The Vista Murrieta Broncos are the best 0-3 basketball team in the Southwestern League. They are just snake bit. The Broncos have played well in every league game but innd themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard yet again.
The Broncos started quick and took the lead in the first period 16-12 as they looked to end the losing streak and upset the Nighthawks. Vista Murrieta’ 6’6” junior Damon Dubots dominated the boards in the early part of the game. Murrieta Valley fought back in the second and tied the score 33-33 at the half.
It was a tough physical battle in the second half as both teams refused to give in. The Broncos took a one point lead into the final period only to have the Nighthawks come back.
“We’re one game out of the League championship. So we needed this one to stay in the race,” said Nighthawk Coach Steve Tarabilda. “Big, very big, that we did it on the road. Who knows in the Southwestern League. It could go crazy in the second round, especially after everybody has played everybody. That changes everything.”
Last year the free throw line proved to be the Nighthawk’s Achilles heal throughout the season. Not Tuesday night. Nighthawk Senior Mitch Lenhart nailed seven of his eight free throws from the charity stripe in the final period as Murrieta Valley had just enough to defeat the Broncos 67-66. Lenhart ended the game with 14 points.
The Nighthawks were led by Senior Kevin Padlow who led all scorers with 25 points. He scored eight in the decisive fourth period. Junior Jacob Forte kept the Nighthawks in the game when he nailed four of his five 3-pointers in the second quarter. Forte ended up with 15 points against the Broncos. Jordan Williams scored six and Tyler Bilton five for the Nighthawks.
Senior Spencer Benson and sophomore Austin Beech both scored 20 points against Murrieta Valley. Jacob Perry added 11 for the Broncos. Damon Dubois scored six points.
The Nighthawks will be home to host the Pumas tonight in the 3ed annual Coaches for Cancer game. Chaparral is 0-3 in league play and coming off a 69-48 loss to the league leading Wolfpack.
The Broncos have lost three close games that they led into the fourth period only to have victory snatched away. They limp home to face the Rams and are seeking their first league win this evening. Murrieta Mesa is 1-2 inleague having defeated Chaparral 71-65 in their league opener.