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By Marcus D. Smith–
Mesa Verde boys varsity basketball players have been improving their game as of late and were heading into conference play with tons of confidence.
Throughout the first half of the Jan. 10 Friday night game, it was a tit-for-tat battle. As they went into the locker room, the Mavericks found themselves down by three points to the Pioneer Patriots, 22-19.
The second half effort coming into the third quarter was not as evident as the first two, as the Mavericks were outscored 16-8, in the third. They held an 11 point lead going into the fourth quarter.
For the first two minutes, it was looking as if Pioneer High School would route Mesa Verde on their home floor and league-opener. With five minutes remaining in the game, the Mavericks were down by as much as 17 points.
They defensively went back to what was working in the first half, playing with effort. Sophomore guard, Anthony Arguelles, led the comeback and was able to help the team get within five points, 47-42, with a minute and a half left in the game.
“Anthony is the engine that drives the team, he’s a very special player,” said Mesa Verde Boys Varsity Assistant Coach Anthony Hodge. “You don’t see too many sophomores like him that are ranked number 20 in the state in scoring… he’s got a bright future with us. When he’s on, the whole team rallies.”
Arguelles finished the game with 18 points.
Momentum of the game delayed when a fistfight broke out in the bleachers between two Mesa Verde students. They were escorted out of the gym by school security and the athletic director.
Reasons for the fight are unknown, however the athletic director and vice principal confirmed the students will face suspensions on Monday.
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As the game resumed, the Mavericks ended the game allowing the Patriots to go on a 9-0 run.
“I think the athletic director and the security at the school [did] a great job of getting that under control,” Coach Hodge said, referring to the fight. “It was a little bit of a distraction, but no way did it cost us the game.”
The Mavericks would recover from the loss on Saturday, Jan. 11, with a huge win against Waterford High School, 70-37. This was a non-league game for Mesa Verde.
The next league game will be Tuesday, when they travel to Dixon High School.
Girls Varsity looked to come out and make a statement as they opened Golden Empire League play against Pioneer, coming off of a school record, eight wins in non-conference play.
They were not able to carry the same energy in the first GEL game against the Patriots. The final score was 57-17, with a loss for Mesa Verde.
“Pioneer is a great program, they’re doing very well this season,” said Coach Mark Toscano ahead of the first game against Pioneer High School. “They won our league last season. Our girls know the caliber of players that Pioneer has.”
They will also go on the road, as they will play against Dixon High School on Tuesday, Jan. 14, tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.
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Sports Reporter Marcus D. Smith covers high school sports in Citrus Heights. Smith is a Sacramento-area native and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2017.
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