The Dos Pueblos boy’s basketball team was able to pull within to within 10 points midway through the third quarter Thursday night against Oak Park, but the Chargers ran out of gas and dropped their non-conference game 68-45 at Sovine Gymnasium.
The Eagles (7-2) jumped ahead 13-4 in the early going, with junior Leanardo Beath scoring 11 of his team’s first 13 points. Senior Clark Slajchert scored the team’s next seven to give Oak Park a 20-8 lead after one.
The Chargers (1-6) struggled mightily offensively in the second quarter and were held scoreless for the first six minutes of the period. The Eagles had a 28-8 lead before DP’s Baylor Huyck knocked in a three-pointer followed by a layup to keep his team in the game. DP’s Alex McCeney three-point basket with under 25 seconds in the half to cut the halftime advantage to 16.
“I thought in the first half it was a little bit hard for us to run anything and we didn’t shoot the ball very well because that team played really good defense,” said DP coach Joe Zamora after the loss. “We felt that there were a couple of (shots) that went in and out that normally would drop, they just didn’t.
“In the second half we did a better job of running in transition and getting easy baskets rather than letting them slow us down,” he said. “When they slowed us down we had a hard time.”
McCeney scored on a layup and found sophomore Kael Rillie on a back cut for a layup before Rillie nailed a three to make it 34-24 with less than five minutes left in the third. That was as close as the Chargers would get, however, as the Eagles went on a 14-4 to pad their lead. Sophomore Joaquin Riker and senior Alex Perez each nailed three pointers to close out the third to make the score 48-34.
Senior Ethan Parrish, a standout water polo player who is committed to Stanford, got the start on Thursday as DP looked to matchup with the Eagles big lineup. Beath’s ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter resulted in Riker getting the nod in the second half.
“I wanted some post players to see if we could keep their shooters contained on the perimeter, but that didn’t work out so we had to change things up,” Zamora said.
The team’s exchanged several buckets to open the fourth before Slajchert, who is committed to the University of Pennsylvania, took over. The senior, who had eclipsed the 30-point mark five times already this season, scored 11 points in the fourth and finished with 30 points. Beath added 23 for the Eagles.
McCeney finished with a team-high 14 points. Huyck and Rillie each scored seven in the loss.
Despite the lopsided final score, Zamora was pleased with his team’s effort and willingness to make adjustments when needed.
“What I always learn about this group right now is that even if they’re down, they don’t point fingers at each other,” he said. “They still collectively talk to together. After we talked about some adjustments we wanted to make, they implemented them. That shows basketball IQ for a young group, but at the same time I don’t want to dig ourselves these big holes where we’re constantly having to do that.
“I told them ‘you guys made a really good run there in the third quarter,’ but once again we didn’t sustain it and it’s hard,” Zamora said. “And they’ve got really good shooters.”
Dos Pueblos will look to regroup this weekend, as they host on Pakarunga High School from New Zealand on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.