At the top of the seventh inning When Serrano Catcher Alex Spadafora threw out Sultan Robert Moore as he led off first, it looked like the Diamondbacks controlled the game. They were one out away from chalking up a win and had a comfortable lead at 2-0 going into that final out. Then, on a full count pitch, Sultana’s Chris Gooding ripped a chopper to center field that bounced off the outfield wall, giving the Sultans a two run triple. The momentum sparked by that huge play changed the ownership of the field from home territory to anybody’s game at that point. Serrano eventually lost 3-2 last Thursday in Phelan.
“It went from the outhouse to the penthouse”, said Sultan Coach David Hill who exonerated his lucky break by adding, “I mean we had one hit for six innings and we’re not a hard hitting team”. Hard hits did not decide the game. Timely hits were the critical element in yanking the win away from Serrano. Serrano’s freshman pitcher Saxon Andross pitched the entire seven innings with seven strikeouts.
After the Gooding triple, Diamondbacks manager Joe Heim then brought in Wesley Townley to close the game. However, the sophomore ended up hitting Ceasar Godinez on the helmet for a free trip to first. In the next at-bat Skyler Kidwell drove a shot to center to bring in the run that would give Sultana the single digit lead. Then the Hesperia based team brought in their dominant pitcher, senior James Squire, who easily retired the Diamondback side. “I kind of went backwards”, remarked Coach Hill, “Squire pitches a great six innings to Oak Hills, then we can’t finish. I didn’t think we’d get around to him to finishing it out. Thankfully, we had him (to close) at the very last minute”.
Despite the cruel turn of events for Serrano, Diamondback Coach Joe Heim remained optimistically battle-tested. “It was a very tough loss. I thought our pitching was excellent today. We’re an inch away from winning the game on a strike three. We were an inch away from an out at second. It was a game of inches for us,” Heim explained.
Based on the tough loss Serrano had on the first game of the two game series on Tuesday, the first five innings played like a grudge match with Serrano acting like the primary aggressor. In the third inning, Cody Nelson walked to first, and then stole second on a wild pitch. Brandon Copeland hit Nelson into home with a double to right field. In turn, Brad Quinn chopped one with gusto to left field to bring in the second run. “We’re going to work on hitting. Hopefully our hitting will be contagious and we’ll carry that on to the next series,” asserted Coach Heim.
Serrano Diamondback Basketball Season
Never Say Die
By Jeff Cooper
When Apple Valley’s Sheldon Lovett took an open jump shot from just outside the three-point line in the final two minutes of double overtime, the Diamondbacks knew what to expect. They would lose the lead again. It was only three points. However, in such a tight game, three points meant everything. That momentum would allow Apple Valley to pull ahead for the umpteenth and final time. Serrano was hoping to run down Apple Valley in that post regulation; unfortunately, Apple was not about to give the Diamondbacks any leeway whatsoever. It was David and Goliath, without the happy ending.
The Diamondbacks fell to the Sun Devils in a whopping 85-80 high scoring, double OT contest. The Sun Devils dominated the first three periods by holding onto a ten-point lead. Then, in the beginning of the fourth period, the Diamondbacks began their comeback rally and would remain a thorn in the side of the Sun Devils until the very end of a long thriller.
In the fourth period, Timall Thomas took the jump shot that pulled Serrano ahead 66-65 with 38 seconds left in regulation. In another turn of events, the Sun Devils drew a foul and made only one of two to tie the game and roll the brawl into the first of two overtimes.
That first extra period was a gritty, defensive battle as each team allowed each other only five points each in the four minutes allowed. That quick exchange led to at 73-73 tie at the ending buzzer of the first overtime. In the second overtime, the Sun Devils shellacked Serrano, outscoring and closing the deal by five points to win.
“To fight back like that, they showed a lot of character. They played really hard. I tore them a new one at half time and they came back and played with the type of fire they needed to”, said coach Brain Carrasquillo. He added, “Win or lose, that’s the momentum we needed to carry us into the playoffs”.
