BARSTOW - The Barstow High School boys basketball team heard plenty of whistles Thursday night.

The Aztecs lost a foul-heavy game 70-59 to Granite Hills on Thursday. The two teams combined for 43 fouls with Barstow earning three more than Granite Hills. The fouls hurt the Aztecs more than the Cougars. Granite Hills was awarded 33 shots at the line and made 23. Barstow on the other hand was 3-for-13 at the line.

"I don't know what the number of free throw attempts were during the game, but I know they probably had three times what we did," Barstow coach Mark Hassell said. "They also made a lot of free throws. You can't put a guy like number 32 (Kevin Flagg) on the line. He was shooting like 70 percent."

The fouls cost the Aztecs more than just 23 points, it also took several key players out of the game. Robert Mattingly, Harold Riley III and Jaccob Muir spent significant time on the bench throughout the game due to early foul trouble. Riley III was the Aztecs' leading scorer going into Thursday's game, but foul trouble held him to four points in the game.

Barstow's roster was further decimated when Trashon Herndon, a starter, fell to the floor with a knee injury after going up for the ball in the first two minutes of the game. He left the game for good and was later taken to Barstow Community Hospital. Herndon originally injured his anterior cruciate ligament during a summer basketball tournament. He had to be helped off the court during a game against Silver Valley on Dec. 5 as well.

"We were playing with three starters on the bench and one in the hospital at one point," Hassell said. "We were still only down by four at half. We needed some people to step up and play better. We needed to play defense with no fouls."

Loose balls added to the chaos of the game. Andrew Maes knocked a ball loose in the first quarter only to have player after player from both teams dive after it. Each time a player dove on the ball it slipped out or was stripped until Barstow finally came up with it.

The Aztecs were led by Earl Jefferson with 15 points. He ran the court hitting shots and playing solid defense throughout the game. Despite his strong performance Jefferson said he should have took more of a leadership role.

"I feel like I did good, but in the second half, I could have called for the ball more," Jefferson said. "I should have taken control of the game."

Although Barstow lost on Thursday, the game was an improvement from their 76-53 loss to Granite Hills during the Serrano tournament on Dec. 1.

GRANITE HILLS (70)

Flagg 23, Dunford 16, Craig 9, Shelton 7, Aynale 3, Simmons 3, Barnes 3, Reddix 2, Cambell 2, Johnson 2.

BARSTOW (59)

E. Jefferson 15, A. Jefferson 11, Muir 10, Maes 10, Mattingly 8, Riley III 4, Embry 1.

Granite Hills 13 23 19 15- 70
Barstow 10 22 14 13- 59


3-point field goals - Granite Hills 3 (Dunford 2, Craig 1); Barstow 4 (A. Jefferson 3, E. Jefferson 1). Fouled out - Mattingly (B).