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Game Recaps: Benicia-80, College Park-68 (OT) To start the game we came out flat and dug ourselves a 10 point hole. We played better... College Park Round Up

Game Recaps:

Benicia-80, College Park-68 (OT)

To start the game we came out flat and dug ourselves a 10 point hole. We played better in the second half but could never seem to put things together to build momentum to close their lead or take the lead for ourselves. They played a zone press that fell back into a very basic 2-3 zone and we were impatient, often times shooting within the first 7 seconds of the shot clock. With a 1:30 left in the 4th quarter we found ourselves down 10 points. We put in our “speed lineup” to try and create chaos and steals. They did just that and we were able to cut the lead to 3 points with 10 seconds remaining. This lineup consists of players who don’t usually tend to get a ton of minutes. I commend them for being ready and energized for when they were called upon. We rebounded a missed Benicia free throw and sprinted the ball down the court. Dre Sunga nailed a buzzer beater from the left wing to send the game to OT, in what was a miraculous comeback.

In OT our youth showed, we quickly gambled for steals leaving their best shooter open for back to back 3 pointers. We then picked up an offensive foul and a technical foul arguing the call. Before 30 seconds had run off the clock we were down 8 points. That sealed our fate as we went on to lose by 12. 

College Park-63, Antioch-44

We challenged our players at practice on Wednesday; we asked them, “is this the type of season you saw for yourselves?” and “What can we do to turn things around?” We had an intense workout on Wednesday night and it showed on Thursday. This game was our best effort of the season. We were sharp on defense, and pushed the pace on offense. We did a good job on the boards and got back in transition defense (our two worst categories so far). Raazhel Watkins had his finest game overall scoring 21 points and pulling 9 rebounds to lead the way for us.

College Park-57, Campolindo-60

This game featured two proud programs fighting for wins. We started the game hot, controlled the first half but only lead by 4 at halftime. In the second half their offense was simply better than our defense as they outdueled us by 3 points. As we watched film of this game on Saturday afternoon, it was apparent that down the stretch we were very casual on defense. We explained that when the game is on the line we have to ratchet up our intensity and focus. There were many possessions where we are straight legged and not intense. A soft screen here, a little dribble penetration and Campolindo was getting open 3s and knocking them down. We tried to demonstrate to our team that there was a 4 minute stretch to start the fourth quarter (we were up 1 after 3) that they outscored us 12-3. That little stretch was the difference in the game. 

College Park-70, San Lorenzo-67 (Third place game)

I thought we would be in for a dog fight, as I saw San Lorenzo play the night before and thought they played the hardest out of anyone in the tournament. They came out hot, hitting 3’s and going 10-10 from the free throw line in the first half. Even so we were only down 3 at half. Although they were hitting 3’s it was off dribble penetration and I thought going zone would slow their offense. It worked and we quickly took control in the 3rd quarter.

The 4th quarter was marred by mind blowing mistakes on our part. Every time we would take a substantial lead we would do something to get in our own way like give up offensive rebounds for put backs, and some of the worst live ball turnovers I have ever seen leading to wide open layups for the Rebels. Our lack of experience really showed.

However, we showed great resolve and determination. After giving up lead we were able to tie it up with a minute remaining. We trusted our defense and got the stop we needed. We rebounded the ball and went the other way, holding for the last shot. Raazhel Watkins drove to his left and absorbed a help defender; Raazhel found Dre Sunga on the left wing and he let it fly from the same spot as his buzzer beater on Tuesday: all net (this moment was captured beautifully in the image above). The buzzer expired and we rushed Dre on the court. Dre scored all 12 of his points in the 4th and Freshmen Zyon Pullin scored 18 for the second night in a row which kept us afloat down the stretch. Our senior captain Antonio Miller had a big rebound and put back to tie the game at 67. Raazhel Watkins took home the award for all Tournament Team as we accepted the 3rd place trophy.

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