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Bucio leads Calexico to 58-49 win

January 13, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

HOLTVILLE — Coming into their game here Friday the Calexico and Holtville high school basketball teams were heading in different directions.

Calexico was cruising with 10 victories in 13 games, powered by a fast-paced, potent offense. The Vikings were having a hard time finding the right mix of players to capture their first win after losing over half their team to a disciplinary action.

Calexico continued its winning ways and Holtville continued its search for its first win after a 58-49 verdict Friday.

Luis Garcia had a game-high 21 points and added 10 steals for the Bulldogs (11-3) to offset an outstanding game from the Vikings' Eric Cueto. Cueto had 10 points and 20 rebounds but it wasn't enough as Calexico took the lead for good with a minute to go in the first quarter.

"We played our regular game against them and we mixed it up a bit on defense," said Bulldog coach Juan Rodriguez. "Our style is moving the ball upcourt quickly and getting everyone involved on offense. We did that tonight and we also put pressure on the ball defensively."

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Holtville (0-11) ran out in front 7-3 behind three points by Cueto, who also had three steals in the game, with three minutes gone in the opening quarter. The Bulldogs responded quickly and went on an 11-4 run to end a quarter in which Garcia claimed seven of his points.

Calexico extended its lead to 20-11 with a 6-0 run in the second stanza before the Vikings responded with a pair of free throws from Michael Strong. That started a 12-4 Holtville run in which Strong scored eight of his team-high 17 points and helped pull his squad to 24-23 with just over a minute to go in the half.

Garcia answered for the Bulldogs in the final minute with four straight points to give his squad a 28-23 lead.

Carlos Perdomo hit a mid-jumper in the opening minute of the second half for Holtville to make the score 28-25, but Calexico answered again as Rene Bucio netted four of his 10 points in an 8-0 run to push his squad's lead to 36-25.

"Every time we would get close we made some sort of mistake," Viking coach John Reschert said. "The third quarter has killed us all year. We played well, but we made some mental mistakes due to the inexperience of the some of the kids playing at the varsity level."

Preston George nailed a three-pointer for the Vikings midway through the quarter to keep the lead under 10, but the squads traded baskets the rest of the third period for a Calexico advantage of eight going into the final quarter.

The teams again exchanged runs and baskets in the final stanza, with Holtville going on the largest run 11-4, but the Bulldogs and Garcia kept the game out of reach. After a free throw by Strong, who hauled down seven rebounds, with 1:19 to go the Vikings were within 54-48 and got the ball back with 36 seconds remaining.

Holtville looked for a quick inbounds pass but it was stolen by Garcia — his fourth steal of the quarter — and he converted a lay-up to give his squad a 56-48 lead. Bucio then grabbed his fifth rebound on a shot by Holtville with 20 seconds left and collected his fifth assist when he found a streaking Garcia for a lay-up and a 10-point advantage with 17 seconds to play.

"The third quarter was great for us. We did what we needed to do in that quarter and it proved to be the reason why we won the game," said Garcia. "We were pressing on defense and we were looking for the steal. That was our game plan and it worked."

The victory propels the Bulldogs into the Imperial Valley League season, which it will open at Brawley at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Vikings will be in action Tuesday as they travel to West Shores for a contest at 7 p.m.

Brawley 64, Imperial 47

IMPERIAL — Richard Santana scored 23 points as the Brawley Union High School boys basketball team got past Imperial High 64-47 here Friday.

Lafayette Lofton added 14 points and nine rebounds for Brawley and Mark Rivera chipped in 10 points.

Leading Imperial were David Thomas with 10 points and Matt Taylor with nine.

Both teams return to the court at 7 p.m. Tuesday with Brawley (7-8)hosting Calexico and Imperial (7-9) traveling to Blythe to play Palo Verde.

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