Photo by Les Stukenberg.
PRESCOTT VALLEY – A lengthy, difficult losing streak nearly ended for the Bradshaw Mountain High boys’ basketball team on Friday night, Dec. 16, at Gary Kunow Gym.
Bmhs Vs Mingus Boys Basketball 121616
But the Bears, despite forcing overtime against Mingus Union, lost 62-61 to remain winless in power-point games at 0-8. They also dipped to 0-4 in the Class 4A Grand Canyon Region.
Bradshaw has won only one game on the 2016-17 season, dropping to 1-13 overall.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Bears guard Blake Huntley said. “We hate losing just as much as the next team. But we’re turning the corner. We’re knockin’ on the door. I’m confident.”
Meanwhile, Mingus, which has won three in a row, improved to 2-1 in region and 3-3 in power-point contests (5-7 overall).
Marauders point guard Victor Anaya scored a game-high 24 points, including all six of Mingus’ points in OT. He added six assists.
“I just tried to play my game, and my boys – they really believe in me and they trust me,” Anaya said. “So, I try to make the most of the opportunities they give me, and I’m just really proud of my boys the way they played.”
Mingus coach Dave Beery praised Anaya for his effort.
“He’s kind of been the heart and soul of our team this season so far,” Beery said. “He’s not a point guard. He’s been playing point for us all year. It’s a new position for him. He’s really stepped up to the challenge.”
Three other Marauders netted double figures, as Chase Paquin finished with 12 points, Chaz Taylor had 11 points and Miles Tapija registered 10 points. Taylor and Scott Wilson grabbed five rebounds each.
For Bradshaw, Huntley scored a team-high 20 points, adding five assists and four rebounds. Ivan Vidovic followed with 11 points, five boards and four assists. Tim Young had 11 points and five rebounds.
“Both groups played really well,” Bears coach Matt Simpson said. “We adjusted well. We got more possessions. We got 10 steals, took a bunch of charges, fouled out two of their kids. But hats off to them [Marauders] for battling.”
In the fourth quarter, the Bears trailed Mingus 56-53 with 45 seconds left after a 3-pointer from Taylor. Bradshaw called a timeout with 16.4 seconds to go. Following the timeout, Elliott Paulino drilled a game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner with 1.4 seconds left. Mingus tried to get a shot off at the buzzer to no avail.
In OT, Mingus claimed a 60-56 lead with 2:59 remaining before Vidovic drained a 3-pointer to pull the hosts within one. Later, at 61-59 Mingus inside of 2 minutes left, a Huntley steal and layin tied it.
Mingus’ Paquin was subsequently whistled for a charge. Following a timeout with 1:33 to go, Bradshaw held the ball until 20 seconds remained.
That’s when Anaya made the play of the game, stealing a pass in the backcourt. Fouled with 13 seconds left, Anaya converted the front-end of a two-shot foul for a 62-61 Mingus lead. Bradshaw’s Young got the rebound, but Huntley missed a shot with 2 seconds to go as time expired.
“They were pressuring us and we threw it to Travis [Lamb]; it was just a bad pass,” Huntley said of Anaya’s steal. “It’s the game of basketball. We can’t dwell on it.”
Beery said the Marauders didn’t take the Bears lightly, despite their record. Part of that’s because Bradshaw blew put Mingus last year at Kunow Gym.
“All week, our message to these guys is, ‘They’ve played a really tough schedule, they kicked our butt in the summer [league], they’re more physical than we are,’ ” he added. “ ‘And you guys can’t look at their scores and look at their record and stroll in here and get a win.’ ”
For the Bears, the loss was another tiny dagger in a frustrating start to the 2016-17 season. Bradshaw’s last three region losses have been by 1 point. In fact, the Bears have lost four games by a single point at the buzzer already this season.
“I feel a lot of heartache and pain for the boys because they’re playing so great, and they’re doing everything we ask,” Simpson said. “We’re just having a hard time turning the corner.”
Next up, the Bears will play host to area rival Prescott (0-2 region) in a region contest at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at Kunow Gym. Mingus visits Raymond Kellis for a non-region tilt, also at 7 p.m. Monday, in Glendale.