The Lone Pine Golden Eagles took a tough loss to the visiting Lucerne Valley Mustangs Saturday.
With the Mustangs ahead 57-59 in the final seconds, the Eagles tried to tie the game up by grabbing the rebound of Mike Cappello’s intentionally missed free throw. They got the rebound but missed the tip-in. The Mustangs came up with the ball and Lone Pine was faced with a tough loss.
The Eagles outscored the Mustangs in all but the third quarter, but that was the killer. Lucerne scored 21 points to Lone Pine’s 8.
“We just came out flat,” said coach Scott Kemp. “The kids are in great shape, we just had too many turn overs and bad shots.”
Lone Pine started hot with 16 points on the board in the first quarter against the Mustangs’ 4. Lucerne came back, scoring 11 points, unanswered by the Eagles until a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Eagles defense put pressure on the Mustangs’ shooters through the second quarter., forcing bad shots.
High-scorer, Cappello was covered heavily under the net, but still came away with 25 points for the game. By the half, Lone Pine lead 35-26.
The Mustangs opened the second half with a scoring blizzard, racking up 10 points before the Eagles got back on the scoreboard. By the end of the quarter, Lucerne lead by four points.
The Eagles came back strong in the fourth, taking a 53-47 lead with 2:44 on the game clock.
The Mustangs answered an 8-point spree, taking back the lead 53-55. With 19 seconds on the clock, the Eagles had narrowed the lead to 2-points. Cappello went to the free throw line, missed the first shot and intentionally flubbed the second to give the Eagles a chance to tie the game and go into overtime.
“It was the only strategy we had,” said Kemp. “It almost worked.”
Lone Pine goes into a tough set of games at the Bishop Christmas Classic tournament starting Dec. 27.