The Bishop Diego boys’ basketball team broke open a tight game late in the fourth quarter to defeat Cate 48-41 in a Tri-Valley League contest on Saturday night in Carpinteria.
The Rams were without star big man Babacar Pouye, but acquitted themselves well up until the final stretch when the Cardinals pulled away.
“I felt like the crowd was into it and we weren’t used to it. We came out a little flat and they came out a little hot and then the crowd just fed them,” said Bishop Diego coach James Coronado. “It took us a little while to get used to it for sure.”
Cate jumped out to an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter, but Bishop Diego closed the gap to 14-13 with 50 seconds remaining in the period after a steal and fast-break layup by Isaac Veal.
The Rams pushed their lead up to 19-13 after Tyler Martinez converted two free throws, but Bishop Diego responded with a 6-1 run to even the score at 20-20 on a mid-range jumper by Ryder Torres with 2:50 remaining before halftime.
Torres was perhaps the only player on either side to provide consistent offense throughout the game as he finished with a game-high 15 points.
“He’s been on the cusp and is kind of finding his way into the rotation as a sophomore,” Coronado said. “Tonight we needed him, good thing he was ready.”
An offensive rebound and put-back by a Cate freshman in the closing moments of the second quarter tied the score at 24 apiece going into halftime.
“At the end of the day I’m proud of my guys, they played hard,” said Cate coach Andy Gil. “90-percent of the team has zero varsity experience so they are getting it now, and this will make us better in the future.”
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The two teams went back and forth throughout the second half and a deep three-pointer by Cate sophomore Marcus Scudder gave the Rams a 41-39 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Those were the last points that Cate would score
In the end Bishop Diego had more experience and confidence in key situations. A driving layup by senior point guard Bryan Trejo tied the score at 41-41 with 1:40 remaining in the game. On the next Bishop Diego possession Trejo found Veal for an easy basket inside to put Bishop Diego ahead 43-41.
Qu’Ran Gossett had a slow start to the game for Bishop Diego, but dominated with physicality in the fourth quarter. His offensive rebound and put-back increased the Cardinals’ lead to 45-41 with just under a minute to play.
“He’s a tough player, a tough competitor. He and I got into it in the first half over a few things, but he’s a competitor and he makes plays when we need it,” said Coronado of Gossett. “We’ve got to take the good with the bad, both him and I. It’s a love/hate relationship, but it’s great and I love him.”
Torres closed out the game by making 3-of-4 free throws in the final ten seconds to secure the victory. Trejo finished with eleven points and Gossett chipped in ten points for Bishop Diego.
Scudder led Cate with ten points and Jengus Ercil scored all seven of his points in the first quarter.