JOSHUA TREE — It was good news and bad news for the Twentynine Palms High School varsity basketball teams at this year’s Battle of the Ball showdown against Yucca Valley High School.
Traveling to the Bell Center at Copper Mountain College Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Wildcats came home with one win and one overtime loss.
The Wildcats boys team dominated the Trojans and came home with an 84-43 victory, in spite of concerns raised when coach Michael Usher was forced to dismiss two of his players.
The Wildcats were led by Saiz Aguilar with 17 points and eight assists, followed by Jeremiah Holmes with 14 point and three blocks and Jacob Hueso with 12 points and five assists.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 22-4 first quarter lead with outstanding defense, tallying 28 steals on the night, and cruised to their second consecutive Battle of the Ball Victory.
“I’m very pleased with our effort,” Usher said.
“We had to dismiss two players from our team this week, and I was worried that that, coupled with the big game, might impact our performance, but we came out mentally ready to go and jumped on them early.
“It was a great team win, with everyone working hard and contributing, and was a great way to wrap up the first half of the league season. Hopefully we can ride the momentum into a big win on Friday.”
The Wildcats improve to 10-10 overall, and 6-1 tied for first place in the Desert Valley League with Indio High School, who visit Twentynine Palms Friday, Jan. 17, for a battle of first place teams.
The girls varsity Wildcats dropped a close 77-71 overtime game after leading for much of the contest.
The Wildcats built a 20-15 lead in the first quarter that became a 35-31 edge at halftime. They outscored the Trojans 16-13 in the third quarter to take a 51-44 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans turned things around in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Wildcats 23-16 to take the game into overtime where they outscored the Wildcats 10-4.
Top Wildcat scorers were Bre Bell with 25 points, Riley King with 11 points, Mary Carbiener with 10 points and Kate Bobadilla with nine points.
The loss leaves the Wildcats with a 6-1 Desert Valley League record, just behind first place Yucca Valley with a 7-0 mark.