"We knew they'd be a pretty tough team. Our coaches had told us not to take it easy and we didn't," said Lofton. "Calipat really didn't have a lot of size, and I think them not having size down low helped us."
Calipatria coach Robert Romero said trying to hold Lofton in check was part of the team's game plan.
"Our plan was to try to contain him. Brawley has a good overall team and they have height and are well-coached. But one strong point they had was Lofton," said Romero. "I think one of the things that made the difference, along with Lofton, was that whenever they got pressure, they just stuck to running their offense. That's just the discipline they have.
"With us, I kept telling our kids that they couldn't lose their composure, and they started to," Romero said. "Then when that started happening, Brawley just kept making their free throws. So I really think this game was a lot closer than the score indicates."
Brawley finished with 21 free throws made, 12 in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats outscored the Hornets 20-10.
Early on, though, Calipatria hung with Brawley, and even held leads on three occasions.
Down 14-12 with 5 minutes, 29 seconds to play in the first half, the Wildcats outscored the Hornets 19-12 to take a 31-26 lead into the break. One of the highlights for Calipatria in that span was a last-second buzzer-beater from about five feet behind the three-point line by Vontray Taylor.
With only a five-point lead at the start of the third, Lofton took over for Brawley, scoring 10 of the team's 14 points in the frame. That's when the Wildcats began to pull away.
Said Brawley assistant coach Rasahn Overton: "I don't think we came out very strong to start the game. But we just told the guys not to give up because good things come from that. But tonight was just one of those games for us. We take our hats off to Coach Romero and his squad."
Mark Rivera added 15 points for Brawley and James Haley chipped in four blocks.
Taylor and Ezequiel Navarro led the Hornets with 15 points each.
Both teams next play at 7 p.m. Friday with Brawley (4-0 IVL) hosting Southwest and Calipatria (3-1 IVL) playing at Imperial.
Calexico 53, Holtville 47
CALEXICO — Chris Ramsey scored 16 points Tuesday to lead Calexico to a 53-47 win over Holtville in Imperial Valley League action.
Alex Marin, Chris Johnson and Emmanuel Flores all added 10 points for Calexico.
John Singh, Jacob Freeman and Eric Cueto all scored 11 for Holtville.
Calexico (6-8 overall, 2-1 IVL) hosts Central Union High at 7 p.m. Friday. Holtville (8-7 overall, 2-2 IVL) hosts Southwest High at 7 p.m. Friday.
Palo Verde 83, Central 69
BLYTHE — Luis Robles and Vincent McSee both scored 15 points for Central Union High as it fell to 0-19 with Tuesday's 83-69 loss to Palo Verde in Imperial Valley League play.
Robles also had three assists and three steals, while McSee had seven assists, three steals and nine rebounds. Randy Andrews added 10 points and four boards for Central.
Central plays at Calexico in a 7 p.m. Friday contest.
Southwest 38, Imperial 36
IMPERIAL — Devon Hood scored 10 points Tuesday to lead Southwest High to a 38-36 win over Imperial in IVL action.
Jesse Hoyt added eight points for the Eagles (2-1 IVL).
Brenden Lopez had 12 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal to lead Imperial. Danny Jones had 10 points, six boards, three steals and four blocks for the Tigers (1-2 IVL).
Vincent Memorial 84, Julian 47
JULIAN — Despite a near triple-double by Dominic Jacobelli, the Vincent Memorial high boys basketball team fell 84-47 to Julian High in Citrus League action here Tuesday.
Jacobelli finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and three blocks to lead Vincent. Juan Padilla added seven points, four assists and three steals for the Scots.
Vincent (1-1 CL) will play at Borrego Springs at 7 p.m. Friday.