Hoping to snap their three-game losing streak, Westminster found themselves in a back-and-forth affair Jan. 10 with conference foe, Brighton. Despite the fantastic effort and hard play of the Wolves, …
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Hoping to snap their three-game losing streak, Westminster found themselves in a back-and-forth affair Jan. 10 with conference foe, Brighton.
Despite the fantastic effort and hard play of the Wolves, their late turnovers helped propel the Bulldogs 69-66.
“It’s hard to keep that intensity up for 32 minutes,” Westminster coach Kevin Trujillo said. “A few kids were in the wrong spot a few times, but if we can learn to keep our composure a little more under control, we will be okay. We are trending in the right direction.”
Trending in the right direction early on after falling behind 10-2 and struggling with the lengthy, athletic Brighton full-court press was senior guard Hugo Briones. Scoring 10 points and facilitating the offense at a high rate the final 6:30 of the first frame, Westminster found themselves ahead 18-16 at the end of one.
“He’s a senior, and he did an excellent job of keeping his composure and keeping us in the ballgame,” Trujillo said. “We made a run and won that first quarter which was really nice for us.”
In the second quarter, both teams looked to have settled down. As Westy’s turnovers decreased dramatically, solid execution in the half-court set for the Wolves allowed seniors Dimitri Gooding and Orlando Guerrero to excel with seven and six points respectively. Five points from senior backup guard Kristopher Serna also gave the home team a lift as Westy headed to the half up four from the 27-point quarter.
After a 10-point third quarter from Brighton senior Brayden Schilt, the Bulldogs cut the Wolves’ lead to two going to the fourth. With a 58-56 showing on the scoreboard, that score stuck for the first three minutes of the final frame.
As the defenses ramped up their intensity, Brighton scored the first basket of the fourth. A three-pointer from junior Blake Ferguson gave the road team their first lead since 16-14. With their first deficit in over two quarters, Westminster responded after two free-throw makes by senior Jacob Caraveo with 3:24 left to put the score at 61-60. A quick answer by Brighton put Westy back in a deficit, but once again, reclaiming the lead 65-63 with 2:41 remaining via a Caraveo three-pointer.
With the lead pushed to three for Westy with 1:55 left, the Wolves failed to score again due to limited offensive shots on basket because of turnovers in the backcourt. Scoring six unanswered and claiming the win, Brighton’s clutch play down the stretch proved the difference. In one that got away from the Wolves, progress continues to be made for the young team and its first-year head coach.
“We have to learn how to win,” Trujillo said. “It’s the little things down the stretch. It comes down a lot to the basketball IQ by just making sure we are doing the right things. Late, unnecessary turnovers are what killed us.”
Brighton is now 11-4, and 2-0 in conference play.
Eight players scored for Westminster (1-10, 0-2 in conference) led by 16 and 15 points each from Caraveo and Briones. Junior reserve Seneca Brewer contributed with 13 of the team’s 21 bench points. However, 25 turnovers showcased as the decider.
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