| Boys Basketball: Vacaville can't withstand second half push in loss to Heritage of Brentwood
Vacaville High School’s boys basketball team took care of business on one end of the floor.
The other end wasn’t so pretty.
In what was a defensive slugfest, Vacaville held visiting Heritage of Brentwood — the No.27 ranked team in California, according to maxpreps.com — to a season-low in points, but couldn’t withstand a second half push from the Patriots in a 55-43 loss Tuesday night at Harold Youngblood Gymnasium.
Despite locking down Heritage on the defensive end, the Bulldogs (6-9) struggled mightily to put the ball in the basket. Vacaville’s 43 points on the night was a season-worst.
It should be noted that Vacaville was playing without one of its best overall players and top offensive performers in Zack Perlstein, who was sidelined with an injury.
Without Perlstein in the lineup, Jordan Adams (20 points) and Johnathan Tubbs (11) were responsible for carrying the load. The two guards combined for 31 of Vacaville’s 43 points on the night.
“We battled,” said Vacaville coach Duane Kamman. “Up until the final few minutes, I thought we played great defense. We were never able to get into any rhythm on offense and that has a lot to do with guys being out. We’ve had our full lineup for three games this year and that was at the Dixon Ram Jam.”
The Bulldogs, who were playing only their third game since winning the Ram Jam, played snarling defense in the first half, holding the Patriots (14-2) to just 23 points.
Vacaville fell behind 7-0 to start the game, but managed to tie it up with a seven point run, courtesy of a coast-to-coast layup from Trevor Burhite, a corner 3-pointer from Adams and a tough basket inside from Aaron Spurling.
Layins from Carson Borrelli and 6-foot-7 Jonathan Ned gave Heritage a 13-9 lead after one quarter.
The Patriots began the second quarter with three steals that led to a 6-0 run. Adams scored all six of Vacaville’s points in the second quarter, including a rare four-point play after he was fouled on a made 3-pointer.
Even with their struggles on the offensive end, the Bulldogs continued to play stifling defense and trailed just 23-15 at the half.
“Everyone was on the same page,” Kamman said of his team’s defensive effort. “We knew what we were going up against. We knew they didn’t have any one great player. They’re a very sound team that doesn’t turn the ball over. We just battled and hung in there defensively.”
Vacaville began to make its run to start the third quarter.
Adams opened the quarter with a steal and layin before Tubbs was fouled and made two free throws. The Patriots then scored back-to-back baskets, but the Bulldogs closed to within one point of the lead when Tubbs drained a long 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer and Adams buried a pair of free throws.
Heritage, now up just 27-26, finally pulled away with help from a momentum-turning, thunderous alley-oop dunk from Ned. Heritage guard Charles Stanford drove to the basket, drew a second defender in the lane and flicked a lob to Ned, who went up and slammed it down.
That dunk ignited a 9-0 Heritage run to end the third quarter.
The Patriots finally cracked Vacaville’s defense in the fourth quarter. Heritage scored 19 points in the final frame, by far its most complete quarter of the game.
A 3-pointer from Joel Webb put the Patriots up 41-28. Two free throws from Ezra Manjon later gave Heritage its largest lead of the game at 47-29.
Vacaville showed some resolve in the final few minutes as Tubbs buried back-to-back 3-pointers, and Adams made a layin and a tough floater in the lane to cut the lead down to 55-43 at the final buzzer.
Vacaville, which finished the non-league schedule with a losing record, opens Monticello Empire League play Friday night at home against Armijo.
“I still feel like we’re the best team around, I don’t care what our record says,” Kamman said. “I know the things we’ve been missing and what’s been going on. If we can play defense like we just did and play the way we’re capable of on the offensive end, there’s no reason we can’t come out and be really tough.
“We have to put a run together if we want to get where we’re trying to get. We’ve seen what we’re capable of, we just need to put it all together.”
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