Warriors, Cardinals follow suit

Bishop Diego and Carpinteria both pulled out boys basketball wins on Monday at the Jim Bashore Classic, finishing off their opponents by nearly identical scores.

The host Warriors dispatched Channel Islands 53-49 before the Cardinals came from behind to tackle Nordhoff 54-49 in the late game.

On Tuesday, Carpinteria will be playing in the third-place game against Cabrillo at 6 p.m. while Bishop Diego meets Channel Islands at 4:30 p.m. in a contest to determine fifth place. Rio Mesa, 71-70 winners over Cabrillo, meet Fillmore in the tournament’s championship game at 7:30 p.m.

Carpinteria’s Manny Rodriguez led the Warriors with 24 points – eight of those in the fourth quarter. Kevin Lusterio shook off a poor shooting night to go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch, helping the Warriors to push over the .500 mark on the season at 4-3.

“We may not have made (the free throws) throughout the game but we made them when they counted,” pointed out Rodriguez. “Kevin really stepped up.”

For Bishop Diego, it was the inside-outside combo of Elias Munoz and Noah Tack that accounted for more than half of the Cardinals’ point total with 14 and 16 points respectively. Tack scored 13 of his 16 in the second half, helping Bishop erase a nine-point deficit.

“When (Noah) gets it inside , he’s really effective and makes his layups and he did a really good job of that in the second half,” said Cardinals assistant coach Ben Rivera.

Sam Kwock eventually gave the Cardinals their first lead of the second half at 45-43, hitting his second straight 3-pointer with less than four minutes to play. Tack sealed the game by making three free throws in the final minute.

“It’s funner like that because when you’re up by 20 you’re not into it as much,” Tack said of the nail-biting win.

The coaching staff also liked the fact that it was a close game but for different reasons.

“It was good for us to pull together and win a close game – not just win, but win a close game,” Rivera said, hoping it would build team unity.

It wasn’t any easier for the Warriors, who needed four free throws from Lusterio in the final 23 seconds to keep Channel Islands away.

Carpinteria took a 27-19 lead into halftime and led by as many as 10 in the third quarter before allowing the Raiders climb back into the game.

Gabriel Camacho led Channel Islands with 16 points and Victor Juarez picked up 15.

Andrew Sova was the Warriors’ wild card, posting a season-high 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting. The sophomore started in place of the sick Trevor Madden and added four rebounds and two assists.

With the game tied 41-41, Rodriguez drained a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock expired but Juarez answered right back to make it 44-44. Rodriguez was fouled in the act on the next possession, drawing the ire of Channel Islands head coach Brad Bowman.

Bowman and Warriors head coach John Ward had been riding the officials for much of the game, but Bowman must have crossed the for he was whistled for a technical foul, handing Carpinteria four consecutive free throws plus the ball.

Rodriguez, who had a double-double with 10 rebounds, missed his pair but Lusterio stepped in to make his and the Warriors scored on their free possession to take a 48-44 lead. Lusterio added four more free throws to hold off the Raiders.

Hayden Slaught joined Munoz and Tack in double figures for the Cardinals with 10 points while Logan Crow led the Rangers with 19 points.