Casa Grande High School's Gauchos concluded a challenging week with a successful, although losing performance against College Park's high-flying Falcons from Pleasant Hill Saturday night.
After opening the season with impressive wins over San Marin, 72-66, and Vintage, 68-40, earlier in the week, the Gauchos stepped up in competitive class big time against the Falcons, who shot (and hit) from downtown, uptown and midtown.
The Falcons canned 10 shots from 3-point country to outlast the Gauchos, 76-68.
Casa Grande coach James Forni was impressed with the Falcons and pleased with his Gauchos.
"They can knock down the 3s," he observed. "They are young, but they are well coached, and they play great pressure defense.
"I was pleased with our team. If you would have told me we would have four players score in double digits and still lose, I wouldn't have believed it.
"We missed some opportunities, but we competed. It was like a pre-season playoff game."
The double digit scorers for Casa Grande were Cetrick Yeanay with 20, along with three assists and three steals; Jon Christy with 15, along with six rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals; Aaron Dal Poggetto with 13 and Kyle Kaupe with 11, plus nine rebounds and four assists. All that, along with eight points and strong defense from Jake Ielmorini still weren't enough against the talented Falcons.
Leading the saturation bombing assault for College Park with Kevin Crosner with 19 points including four 3s and Mikey Eggelton with 18 points, including three 3s.
The game started hot and got hotter.
The teams raced back and forth at a furious pace early, with Casa Grande slipping in front, 16-15, at the end of round one. Half the Gaucho points came from Dal Poggetto, who came firing off the bench with two 3-point connections and a long 2-pointer.
The torrid pace continued in the second quarter. At one point, Casa Grande had a run of seven straight on baskets by Yeanay (two) and Ielmorini and a free throw by Brycen Poarch.
College Park immediately countered with seven of its own and so it went.
Casa Grande got back-to-back 3-point hits from Ielmorini and Dal Poggetto just before the midpoint buzzer for a 38-32 intermission lead.
The Gaucho advantage dissolved during a cold third quarter, but they were still very much in the game, trailing just 55-53 entering the final period.
The game was decided right at the outset of the fourth quarter, when College Park rolled off eight straight points for a 62-53 advantage that proved too difficult for Casa to overcome.
Yeanay tried to lift the Gauchos in the late going, scoring their last eight points.