeback victory over the Calexico Bulldogs. Finishing fourth in CIF San Diego Section Division III, the Spartans will host Tri-City Christian High School in the first round of the division III playoffs Wednesday night. Central is the only IVL team not in the Division IV playoffs.

The Brawley Wildcats, Southwest Eagles, and Calexico Bulldogs will each represent the Valley in the CIF San Diego section division IV playoffs, with Southwest on the road heading to Escondido Adventist Academy High School in their opening playoff game Wednesday in San Diego.

Calexico will be across town at Vincent Memorial High in an Imperial Valley Backyard showdown, also on Wednesday night.

Brawley High, which received the number one seed, will be hosting San Diego Jewish Academy High school on Wednesday night as well, and should they win, will have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

“We expect a really tough game. Our bracket is loaded with  familiar, tough opponents. Anyone, one through sixteen, is capable of getting on a run and sweeping four games,” said Deyo of this year’s Division IV playoffs.

“With hard work, intense defense, three home games and a little luck, it will end in two weeks in San Diego, at USD’s Jenny Craig Arena with a historic CIF championship on the line,” Deyo said.

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