Boys Basketball: Walnut maintains lead in Hacienda, holds off Los Altos

WALNUT BOYS Walnut’s Richard Rycraw, right, blocks a shot by Los Altos’ Jayson Jones in the Mustangs’ 65-55 victory on Wednesday.
— Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

By Steve Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Walnut High School maintained its first-place lead in the race for the Hacienda League boys basketball title Wednesday. But just barely.
Senior Rob Harrelson scored a game-high 20 points, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch and area No. 3 Walnut withstood a fourth-quarter blitz from visiting Los Altos to score a 65-55 victory at home in a league game.

Fellow seniors Lawrence Besong and Richard Rycraw had 19 and 12 points, respectively, for the Mustangs, who improved to 14-5 overall and 4-0 in the Hacienda League. Freshman post player Jayson Jones had 17 points and 19 rebounds to lead area No. 4 Los Altos, which slipped to 13-5 and 2-2.
Walnut led 51-36 with just under five minutes left before Los Altos, keyed by 5 points from Jones, used a 17-5 blitz to pull within 56-53 with 2:23 left. Harrelson then followed two free throws by Zuri Williams with a 3-pointer with 1:03 left to all but clinch it.

Walnut coach Josh Cameron: “You always get concerned. But I was very proud of them. I told them (after) that when you play good teams, they’re never going to give up. Los Altos came at us. We had to earn this win. It’s a good lesson for us to learn.”
Los Altos coach Jeff Lucas: “We’ve been resilient all year. We have a good group of guys. We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but you can credit Walnut with that. It was a great effort by the guys coming back, but against a good team, it’s hard to comeback from that far. That run cut it to three, but had we played better earlier and been closer, than it would have given us the lead.”
Walnut’s Rob Harrelson: “We were calm. We just had to run our offense. It was tight, but at the end of the game we were able to hit our free throws and our shots.”

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