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brawley wins in final seconds

February 13, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

CALIPATRIA — Through 31 minutes, 52 seconds against the Calipatria High girls basketball team here Tuesday, Southwest High's Denise Martinez recorded only five points.

They didn't mean as much as Martinez's final two points.

With seven seconds remaining, Martinez broke a 46-46 tie with a field-goal to give Southwest 48-46 win.

"I was actually kind of hoping that I wouldn't end up taking that shot," said Martinez, who ended up with the ball on an offensive rebound. "But then I went up and got the rebound and just took the shot. When I shot it, I just said to myself, ‘I got this.'"

The win kept the Eagles' Imperial Valley League championship hopes alive. With Brawley Union High's victory over Palo Verde earlier Tuesday, the two enter Thursday's showdown with the league crown on the line.

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"Coming into this game wanting to win IVL was on everyone's mind. We were down going into the fourth quarter and taking IVL was what was on our minds motivating us to come back," said Martinez. "This was a very big win for us. I think it's going to help us a lot going into the Brawley game."

Holding a 12-11 advantage after the first quarter Tuesday, Southwest was outscored 24-15 over the next two periods and looking at a 35-27 deficit going into the final quarter.

Southwest regrouped, though, and used a 13-2 run to start the fourth and took a lead with 2:35 to play.

The teams exchanged leads six times and were tied on three occasions over the last few minutes. But it was the lead change with seven seconds to play that was the difference-maker.

"Southwest just played so much smarter than we did. Our girls couldn't have played any harder, but they could've played a little smarter," said Hornet coach Les Boop. "What hurt us was not having (Maria) Velarde in there the final 6:58 of the game. She's sitting next to me the last 6:58 because she fouls out and if she's in there on that last play, she gets that rebound and we're playing for the last shot.

"But give credit to (Eagle coach) Ruben (Valenzuela) and Southwest, they played a heck of a game, especially (Ericka) Antunez," said Boop. After scoring 11 points through the first three quarters (only one in the third), Antunez dropped 11 over the final eight minutes of play. She hit a three-pointer with 3:38 to play to break a 35-35 tie, later made two free throws to break another tie and hit a field-goal with 25 seconds left that gave the Eagles a 46-45 lead.

"(Antunez) played a great game for them. She ended up with 11 points in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. That's what great players do," said Boop.

Rachel Zajdel finished with 10 points for Calipatria.

"Through the first three quarters Calipat did a really good job of mixing up the defenses and it really did take a while to adjust to them," said Valenzuela. "But even when we were down, I never doubted our team's ability. And tonight, they came together.

"Going into Brawley, if we play the way that we're capable of playing, I really think that this is ours to lose," said Valenzuela. "And right now, I just can't wait until Thursday."

Jessica Conway finished with eight rebounds and seven points for Southwest and Tasha Ernest added 10 rebounds.

Southwest (7-2 league) will play at Brawley at 7 p.m. Thursday and Calipatria (4-4) will play at Imperial at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Holtville 56, Central 40

HOLTVILLE — Claudia Lopez finished with 15 points and six rebounds to lead the Holtville High girls basketball team to a 56-40 victory over Central Union High here Tuesday.

Erica Baiz added 11 points and Maricela Valenzuela chipped in eight for the Vikings 5-0 Desert Mountain League).

Stephanie Schuler led Central (4-5 league) with 14 points, followed by Angelica Asaeli with 13 rebounds and eight points. Janiece Manuel added eight rebounds and six points for the Spartans.

Both teams wrap up the regular season at 7 p.m. Thursday, with Holtville hosting Palo Verde and Central playing at Calexico.

Brawley 67, Palo Verde 40

BRAWLEY — Reggie Horta scored 27 points Tuesday as Brawley Union High's girls basketball team defeated visiting Palo Verde 67-40.

The Wildcats are tied with Southwest High for first place in the Imperial Valley League with a 7-2 record. The two meet in the season finale at 7 p.m. Thursday in Brawley to decide the league championship.

Whitney Williams and Laura Bell both added 12 points for Brawley.

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