VEGAS INVITATIONAL: Hirsberg leads Mustangs back from double-digit deficit

The thought never crossed Gary Hannig’s mind.

Even as The Meadows boys basketball team continued to fall further behind in the first quarter Thursday, Hannig didn’t call a timeout to slow down Capistrano Valley Christian (Calif.).

“We have a veteran team,” the Mustangs’ coach said. “I knew they would battle to get there. I have confidence in this group. Once they started playing hard, I knew we’d be fine.”

Eric Hirsberg poured in 27 points, and The Meadows rallied from an early 16-point deficit to defeat Capistrano Valley Christian 66-58 in Pool C of the Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.

“We had a horrible start,” Hannig said. “We didn’t have much energy to start the game, and I don’t know why. The big thing is we played harder in the second and third quarters, and we didn’t turn the ball over as much.”

Capistrano Valley Christian, which features 6-foot-9-inch junior center Simon Okolue, went on an early 19-2 run and led 21-5 late in the first quarter. But The Meadows’ full-court pressure and fast-break offense eventually wore down the Eagles.

“We created some tempo, which is good for our team,” Hannig said.

The Mustangs (9-2) trailed 36-29 at halftime, but Hirsberg had 15 points in the second half, including 11 in the third quarter when they outscored Capistrano Valley Christian 19-8.

Hirsberg’s 3-pointer with 5:58 left in the third quarter put The Meadows on top 41-39, its first lead since 3-2 in the opening minute. His baseline floater over Okolue a minute later helped give the Mustangs a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Meadows pushed its lead to 60-49 midway through the final quarter, and Hirsberg’s bucket off an inbounds play with 40 seconds left gave the Mustangs a 64-56 advantage.

Hirsberg made five of the Mustangs’ seven 3-pointers. Brandon Rufty had eight of his 10 points in the second quarter to help The Meadows get back into the game.

Peter Abramsky led Capistrano Valley Christian with 18 points, and Kci Thompson added 14 points. Okolue had eight points for the Eagles, but he was held scoreless in the second half as The Meadows’ transition game rendered him ineffective.

“This is our third tournament, and we have two second-place finishes,” Hannig said. “We have high hopes for this team. If they come, compete and play hard, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”

Chadwick (Calif.) 68, Mountain View 52 — At Mountain View, Connor LeBoeuf paced the Saints with 11 points in the loss to the Dolphins in Pool B.

Travis Wallace added 10 points for Mountain View, which finished third in the pool and will meet Spring Mountain at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the ninth-place bracket.

Kevin Doi posted a game-high 17 points, and Cole Freeman had 13 points for Chadwick. Brennan Burrows chipped in with 10 points as the Dolphins outscored Mountain View 20-8 in the third quarter to stretch its lead to 53-34.

La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 58, Lake Mead 47 — At Mountain View, Drew Ramos and Dylan Graham each finished with 12 points as the Eagles lost to the Torreys in Pool D.

Elijah Pitman added 10 points for Lake Mead, which finished third in its pool and dropped into the ninth-place bracket. The Eagles play Capistrano Valley Christian (Calif.) at 5 p.m. Friday.

La Jolla Country Day’s trio of Christian Hayes, Josiah Esselstrom and Bruce Edwards combined for all but four of their team’s points.

Hayes finished with a game-high 20 points and made six of the Torreys’ eight 3-pointers. He had four 3-pointers in the first quarter when La Jolla Country Day jumped out to a 25-17 advantage.

Esselstrom notched 11 of his 18 points in the second half, and Edwards had 16 points, including 11 in the first half.

Buckley (Calif.) 70, Spring Mountain 20 — At Mountain View, Harlow Hawkins led the Golden Eagles with eight points in their loss to the Griffins in Pool A.

Astin Beal paced Buckley with 13 points, and Chase Holiday added 12 points. David Yona finished with 10 points for the Griffins, who led 47-10 at halftime and held Spring Mountain to only two points in the third quarter.

The game was played with a running clock for the majority of the second half.

Lutheran South Academy (Texas) 63, Mountain View 43 — At Mountain View, Tevin Gray finished with 11 points in the Saints’ loss to the Pioneers in Pool B.

Trenton Van Kempen chipped in with eight points for Mountain View, which was outscored 34-21 in the second half.

Jakobi Nunn had 12 of his 17 points in the first half for Lutheran South, which drained eight 3-pointers. Teammate Ivan Medina posted 11 points, including seven in the second half when the Pioneers pulled away.

Moapa Valley 62, Spring Mountain 39 — At Mountain View, Andrew Huerta had 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter, and the Pirates used a big second half to rout the Golden Eagles in Pool A.

Huerta made four 3-pointers in the third quarter as Moapa Valley went on a 21-5 run to take control. The Pirates, who made eight 3-pointers in all, outscored Spring Mountain 42-13 in the final two quarters.

Jeremy Waite had all nine of his points in the second half for Moapa Valley. Teammate Justin Hughes scored eight of his nine points in the first half.

Hawkins had 15 points, and Devonte Richey added 10 points for the Golden Eagles.

Tech 61, Lake Mead 48 — At Mountain View, Elias Peinado had 17 points, and Elijah Robertson scored 16 as the Roadrunners beat the Eagles in Pool D.

Peinado and Robertson each scored seven points in the first quarter, and Tech led 37-21 at halftime. Alfonso Sanchez-Guzman added 10 points for the Roadrunners.

Brendon LeBaron had 10 of his game-high 19 points in the second half for Lake Mead. Ramos chipped in with 13 points.

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