BOYS BASKETBALL: Slow and steady South San defeats East Central

Allen scores seven after Hornets tie 28-6A game

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: East Central, South San.






When East Central traveled to South San Jan. 30, it was certain to be a clash of wills. A tortoise-and-hare confrontation, if you will.

As it did in the ancient childhood fairytale, slow and steady won the race.

The host Bobcats (20-6, 3-2) controlled the tempo from the outset of the District 28-6A game. South San wanted to prevent speedy East Central from turning it into a fire drill. The Hornets (15-11, 3-2) had scored 100 or more points twice in their first four district contests, but South San never lost sight of its objective on the way to a 67-59 win.

“They do an excellent job of getting you out of your system,” South San coach Ray Carroll said of the Hornets. “We wanted to attack, but still stay under control. It’s a credit to our kids, because we really needed to be disciplined in our efforts.”

The Bobcats’ victory tied the combatants for second place in 28-6A with Corpus Christi King (17-10, 3-2). Undefeated Corpus Christi Carroll (20-4, 5-0) led halfway through the district race.

“Our intensity was very high,” South San senior Malik Brown said. “We just kept playing together and it all came out the way we wanted it to.

“It was a pretty big game. We were 2-2 (in district), so we really needed this win.”

The Hornets, who also scored 100 in a Nov. 26 win over Edison, fell behind 12-6 to the Bobcats at the outset. South San seized control with six unanaswered points, four from post Andre Flores.

East Central never led, but managed to tie the score 54-54 with 3:06 remaining on a three-point basket from Greg White.

“From the time we tied it to the end of the game,” East Central coach Jeff Sweet said, “we just needed to play better.”

The Hornets trailed by as much as 10 points in the first half, but made their push from the free-throw line. They made seven of eight foul shots in the third quarter, but didn’t have the touch down the stretch.

“If you don’t make your free throws and you don’t shoot well against them,” Sweet said, “you’re not going to win. But give South San credit. They played very well.”

Bobcats junior Curtis Allen (28 points) scored seven points after East Central tied it, including a three-pointer with 1:34 left that extended South San’s lead to 61-56. He then grabbed a defensive rebound that led to a clinching basket from senior Michael Hernandez (11 points, 4 assists) off an assist from Olando Lopez (11 points, 4 assists).

We knew (Allen) was a great player,” Sweet said. “He hit that three and he hit two big jump shots.”

A three-point basket from senior Brandon Keno (10 points, 3 steals) accounted for the Hornets’ only points in the final minute.

“We have a star player,” Brown said, “but when we start playing as a team, it’s like the team becomes a star player. Everybody knows their role and the right way to play. It came out the way we wanted it to.”

Football standout Wanya Ward led East Central with 17 points. Ethan White produced 12 points and Hector Sifuentes contributed eight.

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