Mustangs weather the storm

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LMC's Henry Sires shoots over Napa Valley's Chance Martin-Farrell.

Bailee Lewis, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos College men’s basketball team defeated Napa Valley College on their final home game of the regular season Feb. 19 with a final score of 80-74. With this win, the Mustangs overall record is now 20-8, with an 11-5 record in the Bay Valley Conference. 

During the first half, the Mustangs failed to get into a quality defensive rhythm without fouling which allowed Napa Valley to gain points off the free-throw line. Napa Valley’s offensive zone plays freed open shooters that the Mustangs weren’t able to contain. Defensive and offensive rebounding were not there for the Mustangs in the first half, with Napa Valley being able to convert missed rebounds into quality shots and second-chance opportunities. Going into halftime Napa Valley was leading 39-35.

Being down by 4 at the start of the second half, the Mustangs started picking up the pace offensively by knocking down second-chance opportunities. Napa Valley’s offense started to slack off which led to back to back steals from No. 22, Henry Sires, also sending him to the free-throw line to get easy points. 

The Mustangs had gained a double-digit lead which was cut to single-digits after Napa Valley’s No. 0, Braxton Adderly, made a 3-pointer which forced LMC to call a timeout with 5:22 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mustangs offense started working in their favor after No. 4, Zack Martinez, knocked down a couple of 3-point shots to extend their lead. 

The Mustangs had quality offensive shots go in, but Napa Valley refused to go away. Second chance points brought them within three. Their defense forced LMC to call a timeout with 34 seconds left on the clock after not finding an open player to inbound the ball to, the score was a nail biting 75-72. The Mustangs ultimately held off Napa Valley in the last seconds of the game, winning 80-74. 

“Just a regular win, we gotta go out win one more and then we have playoffs,” said No. 22, Henry Sires. “Our turnovers, our rebounding, we gotta play defense. We didn’t play that good tonight.” 

Towards the final stretch of the game, the Mustangs outscored Napa Valley in 3-pointers made and defensive rebounds which put an end to Napa Valley’s second-chance points. 

“It’s exciting. I thought both teams played really well,” said head coach Derek Domenichelli. “I think we executed down the stretch, we hit some big threes down the stretch, and big guy Demarshe got a couple big rebounds down the stretch that obviously got us over the hump.” 

With a win in their final game of the season Friday, Feb. 21 against Contra Costa College, the Mustangs now qualify for playoffs. Their next playoff game is TBA.