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Close loss for Aztecs basketball
Plays tough against streaking Silverado
BARSTOW • The Silverado basketball team went into Friday night’s game at Barstow High School having won 18 straight Desert Sky League matches. The Aztecs came close to breaking that streak.
The Hawks trailed for the first quarter and were still a bit behind at halftime. They had pulled ahead by the start of the final quarter, but never had a comfortable lead, and were lucky to escape town with the 52-42 win.
The teams were even from the floor, both sinking 17 field goals. The difference in scoring was 20 Silverado foul shots to Barstow’s six, and one more bucket from beyond the arc.
It was a fight the Hawks likely weren’t prepared for. Not only was there that streak, but Silverado went in with an 8-3 record, to 3-5 for the Aztecs.
“This is a big improvement from last season, they beat us by 45 points (on Jan. 24, a 66-21 loss),” said Aztecs head coach Preston Biggs. “I’m really proud of how we played. I don’t think they expected what we gave them. It was a good group effort.”
In a fast-paced game, it took some time for either team to get on the board. It was scoreless until the Hawks’ Kristian Keys sank a free throw with 5:16 left in the first quarter. The Aztecs’ Tracy Venable hit a trey shortly after, to give Barstow its first lead. That was followed by three’s by Chris Jordan and Anthony Addison, and the home team would be ahead by two at the buzzer.
The Hawks outscored the Aztecs by a point in the second, sparked by two outside buckets by Mateo Jones, who was shut out in the first. The Aztecs’ Cody Boston, also quiet in the first, picked up six points and was battling for rebounds all night. Boston was celebrating a birthday on Friday, along with twin brother and teammate Joseph Boston, who also knocked down a field goal in the quarter.
Cody Boston was a big factor in the third, getting the ball inside for eight points. But there were 3-pointers from D.J. Sylvester and Jones, and by the end of the quarter, the Hawks held a three-point lead.
“We got a little trigger-happy, trying to answer big plays with big plays when we should have been attacking the rim more,” said coach Biggs. “We lost focus a couple of times and made some bad turnovers.”
Silverado went 13-for-20 from the line, and did particularly well in the fourth. Fouled down the stretch, the Hawks were 9-for-12, which played a big part in the win. Jordan was the lone Aztec to step to the line all night, going 4-for-6.
Cody Boston was the Aztecs’ high scorer, with 14 points, while Jordan netted 13. Boston also had eight rebounds and two blocks, with seven boards and four steals for Jordan. Venable had eight points, including two three’s. Jones led the Hawks with 18 points.
In his first year at the helm, Biggs is pleased with what his players have shown so far.
“It’s all a process. I’m proud of the progress, and we’ll just keep getting better. Learning new offensive and defensive systems takes time,” said the coach. “Silverado is a good team, and what this game showed us is that we can play with anyone. We’ll keep that in mind as the conference schedule continues, and keep moving forward.”
The Aztecs get back out on the court next week, taking part in the Kiwanis Tournament in San Bernardino. It’s a four-day affair, running next Wednesday-Saturday.