The No. 13-ranked San Manuel boys’ basketball has found difficulty playing with the same intensity and skill level after halftime most of the season, and it was especially evident during a recent stretch when the Miners lost three of four games. But against visiting San Miguel last Tuesday, San Manuel put it all together in a dominant 52 – 25 victory.
“I thought we played a complete game,” Miners head coach Damon Lovato said after his team’s 14th win of the season. “The third quarter has been our bugaboo [all season]. I thought we did a really good job of re-establishing our energy and tempo after halftime against San Miguel. That’s been one of our biggest challenges.”
San Manuel senior Javy Tamayo scored a game-high 21 points and dished out four assists with a pair of steals. Senior Caleb Quintero added 13 points and was one of five Miners with four rebounds. Jose Moreno, Adrian Lizzarraga, Tamayo, and Benny Laguna were the others. Quintero led the team with three steals in the win.
Lovato acknowledged that the Miners must correct the second-half issue if they hope to make the deep run in the playoffs that many, including themselves, expect.
“(We) can’t come out and allow a team to go on run in the third quarter and eliminate any momentum we’ve created,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to continue to work on.”
With just over a couple weeks left in the regular season, the Miners want to move up in the rankings. A ranking of No. 8 or higher eliminates a play-in game to start the playoffs. Lovato believes the remaining schedule provides ample opportunities to make the climb.
“I think we can,” he said. “Our focus is on winning one game at a time. We have the (opponents) left on our schedule to have things work out, but it doesn’t matter if we don’t execute.”
Up next: Jan. 23 at Ray, Jan. 24 vs. Santa Rita and Jan. 28 at Globe. All games are scheduled to tipoff at 7 p.m.