Wildcats Outrun Bulldogs, Putting IVL Up For Grabs Heading into Final Week

Brawley Union High senior Kyle Keldsen dribbles with the ball in an Imperial Valley League game against Calexico High on Tuesday in Calexico.
Brawley Union High Senior Kyle Keldsen dribbles near the endline in an Imperial Valley League game against Calexico High Tuesday in Calexico.

CALEXICO —Imperial Valley League boys’ basketball had an interesting night Tuesday as Brawley played to avenge an opening loss to Calexico at home three weeks ago, and by the end of the night, Brawley’s win gave the league a four-way tie for first place.

Led by precision shooting from Kyle Keldson (22 points, five of seven from the 3-point line) and Isaiah Bustamante’s work inside the paint (11 points, eight rebounds) the Wildcats cruised to a manageable 64-53 win.

“We feel like our last four games are must-win,” said Brawley Wildcat Coach Jeffery Deyo. “Which would get us ready for the tournament, to be tournament tested.”

The Bulldogs had their moments, keeping within striking distance early, led by the leading scorer for Calexico, Bulldog captain Cody Robinson (16 points), and ending the half down three points, 29-26.

From there, Keldson would heat up knocking down three of his five total three-pointers in the second half.

The Wildcats’ overall team hustle would lead to multiple turnovers and transition points to put the game out of reach for the Bulldogs.

A late run from the Bulldogs led by Bulldog guard Frank Moreno (13 points), and center Ruben Munoz (14 points) put the Bulldogs within nine points halfway through the fourth quarter. However, after a Brawley timeout, a Bustamante layup, and Keldson’s three-pointer, the Wildcats gained 14 with little over three minutes left as they cruised through regulation to the 64-53 victory.

Central Union High did its job defeating Southwest that same night, putting all teams at 2-2 heading into the last two IVL contests for each team.

Up next, Brawley will be on the road in an IVL showdown with rival Central on Friday night with major IVL and postseason implications riding on the outcome.

After Tuesday’s action, every team in the Imperial Valley League (Brawley, Calexico, Central and Southwest) has a 2-2 record, and has the opportunity of at least a piece of the IVL title, if they gain two victories in their final two IVL games.

A loss for any team would drastically lower any possibility for an IVL championship making this last week of IVL basketball one of the most interesting and competitive finishes in recent memory.

“We feel like we have to win every one of them,” said Deyo of the last games of the season, including the last two IVL match ups.

“It sets you in a mentality that is sudden death, ’cause if you lose you’re done in the tournament,” Deyo said.

The Calexico Bulldogs will play at Southwest Friday with the same implications riding on that meeting as well.