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Boys' basketball sport shorts: Immanuel Tournament (Day Four)

(Scrimmages do not count toward win/loss record. Visit the Sports Section for boys’ basketball features.) For a simple overview of scores and upcoming games, check the Winter sport box scores, 2011-12 for dates, opponents and times for all Eagle sports.

Be sure to visit the 2011-12 boys’ basketball schedule, home page, roster page, or check out The Eagles are currently 3-1 overall and 0-0 in the West Sequoia League as of Dec. 10. The Eagles will continue the 2011-12 season with an away game against the Firebaugh Eagles, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15.



Senior Cooper Belmont, ’12, was one of five players awarded an All-Tournament selection for the Immanuel Holiday Invitational, Dec. 11.

Belmont, who scored 87 points over four games, led the Eagles in scoring three consecutive games.

“After finishing the tournament with a solid 3-1 record, being selected was a positive add-on to our success,” Belmont said. “It was a bit of a surprise because I had never been chosen the last 2 years.”

Rather than coming out slow, FC jumped on the Panthers from the tip-off and ended up winning, 63-34, Dec. 10.

Once again the Eagles played lock-down defense from the start of the game. Senior Brady Lee led the team defensively with 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 5 tips. At the end of the first the Eagles led 15-2. Lee comments on his team’s defensive play.

“I think our defense is really staring to come together,” Lee said. “We played aggressively from the tip-off and it resulted in fast-breaks in the other direction. It’s fun when the whole team becomes one defense force.”

Due to an early lead the Eagles were able to give their starters a rest. Freshman Lance Henderson came off the bench and finished with 6 points in the paint. Josh Grinage, ’12, contributed defensively with five rebounds and three steals. Going into halftime FC was up 36-11.

Senior Cooper Belmont was the game’s high scorer with 24 points. Jonathan Guerrero and Jose Hernandez from Parlier led their team with 11 points a piece.

The Eagles came out fast in the third quarter but their intensity level eased dwindled as the game progressed. Parlier started hitting threes to ease back into the game. At the end of the third the Panthers trailed 53-21.

The Eagles had some careless mistakes in the fourth quarter, making 3 consecutive turnovers. The Panthers had their best offensive quarter with 13 points. Despite slowing down at the end, the Eagles still came defeated Parier, 63-34.

Despite their 3-1 tournament record the Eagles took 9th place for the 54th Immanuel Holiday Invitational.

The Eagles will next travel to play Firebaugh at 5:30 p.m in the Liberty Hawk Classic tournament, Dec. 15.

After losing to the Lindsay Cardinals the Eagles were hungry for a win. They executed on both ends of the court and overpowered the Redcats, 65-28, Dec. 8.

Though the Eagles were hoping to get an early lead, they found themselves battling for every point. They missed multiple lay-ups and started turning the ball over. Despite their sloppy play, the Eagles were up 13-11 at the end of the first.

In the second half, FC began executing on the offensive end. Senior Cooper Belmont started hitting 3 pointers to increase the lead. He ended up scoring a season high of 27 points. At the end of the second the Eagles led 34-20.

FC began playing lock-down defense in the third quarter. Seniors Brady Lee and Belmont each had four steals. Ryan Neufeld, ?12, hit the boards and had a game high of 12 rebounds. Eagle newcomer Josh Grinage, ?12, chipped in with 7 rebounds and 1 steal. FC limited Fowler to 3 points in the third quarter. Going into the fourth the Eagles were up 48-20.

After a quarter of of stellar defense, FC never looked back. They gave up only five points to Fowler in the fourth quarter. Freshmen Lance Henderson and Trevor Beal both came into the game and held their own. Beal had 6 points and 3 rebounds while Henderson had 2 points and 5 rebounds. Junior Brandon McCormick also chipped in 4 rebounds and 1 block.

Senior Chandler Vargas played an aggressive defensive game with 5 steals and 8 tips. He comments on his team’s work ethic during the game.

“Beating Fowler by such a large margin was definitely a confidence booster in preparation for league,” Vargas said. “We went into that game looking to simply out work and out hustle them in every single play, and then just let the score speak for itself.”

The Eagles will next face the Parlier Panthers at 1 p.m. in the Immanuel Holiday Invitational, Dec. 10.

Coming off of a win against Liberty, FC was looking for another victory against the Lindsay Cardinals. The score was tight until the last few minutes of the game when Lindsay hit shots down the stretch and came out on top, 83-73, Dec. 7.

Though FC came out in an aggressive half-court defense the Cardinals found ways to muscle their way to the hoop. Both teams played up-tempo basketball which resulted in turnovers and fouls. At the end of the first quarter the Eagles trailed 23-17.

