Lopez's impressive early stats weren't enough to get Calexico a lead. The Eagles led 20-16 after the first quarter, 33-25 at intermission and were sporting a comfortable 34-27 lead midway through the third period. It was at that point that Rodriguez seemed to flip the Bulldogs' switch.
Alex Maeda scored four points and Luis Garcia added three as the Bulldogs closed the third quarter with a 10-4 run, cutting Southwest's lead to 38-37.
The fourth quarter belonged solely to Calexico. Lopez opened the period with six points, staking the Bulldogs to a 43-38 lead that they would not relinquish.
Southwest's Paul Rubio hit two three pointers to cut the lead to 45-44, but his last three, with four minutes left in the game, would be the last points the Eagles would get.
Lopez answered Rubio's challenge with four points and Chris Ramsey hit for six points as Calexico ended the game with an 18-0 run.
"I give a lot of credit to (Southwest) coach (Marty) Zwart," Rodriguez added. "He had his team well-prepared and they did a good job. Fortunately, we played better and stepped it up on defense. We just tried to pressure them. We knew Southwest could shoot."
Rubio led the Eagles with 15 points. Bradley Goff chipped in 13 and Jesse Hunt had eight points and six rebounds.
Garcia finished with 15 points for the Bulldogs. Maeda grabbed eight rebounds.
Rodriguez thinks the win is an important step for the Bulldogs, who dropped their IVL opener to Brawley Jan. 16.
"We're starting to come together," he said. "We're getting more of the kids into the rotation and by the second round we'll hopefully be eight or nine deep. That way we can do more and mix it up."
Calexico (13-4, 1-1) returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at Central in El Centro. The Eagles (1-2 IVL) will be back on the court at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against Brawley.
Palo Verde 67, Central 60
BLYTHE — The Central Union High boys basketball team fell to Palo Verde 67-60 here Tuesday.
Jose Galindo and Vincent McSee led the Spartans with 15 points each. Anthony Hellum added 10.
B.J. Randle led the Yellowjackets with 23 points.
Central (4-15, 1-2) will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Calexico.
Brawley 65, Vincent 19
CALEXICO — Mark Rivera scored 16 points and Miguel Melendrez added 11 to lead Brawley to a 65-19 thrashing of Vincent here Tuesday.
Dominic Jacobelli led Vincent with six points.
The Wildcats (10-8) will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Palo Verde. Vincent next plays at 7 p.m. Thursday at Holtville.