Sports: Boys’ Basketball Falls in Close Game to Sequoia
The Bears came up short Friday night, losing in a hard fought battle to the Sequoia Cherokees.
To start off the game, Sequoia raced out to a lead, and didn’t give it up for the rest of the half. The Cherokees had a distinct height advantage, dominating the paint with rebounds and blocks. The strong internal game sent them to the line often, giving them a steady stream of free throws throughout the game. M-A’s offense also struggled to find any rhythm in the first quarter, missing easy lay ups and jumpers. The Sequoia defense came out strong as well, feeding off of the packed home crowd’s energy. In a primarily defensive battle, the Cherokees finished the first quarter with a 11-7 lead.
In the second quarter, M-A adapted to Sequoia’s interior dominance and started warming up from outside, shooting more jump shots compared to the first. The Bears also had more of a defensive presence, limiting the Cherokees to just nine points. However, Sequoia’s height still proved too much of a challenge to overcome, as M-A continued to struggle inside. Going into halftime, the Bears closed the gap to one, trailing 20-19.
Halftime gave M-A new life, as they came out with a new-found intensity. Following a steal by junior Ryan Roberts, Sequoia was charged with an intentional foul on Roberts’ fast break lay up. As Roberts stood alone at the free throw line, he gave the Bears their first lead of the night. However, as M-A started warming up, so did Sequoia. The two teams continued going back and forth, not allowing the M-A lead to grow. Unfortunately, the Bears’ foul trouble caused them to surrender the lead to the Cherokees once again, ending the third quarter with a score of 29-26.
At the start of the fourth, M-A saw themselves giving up easy points, extending Sequoia’s lead to eight. The Bears answered as junior Leland Callahan went to line, knocking down two clutch free throws to keep M-A in the game. The offense continued to close the gap, as senior Jamar Gaddis hit a big three, followed by another two, bringing the Bears within one.
As the game got into desperation time, the Bears began to foul to stop the clock. Deverick Meacham came through with six second left on the clock, and the Bears trailed by just one, 45-44. However, a last second free throw by Sequioa put them up 46-44 to end the game.
Although M-A played hard until the last second, the mismatch in the paint proved too much to handle. The disappointing loss extends the Bears losing streak to five. With junior Royce Branning out with an injury, the Bears have struggled, with a 4-10 record (0-2 in the PAL) through the mid season. Despite the hardships, the Bears look to improve their record as they move forward into the bulk of the PAL season.