BONITA BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Bearcats Earn Split on Stormy Night

January 21, 2010
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The fast and the furious. On a rainy night, the Varsity Panthers and Bearcats raced up and down the court before the Panthers girls prevailed 44-31 to take sole posession of first place.

The fast and the furious. On a rainy night, the Varsity Panthers and Bearcats raced up and down the court before the Panthers girls prevailed 44-31 to take sole posession of first place.

On a rainy, stormy and blustery night, the Bonita Bearcats gained a split on their home court, with the varsity girls falling 44-31 to Diamond Ranch and the varsity boys topping the Panthers 65-56.

In the first quarter of the girls’ contest, Bonita was colder than the weather outside, scoring only one point in the first eight minutes of play. “I think we were nervous and tentative at the outset before we settled down,” Bonita girls varsity coach Darren Baumunk explained. In the second period, Bonita scored 10 to trail 14-11 at the half.

In the third quarter, Bonita center Brianna Kennedy played brilliantly knocking down eight points and influencing several Panther misfires. Her offensive explosion helped Bonita tie the Panthers 23-23 at the end of the period.

After seeing its lead disappear, Diamond Ranch went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth and take 31-23 lead. Diamond Ranch stroked a baseline 3-pointer to get the rally started. On another possession, Diamond Ranch grabbled multiple offensive rebounds before scoring and drawing a foul.

“They went up by six points in two possessions,” Baumunk noted. “Take those two possessions away, and you might have a different outcome.”

Bonita’s Jaclyn Smith finally ended the Panthers’ streak with a jumper. But Bonita was never really able to recover from the Panthers’ opening fourth-quarter burst and was outscored 21-7 in the final period.

“We get another crack at them,” Baumunk said. “I don’t think we’ll be nervous. I think we know we can play with them, but we’ll see.”

The Bonita boys had to wait for their victory because the Panthers arrived a half-hour late because of the weather. It didn’t seem to hurt the Panthers, at least in the early going. The team came out sharp and battled Bonita to a 13-13 tie at the end of the first quarter. Bonita’s Casey Horine came out smoking, scoring six points and, just as important, helping Bonita execute its up-tempo style of play.

Midway through the second, the Bearcats truly found their stride, this time with guard Tim Fassas dropping in eight points. The score was tied at 21-21 before Fassas hit a jumper followed by lay-ups from the Horine brothers, first Garrett, then Casey. The run put Bonita up 27-21, and the Bearcats were never really threatened again. Bonita went into the half leading 32-26, their last bucket, a pretty play with James Northup driving to the hoop before kicking it out to Jordan Butler who coolly stroked a three-pointer at the buzzer.

In the third, Bonita made its living at the free-throw line, hitting seven of eight from the charity stripe. C.J. Miller scored eight points in the quarter for Bonita. At the end of three periods, Bonita led 49-36.

In the fourth quarter, Diamond Ranch narrowed the score to 49-40, prompting Bonita head coach Greg Eckler to call a timeout. Off the timeout, Casey Horine drove hard to the basket before flipping the ball back to Butler who nailed the 3-pointer. On the very next possession it was Horine perfectly feeding Butler again for a pretty alley-oop bringing the Bearcat faithful to its feet.

The Panthers kept charging, but Bonita always had an answer in the way of a steal, a clutch rebound, or knocking down a pressure free throw. On the night, Casey Horine pulled down 10 boards and Miller collected eight.

“Casey was huge for us all game,” Eckler said. “He was fantastic on the break, he was fantastic on the glass. I just thought he was an animal. He was the difference today.”

Miller, as well, provided Bonita with that steadying hand that has become his trademark this season. “C.J. had some huge points inside and was good from the line, too,” Eckler said.

Eckler was displeased, however, by Bonita’s inability to finish many of their shots. “We missed a ton of layups,” Eckler said, frowning.

Diamond Ranch didn’t enter Bonita’s gym with a winning record, but the team fought like a champion. “I knew they were more athletic than we are,” Eckler said.

But it was Bonita that put on the “show time”  flashes. “We saw a touch in the second,” Eckler said. “And then a little bit in the third and the fourth.

“But show time doesn’t miss layups.”

On Friday, the some-time, show-time Bonita boys square-off against Wilson of Hacienda Heights. Check your umbrellas at the door.

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