Terrell Glover earned a double double with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He finished the game with 3 assists, a season high, 5 blocks, and 1 steal. Timall Thomas was not far behind with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Donte McQueen had 12 points and Wyatt Dobrick had 4 points. “We played hard, but they made more plays than us in the end,” said Devin McDonough who shot for 15 points and 6 rebounds. “We came out real slow with no intensity out there. And with the overtime, we got shook up. We needed to calm down and we didn’t. They got the best of us”, said Timall Thomas who was key in helping the Diamonbacks hold on for so long. Serrano is a contestant for the CIF southern section playoffs which begin this Friday against number three ranked Canyon High School in Anaheim. Win or lose, Serrano has proven they won’t go down easy.
Super charged for the big finish
Super charged for the big finish
By Jeff Cooper
Perhaps the intense energy of senior night added to the electrifying performance of Serrano Boys basketball on Tuesday. The stands bleed with overwhelming support for the 7-4 league team who because of a passionate, charged performance, dominated Hesperia 82-50 at home. The Phelan gym teemed with teenagers socializing and cheering on the Diamondback team. That immense support carried onto the court.
“We needed a game like this to where we can run and get some baskets. It would be good momentum for the last game (Thursday) and carrying into the playoffs. We want to build momentum carrying over to that first (playoff) game”, Said Coach Brian Carrasquillo.
The momentum started early as the Diamondbacks locked in a 25-10 lead in the first period which they controlled for the entire game. The always vibrant Timall Thomas racked up 20 points. Devin McDonough closely followed with 16 points. Jeremy Rader finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Rounding it all out, Derek Ortega shot for 2 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. The hardworking but usual trillion stat senior, Lester Stapleton, contributed 2 points on a difficult jump shot from outside the key.
“I feel like we came out and executed. We hit shots we don’t normally make. We just have to continue to put our heart into it like we did tonight”, Said Stapleton.
Thursday’s game is against Apple Valley which concludes the regular season. Playoffs start next week.
“We have a hard game coming up (Thursday) against Apple and we need all the momentum we can get”, added Devin McDonough who also had 6 assists.
Serrano and Apply Valley are tied in the Mojave river league.
Serrano’s Basketball Team enjoys a three game winning streak
By Jeff Cooper
On Tuesday night, Serrano boys’ varsity basketball begets a three game winning streak. They edged out the Apple Valley Sun Devils 58-51. In mainly a defensive game, Serrano held the Sun Devils to only 21 points in the first half. The Diamondbacks also went on an 11 point run in the second quarter to prove they were also charged offensively. Terrell Glover sunk an impressive slam dunk on a fast break and finished with easily with 21 points.
Josh Alcala, in an awe inspiring game, was well into double digit points when he fired off four three point shots in a row, on four consecutive possessions. Each of his long shots nosedived their way perfectly into the net.
“It was a great adrenaline boost. I was great to have a two win lead against Apple (Valley)”, said Acala.
Late in the fourth period, Serrano held onto the lead as the Sun Devils took a foul and sunk both free throws to trail by two with two minutes left. Devin McDonough made a pivotal lay-up to widen the lead by 4; however, Serrano again found themselves in a “ticking clock” situation. Both teams called for a pair of timeouts each. Serrano needed to kill the clock and Apple needed to extend time. In the end the gap was too heavy of a debt to settle for the Sun Devils as they could not pull off the big points needed to win.
“I thought we did a great job defensively. They made us work harder in the second half with their defense. I was really proud of the way we played,” Said Coach Brain Carrasquillo.
Diamondbacks hoop over Hesperia’s
Scorpions for the victory
By Jeff Cooper
With the score tied at 57 in the 4th period, Terrell Glover had a pivotal steal to again break Hesperia’s comeback rhythm. The Scorpions combated Serrano’s lead for the better of the game. In the end, Serrano fought and won a 64-58 well earned victory in an away game at Hesperia last Thursday night. During the game, the Diamondbacks consistently maintained only a slight lead. A lead the Diamondbacks were hard charged to hold onto. When the Scorpions did acquire a one-point lead, that home was quickly squelched by a Glover lay-up and subsequent free throw. Glover finished with 25 points.
