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Tigers take rematch from Eagles

January 10, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

There are many things the Southwest High School boys basketball team could consider the determining factor in its 57-55 loss to Imperial High in El Centro on Tuesday, but what really killed it was free throws.

The Eagles finished a not pretty 18-of-30 from the charity stripe.

Southwest had an opportunity to tie the game in the waning moments, but an errant pass sailed into the backcourt ending its hopes.

The Tigers led through most of the game, but a late Eagle surge made the game close.

Said Imperial coach Dave Milan: "Southwest is a very scrappy team and they played some pretty good defense against us."

While Imperial led throughout, the Eagles didn't ever allow the Tigers more than an eight-point advantage.

Milan said what hurt his team's chance of putting away the game early was missed shots.

"We've got to make shots. Right now we're not making the shots we need to," said Milan. "For some reason we just don't have that killer instinct."

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It looked as if the Tigers were setting up Southwest for the kill early, jumping to a 10-3 lead. But the Eagles responded with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to one.

The teams kept exchanging baskets into the second period, with Southwest tying things at 19-19. An 8-3 Imperial burst gave it a five-point edge at the intermission.

The squads kept battling in the third and five straight points by the Eagles' Bradley Goff pulled Southwest within two with 5 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the third.

Two points was as close as Southwest would get until midway through the fourth when — after an eight-point Tiger lead — the Eagles broke off nine straight points. Jesse Hoyt led the Southwest burst with five points — all free throws — to give his squad a one-point lead.

After no lead changes through about 29 minutes of play, the lead changed five times in the final 2:30.

The biggest Eagle lead came on a Paul Rubio three-pointer, which broke a 49-49 tie. Imperial's Patrick Naylor responded with two treys to give the lead back to the Tigers. The second of Naylor's threes gave his squad the lead for good.

Southwest had an opportunity to tie things with 4 seconds remaining as Cory Williams pulled down one of his six rebounds off a teammate's missed free throw, but his pass went into the backcourt.

Hoyt led all scorers with 13 points and four rebounds with Rubio adding 10 points for Southwest. Matt Jones had eight points and three rebounds for Imperial.

Said Southwest Coach Marty Zwart of his team's loss: "You never want to lose, but good teams find a way to finish. And right now, we just haven't found a way."

Southwest (3-10) returns to the court at 7 p.m. Thursday at Holtville. Imperial (7-8) returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday as it hosts Brawley.

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