Chargers lose yet another close game, 57-52

If anyone has a a spare rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover, bring it over to Sovine Gym.

The Dos Pueblos boys basketball team could use some help in the luck department.

After going 8-0 in the Channel League last season, the Chargers are now 1-4 with the four losses coming by a total of 19 points — an average losing margin of 4.75 points. That includes Friday night’s 57-52 home loss to first-place Ventura, a game which DP led for most of the fourth quarter.

“Dos Pueblos played so hard. We beat ’em on a last-second shot at home. Dos Pueblos is a very good team,” said Cougars coach Dan Larson. “I wanted to win, but I feel for them because they were playing their butts off.”

Evan Muñoz scored all 12 of his points off of 3-pointers for the Chargers and Malik Heptot also had 12 with 13 rebounds, but the performance of the night came from 5-foot-7 Ventura point guard Paul Batausa, who scored 17 points and hit all of his free throws down the stretch.

“The kid’s definitely a good point guard, you know, he makes big shots and he loves the competition,” said DP coach Joe Zamora. “We’ve had trouble with smaller guards.”

Batausa swished a 3-pointer 10 seconds into the fourth quarter to pull the Cougars within two at 45-43, but Robert Vickers responded with an offensive rebound and lay-up to push the lead back to four. Batausa would make four consecutive free throws in the next minute and hit a jumper from the baseline to help the Cougars keep pace, and the score was 49-49 with 5:44 left.

Ventura’s Korey Kindle grabbed an offensive board and put it back to give the visitors a 53-52 lead with 3:13 on the clock, and the Chargers would fail to score the rest of the way. Vickers had an 8-footer in the key in the final minute that would have pulled DP within one, but it rimmed out and Batausa hit two more from the charity stripe to end the game.

Sophomore Jay Larinan continued his strong play for the Chargers, scoring 10 points and pulling in nine rebounds, five of which were offensive.

The Chargers’ postseason hopes are still alive, but they’ll have to start coming out on the right side of the close ones to make it.

“We’re going to have to turn it around and execute on offense. It’s tough,” said DP senior Evan Hamilton. “We played 30 minutes of good basketball, but we just had some offensive breakdowns at the end.”

The Chargers (10-12, 1-4) play at Buena on Wednesday. Ventura is now 19-4, 5-0.

PHOTO GALLERY

VENTURA 57, DOS PUEBLOS 52

VENTURA — Kindle 4, Batausa 17, Houck 2, Reeves 7, Fausset 11, Kelsch 2, Waxer 2, Garrett 5, Melonas 7. Totals 17 17-29 57.

DOS PUEBLOS — Muñoz 12, Hamilton 2, Renteria 4, Larinan 10, Heptot 12, Vickers 7, Mestas 5. Totals 18 14-20 52.

Ventura….17  12  11  17 — 57

Dos Pueblos…14  14  17  9 — 52

3-point goals — V 3 (Reeves 2, Batausa 1), DP 4 (Muñoz 4).

Total fouls — V 16, DP 21.

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