SAN JOSE — Santa Teresa gave Branham all it could ask for, built a 14-point lead in the second quarter and led for most of the game.
But Branham came on strong in the second half, got its first lead since early in the game on a basket by Dasan Poston with two minutes left, and pulled out a 70-69 victory to extend its winning streak to 10 in a row.
“I was in foul trouble in the first half but my coach told me to keep being aggressive,” Poston said.
Wyatt Sparling scored 27 and did outstanding work on the offensive boards for Branham, which improved to 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division. Poston poured in 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to spur Branham’s comeback.
“Those guys competed the entire game,” Branham coach Jason Billie said. “They competed for their teammates. The moment was never too big. I’m just super proud of their effort and attitude and just allowing me to coach them hard because they’re so coachable.”
After Poston’s bucket gave Branham a 65-64 lead, Ben Lim hit a 3-pointer to make it a four-point lead. Evan Giuillermo’s layup brought Santa Teresa within two before Sparling knocked down a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left. A 3 in the final seconds by Casey Tran closed out the scoring.
Santa Teresa (10-5, 2-1) came out to start the game with a lot of energy, changing defenses and forcing Branham into seven first-quarter turnovers.
“Defensively in the first half we were very good,” Santa Teresa coach Patrick Judge said. “In the second half Branham hurt us crashing the boards. Sparling really did a great job on the boards, hats off to him. As we look ahead we’ve got to do a better job. We’re not the biggest or strongest team. We’ve got to be tough mentally.”
Kenny Zuniga went on a tear to start the second quarter, scoring 15 consecutive points for his team as the Saints extended their six-point lead at the end of the first quarter to 38-24.
“Santa Teresa is very talented, very well-coached, super hard to guard,” Billie said. “They’re very hard to beat, especially at their place. Incredible atmosphere tonight.”
Zuniga had 21 points at halftime and finished with 27.
“I felt good at the start of the game,” he said. “They were leaving me a little open so every time I got the ball I let it fly.”
Sparling kept Branham in it with 14 points in the first half and then added 10 more in the third quarter when the Bruins began their comeback. He scored seven and Poston had the other four in an 11-0 run that cut Santa Teresa’s lead to one.
“Just sticking with it,” Sparling said. “Our team has been down a lot like this. We just fought. It’s a big goal of ours to keep this winning streak going and win league.”
Cayden Tanger also finished in double figures for Branham with 10 points as he, Sparling and Poston combined for 63 of the team’s 70 points.
Adam Nakai had 15 for Santa Teresa.
“We look at losses as opportunities to grow,” Judge said. “It’s still early, we’ve only been with these kids for 60 days. It’s a blessing to be here, a blessing to be with these kids. They’re a phenomenal group of kids. We’re excited for what’s to come.”
Glenn Reeves www.mercurynews.com High School Sports,Latest Headlines,Sports,High School Basketball,Inside Sports
2024-01-11 07:55:22 , The Mercury News