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Heartbreaking Basketball season comes to end



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February 26, 2014
It's safe to say that the 2013–14 season did not turn out the way that the Valley Center varsity boys basketball team had hoped.

The Jaguars opened the year with a thrilling comeback win at San Pasqual, then pulled their record to 6–7 in the Aztec Holiday Classic on Dec. 28.

But since that last win nearly three months ago, the Jags lost 11 in a row heading into the final two games and were outscored by an average of nearly 30 points per game over that stretch.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, the final two games of the season came down to the final seconds, and still the Jaguars came up on the losing end in both to finish the season without a win in 2014.

The Jags hosted Mission Vista last Wednesday night and celebrated Senior Night, as the five seniors—Dominic Antonacci, Raymond Torres, Derikie Blaze, Alec Tortes and Brad Dozier—were honored before the game.

Despite taking a commanding lead early in the game, the Jaguars saw the visiting Timberwolves slowly play their way back into the game to force overtime and hang on through the wild final seconds to beat Valley Center 63–62.

Mission Vista hit a three-pointer to pull within three points with just 15 seconds left in the game, then they fouled the Jaguars for a one-and-one.

They missed the first attempt and the Timberwolves scrambled down the court, where they connected on a desperate three-pointer to tie the game with six seconds remaining.

Valley Center got the ball inbounds and Terrence Becvar tried to go to the hoop to either get a layup or draw a foul, but despite a lot of contact, neither happened and the game went to overtime.

In the extra period, Mission Vista kept pulling ahead, but the Jaguars responded time after time, and Becvar hit a free throw to tie the game at 60 with just under two minutes left.

Mission Vista hit a three-pointer with 1:04 on the clock, and after the teams traded possessions without a basket, Steven Much fought to get a jump ball called on a rebound of a Mission Vista miss, giving the ball to Valley Center with only 17 seconds remaining.

The Jaguars called a timeout and set up a play for Becvar to shoot a three-pointer for the tie, but with heavy pressure in his face, the shot bounced off the rim.

Amazingly, the Jaguars got the offensive rebound with two seconds left on the clock, as Tortes got inside position on his defender. But even with his team trailing by three, Tortes' instincts kicked in and he put the rebound back up for an easy layup that ended the game in a one-point loss for the Jaguars.

"We battled," said Valley Center's disappointed head coach, Jon Jones, after the game. "We played very well in the first half, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds and they had time to get the ball out to their shooters in the second half. It's really tough not to get a win on senior night, but Terrence had an incredible game and Luke played great for us as well. We just let them hang around and they made us pay for it."

The Jags still had one last chance to round out the season with a win, as they traveled to Orange Glen on Friday for the regular season finale.

But once again Valley Center needed a basket in the final seconds, and once again they couldn't get the points they needed and suffered a 45–43 loss.

After trailing by ten through three quarters, the Jags came alive in the final period, as Jacob Andreas hit back-to-back three-pointers and Blaze connected on a jump shot that pulled the Jaguars to within two at 41–39.

The Patriots scored their final points of the game with a layup off an offensive rebound with just under two minutes left in the game, making the score 45–41.

A steal by Konyn on defense led to a pair of free throws for Becvar at the other end, which he hit to make the score 45–43 with 59 seconds remaining.

Orange Glen missed a layup with 20 seconds left, and the Jags took a timeout to work out a play for a tying basket. On the play, Andreas drove to the hoop and tumbled to the ground, but no foul was called and the ball went to the Patriots with eight seconds on the clock.

Valley Center fouled Orange Glen with one second left, but the shooter missed the first of the one-and-one, and the Jaguars got the rebound and called timeout. The clock still showed 1.2 seconds, and the officials spent a few minutes discussing the situation before ultimately ruling that the Jaguars retained possession under their own basket with 1.2 seconds remaining.

Antonacci was sent in to unleash a long pass down the court to Andreas, who took a couple dribbles and got away a long three-pointer, but the shot hit the rim and bounced away, giving Orange Glen the win.

"The guys played hard," Coach Jones added. "When we lost James [Schwindt, the team's starting point guard, who injured his back and his groin earlier in the season], we had guys who had to take on roles that they didn't anticipate going into the season. We're still a young team with not a lot of varsity experience, and the chemistry factor comes into play. We grew a lot this season, but inconsistent is a good way to describe us this year."

The Jaguars finished the season with a 6–20 overall record and did not qualify for the CIF playoffs.

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