FAIRFIELD — In the end, two quality looks at the basket came up short.
The Vanden High boys basketball team rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter but fell two points short in a 62-60 Solano County Athletic Conference loss to Bethel Thursday night at Jim Boyd Gym.
Trailing by the final margin in final 10 seconds, both Brandon Davis and Demarre Walker each had clean looks at the hoop, but both shots missed the mark.
In a physical battle from the start, poor ball management and free throw shooting doomed the Vikings (10-7, 0-1 SCAC). Vanden turned the ball over three times in the final minutes and made just three of six foul shots in the same span to come up short.
“They worked hard to get back into the game, but it wouldn’t have been like that if we did the necessary things in the fourth quarter to take control of the game, like turnovers and free throws,” Vikings coach Michael Holloway said. “As the game goes on and gets tighter, they become more crucial. (The turnovers) were worse, even though we had less in the second half (6), than the first (13).
“(Bethel) is a very athletic team, very physical and that’s things we have to be aware of at all times because everybody in our league is going to be physical and athletic. In order for us to get back and contend for a championship, there are things we are going to have to solve right now.”
Vanden held a 19-15 edge after the first quarter and then a 33-32 lead at the half before the wheels fell off in a six-point third quarter, an eight-minute stretch where the Jaguars (6-11, 1-0 SCAC) poured in 18 points to grab a lead they would never relinquish.
Jihad Woods led the late comeback for the Vikings, scoring all of his eight points in the final period, including three straight hoops midway. Thomas Avent scored his team’s final three points to pull within 61-60, but missed the second of two free throws that would have knotted the score.
Avent led Vanden with 15 points, while Davis had 12. Jordan Collier and Walker also had eight points apiece.
Bethel’s Akeem Wallace led all scorers with 18.
Holloway thinks his team might have gotten a wake-up call after the defeat.
“Us being so young, are youngsters now know how vital it is, how precious the ball is and how serious league games are,” the coach said. “Every game is going to be like this. There aren’t going to be too many blowouts in this league because everybody can play, so we need to bring our best. We have a lot of good teams and players in this league.”
Vanden’s JV team cruised to a 72-45 victory behind balanced scoring. Javin White led the Vikings (7-6, 1-0) with 18 points, followed by Tony Terry with 15, Brayden Perez with 12 and Rashad Fisher with 10.
Vanden returns to action Tuesday at Vallejo.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.