Last Second Shot Lifts Olympians

Otis+Barrow+shoots+for+three+against+Imperial+Valley+College+in+a+77-76+Win
Otis Barrow shoots for three against Imperial Valley College in a 77-76 Win

Otis Barrow shoots for three against Imperial Valley College in a 77-76 Win

M.A. Damron

M.A. Damron

Otis Barrow shoots for three against Imperial Valley College in a 77-76 Win

Jimmy Spillane, Staff Writer

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The Mesa College Men’s Basketball team defeated Imperial Valley College 77-76 on a last second 3 pointer to end their season on a positive note. This is the second meeting between the foes this season and as it turned out it was déjà vu all over again. The previous result was a 69-68 Olympian win on Jan 16.  Not only was the margin the same but the same player key reserve Carlos Craig hit the winning shot.

The game took off where the last one ended as the teams raced up and down the court. Numerous three pointers were made on both sides but Mesa attained a slight advantage. Point Guard Jamil Brooks didn’t approve of his team’s opening effort “We started slow I believe not making the playoffs played a big part in that but we wanted to go out with a win.”The Imperial Valley coaching staff thought a change would sway things back to their side. They attempted to zone the Olympians but it was to no avail as the team that resides on Mesa College Drive kept scoring at will.

As we headed to halftime the score remained close with Mesa leading Imperial Valley 46-42. The 2nd half got underway with back to back baskets by the visiting Arabs and we were all knotted up. A score by guard Travon Jones briefly gave Mesa the lead by two and that is as much of a difference either team would have until deep into the game. There were several lead changes and ties throughout the length of the contest as these were two evenly matched teams. Guard Ryan Jones knew they were in for a dogfight “We know they were a solid team and wanted revenge for the loss we handed them earlier in the season.”

Imperial Valley made positive plays to give them the upper hand but standout guard Jamil Brooks did his best to make sure a Mesa deficit was only brief. He scored a layup and drew the foul and then calmly sanked the free throw evening things with just a few minutes left on the clock. Guard Ryan Jones thought that was the turning point. “The three point play by Jamil gave us fire to come away with the win.” The Arabs however were not going back to the Imperial Valley with a loss without a fight. With the score tied at 74 a piece they made their way to the hoop for a two point lead with just seconds remaining.

The Olympians then called their final timeout and Head Coach Ed Helscher designed a special play in hopes that it would secure the victory for the home team. It was a pick and pop where there are two options for the shot. Jamil Brooks felt it was the perfect call”The last play was our best offensive scheme to close out the game and we had faith in Carlos since he beat Imperial Valley the same way before” The Arabs defense fell for the option and failed to respond leaving Craig wide open for the three which he swished from the top of the key. The crowd was sent into a frenzy, Imperial Valley’s last second heave went off the mark and Mesa clinched this hard fought game.  Head Coach Ed Helscher felt he inserted the right guy “Carlos plays especially well against zones and is a good three point shooter, Jamil found him and he knocked down the shot.”

It was a fitting way for the Olympians to finish their season with a close win as it seemed to be their forte this season to be involved in  games that went down to the wire. Unfortunately Mesa had too many losses, had things gone in their favor they would be getting ready for the playoffs. Jamil Brooks lamented on exactly that “A lot of games we beat ourselves. We had too many turnovers, didn’t execute the plays, lost focus and didn’t finish.”

Mesa finished the season 12-14 and 6-6 in the Pacific Coast Conference which gave them 4th place in the League. The Olympians had two players make the all conference team in forward Otis Barrow who made 1st team and guard Jamil Brooks who made 2nd respectively.

Head Coach Helscher takes this season as a learning experience as it was a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. He looks forward to making this team better in the 2013-14 campaign “ Our game focus needs to be better, we can’t think just because we beat a team once it will happen again” If the Olympians can accomplish these goals they will bring a conference title home where it belongs.

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