Esperanza squeezes past El Dorado
ANAHEIM – As a point guard in the tough Century League, the pressure is always on. Esperanza guard Troy DeLuca beat the El Dorado press almost single-handily Friday as the Aztecs defeated the Golden Hawks, 66-64, at Esperanza.
The Golden Hawks (6-7, 0-2) led after the first quarter, 15-13. The Aztecs (5-8, 1-1) ran a match-up zone, but the Golden Hawks were able to find their spots for easy lay-ups.
In the second quarter after the Aztecs looked poised to have the lead going into the half, but Kaleb Phillips hit a deep corner 3-pointer to beat the half time buzzer and give his Golden Hawks a 30-28 lead.
The second half proved to be back and forth with the Golden Hawks having the advantage for most of it. Leading 43-41 entering the fourth, the Aztecs tied the score on their first possession and took the lead with less than six minutes to go.
The Golden Hawks came right back as Aaron Rivera made a layup and then hit a three to give the Golden Hawks a five-point advantage.
It seemed as if the Golden Hawks would prevail when they pushed that lead to six.
But the Aztecs made four consecutive free throws, and DeLuca made a pair of phenomenal passes. The first was to Parker Sims who hit a three, and the next was to Jarrett Brodbeck, whose three gave the Aztecs the lead for good.
Brodbeck, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, finished with 12 points and made two 3-pointers.
Coach Mark Hill thought his point guard was tremendous.
"Troy did a great job of handling the pressure tonight. He really made all the right passes and passed ahead which let our guys create easy baskets," Hill said.
"He will have his scoring nights, but tonight was one of those where he dealt with the press."
Rivera missed a potential winning three as the clock was winding down to preserve the victory for the Aztecs, and Esperanza's student section rushed the court.