Boys Hoops: Guerrero wins it at buzzer

There could be many more nights like this at Workman High School. Clock winding down, score tied, and the floor spread for sophomore Cezar Guerrero and his Kobe-like finishes.
The youngster so many have been talking about since his transfer from St. John Bosco delivered like a big-timer, shaking a defender while dribbling to his right, then nailing a jump shot as time expired to lift the Lobos to a 62-60 victory over Los Altos in their final nonleague tune-up on Monday.

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Guerrero finished with a team-high 22 points, scoring the Lobos’ final six points, to fend off a Conquerors team that received a great effort from guard Johnny Medina, who finished with a game-high 25 points, and Leon Miles, who scored 16.

“We moved everyone out of the way and forced them to play defense on him (Guerrero),” Lobos coach Martin Flores said of the game-winning play. “They gave him just enough daylight, and when he got to the corner I knew he would make it.

“He can hit that shot all day. We have a lot of confidence in him, and when the game’s on the line we trust him to take that because he’s a gamer.”

Los Altos (6-9) played well, grabbing an early six-point first-quarter lead, but the Lobos came back to take an 18-16 lead and led 30-26 at half.

In the third quarter the Lobos’ other big threat, Bobby Miles-Serrano, scored nine of his 19 points to help Workman extend its lead to 44-39, but Medina got hot in the fourth quarter to bring the Conquerors back.

Medina’s layup with 3:24 gave the Conquerors a 55-54 lead.

After Workman’s Ivan Bernardino hit a pair of free throws, Guerrero hit back-to-back jumpers to extend the Lobos’ lead to 60-55 with 1:38 left.

But Medina hit a jumper, then a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left to tie the score, 60-60.

Before Guerrero’s game-winning shot, Medina had stolen a pass from Guerrero on the previous possession but missed a contested layup with 30 seconds left, setting up the final play.

“That’s a heartbreaker,” Medina said. “I had the steal and the game right there, it’s tough. It’s tough because that was our best game of the season and we should have come out on top. But hey, they played great too.”

For a team that had been struggling, Conquerors coach Jeff Lucas couldn’t complain.

“I thought we really stepped up, we haven’t been playing that good of basketball recently,” Lucas said. “They hit big shots, we hit big shots. It was a pretty exciting nonleague game.”

Lucas said there wasn’t much they could do on the final possession.

“We contested the shot, we played good defense on it, what more can you do?” he asked. “The kid hit a big shot, give him credit.”

Workman improved to 7-5 after a so-so run in December, all part of finding chemistry for a team with two of the best players in the Valley in Miles-Serrano and Guerrero.

But Flores pointed out that Carlos Molina’s eight points and Bernardino’s four big free throws in the fourth quarter are contributions the Lobos will need if they want to keep winning.

“Offensively, we feel like we can get any shot we want simply because we have two very talented offensive players,” Flores said. “But for us to be successful we have to be more than just two guys, and that’s what you saw tonight, other guys stepping up and getting team stops when we had to have them.”

Flores reminded his team that even though it’s a big favorite in the Montview League, it can’t afford an off night when it opens league on Wednesday against Bassett.

“There’s a target on us now,” Flores said. “We need to understand that because everyone is bringing their `A’ game to play us.”

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