"This is gonna feel great for the kids," Calipatria coach Robert Romero said. "It was a disappointing loss to Holtville (Friday) and it's been a tough year. But this is what you work for."
The Tigers jumped to a quick lead, finishing the first quarter with a 16-7 advantage, but the Vikings battled back in the second.
Imperial Valley Press reigning athlete of the week Michael Strong scored eight of his 17 points to lead Holtville back from the nine-point deficit. Midway through the second the Vikings led 22-21 and the teams traded baskets until the break. Holtville took a 29-28 lead in at half, but the lead was short-lived.
Led by Danny Jones' four points, the Tigers opened the third quarter with a 10-point outburst, taking a lead they would not surrender.
Strong hit a basket and a free throw to cut the Imperial lead to 49-48 with 13 seconds to play.
The Tigers David Thomas hit a free throw to put Imperial up 50-48. But as the Vikings tried to take the ball upcourt Preston George ran over Imperial's Brenden Lopez and was called for a charge, returning the ball to the Tigers.
Thomas added a free throw and Daniel Salinas scored two more points for Imperial to close the game.
"We came out with a lot of intensity," Milan added. "It was just a matter of settling down. Overall the kids played good defense. I told the guys to pick it up on defense and they came through."
Holtville coach Michael Goodsell was pleased with the way his team played.
"We almost had the Cinderella season," he said. "We almost pulled the rabbit out of the hat. I think Imperial hustled their butts off. We gave up a quick lead and had to scratch and claw to try and get back."
Patrick Naylor led the Tigers with 15 points. Matt Jones grabbed 12 boards for Imperial.
Eric Cueto led the Vikings with 18 points and nine boards. Strong had 10 rebounds.
Holtville finishes the year 5-13, 4-2 in the DL after starting the season 2-12.
"We came up short," Goodsell added. "I'm proud of the guys. They showed a lot of grit and that's what it's all about."
Imperial (10-14, 3-3) will finish the season at 7 p.m. Thursday at home against Central.
Calipatria 53, Vincent 34
CALIPATRIA — Steve Garcia scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Calipatria to a 53-34 win over Vincent.
Jorge Navarro and Eric Somers both scored 11 for the Hornets, who improved to 16-9, 5-1.
Manuel Padilla led the Scots (0-19, 0-6) with 14 points.
Central 63, Calexico 57
CALEXICO — The Central Union boys basketball team stopped Calexico 63-57 in Imperial Valley League action here Tuesday.
Jerrel Henderson scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Spartans (7-17, 4-4 IVL). Jose Galindo had 15 points and Vincent McSee added 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals for Central. Angel Fernandez chipped in 10 points, six assists and five steals.
Diego Lopez led the Bulldogs (16-6, 4-3 IVL) with 18 points. Alex Marin added 15.
Calexico will wrap up its regular season at 7 p.m. Thursday in Blythe against Palo Verde. Central finishes at Imperial on the same date and time.
Brawley 70, Palo Verde 38
BLYTHE — Wheeler Morgan and Lafayette Lofton both scored 12 points as the Brawley Union High boys basketball team dismantled Palo Verde 70-38 in Imperial Valley League action here Tuesday.
The win clinches the IVL title for the Wildcats.
Richard Santana chipped in 11 points and Mark Rivera added 10 for the Wildcats (7-0 IVL).
Brawley hosts Southwest High at 7 p.m. Thursday.