Bonita not ready to surrender Hacienda, beats Rowland 51-43

“Bonita is the class of the league right now,” Raiders coach Gordon Hamlow said. “They’re 30-1 in the last three years and until someone knocks them off, it doesn’t matter.”
Photo gallery of Bonita-Rowland

By John Honell
Two-time defending Hacienda League boys basketball champion Bonita stayed on top of the league race with a hard-fought 51-43 win over Rowland on Wednesday night.

The Bearcats (18-5, 6-1) had chances to fold in the fourth quarter but got key baskets from Dane Hollar and Riley Brungard to hold off the Raiders (14-7, 4-3).

“Bonita is the class of the league right now,” Raiders coach Gordon Hamlow said. “They’re 30-1 in the last three years and until someone knocks them off, it doesn’t matter.”

The Bearcats led 31-28 at the end of the third quarter, but Josh Chang started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the score.

There were six lead changes before the Bearcats took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Hollar with 2:27 left in the game.

“Dane has been struggling to the point it was mental,” Bearcats coach Greg Eckler said. “I just told him to just shoot, don’t think. We don’t have any great shooters, so he shouldn’t worry about missing shots.”

The Bearcats’ defense forced two turnovers and Brungard made two floaters in the lane.

Hollar then made 5 of 6 free throws to put the game away.

Hollar scored all 11 of his points in the final 4:35 of the game and Brungard led the Bearcats with 13 points.

“It was frustrating,” Hamlow said. “I thought we played well defensively, at times but we broke down late and gave up shots to people we didn’t want shooting.”

The Raiders’ Chris Arzadon got hot in the second half, scoring all of his 13 points after the break, including three 3-pointers to keep his team in the game.

“There some moments when Chris Arzadon just went off,” Eckler said. “He got really hot and he’s so tough to stop one on one.

“Luckily we answered. There were some big plays. We could have caved and started hanging our heads, but we just kept plugging along. I just liked our grittiness tonight.”

Ryan Ramirez had a putback and a free throw, sophomore point guard Kyle Gray hit a 3-pointer and Brungard made a free throw as the Bearcats went on a 7-0 run, taking a 28-20 lead with 5:24 left in the third quarter.

The Raiders battled back as Arzadon hit back-to-back 3-pointers plus a jumper in the lane to tie the score 28-28 at the 2:18 mark of the third quarter.

“Chris did a great job in the second half,” Hamlow said. “Both teams played solid defense, but it just came down to offensive boards and who made more shots. Plus, they got to the free-throw line, and in the second half we didn’t get there.”

Gray showed the poise of a senior as he ran the Bearcats’ offense against full-court pressure from the Raiders.

“Kyle is really getting better,” Eckler said. “He’s improving and getting more comfortable. We’ve seen a ton of different defenses and a lot of pressure, so he’s having to grow up quick.

“I tell the kids there are no sophomore and no junior players, they are varsity basketball players.”

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  • Da Shiat

    dat boy KG, man, he be the shiats