Forced into a much more physical game than they would have liked to play, the Gavilan Rams lost 75-69 against visiting the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos Wednesday night.
The Lobos (12-11, 2-6 Coast Conference) came into the game leading the conference in free throws attempted – and surprise, the game came down to the charity stripe. After missing six free throws in the first half, Monterey went 15-for-17 in the second half while Gavilan was just 18-for-28.
“They were able to control the style of game, and I think that led to them being victorious,” said Gavilan coach Chris Shoemaker, whose team is 10-13 overall and 2-5 in conference. “We don’t play that way. Ours is usually a good clean game – not a lot of turnovers, not a lot of fouls. They were able to turn it into that type of game. I’m sure that was their game plan.”
Gavilan got into foul trouble late in the first half after post players Adrian Zamora and Ted Lilly each picked a third foul.
“Adrian is such a good player that when he was out it took out a lot of the rebounding and offense,” Lobos coach Blake Spiering said. “They played great even without him out there. Lilly is also a strong player we had to watch.”
“We were trying to be aggressive,” Lilly said. “We were just too aggressive. As a player, you have to adjust to the referees. We should have figured that out in the first five minutes of the game.”
The teams had split their previous two contests.
“You know what you are going to get when you play them,” Shoemaker said. “They’re extremely athletic, and they pressure. They all take it to the hole really well. We didn’t have a good mental attitude in practice and it showed.”
One player who took it hard to the rim for the Lobos was Ryan McBride, who led the game with 26 points. In addition to three monster dunks, he hit a pair of 3-pointers.
Jason Wells, a San Lorenzo Valley High graduate, had his best game of the year to lead the Rams with 21 points, including numerous clutch shots.
“He played his butt off on defense and hit some big shots on defense,” Shoemaker said. “I have nothing but good things to say about his performance tonight.”
The Rams were down 31-29 at the half after taking an early lead that Monterey eclipsed midway through the half. Although Gavilan tied the game several times, it wasn’t until 11:06 left in the game that Jon Morrison, who had 13 points, had a drive to the lane to put the home team ahead 47-46. Andre Hayes had nine points for the Rams, and Broc Sondgroth added eight.
The lead changed hands on numerous occasions, but neither team could get more than a three-point lead until the Lobos opened it up in the final three minutes.
Gavilan will be at Hartnell on Friday before returning for the final home game of the season on Feb. 9. against Cabrillo.