After losing to the Boron Bobcats in their last league game Friday night, the Lone Pine Eagles have at least one more shot on the basketball court.
Both the girls and boys’ teams are on their way to the CIF playoffs: the Lady Eagles by virtue of a third-place finish in the Desert Mountain League; the Eagles, as an at-large school.
The Lady Eagles’ 5-5 record in league has been gained by sheer will. A young team with only one starter, Brittney Tweedy, left over from the 2010 squad, they have fought their way to every win and gone down fighting through every loss. The Bobcats, 8-2 in league, just outplayed them to a 27-48 loss.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 2-8 lead. With buckets from Amanda Barlese and Victoria Saldana, Lone Pine got to within 3 points at 8-11, but two successful foul shots from Tiesha Roquemore in the final seconds of the quarter gave Boron a 5-point lead going into the second.
Matching shot for shot, both teams were near-even in the second quarter; Lone Pine with 10, Boron with 9. At the buzzer, the Eagles had narrowed the lead 18-22.
The Eagles lost the game in the last half. Boron came out of the locker room on fire, logging 5 points in the first 80 seconds of play. The defense held Lone Pine to just 2 points in the quarter. Turnovers killed the Eagles.
The final quarter was more of the same: turnovers for the Eagles, points for the Bobcats. Tweedy executed back-to-back rebounds and quick scores on Eagles’ foul shots but the die was cast.
The boys’ squad had put on a spectacular show, Feb. 1, with a win over the league-leading Mojave Mustangs, ripping off 3-pointers like there was a ball magnet in the rim. Then the Eagles suffered back-to-back losses against an undefeated Desert Christian and a re-match with the Mustangs on the road.
The Eagles ended the first quarter against the Bobcats with an 11-7 lead, but the shots weren’t falling like they were 10 days earlier.
The Bobcats took a 14-15 lead with a series of turnover conversions, all on failed 3s. Boron’s offense took off, extending the lead 14-20. Sullivan nailed a 3; Cappello added a bucket, but Boron outscored them 8-17 to take a 19-24 lead at the half.
Mike Palsrok and Cappello scored in the third quarter, but that was it. The Eagles’ defense held the Bobcats to 6 points for the quarter but couldn’t convert on their own turnovers.
Boron pulled out to a 23-38 lead in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter. The Eagles got down to some serious work in the final four minutes, forcing turnovers, denying Bobcat baskets, scoring 6 unanswered points.
Gabe Galindo hit a 3-pointer to narrow the score to 9 with less than two minutes in the game, then had an encore 3 with 30 seconds on the game clock. Boron’s lead was down to 6.
The final seconds of the game were played as if the lead was down to 1 point. Logic said Lone Pine had lost, but nobody told the Eagles that. The buzzer made the 35-43 loss official.