Chargers lose a tough one to Righetti

Dos Pueblos lost a heartbreaker of a boys basketball game on Wednesday, falling to Righetti, 54-51, in its home opener at Sovine Gym.

The Chargers were leading 47-40 with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter when Righetti went on a 7-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Landen Brown. Dos Pueblos went back into the lead, 48-47, on a free throw by Gerry Perez and got the ball back when Devon Ray forced a turnover.

Charger guard Chris Williams was dribbling the ball on top while being hounded by Righetti’s Marcus McMorris. There was a brief altercation and DP was called for a technical foul just as it called time out with a minute left. Cameron Walker made both free throws and the Warriors got the ball with a 49-48 lead. The teams exchanged turnovers, the last one by the Chargers, and Brown knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 29.5 seconds left to put Righetti up 52-48.

DP coach Joe Zamora said the technical foul didn’t determine the outcome of the game.

“It definitely played a part but it wasn’t the biggest reason we lost the game,” he said.

DP’s Cruz Mertens buried his seventh trey to cut the deficit to one, 52-51. The Chargers then fouled McMorris with 7.1 seconds left, and he sank both free throws to put the Warriors up by three.

“Marcus, his pressure and toughness down the stretch was really the difference,” said Righetti coach Kevin Barbarick.

Zamora tried to call a time out to set up a final play, but the referees apparently didn’t see him, so Mertens drove the length of the court and tried to draw a foul while shooting. He missed as the buzzer sounded.

Righetti outscored the Chargers 22-11 in the fourth quarter.

“You got to feel good when they’re doing that this early, finding ways to win,” Barbarick said of the comeback. “Hopefully, that carries us through. Those type of games, when you find a way to win when you’re playing up hill, those are the kinds of things that’ll carry you deep in the playoffs.

Righetti was a CiF-SS finalist last year.

Mertens had a big night for the Chargers (2-3), popping in four of his seven 3-pointers at the start of the third quarter en route to a game-high 25 points. Gerry Perez added eight.

“Cruz has always been a great shooter,” Zamora said. “We love the way he strokes it. He’s got the green light against a zone defense.”

Brown and sophomore sensation Walker each scored 15 points and McMorris added 14 for Righetti (3-1). Walker also had 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.

“Cameron was all over the place,” Barbarick said. “He was on the boards and was scoring, and had to do everything. I’m sure he’s a tired young man, but he’s a special young athlete and he played like it tonight.”

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