Usually the high scorer, Timall Thomas had trouble making most of his shots for he was the focus of Scorpions’ defense. Hesperia ran a triangle-and-two defense that boxed in Thomas in an attempt to completely neutralize him. “I couldn’t really get the shots up because of the triangle and two,” said Thomas, who usually finishes with a points double or double-double (double points and double digits in another stat) in each game where he is not targeted.
Since a couple key players were likewise subdued, Serrano’s Jeremy Rader stepped up and scored 10 points, 6 from free-throws. Rader also totaled 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. “I think it’s my career high so far. Where ever the coach needs me, I am there to help out”, said Rader. He also commented on the triangle and two defense, “That was the first time we’ve seen that so far. They boxed in our best player, Timall Thomas. The rest of us had to step up.”
Josh Alcala and Devin McDonough also helped to lead the Diamondbacks to gracious victory.
In another game Friday night, the Diamondbacks battled the Sultana Sultans at home. They lost a week before to the same Hesperia based team; however in again dramatic fashion, Serrano this time pulled out a win, edging out Sultana 65-62. Sultana relied mostly on 3-point goals to propagate points. Serrano, as usual, relied on passing and sharp, close shooting to stay alive in the fight. “I had some guys who don’t normally play starter minutes come up and step up real big tonight. I was really proud of the effort that Donte McQueen came off the bench with. He hit some big jumps shots for us. I am really proud of the way Josh Acala played for us, hitting rebounds and taking some guys off the dribble. I am really proud the way we played defense to the end,” boasted coach Brian Carrasquillo.
Despite the tremendous effort by Serrano the game was not without close calls. After the half, Sultana gained the lead, while Serrano looked for a second wind. In the 3rd period, Serrano’s Terrell Glover flew to sweep the ball behind him in an attempt to prevent an out-of-bounds. The ball went to Devin McDonough who drew a foul and subsequently made both free throws to re-invigorate the team. “I told these guys before the game that they need to come out and play with some passion, show some resolve. They stepped up to the challenge,” stated Coach Brain. “Coach got us ready for the game. It was a must win game,” said Timall Thomas.
All the energy led to Wyatt Dobrick’s short jumper and Terrell Glover’s two pointer to trail Sultana 46-45. In the 4th period, Sultana’s three point bonanza was meeting the rim more than the hole. Only a personal foul on Thomas gave Sultana a chance to catch up by free throws. That’s when things really got intense. Timall Thomas dunked a three point shot to tie the game with two minutes left. Sultana tried to set up a two-point situation, but could not score. Serrano’s McDonough took a foul and broke the tie by sinking both his free throws. Serrano killed the clock and sealed the victory.
The Diamondbacks have had a tough season so far and need to win the great majority of their final games to make the playoffs. “From here on out, every game has got to be like a playoff game for us”, said Coach Brian.
Story by Jeff Cooper
Photos by Kerri Latham
For Serrano boys Varsity basketball, it’s not the offense that bears the struggle, it’s the battle with gravity that’s an issue. The Diamondbacks made almost as many attempts around the net and in the paint as Oak Hills did last Thursday night, yet sunk fewer field goals to bring their final game total to a crushing loss of 57-51 at Serrano.
“We came out really flat. I thought we’d come out with a little intensity in our zone (defense) and we didn’t” Said coach Carrasquillo. He added, “You compound that with our shooting. We were 6 for 19 in the first half.”
The Diamondbacks manage to rally a belated comeback in the fourth quarter, unfortunately the late quake could not edge defeat.
“It was too big of a lead to come back from. They caught us on a bad night”, Stewed Coach Brian.
Rising above back to back losses is never fun. Serrano is 2-2 now in league games.
Devin McDonough headed the late second half charge by sinking 15 of 21 points. Devin also chalked-up 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Terrell Glover wasn’t too far behind the point tally as he busted out 11 points, 1 steal, and went 3 for 5 on free throws.
The Bulldogs dominated the first half with a scoring edge of 35-14. Serrano simply didn’t match the Bulldogs intensity and had trouble on lay-ups and down in the post.
Oak Hills never eased up. Serrano found their footing late in the game as time expired.
Serrano plays again this Thursday on the road against Hesperia High.