BBK: Lone Pine fights off Cardinals for CIF win

Lone Pine's Brad Greene stands over Bishop Diego defenders John Harris and Alexis Herrera.

Lone Pine’s Brad Greene stands over Bishop Diego defenders John Harris and Alexis Herrera.

 

Lone Pine came into Friday night’s CIF game at Bishop Diego having won 23 straight by an average of almost 19 points.

The Cardinals didn’t make it so easy this time for the Golden Eagles.

Bishop Diego mounted a furious rally in the third quarter, closing a 48-33 deficit to 48-46, before finally running out of time in a 67-60 CIF Division 5A playoff win for Lone Pine.

“Our guys battled back,” said Bishop Diego head coach Jeff Koval. “It took 24 minutes, the second, third and fourth quarters of really battling back, giving it everything we got to be there at the end, and unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

Bishop Diego kept it a close game throughout the final quarter but never took a lead. Marcos Schneider knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:31 remaining in the game to make the score 61-58. A free throw and a reverse layup by Lone Pine pushed the lead back up to six with 44 seconds to go.

Bishop Diego's Isaiah Veal finds space between two Lone Pine defenders for a jumper.

Bishop Diego’s Isaiah Veal finds space between two Lone Pine defenders for a jumper.

It was a classic matchup of speed vs. size and the latter won out.

Lone Pine’s behemoth of a center Brad Greene scored 28 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked six shots. Ryan Cappello also had a big game for the Golden Eagles with 23 points and 17 rebounds.

“We just tried to stay calm in the second half when it started getting really loud,” Greene said. “We just had to stay calm and play through everything.”

Bishop Diego’s rally, which started with two consecutive 3-pointers by Schneider, electrified the home crowd and the Brickhouse was on its feet.

“It got really intense. The crowd just made it that much worse for us,” Greene said.

Schneider led Bishop Diego with 27 points in the senior’s final game as a Cardinal. Point guard Alexis Herrera, Abel Gonzalez and Jon Gaasch are also seniors.

Mitchell Cota scored 14 points, John Harris provided a spark off the bench and Herrera quarterbacked the comeback attempt with experienced poise.

“I couldn’t be happier with the identity we forged,” Koval said. “We compete for 32 minutes. Those guys gave me everything they have and I’m so thankful for every player on that floor and everything they gave me.”

Lone Pine's Garrett Sullivan, who had 11 points, takes a contested jumper.

Lone Pine’s Garrett Sullivan, who had 11 points, takes a contested jumper.

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