By GERARDO RECINOS
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a scheduling conflict between the boys and girls basketball team’s playoff games, we were unable to attend the boys game. The boys lost 64-34 to Analy-Sebastapol on Feb. 21, 2017.
All the pressure, all the effort of the season came down to a single game for the Alhambra boys basketball team. Win and they were in.
Mt. Diablo had managed to get the monkey off their back. They did not finish their season winless, but they didn’t manage to spoil Alhambra’s season. With their 76-54 win on Feb. 17, in the season finale, the boys clinched a spot in the playoffs.
It seems unusual given their 10-16 record, but thanks to the league restructuring, the Bulldogs’ four wins against same Division III opponents (all four came against Mt. Diablo and Ygnacio Valley) they clinched a .500 record and a playoff bid.
The Bulldogs knew what was asked of them to reach the playoffs, and it didn’t take long for them to go out and fulfill their part of the deal.
Alhambra busted out to a 12-2 run to start the game thanks tin part to scoring leader Thomas McDonald. The senior sparked the run but the guy who put the exclamation point on the end of it was the man who led the way in the first half.
Wyatt Hammer’s first 3-pointer of the night forced Mt. Diablo to call a timeout to regroup and recover. His fourth expanded the lead to 15 points. Both came in the same half.
Hammer’s early hot shooting display coupled with senior Jordyn Eglite exposing the size mismatch with the Red Devils was important for the Bulldogs on Friday night. Eglite lead all scorers with 22 points on the night, while the sophomore Hammer had 18.
It made up for the fact that McDonald had collected his third foul of the game with four minutes still left to play in the second quarter.
Even without the leading scorer on the court, the Bulldogs continued to run smoothly on offense, but when they welcomed him back into the fold, he helped cushion the lead with nine points in the second half to give him a total of 21 on the night.
Kinrick Todd was the fourth Bulldog to topple double-digit point totals, while Mt. Diablo only had the efforts of two scorers who matched Alhambra.
Todd got the bulk of his points in the later stages of the game, and along with Brody Eglite, helped see the Bulldogs past Mt. Diablo and ultimately into the playoffs.
The lead never was in question, but thanks to the efforts of some of the reserve Bulldogs, the team posted it’s third highest scoring total of the season.