It’s hard to win basketball games – especially in the playoffs – with only one basket in the fourth quarter.
That’s was the case for the Golden Valley boys basketball team as the Cougars were bounced from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs by Rodriguez 54-38, Friday.
Golden Valley’s only bucket in the final eight minutes came from Lee McNeill – an uncontested layup with seven seconds to play. McNeill had all six points in the quarter, adding four free throws.
Coach Keith Hunter was impressed with Rodriguez’s defensive pressure, but also disappointed in his team’s effort down the stretch.
“We just didn’t make plays,” Hunter said. “Their defense is very good. Our ball handling was very poor. We turned it over quite a bit.
“And we didn’t make free throws when we had opportunities. Thirty-eight points isn’t going to win too many games.”
The Cougars wound up with 19 turnovers, 15 of which came in the second half. Rodriguez committed just 12 turnovers.
The Mustangs (20-8) also dominated the glass, outrebounding Golden Valley 36-22.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do, and I thought we were prepared, but we weren’t,” Hunter continued. “Their pressure exposed us and that’s the way it goes. They won. They beat us.””
Besides the outcome, Rodriguez had its biggest lead at 24-15 after a 3-pointer by Kyle Williams with 4 minutes, 49 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Golden Valley (14-13) cut the lead to four (28-24) on a bank shot by McNeill at the 51-second mark before two free throws by Kesean Graham gave the Mustangs a 30-24 lead at the break.
Golden Valley trailed 38-32 after three quarters before going cold in the fourth.
McNeill led the Cougars with 22 of his team’s 38 points, while Collin Hayes chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.