The Big Pine Warriors basketball squad lived up to its name Monday night in a down-to-the-wire, 42-39 win over the Mammoth Huskies.
Big Pine went 3 points ahead of Mammoth off two free throws from Ryan Carrington. With eight seconds left in the game and three Huskies capable of hitting 3-pointers, the Warriors’ defense held the line.
What made the win that much sweeter is the fact Big Pine had just enough athletes to take the court, 5, competing against the 9-man Mammoth team.
“We started slow,” said coach Darren Chirrick. “We didn’t play very aggressively to keep out of foul problems.”
If the Warriors were tentative in the first quarter, so were the Huskies. The first points on the board came with 5:37 on the clock from foul shots by Mammoth. Big Pine answered with back-to-back baskets but was then plagued by turnovers, giving Mammoth a 10-4 lead.
Baskets by Suma Davis and Carrington and two more free throws from Jesse Chirrick tied the score 10-10 at the quarter buzzer.
Big Pine took over in the second quarter with 6 unanswered points. The Huskies’ Cole Presson, aptly number 3, hit a 3-pointer to narrow the Warriors’ lead, but Big Pine held the Huskies to just one more basket in the quarter, going into half-time with a 21-15 lead.
Mammoth played to its strengths in the third quarter. With nearly twice the players, the Huskies set up a full-court press to wear down the Warrior players for whom there were no subs.
“Mammoth shot 3-pointers exceptionally well,” said Chirrick, “and we struggled to cover the perimeter.”
In all, the Huskies shot five 3-pointers in the third quarter to narrow the lead 34-32. The Warriors stepped up their defense, literally fighting for each possession
The Huskies pulled ahead 34-35 off their final 3-pointer of the game. Mammoth’s 3-point Muse was chased from the gym by the Warriors’ defense. “We gave up Huskies’ lay-up to hold off the 3-pointers,” said Chirrick.
Davis put Big Pine ahead by 1 and the Warriors held onto that 1-point margin through the last minutes of the game. Carrington hit his free throws, for an almost comfortable 3-point lead. The Warriors’ defense cemented the win.
Jesse Chirrick: 16 pts., 5 rebs., 4 steals, 4 assists
Suma Davis: 12 pts., 9 rebs., 6 assists, 4 assists
Ryan Carrington: 12 pts., 12 rebs., 4 steals, 3 assists
Parker Bear: 8 rebs., 4 steals
Micah Bacock: 7 rebs.