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Walnut stays competitive in Hacienda with 61-57 win over Diamond Ranch

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basketball Mustangs Croom

Brandon Croom stands ready to deliver a free throw friday night as the Mustangs edged out the Panthers credit: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Ariel Carmona Jr.

The Walnut Mustangs’ varsity boys basketball team were fortunate to have Senior Brandon Croom be a more active participant in Friday night’s Hacienda League win over the host Diamond Ranch Panthers.

Croom was limited to 11 points, two rebounds and a block on Wednesday night in a loss to the league leading Bearcats, but rebounded with a phenomenal game as the Mustangs (15-7, 4-2) continue to fight with Rowland to keep pace with Bonita, edging out the Panthers in the second half of a close contest.

The Mustangs too an early 22-19 at the end of the first period and went on an 8-2 run before Diamond Ranch climbed back into the game as the halftime difference was only 3 points 35-31.

The one key sequence in the third quarter was when Croom was fouled hard going inside, resulting in a 3 point play which put the Mustangs up 43-37 at the 4:15 mark. Junior James Te’s shot was blocked on a subsequent Walnut possession, but Croom rebounded the miss to increase Walnut’s lead to 45-37 with at the 3:24 mark.

The Panthers made an attempt at a comeback in the final period when they hit on a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 50-40, but despite scoring 9 points in the final minutes, repeated misses on long ranged outside shots sealed the win for Walnut.

“We just stayed aggressive. We are very young, a game like this for us, coming down the stretch is very good for us to grow,” said Walnut Coach Josh Cameron, “After graduating 10 guys last year, started a freshmen and played sophomores, it’s good for our guys to play in a game like this.”

Cameron said the key to Walnut’s run in the 3rd quarter after a tightly contested first half was concentrating in getting the ball in the high post, because Diamond Ranch left a gap in their defense in their zone.

“In the 3rd quarter is where we were able to pull away. We just ran our stuff, got some good looks, we didn’t always make the layups we should have, if we just make layups and free throws, which we don’t do enough, the game wouldn’t have been as close as it was in the end.”

“We tried to just stay in front, rebound the best we could and take care of the ball,” said Cameron, “A credit to them, they played all hard all the way through and they battled in their home court, they fed off the crowd, and they made it interesting.”

Diamond Ranch is now 4-16 overall and 1-4 in league.

Earlier in the day, the Walnut varsity girls team lost 57-29. Coach Huckler’s team is now 5-14 overall and 1-4 in league play.

Written by sgvsports

January 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm