23 Jan 19
Lake County Record-Bee
CLOVERDALE — The Middletown Mustangs needed a boost on Tuesday night and they got it from an unexpected source in the sense that he wasn’t expected to play.
Andres Cervantes, who went down with what was feared to be a season-ending knee injury in a 73-52 loss to Clear Lake on Friday night in Lakeport, not only suited up for the Mustangs but he started and scored a team-high 21 points in Middletown’s dramatic 68-67 overtime victory over the Cloverdale Eagles at Cloverdale.
Cervantes wasn’t even around by game’s end. He was one of three Middletown players to foul out before teammate Will Chastain sank a free throw to complete a three-point play with 2.9 seconds left in overtime to give the Mustangs (7-1 league, 14-5 overall) a come-from-behind win that keeps them just one game behind Clear Lake in the NCL I standings.
“Perseverance pays,” Middletown head coach G.J. Rockwell said of his team’s biggest win of the season to date. “This keeps ourselves in a position to do something,” Rockwell said with an eye toward Middletown’s Feb. 7 league finale against Clear Lake in Middletown. “What a game.”
Middletown trailed Cloverdale by as many as 14 points in the first half, by 10 points late in the fourth quarter and by five points in overtime.
The Mustangs were down 67-65 in the final seconds of the overtime when Chastain drove the lane, scored and was fouled. His tie-breaking free throw was anything but routine as it hit the back of the iron, bounced up into the air almost as high as the backboard and then settled gently into the net to snap the 67-all score.
“That gym was roaring until the ball dropped into the net,” Rockwell said. “After that you could of heard a mouse fart in that place.”
Cervantes’ injury was diagnosed as a knee sprain with an accompanying deep and painful bruise. Rockwell said he didn’t know if his leading scorer on the season could go until right before game time. He fouled out early in the fourth quarter, but not before scoring 21 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
His brother, Sam Cervantes, followed him to the bench after fouling out in the overtime. Will Aden (11 points) also fouled out in the overtime.
“And they (Eagles) still had everybody,” Rockwell said. “My bench guys were awesome.”
One of Middletown’s reserves, Guy Boyd, finished with 12 points, 10 of those coming during a 22-point Mustangs second quarter.
There were plenty of other heroes as well. Middletown trailed by 10 points with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter but battled back to tie the game on a Jimmy Rockwell 3-pointer with 17 seconds left. Cloverdale had plenty of time to win the game, but the Eagles committed a turnover with nine seconds to go.
“We had a good look, missed the shot but pulled down the offensive rebound and had another shot (that missed),” Rockwell said as time in regulation expired.
Cloverdale immediately jumped out to a five-point lead in the overtime before Middletown again rallied, capped by Chastain’s game-winning three-point play.
Noah Brown also had nine points for the Mustangs in the win. Rockwell had six, all on 3-pointers.
“And they were both huge,” Rockwell said of his nephew’s two treys.
Middletown’s defense limited Cloverdale’s big man, Josh Lemley, to 11 points.
“Our post defense did a great job,” Rockwell said of players such as Aden, Rockwell, Andres Cervantes and Nash Field. “They all took turns guarding him because we were in foul trouble.”
In junior varsity action, Middletown led 13-0 after one quarter and cruised to a 42-29 league victory over the Cloverdale Eagles.
The Mustangs (5-3) led 26-8 at halftime. Lucas Dacosta scored 10 points to lead Middletown, Jorge Fonseca chipped in nine while Luke Hoogendoorn and Justin Hollingsworth added six points apiece.
Middletown’s teams are home on Friday to play St. Helena.
In other boys basketball action Tuesday:
Clear Lake 70, Kelseyville 58
At Lakeport, the Clear Lake Cardinals continued their red-hot winning ways with a victory over the Kelseyville Knights, who certainly made a game of it behind a season-best 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, from Bodhi Baird.
“As soon as he got across halfcourt he was in range on a couple of those,” Clear Lake head coach Scott De Leon said of Baird, who buried a handful of his treys from well behind the 3-point arc.
Clear Lake (8-0, 18-2) didn’t play its best game of the season or anything close to it, according to De Leon, but the Cardinals rode another balanced scoring night to a ninth straight victory.
