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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
COSTA MESA-The John Glenn High boys basketball team was staring directly in the eyes of only its second win of the season when it faced Calvary Chapel Downey High in the final game of the Estancia Coast Classic last Thursday morning. But a couple of turnovers in the final seconds of regulation, plus the inability to connect on free throws in overtime led to the Eagles falling to the Grizzlies 51-48.
The Eagles, who went winless last season, dropped to 1-12 and have lost eight straight games. This was the second game in as many days that Glenn has lost by single digits. In addition, this will mark the 10th straight season that the Eagles will jump into Suburban League action with a losing record.
“This one basically comes down to missed opportunities and I think that’s what I’m going to stand by,” said Glenn first-year head coach Ruben Guerrero. “I think we missed five, six, seven consecutive free throws [and] those little things make a difference, in every sport.
“I don’t know how many turnovers we had; it didn’t seem like we had a lot,” he added. “But we had some crucial turnovers at the end. It’s just the fact that we’re in a position to win and I don’t think the boys understand how to win of yet.”
After trailing by six points early in the third quarter, the Eagles stormed back by virtue of a 10-0 run in a four minute span. The rally was capped by a steal and basket from senior Hugo Anguiano.
He would repeat the same act with 6:29 left in regulation to put Glenn up 38-33 and then with 2:09 remaining, a basket from sophomore Chris Lujan made it a 45-40 advantage for the Eagles. That’s when it all went south for Glenn.
Jose Campos tied the game at 45-45 with 44.8 seconds left in regulation and after a CCD timeout, Anguiano was called for an offensive charge. Still, the Eagles were looking good for a potential game-winning basket coming out of a Glenn timeout with 13.6 ticks remaining. But a turnover on an inbound play foiled that opportunity.
“It just came down to the boys kind of trusting the coaches,” Guerrero said. “Those last final seconds where you see a lot of them kind of reverting back to what they thought was correct instead of just trusting the process and trusting our experience…I was trying to show them that we were still in it and in a good position.”
In overtime, Anguiano took a pass from senior Sean Espineda and scored to put the Eagles up 48-47. But down the stretch, the team would miss five straight free throws while Campos iced the game with two charity shots with 52.9 seconds left in the game, For the game, Glenn would miss nine free throws while the Grizzlies were 12 of 16.
The Eagles owned the opening quarter, leading by as many as five points on three different occasions while trailing for only 13 seconds in the stanza. Glenn was up 17-13 following an Anguiano bucket in the opening minute of the second quarter. But the Grizzlies would outscore the Eagles 14-8 in the second quarter to take a 27-23 halftime lead.
“At halftime, we all talked and told them we were in a good position to win a game,” Guerrero said. “The biggest thing with these guys is that I keep trying to promote progression. Keep moving forward, keep being there for each other, and take advantage of small opportunities. Every little battle is a win. Little wins for the majority of the game will win the game.”
Anguiano, who led all scorers with 24 points, also grabbed 10 rebounds and had four assists. Junior Juan Jimenez added half a dozen points and he too pulled down 10 rebounds as Glenn will visit La Mirada High on Monday before hosting Bellflower High on Wednesday.
“With Hugo, it’s been a challenge because as badly as he wants to win, he was kind of one of the few who was reverting back to what he thought was best,” Guerrero said. “But he’s doing a better job of really keeping his composure and becoming more of a leader for our team. Little by little, he’s trying to figure out the game is easy when he lets it come to him instead of forcing the issue.”
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