When the Taft and Arvin varsity boys basketball teams last hooked up, the Wildcats easily sailed past the Bears. While the scene and importance of the game had changed, the outcome remained the same after Taft defeated the Bears 58-33 in Arvin Monday night.
“I thought we played pretty well,” said Taft coach Harold Heiter. “I think we controlled the game defensively.”
With the victory, Taft improves to 7-7 overall and 1-0 in the South Sequoia League.
Taft got off to a roaring start by outscoring the Bears 15-2 with Arvin’s only basket coming from Cornelio Martinez at the 6:21 mark.
Meanwhile, Steven Gee took control of the game during that stretch by scoring six of the points.
Arvin attempted to get back into the game late in first quarter by scoring four unanswered points including Homer Avalos’ jumper with a minute to go. Jacob Lopez countered with a three-pointer to put Taft up 18-6.
Taft took off again in the second quarter with a 12-5 run. During that stretch of time the Bears were held to Homer Avalos’ three-pointer and Malachi Longmire’s steal and layup.
Arvin narrowed the deficit to 17 with 2:10 to go. However, the Wildcats countered with a 6-2 run with four of the points coming from Lopez.
Taft carried their momentum into the third quarter by going on a 9-2 run. Like the previous run, Lopez led the scoring charge with a three-pointer and two free throws.
Arvin’s Avalos ended the run with a three-pointer a the 1:41 mark of the quarter. Jesus Llamas followed up with a jumper to get the Bears within 23. However, Lopez scored the final three points of the quarter.
The Bears finally turned the tables in the final quarter by going on a 7-2 run. Taft’s Triston Ginn snapped the run at the 3:23 mark with a layup before hitting a free throw less than a minute later.
Taft fed off the three points by outscoring the Bears 5-4 the rest of the way to win the game.
Lopez led Taft in scoring with 15 while Gee followed with 10. Kyle Adkins chipped in with 7 while Mitchell Emberson had six.
“Kyle had his best game of the year,” said Heiter.
Taft returns home Wednesday to face the Cesar Chavez Titans. The game begins at 6:30 p.m.