Though the Half Moon Bay High School varsity boys basketball team was down big in the first half against University High School, the Cougars tightened up their play for the last two quarters. Ultimately, too many miscues on offense and fouls at the rim allowed University (9-5) to maintain their lead and beat Half Moon Bay (7-4), 53-48, on Saturday at the Cabrillo Event Center.
Cougar head coach John Parsons liked the way the team responded in the second half, but wished there are been more emphasis on and attention to detail up front.
“For us, it’s a mindset and sense of urgency with this team,” Parsons said. “They’re such introverted kids, and they’re very calm. Which is fine, but in a big game like that, we just needed more urgency.”
The Red Devils, who play in the Bay Counties West League, outscored the Cougars, 15-6, in the second quarter. Thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers and a 9-0 run, University took a 31-19 lead at halftime. But to the Cougars’ credit, they looked like a different team in the second half. The defense was sharper, as the Red Devils only made one 3-pointer in the second half.
Junior guard Mykola Ediger was productive on the offensive end in the second half. He finished with 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting and posted 11 in the fourth quarter alone. The game became much more competitive, and both teams had near-identical scoring in the last two quarters. Half Moon Bay scored 12, then 11, while University had 11 in both quarters.
“Mykola is a fantastic player,” Parsons said. ”In my opinion, he’ll be one of the best players to come through Half Moon Bay. He’s very intelligent, he’s got such good vision and he has some stuff you can’t teach.”
Both teams were in the bonus with over five minutes left to play. It slowed the pace of the game and helped the Red Devils maintain their lead. Half Moon Bay was down five with three minutes remaining. But a 3-pointer from Grant Lyon and multiple offensive rebounds by the Red Devils put the game out of reach.
Though the game was a tough loss, the Cougars proved they could win big games when it held Mountain View to nine, then five points, in the last two quarters of the championship game at the Aptos Tournament on the Santa Cruz Warriors’ home floor.
“That was a game where we were urgent on defense from the start,” Parsons explained. “We missed shots and it was a low-scoring game. Sometimes you’re going to miss shots and that’s fine, but defensively, a good team should be able to bring a defensive intensity and a defensive mindset to any game, and that’s what we’ve been searching for.”