Warriors hold Taft to four first quarter points on way to win

A number of reasons could easily explain the outcome of Tuesday night’s game between the Taft and Tehachapi varsity boys basketball teams.

Yet only one thing mattered at the end of the game after the Warriors cruised past the Wildcats 56-39.

“We ran into a good team,” said Taft coach Jeff Hughes. “We shot the ball poorly. Offensively we didn’t play well. We have to do everything right to beat those teams.”

With the loss, Taft falls to 8-12 overall and 2-2 in the South Sequoia League.

Contrary to the final result, the Wildcats found themselves in a low scoring battle in the first half of the opening quarter with Tehachapi’s Dallas Scaggs scoring on a layup and Taft’s Jacob Johnson hitting two free throws. The Warriors took off from there by outscoring Taft 9-2 in the second half of the quarter thanks in part to a three-pointer. The only points the Wildcats scored in that stretch of time came on Caleb Lopez’s layup with 36 seconds left.

Cory Lange extended the Warrior run with a three-pointer 1:04 into the second quarter. Johnson helped the Taft offense break through with a pair of free throws at the 5:21 mark, but the Wildcats were held to one free throw until the 2:43 mark when Lopez banked a shot.

Taft was held to five points the rest of the half, including Lopez’s three-pointer with 42 seconds left.

Meanwhile, the Warriors scored an additional 11 points following the three-pointer to take a 29-14 lead into the half.
The Wildcats attempted to get back into the game early in the third quarter on Vaughn Richardson’s three-pointer and Blake McPherson’s banked shot while Tehachapi was held to a field goal. The difference cut the deficit to 31-19 with 6:48 to go. Instead of cutting the lead again, the Wildcdats were held to five points over the remaining minutes of the quarter including Lopez’s three-pointer.

Tehachapi maintained their lead through a good majority of the final quarter before Taft outscored the Warrriors 7-4 in the final 1:39 on three-pointers from Devin Capela and Steven Gee.

Lopez led Taft in scoring with 19 while Jacob Johnson and Capela each had 5.

Taft attempted to get back on the winning track Thursday when they hosted Arvin.