Jaguars come back from halftime deficit to win season opener
December 12, 2013Valley Center's varsity boys basketball team officially tipped off the season on Friday night, and the Jaguars proved they're ready for the new season with a clutch, comeback win.
The Jags traveled down the hill to face San Pasqual and bounced back from an eight-point halftime deficit to beat the Eagles 56–55 in thrilling fashion.
"It feels great to get that first win, and I'm proud of these guys for working so hard," said Valley Center's new head coach Jon Jones after the game. "We're a young team and we don't have a lot of experience together, so for our first game of the season, we were just hoping to stick around and see what would happen. The guys hung in there and we got some huge shots from James Schwindt, Steven Much and Terrence Becvar down the stretch. We stuck together and we didn't quit."
Despite giving up a noticeable height advantage to the Eagles, the Jaguars won the opening tip and kept pace with San Pasqual through the opening quarter, trailing by only two through the first period.
The Eagles widened the gap a little bit in the second quarter, as they played good defense and hit their free throws to build a 34–26 lead at the intermission.
Valley Center slowly, but surely began to work its way back into the game in the third quarter, as the Jags tightened up on defense and started connecting on their long-range shots — including a trio of clutch three-pointers, two from Becvar and one from Much — to pull the score back to within two points, 45–43, at the end of the third quarter.
For the first time since they led 7–6 early in the first quarter, the Jags re-took the lead at 52–50 with just over a minute remaining in the game. Jacob Andreas came up with a big block that led to Becvar connecting on another three-pointer to put VC back on top.
The intensity level picked up considerably in the final minute, but Schwindt was as cool as the winter weather outside in sinking all four of his free throws in two separate trips to the foul line in the final minute of the game.
It turns out that the Jaguars needed every single one of those baskets, because the Eagles had one final possession with seven seconds on the clock, trailing by four, 56–52. They moved the ball quickly down the floor and connected on a long-range three-pointer, but the buzzer sounded and no foul was given, which sealed the win for the Jaguars.
"We've been working hard the last few weeks in practice, and it paid off," said Schwindt after the win. "When we were down by eight (at halftime) we knew we to start stepping up, and our guys hit their shots. Getting a win like this shows that we're not ever going to give up. We knew we could come back if we stuck together, and that's what we did."
Schwindt led the Jags with 19 points, three assists and two steals, while Steven Much had 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a block, Becvar had 14 points, including four three-pointers, along with three assists and three rebounds, Andreas had six points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks, and Derikie Blaze had two points, three rebounds and two steals.
Next up for the Jaguars is a trip to Imperial for the Imperial Tournament, which takes place Friday and Saturday. After that, they will take part in the Grossmont Tournament, which begins Dec. 19.