Cortez High School - There was a sparse crowd on hand for tonight's game between the Cortez Colts and the visiting Titans of Arcadia High School. The game seemed to be headed toward a humdrum style of play, but no one was aware of the wild ride that would ensue in the waning minutes of the game.
The game began with both teams methodically passing the ball around the court, looking and waiting for an open shot. The first points of the game weren't recorded until 2 minutes and 50 seconds into the game. After both squads traded baskets, the Colts rocketed to a nine point lead behind two 3s from Joey Epply and a Richard Barragan three-point play. Arcadia couldn't chip away the lead and found themselves down by seven points, 16-9, at the end of the first quarter of play.
The Titans came out
with renewed vigor in the 2nd quarter and vaulted themselves into the lead.
Senior PG Kyle Delnoce took charge of the Arcadia
offense and led the Titans to a 5-point half-time lead, 26-21. Delnoce scored nine of his game high 21 points in the second quarter. He also played superb defense and held the Colts' star PG James Malone to zero second quarter points. Ironically, Malone would have the last laugh.
Cortez came out firing in the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Titans 13-3. The Colts were able to get Arcadia big man Luke Kostner into foul trouble mid-way through the quarter. By using drives, mid-range jumpers, offensive boards, and air-tight defense the Colts were able to turn the tables and put Arcadia down by five, 34-29, at the end of the third quarter.
The 4th quarter arrived to a closely contested game. Cortez held their momentum from the third quarter and continued their run. James Malone owned the fourth quarter, scoring eight points in around 3 minutes. The Colts found themselves up by 11 with less than 5 minutes remaining. Now the fun began, Kyle Delnoce rattled off 4 points in a matter of seconds to cut the lead to 7, then forward Kyle Munsey added two and the lead was down to 5 points with 3:01 left in the game. Cortez was forced to call a timeout and regroup after shooting themselves in the foot by way of carelessness. After Richard Barragan hit two free throws, the lead was back to 7, but Delnoce and Nate Brodman responded with a shot apiece and the lead was now down to three, 49-46, with 1:42 left on the clock. After the teams traded buckets, Arcadia's Kyle Munsey muscled his way inside for an offensive board and a lay-up, making the score 51-50. Cortez promptly turned it over by stepping out of bounds. After an Arcadia timeout, the ball was in the hands of Kyle Delnoce. He dribbled around to find the open man or an open look, but James Malone came to the rescue for Cortez with a steal and a lay-up with :10 on the clock. Arcadia's desperation attempts failed and Cortez ran away with the victory, 53-50.
Arcadia 9 17 3 21 50
Cortez 16 5 13 19 53
Cortez Player of the Game: James Malone, 20 points, 2 rebounds, a couple of steals, came up with a big steal in crunch-time.
Arcadia Player of the Game: Kyle Delnoce, 21 points, 3 rebounds, good defense in losing effort.