Jacks let W slip away
The Quincy Jacks boys hoops team missed a good opportunity to get on the win column on Dec. 21, losing 53-49 to the Othello Huskies at home.
“We had the lead at halftime and we came out in the third quarter with some energy,” head coach Scott Bierlink said. “But toward the end of the third quarter, we had some bad turnovers and they had some easy buckets, took the lead, and then it was tough for us to make shots.”
The Jacks played the Huskies tough from the start, trailing by only three points at the start of the first quarter 12-9, after starting the game on the wrong end of a 5-0 Othello run. Turnovers kept the Jacks from entering the second quarter with the lead.
“You’re going to have some of that with an inexperienced team,” Bierlink said of the turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Jacks tied it at 12-12 with a Max Molina free throw and seven minutes to go. Othello unloaded a 9-2 run that left matters 21-14 and things looked bleak for the Jacks.
Instead of falling deeper into the hole, though, the Jacks regrouped and got even with the Huskies at 23, then took the lead with a clutch Aiden Heikes three-pointer at the buzzer.
The teams got in the seesaw in the third quarter, with Quincy leading by as many as four points, 35-31 with two minutes left, only to see Othello unfurl a 10-0 run to regain the lead, aided once again by Quincy turnovers. Just like in the second quarter, the Jacks managed to end on a high note, thanks to a baseline-to-baseline run by Felipe Zepeda, who laid the ball in to the basket to keep the Huskies within four, 41-37.
The fourth quarter, though, started with a cold spell of Quincy shooting that affected everyone from the team’s leading scorer, Molina, on down. Othello took advantage of the clangs and took a 10-point lead. The Jacks rallied, but the damage was done. With four minutes to go, Molina finally nailed a three and such was his frustration that he did not even celebrate it.
“He’s the one guy we got that can get buckets and when he gets hot he can really shoot it,” Bierlink said, adding that Molina could never get the momentum he needed despite shooting well from the free-throw line.
The Jacks had one last go at it after Molina was fouled while launching a three that missed.
Down by seven, Molina nailed all three free throws with 2.7 seconds left, but that’s as close as the Jacks could get, much to the frustration of Bierlink, who dropped his clipboard to the floor when the buzzer sounded.
Molina had 20 points, followed by Heikes with 10, Zepeda and Mike Vega with seven, Louis Merred with three and Connor Donovan with two.
The loss drops Quincy to 0-10 overall, 0-8 in league, and improves Othello’s mark to 2-8 overall, 2-6 in league.
Bierlink sounds like he’s already looking forward to the rematch against Othello, on the road, on Jan. 26.
“Playing this team a second time, we will have an idea of what they like to do, we are going to clean some of these things up,” he said of the turnovers. “We should be at about 12, 13 turnovers or less and we are at a lot more than that.”
Next up, the team travels to Toppenish on Friday, Dec. 28, to face the Wildcats, whose record is 4-5 overall, 3-5 in league.
“That’ll be as tough as it gets,” Bierlink said. “They put a lot of pressure on you.”
The team is improving, Bierlink said, and the work will continue both on the court and in the weightroom to get that elusive first win of the year.
Tipoff against the Wildcats is 7:15 p.m.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org