BASKETBALL: Cardinals crush rival Spartans

The Lindsay Cardinals defeat the Strathmore Spartans for the second time this season

STRATHMORE – The Lindsay Cardinals beat the Strathmore Spartans 50-35 in their second meeting this season.

The Lindsay Cardinals traveled down the road to play their rivals the Strathmore Spartans for the second time this season and brought home a win. With aggressive offensive play and impeccable teamwork, the Cardinals beat the Spartans 50-35. It was only a few points short of matching their score of 57-34 from earlier this season.

“It’s always an emotional game when we play them,” Lindsay head coach Frank Morin said. “It’s awesome because you see the growth through the game over the years. It’s just a fun game.”

Two years ago, Lindsay lost both games against Strathmore. Last season they lost the first one and won the second. This year, they’ve beaten the Spartans twice. As students graduate and more students come in, teams shift over the years and rivalries like the one between Lindsay and Strathmore tend to go back and forth.

This year the Cardinals have an experienced team of mostly upperclassmen and a large bench to sub players in and out. On the other side of the court, the Spartans are made up of mostly underclassmen, freshmen and sophomores who are still developing as high school players. They have a promising bench, but struggled to compete against an experienced Lindsay team in a rivalry environment.

“Out of our nine guys that we have, only one of them has played in this environment,” Strathmore head coach Israel Valdez said. “The noise level changes a lot. We did a few things to try and get ready for this environment and it worked a little bit, but in terms of executing it, it wasn’t there.”

Strathmore’s gym was packed with Strathmore fans around most of the court along with a sizable cheering section for the visiting Cardinals, who weren’t shy about heckling the home team. Between the pressure from the fans and the intensity of the rivalry, the Spartans fell behind in the first quarter and never caught up.

The Cardinals were aggressive on the offense. Their strategy was crisp passing. Senior Sebastian Madrigal led the offense, making passes under the Spartan defense or dribbling his way right through the center. Senior Mark Sobrepena made some impressive plays as well. On one he drew the defense underneath the net by dribbling through the center before ducking back outside for a wide open three-point shot.

“I thought it was a pretty good collective team effort,” Morin said. “Usually we have some high fliers but today we shared the ball really well.”

The scoresheet reflects Morin’s assessment. Sobrepeno had the most points simply because he favored shooting from the outside, but seniors Carlos Ruelas and Bryan Valenzula had nine and eight points respectively. Only six players on the roster recorded points, but they made those points with huge assistance from their teammates feeding them the ball and managing the Spartan defense.

The Cardinals are now 2-3 as they begin to tackle the second round of league play, putting them squarely in fourth in the East Sequoia League. But they now only have to get through teams they’ve already faced once, so they have experience to draw from.

“We’ve been struggling the last couple of games,” Morin said. “Hopefully today was the start of something good going into the next round of league. We’re hoping we continue to grow in the right direction.”

The Lindsay Cardinals will face the Orosi Cardinals on Jan. 30. The Strathmore Spartans will take a short break from league play and face the Paso Robles Bearcats on Jan. 28.

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