If you’re Lone Pine High and coming into the basketball season off an OK previous year, and you’re facing Kern Valley Broncs – a bigger school, more competitive league, better record – realistically, you just hope for a decent showing.
The Golden Eagles did that Tuesday night, and then some.
The boys team came within 4 points of a win, at 59-63. Charging back from a weak third quarter, Eagles starters Michael Cappello and Brad Greene fouled out with four minutes on the game clock. Lone Pine held on but had lost its edge under the net.
Lady Eagles lose, 23-37
The Lady Eagles were aggressive, keeping the Broncs honest through the first three quarters. Kern won 23-37, but the Eagles showed the potential coach Sonny Lindsey alluded to earlier this week.
Neither the Lady Eagles nor the Lady Broncs were shooting well through a first quarter that ended at 4-8. The score stood at Lone Pine 0, Kern 2 through the first four minutes of play. Desarae Coats was a fireball on defense with the speed to make fast breaks, putting the Eagles on the board.
Lone Pine pulled to within 1 point early in the second quarter with a 2-pointer and a shot from the free throw line by Maureen Cariou.
The Broncs got away from Lone Pine with 9 unanswered points. The Eagles fought for possession, but couldn’t make up the point deficit.
Trailing by 8 at the half, the Eagles outscored the Broncs 6-4, keeping a win within sight at 18-24. Feeling the heat, Kern ended the quarter strong to maintain a good lead at 18-28.
The Eagles gave up too many shots under the net; Kern’s defense toughened up through the final quarter. Lone Pine fell 23-37.
The Eagles have a week to get ready for Immanuel Christian on the road Nov. 27, then head to Nevada for the Hawthorne Tournament.
Eagles test Broncs
Then the boys came on with their usual Lone Pine flourish, imposing but young.
Kern Valley showed its strength at 3-point range early but the Eagles lost no time establishing dominance under the net. Alec Garcia hit from the foul line; Cappello sank a 2-pointer and the scored was tied 3-3.
The score seesawed between the Broncs and the Eagles with Lone Pine poking its nose 1-point ahead 14-13 with two minutes to go. Garrett Sullivan hit from the foul line, Cappello scored and the first quarter ended at 17-14, advantage Lone Pine.
Kern didn’t know what hit it through the half. The Eagles plugged the Broncs’ 3-point shooter; if the Broncs didn’t score on the first try, Lone Pine picked off the ball and back down court the dance went.
Kern crept to within a point at 21-20, hit for 3, but Lone Pine’s Greg Greene and Ryan Cappello turned it on to give the Eagles a 31-26 lead. Kern had the last laugh with a 4-point run, ending the half at 31-30, but a 1-point lead over Kern had the spectators ecstatic.
Then came the third quarter. Kern made some key adjustments and put 14 points on the board in the first two minutes of play, against Lone Pine’s 2, both of which were Michael Cappello free throws.
Garcia and Sullivan narrowed the score 37-44; the defense plugged some holes and sucked some of Kern’s momentum. Sullivan hit for 3, bringing Lone Pine to within 5 but the Broncs had far too many chances under the net and widened the gap to 43-52 at the end of the quarter.
Sullivan hit 3 from the foul line, Ryan Cappello found his 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and Lone Pine was within 3 points of KV with 4:31 left in the game.
Then Michael Cappello fouled out.
Brad Greene sank the ball to bring Lone Pine within 1, then he fouled out.
Kern made 4 quick points to rub salt in Lone Pine’s benched wounds. The Eagles didn’t roll over and play dead, but couldn’t make up the point difference. Ryan Cappello had the last word of the game, but the Broncs headed back to Kern Valley with the win – a narrow one, but still the win.