“It’s a rivalry game, so it really doesn’t matter who has what record,” De Leon said. “Kelseyville certainly played us hard tonight and they played hard for four quarters.”
Clear Lake led 17-6 after one quarter and extended its lead to 37-20 by halftime, but Kelseyville (1-7, 4-16) closed the gap to 48-38 after three quarters.
“We came out flat in the third quarter … we were missing point-blank layups,” De Leon said. “We shot the ball better in the fourth quarter and did enough to win.”
“Lakeport is tough to prepare for,” Kelseyville head coach Gus Schillinger said. “They run a lot of offensive sets. There are just too many different plays they can run.”
Schillinger said Clear Lake’s size in the front court also gives them a distinct advantage over the smaller Knights while their bench depth allows them to keep quality players on the floor at all times.
“Coach De Leon and his staff did a great job,” he added.
On Baird’s big night, Schillinger said he was pleased but not surprised.
“He puts a ton of time in during the offseason honing his craft,” Schillinger said. “He’s in the gym all the time.”
Jaron Mertle’s 14 points and eight rebounds powered the Cardinals while Darius Ford added 11 points, Rodrigo Lupercio 10, Preston Jones nine and TJ Marcks and Tyler Cerini eight apiece.
After Baird’s 26 points, the next highest scorers for Kelseyville were Nik Helms with eight and Tyler Linnell with six.
In the JV game, the Kelseyville Knights held a 27-21 halftime lead but the Clear Lake Cardinals used a 21-8 third quarter to turn the tide and beat Kelseyville 52-40 to remain undefeated in league play at 8-0.
“They were playing better than us in the first half,” Clear Lake coach Phil Psamonds said.
The Cardinals, now 17-2 overall, were led by Treppa Marcks with 19 points, Donovan Valadez with 15 and Keanu Ford added 11.
Jaalon Terry’s 15 points paced Kelseyville. Cory Holt, the target of a Clear Lake box-and-one defense, and Carson Mayo each had seven points.
St. Helena 69, Lower Lake 64 (OT)
At St. Helena, the slumping Lower Lake Trojans fell to 2-6 in league play and 10-10 overall with an overtime road loss to the St. Helena Saints.
It was the second game for the Trojans since former head coach Tim Biasotti resigned his position citing differences with the high school administration. Biasotti, who was in his second stint as Lower Lake’s varsity coach, said his stepping down was the best solution for both sides and that the parting was amicable.
“I don’t want (it) to seem like it was a gigantic fight and everyone hates each other,” Biasotti said.
Once 9-4 on the season, the Trojans have lost six of their last seven.
Lower Lake had a two-point lead late in regulation. In the overtime, St. Helena opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and never looked back.
“It was a good game, well played by both sides,” Lower Lake coach Jeremy Jakubowski said.
Izzac Carver’s 16 points led the Trojans. Joining him in double figures were Vann Wilkins and Darian James, each with 12 points, and Mike Taliaferro with 10. Elijah Hernandez added nine.
St. Helena also won the JV game. The score was not reported.
Upper Lake 64, Credo 52
At Rohnert Park, Upper Lake senior Kenny Hodges moved into 11th place on Lake County’s all-time scoring leaders list as the Cougars outscored Credo 20-8 in the fourth quarter to win the NCL II game.
“Everybody really sold out on defense in the fourth quarter,” Upper Lake head coach Justin Dutcher said. “We were hustling and causing all kinds of chaos. We finally wore them down. They ran out of gas and we kept going.”
Hodges scored a season-high 35 points, part of a triple-double that included 13 rebounds and 11 blocks. He went 18-for-21 from the free-throw line, including 11-for-12 in the fourth quarter. Hodges now has 1,375 career points. Next up on the list of career scorers is Lower Lake’s Michelle Day at 1,461 points.
“They tried to play him man-to-man and they had no one who could cover him,” Dutcher said. “They kept fouling him and sending him to the line. It wasn’t working out too well.”
Benat Love added 11 points and 10 rebounds. His rebounding helped Upper Lake (4-1, 14-5) dominate the fourth quarter, according to Hodges.
“Every time we needed a big rebound he came down with it,” Hodges said. “He came down with timely rebounds all night.”
Louis Avalos also had 10 points in the win.
Upper Lake shots 23-for-28 from the free-throw line as a team.
Credo won the JV game. The score was not reported.