By GERARDO RECINOS
Alhambra’s longest lead on Wednesday afternoon only lasted 58.1 seconds. But luckily for them they were the most important 58 seconds of the basketball game: the last 58.
The Bulldogs’ 71-68 come from behind win over Capuchino-San Bruno on Jan. 4 saw them start their year off in style. After trailing throughout the entire contest, they only allowed a single field goal in the final three minutes of game time to snatch the win.
From the get go the Mustangs came out launching long-range shots. On the night they converted eight shots from three-point range. At the end of the first quarter back-to-back long balls from seniors Marquez Mozeke and Brian Grealish turned a one-point lead for Alhambra into a five-point deficit.
That run continued, and allowed Capuchino to double their lead. The Mustangs jumped out to leads as big as 11 points before Alhambra could answer back.
But when they did it came from one of their seniors, Jordyn Eglite. The 6-foot-4 big man was kept quiet early on as both teams urged the game into a breakneck pace. But Elite converted on an and one to cut the lead to only four points. But more importantly he began to establish himself as a threat.
Up until that point the Bulldog offense came from Wyatt Hammer. The sophomore led all scorers with 10 points at the half, and then again at full time with 23 on the night.
He had more scoring help after halftime.
The first four points of the half came from the hands of Eglite, starting with a deft sky hook that he dropped in with hands in his face. Those were the first of 14 points in the second half alone. He finished with 18 on the night.
At 40-40, Eglite’s basket tied the game for the first time, but that was erased quickly by a couple of quick transition lay ups by Capuchino’s Grealish.
Alhambra made it’s first real run at the lead when Thomas McDonald nailed a long three-pointer to bring Alhambra within two points.
The San Bruno side again built up their lead however, to enter the fourth quarter still up by four points at 57-53.
A big three-pointer by Hammer set the tone for the quarter, and a pair of free throws from Kinrick Todd tied things up at 60-60.
Capuchino wouldn’t take the lead again.
Appropriately it was Hammer who got the Bulldogs the lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He hit a couple of three throws to give Alhambra a lead with 58.1 seconds.
In the final 58.1 important seconds where the Bulldogs had their only lead of the night, their was a lot of pressure for them to hold onto their lead.
Smartly, Capuchino’s Mozeke drew a foul with two seconds on the clock from beyond the arc.
Alhambra coach Chris Petiti took a timeout after the second free throw that effectively ‘iced’ the shooter, and he missed his third effort to all but secure the Bulldog lead. By the time Hammer knocked down his final two shots from the free throw line, only a last ditch miracle could save the Mustangs.
It didn’t come, and the wild shot by Mozeke hit the back board before rolling off the court, the same way Capuchino did.