AP NEWS

Mustangs improve against Calvary in season’s final game

February 18, 2019

NEEDLES — The first time the Needles High School Mustangs played the Calvary Chapel Lions they lost by 34 points. This game, however, had a different ending as the Mustangs defended their home court by beating the Lions 56-44 in The Corral on Feb. 7.

The Mustangs end their regular season with an NIAA 2A South League record of 7-7 and an overall record of 9-12.

“The boys wanted to come out and play really hard and they were able to do that tonight,” said Coach Paul Duchaineau. “This team beat us by 34 points the last time we played them so I think there was a revenge factor tonight.”

The Mustangs took the early lead in the first quarter and were able to maintain their lead throughout the entire game.

They did that by feeding the bigs inside and getting lots of points in the paint.

“We thought that our bigs had a distinct advantage over their bigs,” said Duchaineau. “We do what we call “feed the bigs” and if they don’t have an open shot in the paint they’ll pass it out to one of the guys on the corners. We have actually focused on that for a couple of weeks now and it has been beneficial for us.”

In order to be able to come away with the win, the Mustangs knew they had to focus on the shooters that the Lions have.

“Yesterday in practice we worked on defending the three-point line because they have good shooters that could have hit those if we gave them an opportunity,” said Duchaineau.

The Mustangs made it hard for the Lion’s shooters to get open looks and were able to get the defensive rebound which they pushed up the court right away. This resulted in the Mustangs getting quick and easy points in their transition game. The Needles’ boys took a 28-23 lead into halftime.

Starting the third quarter the Mustangs had the same game plan of pressuring the Lion’s shooters and getting their bigs involved in the offense.

The game plan resulted in Semaj Howell leading the Mustangs in scoring by putting up 22 points for the game. Doogie Harvey followed with 10 points and Trevyn Diaz along with Nathan Rodriguez both scored eight points to round out the top scorers.

The Mustangs saw themselves holding on to a 42-34 lead in the third quarter and even though the Lions made a little run in the third quarter the Mustangs held them at bay.

“I’m proud of my guys tonight, they worked hard and they played very well,” said Duchaineau.