By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
WOODLAKE – The Lindsay Cardinals put their 10-game losing streak behind them at the turn of the calendar year, and began 2019 with a win. Lindsay defeated the Woodlake Tigers in a shootout 81-72 on Thursday, Jan. 3.
“It’s been tough this last couple weeks,” Lindsay head coach Frank Morin said. “But the joy that they need to have when they play, I actually saw that today.”
Neither the Cardinals (3-13, 1-0) nor the Tigers (5-12, 0-2) were able to put much separation between each other in the first half. There were only three lead changes, but each time a team showed signs of building a significant lead the other closed the deficit. The Tigers held a slim 40-37 lead at the break.
Morin switched up Lindsay’s defense to the full-court press in the third and that seemed to increase the tempo of the game to a speed the Cardinals were used to. It resulted in a couple baskets which tied up the game at 48-48, but halfway through the pressure, presented Lindsay with a golden opportunity to take a commanding lead.
Woodlake’s Hector Magana had single handedly gotten the Tigers back into the contest multiple times already. Then he committed his third foul. New Woodlake head coach Joel Chavez had no choice but to sit his leading scorer, or losing him for the rest of the game.
“He is a scorer and that is what he does best,” Chavez said. “It did hurt us, but it should give some of these younger players a chance to step up.”
With Magana on the bench, Lindsay went on a 20-6 run the rest of the quarter, building up a 66-56 lead at the end of the quarter.
Julian Avalos played a big part with his aggressive play driving to and underneath the basket. He even got a steal with a minute left and drove it down the court for a layup. He finished with nine points.
“Julian is really gritty, and sometimes that goes against him,” Morin said. “But Julian answered the call when we need him tonight.”
By the time Magana returned to the court with 37 seconds left there was little he could do to try and salvage the third quarter. He did score nine points in the fourth, all from the free throw line, but it was too little too late. Woodlake was only able to close the deficit to eight points twice in the final frame.
Although, Woodlake suffered their fourth loss in a row there is a silver lining for Magana. His 37 points is a season high for him, and the second time he has scored over 30 points in a single game.
Issac Munoz led the Cardinals in scoring with 24 points.
Lindsay will need to have another high scoring game tonight against the Corcoran Panthers at 7:30 p.m.
Woodlake will play the middle game of a three game homestand tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 9, against the Strathmore Spartans at 7:30 p.m.