By Marcos Perales | Staff Writer |
It was a night to remember for the Roosevelt Roughriders boys varsity basketball team. On Wednesday night, Feb. 12, Roosevelt and Johnson, the two best teams in the district, faced off against each other on the court at Blossom Athletic Center.
Roosevelt’s goal was to stay undefeated going into this year’s playoffs. Johnson’s goal was to avenge their only loss in the district, and that loss was to Roosevelt. One goal was bound to overthrow the other. The result of the duel was a loss for the Roughriders.
“I thought they were better prepared; they came out with some energy and they were ready to play,” boys basketball coach Manny Flores said. “They stuck us in the mouth early on and we never recovered from that.”
To start off the first quarter, Johnson made an early statement with an 11-0 scoring run.
It wasn’t until the middle of the first quarter that Roosevelt responded with their first points on the board after coming out of a timeout. After that response, Johnson continued on with their tear and scored from everywhere on the floor.
“I think for us defensively, I don’t think we did a good job communicating which allowed them to hit some open shots early that hurt us,” Flores said. “I thought the lack of communication played a huge role.”
At the end of the first quarter, the scoreboard read 25-7 with Johnson’s big lead. To end the long first half, Johnson still had a significant lead of 42-26.
“I knew they’d have a sense of urgency,” Flores said of his team. “I thought they battled in spurts in the second half but obviously we didn’t do enough to overcome that hole we put ourselves in, but you know when you got a team who’s shooting well you got to get stops.”
Roosevelt came out with more scoring to shave off a little of Johnson’s lead. That led to a final third quarter score of 52-40, Johnson. The fourth quarter, however, gave Roosevelt parents and other Roughrider fans a spark of hope. The boys worked together to cut the lead down to only nine points at the two minute mark. But Johnson regained the momentum finding holes in the Riders’ defense and when the Riders missed some important free thtrows. Roosevelt never had the lead at any point during the game. The final score was 65-54, a Johnson victory. The Roughriders left the floor with a taste of defeat, something they have not tasted since Dec. 29, 2019. Corey Jackson and Daqwon Kindred led the effort with 14 points and 17 points, respectively, in the loss.
Even though the Riders are guaranteed a playoff spot, they have to treat tonight’s game with extra care if they want to be the first seed. Then Johnson and Roosevelt will either flip or play again to decide the first and second seed.