Warriors Basketball

The Warriors Carson Bethany #22 goes up for a short jumper against a Rosamond defender in the final pre-season game of the season. The Warriors now
shift their attention to South Yosemite League play with a tough schedule of 10 games over the next five weeks. (Photo by The Tehachapi News.)

Warriors Ready, Set For SYL Campaign

Posted by John Nelson, The Tehachapi News, on January 10, 2016

It came down to the final 17 seconds.

“I had the shot and I took it. Sometimes they go in. I wished it had gone in,” senior guard Jonny Saavedra said. “But, in the end, it fell short.”

As Jonny's older brother, head coach Louie Saavedra, described it, “It was a great game with a disappointing end.”

In their final tune-up before starting play in the South Yosemite League, the Warriors varsity boys basketball team lost a heartbreaker to Rosamond, 67-66, on Friday night, Jan. 8.

Trailing 37-34 at halftime and by as many as 8 points in the third quarter to a bigger, more athletic Rosamond team, the Tehachapi defense stiffened, especially in the fourth quarter.

They trapped Rosamond at half court, took key charging penalties and closed off the passing lanes with a quick, mobile zone defense.

“It was probably the best defense we've played all season,” Jonny Saavedra said.

The Warriors took at least five charging fouls, three of them by Daniel Wight, as they held Tehachapi to 14 points in the final quarter. The problem was, the Warriors could score only 16 themselves.

Still, they led 66-65 on a 3-pointer by Jesus Sanchez with 1:17 to play.

Rosamond then missed a pair of free throws, and another long-range attempt by Sanchez bounced off the rim and back to the Roadrunners.

With 17.4 seconds left, Rosamond's Darion Wilson crashed the boards for an offensive rebound that put the Roadrunners ahead 67-66, and Tehachapi immediately called timeout.

“That rebound was a killer,” Louie Saavedra said.

After the inbounds, the Warriors got the ball to their leading scorer, Jonny Saavedra, in the left corner, where he was immediately tripled teamed.

Saavedra's shot hit the far rim and bounced into the other corner, where Sanchez retrieved it. His desperation shot at the buzzer was well off the mark.

“Today could have gone either way,” Louie Saavedra said. “We had some guys come off the bench and really step up, too. I think we're over the hump now and ready for league.”

Saavedra led the Warriors with 19 points, Mickey Phillips had 16, and Wight contributed 13.

The first game on Tehachapi's SYL schedule was set for Thursday, Jan. 14 at Independence, which beat the Warriors 83-40 when they met in the Garces Holiday Tournament.

“I think when we lost to them by 40 points, we had some pieces missing,” Louie Saavedra said. “Now, I think we've got those pieces put back together again. We won't lose by 40 points again. We'll be competitive in the league.”

Earlier in the week, the Warriors defeated Taft 73-56 at home as Saavedra scored a season-high 42 points, including 16 from the free-throw line. Sanchez had 17 in that game.