Sports: Bears End Season With NorCal Playoff Loss to Rodriguez
The boys basketball team traveled to Fairfield on Wednesday to play the Rodriguez High School Mustangs for the first round of NorCal Playoffs. After lead the first half, the Bears fell behind and lost the game 53-45.
The Bears came out aggressive in the first quarter, with senior Brian Keare scoring first. Although the Mustangs were the higher seed, the Bears came out with much more aggression, driving to the basket and pulling down rebounds to prevent second shots. Senior Royce Branning made a layup and the following free throw. Senior Leland Callahan and Branning then continued to hit two consecutive three-pointers, closing out the quarter in the lead, 11-7.
The Bears continued their domination in the second quarter as senior Deverick Meacham scored within the first several seconds. Seniors Ryan Roberts and Leland Callahan each contributed two points and junior Ryan Cole added another basket.
Meacham helped the team significantly with his powerful rebounding, stepping in for senior Oliver Bucka who was injured in the previous game. Branning ended the quarter strong when he banked a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, with the teams heading into half led by the Bears, 22-14.
After halftime, the Mustangs stepped up their game and the Bears began to fight for their place. Branning and Cole each had a basket early in the quarter, but the Mustangs quickly caught up and took the lead. Callahan contributed another three-pointer, and Meacham shut down the Mustangs with an aggressive blocked shot, as well as a free throw, as the teams advanced to the fourth quarter, 33-30 Mustangs.
Meacham, in one of his best game this season, added another four points to the board at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Bears fight to regain their lead, making countless steals, on of which led to a layup by Branning. Senior Grant Henninger was injured with several minutes left, so Callahan stepped in to take his place, sinking one of the free throws.
As the clock ran down, senior Markus Guegler and Branning each added two points, and Meacham scored another free throw. With less than a minute left, the Bears gave all they had to get back in the game, as Branning hit another three pointer. However, the Mustangs held out and maintained their lead through the end, winning the game 53-45.
As reflected by the score, Coach Molieri mentioned, “We had a great first half…one of the best we have had all year.”
He believes the aggressive first half and outstanding work by the team stemmed from how “the seniors didn’t want the journey to end, so they gave it their all.”
“I think the season did a great thing for M-A in general,” including the revival of “the awesome Sixth Man this year,” stated Coach Molieri. ”The team made it a goal to get to CCS and they accomplished that.”
He finished by adding, “The seniors set high expectations for all teams coming to M-A. We want to continue this throughout the years, not just one year.”