The momentum began to shift in the second quarter as FC began making plays in transition. They were able to get down the court fast and score early. The Eagles also executed well on the defensive end. Senior Ryan Neufeld, who led his team with 11 rebounds, proved to hold his own against Lindsay’s big men. Going into halftime the Cardinals led, 39-38.

Due to their aggressive play, the Eagles got into serious foul trouble in the third quarter. Seniors Brady Lee and Chandler Vargas found themselves on the bench with four fouls. Ryan Neufeld also came out with three fouls.

Though Junior Brandon McCormick had hurt his ankle in practice, he came into the game and contributed on the defensive end with a steal. With three starters on the bench, Senior Cooper Belmont took the lead both offensively and defensively. At the end of the third the Eagles took a significant 57-50 lead.

Head Coach Josh Justin comments on Belmont’s leadership in the third quarter.

“It was during this time that Senior Cooper Belmont took control of the game scoring 9 of his 22 points,” Justin said. “I was very proud of how he took control and showed great leadership qualities.”

Belmont shares what was going through his mind as he stepped up his game in the third quarter.

“I knew that I had to step,” Belmont said. “I couldn’t just not take the leadership role. That was one of those moments where something had to happen and I just had to step up. It just worked out.”

Despite losing to the Cardinals, Belmont feels like his team played with unity and force. He is glad that his team was able to connect so early in the season.

“I think it was the first time our team actually clicked and played together,” Belmont said. “Even though we lost we played a good team and really just got in the flow of the game.”

In the fourth quarter Lindsey began to climb back from their point deficit. They were led by Gaven Mann and Chris Misaaleafua who combined for 44 points. Both teams fouled excessively down the stretch but FC could not execute from the free throw line. With three players in foul trouble, the Eagles were more tentative on defense. Consequently the Cardinals were able to make uncontested shots. In the end Lindsay pulled away with a 83-73 victory.

Despite the loss, coach Justin feels like his team played a fast and exciting game. He shares what ended up hurting them in the last quarter.

“We were ahead in the 4th quarter, but unfortunately we came up a little short at the end,” Justin said. “Some untimely turnovers and missed shots hurt us in the 4th quarter.”

The Eagles will next face the Fowler Redcats at 3:30 p.m. in the Immanuel Holiday Invitational, Dec. 9.

After a tight first quarter and Liberty leading 14-13, the Eagles offense sputtered and defense broke down in the second to open the 54th annual Immanuel Holiday Invitational. However, Eagle experience settled the team down in the second half, earning FC a 62-56 victory, Dec. 6.

The Eagles came out with intensity from the tip-off, executing a full court press. However, sloppy offensive play resulted in them down 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The Hawks executed on the offensive end, outscoring the Eagles by ten points in the second quarter. Liberty’s David Imirian was the game’s high scorer with 21 points. His teammate Stetson Woods scored 19 points to provide Liberty with a solid 1-2 punch.

With FC down 34-23 at the half, the game changed in the third as the Eagles scored first and outscored the Hawks, 18-7, to take the lead into the fourth. While the game was close in the last five minutes, Liberty fouled FC often, sending the Eagles to the line. FC hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Four Eagle starters were in double figures as senior guard Brady Lee led the team with 18 points with 13 coming in the second half. Senior forward Cooper Belmont scored 14 points with 9 in the second half to lead the Eagles. Senior Chandler Vargas had 3, 3-pointers and 11 points to pace the Eagles from beyond the arc. Lee shares shares his thoughts on what this win means to the team.

“It is awesome that we could win our first game of the season,” Lee said. “It should give us momentum going into the rest of the tournament. We played very hard but it was difficult for us to put the ball in the hoop. We turned things around in the third quarter and ended up coming back from behind.”

Going into the game, head coach Josh Justin knew they were going to be facing a different team than the one they scrimmaged on Nov. 26. The difference was that Liberty’s football players were now able to play.

“Last night’s game was a tough game for us against a very big Liberty team,” Justin said. “We started slow but finished strong and managed to come away with the victory.”

While the Eagles had a poor shooting percentage from the field in the game, coach Justin complimented his leaders for the turnaround.

“Our team’s work ethic and experience should help us to be successful this season,” coach Justin said. “We also have amazing senior leaders this year which should allow us to get off to a quick start and continue to have success through the entire season.”

The Eagles next play the Lindsay Cardinals in the Immanuel Holiday Invitational, Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Returning Head Coach Josh Justin says he is excited for Tuesday’s game against Liberty. He thinks his team has put in the necessary work to compete well.

“We have spent countless hours practicing and preparing for the season and it is great to finally get the opportunity to play some games,” Justin said. “We return all five starters and we have some talented new additions to the team this year. This should allow us to have a very competitive team this year.”

For more information, check out the
Boys’ basketball sports shorts, 2010-11, Part I and Part II.

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    Chris GrossmanJan 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I had the opportunity to taste the new food and let me tell you, it was reeeeeeeelly good 😀