Photo by Sergio Robali
Both the Bel Air and Riverside boys’ teams came into their matchup out of the playoff race in Disctrict 2-5A, but both teams came in playing for pride and hoping to build momentum for next year’s teams.
The Highlanders and Rangers started out swapping leads from the beginning and Bel Air led 12-9 after the first quarter. Both teams continued fighting for the lead throughout the second quarter before the Highlanders closed it to the 25-24 halftime lead. Riverside was able to take control in the third quarter and led 48-43 at the end of the quarter. Player of the game Roman Licon then took over for the Highlanders, scoring six of the final ten points for Bel Air in an exciting fourth quarter, leading the Highlanders to the 64-62 win. Bel Air improved to 6-22 overall, 4-12 in district play; Riverside dropped to 6-22, 0-16.
In the girls’ matchup, Bel Air came in having already clinched a playoff spot representing 2-5A in the bidistrict round; while Riverside was eliminated from the playoffs and tied for fifth place.
The Highlanders began by feeding leading scorer, Sonia Sato, early and often in the first half. Sato scored 12 of the Highlander’s 26 points as they led the Rangers 26-21 at the half. Sato and Bel Air began the second half cold and scored only five points in the third quarter and held a close 31-28 lead. Riverside would outscore Bel Air 5-2 in the fourth quarter and forced overtime tied 33-33. Sato was able to regain her touch for a couple of scores in overtime and led the Highlanders to the tight 38-36 victory. Sato was name Player of the Game and led all scorers with 16 points, as well as, closing out the double-double with 10 rebounds. Bel Air closed out their regular season with an 18-11 overall record, 14-4 in district play; Riverside finished 18-14, 8-10.
Sergio Robali Reporting