By Katelyn Merrell
Sports Editor and Sportscaster
Last Friday night, the Tiller varsity boys’ basketball team took on Schurr High School in the first round of CIF. The Schurr Spartans, ranked 641 in state, were the underdogs going into the game against the Tustin Tillers ranked 45 in state. The Tustin High student section, “The Barn,” was packed with passionate students rooting for their varsity boys.
The Tillers took an early 8-0 lead in the first quarter. Even though the Tillers were not able to capitalize on some early, easy lay-ups and outside shots, they held the lead of 12-4 with 1:29 left in the first quarter.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Schurr began to “get hot” making almost every shot. They succeeded in closing the lead and tying the game at 14-14. The game continued back and forth throughout the second quarter. Tustin’s Eian Labastida (#23) hit a three pointer to put the Tillers up 23-18. Following the shot, a technical foul was called on the Spartans. George Wilson (#24) stepped up to take the free throws for the Tillers making one of the two shots. Ironically, Wilson received a technical foul of his own a few minutes later for passionate profanity expressed after a huge block. By the end of the second quarter the Tillers lead the game by six with a score of 26-20.
To start off the third quarter, the Spartans hit a deep three setting the tone of the quarter. Having been pushed around and fouled throughout the first half, Myles Garvin (#44) stepped it up and came into the third quarter strong hitting a two to put the Tillers up 29-26. Even though Tustin struggled more than usual on offense this game, they managed to keep the lead because of their exceptional defense. This showed through players like Aramie Faletoi (#22) who stole the ball on defense, spun, and laid up the ball on the other end of the court. With 1:19 remaining in the third quarter, the Tillers held the lead at 38-30, with the help of Wilson (#24) who drove in the paint, laying up a two and drawing the foul to execute a three point play. The third quarter ended with the Tillers leading by twelve with a score of 42-30.
Throughout the forth, Tustin’s Garvin (#44), Shorts (#5), and Wilson (#24) stepped it up on the offensive end. Garvin drove inside for a two, followed by Wilson who consecutively hit a two, then a three to put the Tillers up 47-35. However, the most exhilarating play of the game was the alley-oop from Shorts and Wilson. Shorts, fouled prior to the play, lobbed the ball up after the whistle was blown, to Wilson who flew through the air to dunk the ball. The Tiller fans went absolutely wild. Unfortunately, the play did not count, but it definitely qualified as the most memorable play of the game. With a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter, Coach Bossenmeyer subbed in Zach Cobb (#41), Rehan Bokari (#33), Grayson Hubbard (#4), Adrian Allison (#10), and Sterling Ardrey-Baty (#1) to close the game. The Tillers did an incredibly successful job closing out the game and running down the clock through their ball movement, drawing of fouls, and defense.
The game ended with the Tillers winning 53-37, knocking out the Schurr Spartans. Even though Tustin did not give their most exceptional offensive performance, they locked it down on defense. Wilson led the team with 21 points, followed by Shorts with 11, and Garvin with 8. The Tillers will be taking on San Clemente in the second round of CIF on February 24 at 7 p.m. at San Clemente. The Tillers lost to San Clemente in preseason, but are more motivated than ever to come back with a vengeance.
Katelyn’s sidelines sportscast coming soon.