There’s something every year about the Taft varsity boys basketball team and the Wasco boys’ basketball tournament. Whatever the reasoning might be continued Thursday when the Wildcats swept their opening round games.
“They’re just feeling really good,” said Taft coach Harold Heiter. “I think the defense played pretty well. We just need to play better every week.”
With the victories, the Wildcats improve to 3-5 on the season.
Taft got off to a roaring start in the afternoon game when they defeated the McFarland Cougars 59-30.
The game was close early on with the Wildcats outscoring McFarland 17-12. Taft increased the lead in the second quarter with 19 points to the Cougars 11. Scoring was close in the third quarter with Taft edging out McFarland10-6.
Taft pulled away in the fourth quarter with 13 points while the defense held McFarland to a free throw.
Jacob Lopez led Taft in scoring with 23 while Steven Gee had 12. Eddie Romo chipped in with 10.
Taft had another easy ride in the evening game with a 53-23 victory over the Arvin Bears.
The Wildcats had a fight on their hands early in the seven minute first quarter with the Bears holding a 6-4 advantage on Jesus Llanas’ steal and layup.
Arvin’s basket at the 4:52 mark of the quarter was the last time the Bears scored again until the 6:15 mark of the third quarter when Eddie Herrera scored on a layup.
In between, Taft scored the final 11 points of the first quarter including three pointers from Edtmer Medel and Lopez with 52 seconds remaining.
Over the course of the second quarter, Taft scored 15 points with Steven Gee scoring six points while Lopez had five.
Following the basket in the third quarter, the Bears would score a free throw while Taft answered with eight points from Junior Tuuamalemalo, Mitchell Emberson, Gee and Danny Romo.
Arvin’s offense came alive in the final minute of the quarter with a basket and two free throws.
Taft scored four straight points including Gee’s steal and layup to begin the fourth quarter. Herrera snapped the run by completing a three-point play. The Bears went on to score eight more points while Taft was held to six points.
Lopez led in scoring with 14 while Gee had 13. Romo followed with 9 while Emberson had 6.
Note: Taft competes in the championship game tonight against Cesar Chavez at 5:30 p.m.To get the latest update, go to www.taftmidwaydriller.com. To read the full details of the game pick up next Friday’s paper.