Boys Basketball (26-4 – SSCIF D3AA Playoffs)
The visiting Wildcats (22-8), last year’s Southern Section CIF 3A champs, shut down Laguna’s inside game and then rallied in the closing minute to defeat the Breakers at Dugger Gym last Friday night, February 16.
The Breakers were looking to match the all-time school record of 27-4 set in 1962, but fell a game short in the loss.
The visitors took an 8-5 lead with about 2 ½ minutes remaining in the initial period as they controlled the tempo and forced outside shooting by the Breakers throughout the first half. Down 27-16 to start the third period, the home squad re-energized the crowd with a 14-2 run to take a brief 30-29 lead after four minutes of play. That euphoria evaporated as Twentynine Palms took control and slowly rebuilt their advantage to lead 42-35 after three periods.
In the final period, Laguna fell back to a 12-point deficit at 47-35 before they mounted their final comeback. A layup by Adam Armstrong with 90 seconds remaining capped the wild 16-3 run giving Laguna a 51-50 lead.
The Wildcats hit two free throws to retake the lead at 52-51 followed by Blake Burzell’s three–point shot with 45 seconds remaining for Laguna’s final advantage at 54-52.
Fifteen seconds later the visitor’s D’Shaun Barrett (27 points) surprised the crowd with a long three-point basket to re-take the lead for the Wildcats. After a timeout, Laguna took an early three-point shot that hit the rim followed by a scramble for the ensuing rebound resulting in two free throws for 29 Palms. Breakers had less than two seconds on their final shot try, but could not get into range for any real attempt.
Had Laguna played the first half with the energy displayed in the second, a different outcome might have taken place. The final records and statistics on this great season will be detailed in a few weeks.