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Aztecs hang on to beat Cougars

BARSTOW • The Barstow boys basketball team notched its 10th win on Tuesday, but not without a fight.

The Aztecs hosted Granite Hills, which has just two victories on the season. That didn’t stop the Cougars from taking the game all the way down to the wire, though, with Barstow holding on for the 71-63 win.

The sound of the whistle was a constant, with a total of 51 personal fouls called between the two teams. Each was in bonus quickly, with 73 free throws being taken on the evening. The game was an endurance contest that took almost two-and-a-half hours to complete.

“We were able to get out with a win,” said Aztecs head coach Preston Biggs when it was finally over. “It doesn’t matter if it was by eight points or by 50. It’s the same result, a win’s a win.”

Barstow was ahead for the entire game, but the Cougars were never far behind. The home team was helped by its fast start, quickly taking a 6-0 lead, and ending the first quarter up, 17-10.

It was in the second that Granite began the full-court press, which it employed for the rest of the game. It wasn’t totally unexpected.

“They played the same way when we were out there, so it wasn’t a surprise,” said coach Biggs. “They played hard the whole game, their coach should be proud.”

The Cougars had cut the deficit to six points by halftime, and stayed close the rest of the way. The Aztecs outscored their opposition by two points in the third, sparked by Cody Boston’s eight points from the post.

In the end, the whistles put Barstow at the foul line twice in the game’s crucial final seconds. Both times it was Keyshawn Johnson taking the free throws, and he iced the game for the Aztecs. He hit his two shots with 11.3 seconds left, making it a 69-63 game, then went back to the line and made two more throws with 1.1 left, for the 71-63 final.

“Keyshawn off the bench hit four big ones down the stretch. Very timely for us,” said Biggs. “It’s nice to know I can rely on someone off the bench to get the job done like that.”

Boston was the game high-scorer with 21 points. Also in double figures for the Aztecs was Jonathan Joseph with 14 points. Michael Granger came off the bench to lead the Cougars with 17 points.

The win brings the Aztecs to records of 10-9, 6-4, while Granite falls to 2-14, 1-9.

Barstow hosts Burroughs on Thursday, and Victor Valley on Tuesday.

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