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Photo by David Pardo
Lady Aztecs junior Cheree Tucker dribbles upcourt as Lady Jackrabbits senior Zuleika Witron defends in Tuesday's game at Victor Valley High School.

Aztecs take on Jackrabbits

Barstow basketball home and away

BARSTOW • The Barstow boys basketball team finally gave its fans a look at this year’s squad, as it played its first home game of the season on Tuesday night.

It turned out to be a well-matched contest. In a close, physical game, the Aztecs stayed with their competition until the final minute, but visiting Victor Valley held on for the 65-59 win, at Barstow High School.

It was anyone’s game through three quarters. Each team went on runs, but couldn’t shake the other until the Jackrabbits managed to hold onto a slight lead down the stretch and claim the victory.

“It’s a fast style that Victor Valley plays, and we knew what to expect,” said Aztecs head coach Preston Biggs. “For the most part we played pretty well; if you can stop their fastbreaking, that’s their whole thing.”

The night started well for Barstow, which forced Valley into a backcourt violation on the game’s first possession. On the Jackrabbits’ next possession, Elijah Joseph had a steal and fastbreak of his own for the Aztecs’ first points.

Valley tried to keep the Aztecs off-balance with their speed, and it forced a few turnovers.

“Our downfall was definitely turnovers,” said coach Biggs. “I have to give us credit for our tough play and good defense, but with our turnovers, we gave it to them.”

The Jackrabbits lost the ball a few times as well, which prevented them from taking control. Two players scored most of their first-half points, with Chris Smith netting eight points and Renault Griffin, 11. Barstow spread out its scoring, with six players picking up first-half points, led by Cody Boston’s nine.

The Aztecs took a one-point lead into the halftime break. The third was where the Jackrabbits effectively won the game, outscoring Barstow, 17-10. They held a 46-40 lead going into the fourth.

Barstow made its last run in the final quarter. Trailing by seven, five of those points were made up by senior Jonathan Joseph, who sank a 3-pointer, was fouled on the play and hit two free throws, to make it 55-53 with 2:26 left.

With 1:20 to go, the Jackrabbits’ Elijah Creighton netted a three, then a two-pointer on the next play, and Josh Douglass picked up a trey down the stretch, as well, to build up a slight lead. Barstow’s Elijah Joseph heaved up a shot from near midcourt and knocked down a three of his own with 13.9 seconds left, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Joseph Boston paced Barstow with 14 points, while Jonathan Joseph, Elijah Joseph and Cody Boston each had 11 points.

It was a well-played game, but a frustrating loss for the Aztecs. It brought back memories of last season for coach Biggs, whose team lost seven games by six points or fewer.

“We didn’t put them away. We let them hang around, and then bad shots and turnovers lost it for us,” he said. “We have to pay attention for four quarters.”

The Aztecs have some quickness but not much size this year. The Boston twins give the team its only height advantage.

“Other than the twins, we’re small. We have to do a better job of feeding them the ball inside,” said coach Biggs. “The league is wide open this year. I think there will be a lot of close games, and we’ll have to be able to close them out.”

The Aztecs (2-5) get their next chance on Thursday, when they host Adelanto.

Victor Valley 64, Barstow 33
VICTORVILLE • The Jackrabbits’ Jordyn Shane had 19 points, six assists, six steals and two blocks as Victor Valley cruised to a 64-33 win over Barstow in a Desert Sky League game on Tuesday.

Valley started out slow, then turned up the pressure in the third . It turned what was a relatively close game at halftime - with the home team’s lead at just nine - into a 25-point blowout after three quarters.

Also for Victor Valley (2-0), Lysette Belcher had 18 points, 12 rebounds and three steals; Karessa Fields finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks; and Zulieka Witron had seven points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal.

Marion Mims led Barstow (3-4, 0-2 DSL) with seven points, while Vasa Alefaio and Tiare Alefaio each scored six points.

The Jackrabbits look to remain undefeated in the DSL when they travel to Granite Hills on Thursday. The Lady Aztecs are also on the road on Thursday, at Adelanto.

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