In the Monday, Nov. 29 Foundation Game at home hosting Linden, the varsity Cougar basketball boys won by a 64-35 final.
“We were in control the entire game. We were able to get everyone some playing time,” said head coach Nate Bartelink. “Russell Weinbrecht had 18 points. Julian Borrego had his best game of the season with 13 points.”
Also adding 13 points was DeSean Owens while Jack Anderson chipped in with nine points.
On the road the next day, the Cougars went to Ceres for the Nov. 30 contest and took a 77-71 loss.
“We had a horrible start. Down 29-11 after the first quarter. We came out with lack of focus and aggression and it showed on the scoreboard,” Bartelink explained. “Ceres’ lead ballooned up to 24 points in the second quarter and we were down 42-20 at the half.”
The Cougars came out with more of a purpose in the third quarter, but still trailed 61-43 going into the fourth, said the coach.
“We continued to fight and cut the lead down to two points on a couple of occasions late in the fourth, but then had a couple critical turnovers which kept us from tying the game or taking the lead,” Bartelink said. “We expended too much energy trying to come back that we didn’t have any left to finish the job. I credit our guys for not giving up, but I would prefer that we didn’t put ourselves in these large deficits early in the game.”
Jack Anderson was white hot for the Cougars in the loss, scoring a career high 34 points, including eight three-pointers, and with 26 of his points coming in the second half. Bartelink said Anderson “was a major reason we almost came back and won the game when it seemed like we didn’t have much of a chance.”
Weinbrecht continued to play at a high level; he had 20 points and 12 rebounds. DeSean Owens had his fourth straight game in double figures with 11 points.
Host Ceres, however, hung on for the preseason victory.
“I hope we are learning some lessons on how hard it is to win games against quality competition if we don’t start the game with the appropriate level of focus and intensity,” Bartelink said. “We need to realize that we can’t just outshoot our opponents. We need to make our defense more of a priority and let our defense help fuel our offense.”
A busy week for the varsity boys was scheduled to include a game at Summerville on Dec. 6; a home game hosting Calaveras on Dec. 7 and a road game at Franklin of Stockton on Friday, Dec. 10.