After suffering a 40-point loss to Pahranagat Valley a week earlier, the Beatty High School boys basketball team needed a win against a Beaver Dam team that made the trip from Arizona riding a 4-game losing streak and having lost 9 of 10.
It was a wild game, but when the music stopped, it was the Diamondbacks who didn’t have a chair.
Fabian Perez scored 13 of his team-high 16 points after halftime, and Jorge Leon poured in 9 of his 10 during the fourth quarter as the Hornets outscored the Diamondbacks 30-21 over the last 12 minutes to post a 53-50 win Friday night in Beatty.
Perez and Leon were strong down the stretch for Beatty in a game played much of the way at the frenetic pace Beatty coach Miguel Mendoza wants.
“They stepped up,” Mendoza said. “Senior Night, that’s all we can ask for. That was a really fun game to watch.”
The game turned when the Hornets scored the last 10 points of the third quarter and the first basket of the fourth to turn a 29-23 deficit — their largest of the game — into a 36-29 lead with 7:46 left. But the Hornets knew it wasn’t over.
“We never doubt a team,” Leon said. “Even if you have the lead, you don’t quit, because if you quit, they’re coming. If you’re up by 20, 15, 30, it doesn’t matter. You play hard until the clock runs out.”
“No, I didn’t think they were done,” Perez agreed. “I know they can come back any time. But I think we had more energy through the second half.”
That was understandable, as the Hornets’ press during the second half was outstanding. When they weren’t getting steals, they were making the Diamondbacks uncomfortable, leading to bad passes, traveling violations and rushed possessions.
“When it’s run right, it’s organized chaos,” Mendoza said. “We force the chaos, and force them to live in the chaos. That’s our whole game plan.”
“Our press, Coach said we could do it, and we believed in him,” Leon said. “We just worked hard, hustled, and it showed.”
The Diamondbacks were able to settle down, somewhat, after Beatty’s big run, and they got the lead back at 42-41 with 4:03 to go on a long 3-pointer by Anthony Cobian, who nailed four of them during the fourth quarter as the Diamondbacks scored 21 points in the period.
While it was the Beatty seniors who put up the big numbers, it was freshman Francisco Granados in the right place at the right time on consecutive possessions for the Hornets.
With Beatty clinging to a 47-46 lead in the final 2 minutes, Leon made a nice play to save the ball from going out of bounds, passing it right to Granados under the basket for a layup. Less than 20 seconds later, Granados put back a missed layup for another score, giving Beatty some breathing room at 51-46 with 1:18 to play.
Again, Beaver Dam pulled close, getting to 51-50 when Ivin Soto made the first of two free throws with 9.3 seconds left. But he missed the second, and Oscar Plancarte was called for an intentional foul fighting for the rebound, giving Leon free throws and the Hornets the ball.
There were still two fouls, four free throws and a timeout left over the final 7.3 seconds, but the Hornets were safe with a key league victory.
“That was really a fun game to watch,” Mendoza said.
It didn’t start out that way. The opening minutes of the game saw big men Soto for Beaver Dam and Juan Lopez for Beatty get several touches. Lopez scored 5 of his 7 points during the first quarter, but poor free throw shooting kept Soto to only 3. But Soto’s presence got the Hornets’ attention.
“In film, we studied that he goes low every time he goes up, so force a jump ball and get him out of there,” Mendoza said. “The best way to prevent an offense is to stop it from happening, so try and deny him the ball at all costs. That’s why we doubled him.”
It worked, as the Diamondbacks increasingly turned to long-range shooting as the game went on. But first, the second quarter was an offensive nightmare, with neither team mounting much of an attack. The high-flying Hornets managed just 4 points in the period, but the Diamondbacks could not take advantage and led just 21-18 at intermission,
The Hornets were not bothered by the low-scoring contest.
“We don’t try to go for a certain number of points, we just want to have that lead,” Leon said.
But the Diamondbacks clearly were annoyed, and they turned to the long ball during the second half. Of the 9 field goals Beaver Dam made after halftime, 8 were from beyond the arc. Some of that was in response to the Beatty press, and that 13-0 run gave the Hornets an extra shot of confidence that came in handy.
“We really needed this game, because we took that ‘L’ and our team was feeling bad; our heads were down,” Leon said. “But we know not to go into a game with energy like that, so we really needed this game going into Spring Mountain and Green Valley Christian.”
The Hornets met the Golden Eagles (16-4, 6-0 1A Southern) on Tuesday night and will finish the season Friday against the Guardians (15-8, 5-1). The win over Beaver Dam left Beatty 7-8 overall, 4-2 in the Class 1A Southern League, tied for fourth with Pahranagat Valley. Sandy Valley is 9-8, 5-2, with Pahranagat Valley left on the schedule.
Democracy Prep 50, Pahrump Valley 39: Junior Logan Gavenda led the Trojans with 15 points and 10 rebounds during Thursday’s game in Las Vegas.
The Trojans, who led 16-12 after the first quarter and trailed 23-22 at the half, committed just 5 turnovers.
Pahrump Valley 77, Democracy Prep 5: Sophomore Tayla Wombaker led three players in double figures with 20 points as the Trojans rolled to their 10th consecutive Sunset League victory.
Junior Nicky Velazquez finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds for the Trojans, while junior Makayla Gent totaled 10 points and 9 steals. Junior Maddy Souza scored 8 points, tallied 5 assists and made 4 steals, and junior Kate Daffer contributed 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Beatty 30, Beaver Dam 14: Sophomore Kyleigh King scored 8 points as the Hornets smothered the Diamondbacks.
The victory kept the Hornets (7-4, 4-1 1A Southern League) in second place in the league standings with one game remaining in the regular season.