Beatty High School boys basketball coach Miguel Mendoza has an interesting take on results.
“The way I think about it, when the boys get a win, it’s on them. Whey they get a loss, it’s on me,” Mendoza said after the Hornets took a physical beating Friday night during a 69-50 loss at Sandy Valley. “There’s something I just didn’t see.”
Perhaps Mendoza didn’t foresee his players getting hacked left and right without a call. Perhaps he didn’t foresee the frustration that would build when two very similar situations result in very different calls on each end of the floor.
Even if he did, he would have been angered by the officiating but he would not have pinned the defeat on it.
“I really don’t want to make excuses for us,” Mendoza said. “It’s up to us to adapt and overcome situations like that.”
Early on, no such adaptation was necessary, as the Hornets and Sidewinders both employed a fast-paced style of play.
With Fabian Perez scoring 9 points during the first quarter for Beatty and Justin Frondarina pouring in 12 for Sandy Valley, the Sidewinders held an 18-17 lead after one.
The stat line for those two players tells a great deal of the story from Friday night’s game. Perez finished with those 9 points, while Frondarina, who came in averaging a strong 17.0 points per game, exploded for 37.
“I don’t think necessarily they found a way to control him,” Mendoza said. “I think he started getting it in his head that he wasn’t getting any calls being called his way. He was on the bad end of that.”
Rian Cripe and Zjahmir Washington each added 13 points for the Sidewinders (6-6, 2-1 1A Southern). Frondarina, who made 11 of his 12 free throws, piled up the points despite junk defenses thrown at him by the Hornets.
“We were in a box-and-one,” Mendoza said. “And it works well when you execute it because you’re basically forcing the rest of the team to beat us. And they did.
“There was just too much space, and I have to watch some video and figure it out if we play them again.”
The Hornets (5-5, 2-1 1A Southern) kept pace with the Sidewinders during the second quarter as well, and with Darren Stephenson knocking down two 3-pointers, Beatty went into halftime trailing 32-30.
The third quarter was another story entirely. Frondarina scored 10 of Sandy Valley’s 16 points during the period, but two in particular set the tone for the rest of the game. Frondarina was on the receiving end of a touch foul and sank both free throws.
On the next Beatty possession, Perez was knocked to the floor without a call.
While Jorge Leon got the next call and hit 1 of 2 free throws, on the next possession Perez again found himself on the floor, looking up into the bright lights of the Sandy Valley gym. The next thing heard was an official calling a technical foul, and as Frondarina sank two more free throws, Mendoza called out, “Give them the game,” to the officials.
At that point, the Sidewinders held a 42-34 lead, but by the time the Hornets scored again Sandy Valley had reached 50. The Hornets cut the lead back to 10, but by the then there was just 2:09 left in the game and the rest was garbage time.
Leon finished with 11 points to lead Beatty, and Mendoza also had praise for junior Brayden Lynn.
“The one who did step up was Brayden,” he said. “Toward the end he was just locking everyone up, he ran the press well, and he just played his heart out.”
The Hornets will have almost a week to lick their wounds before a Thursday league game at Liberty Baptist. They will be back at home Jan. 28 to face Tonopah in a nonleague contest.