Windsor High School’s twin trees, Justin and Riley Smith, proved one too many for Casa Grande to handle last week in the Casa gym, leading the Jaguars to a 69-57 win over the Gauchos in the first North Bay League game of the season for both teams.
It was Riley who applied the biggest hurt to Casa Grande, scoring 24 points. His brother, Justin, added 16, and both joined Travis Carlozzi to give Windsor almost complete control in the paint. Although official heights for Windsor players are not listed, the Smiths tower at least 6-6 and Carlozzi is an inch or two taller. It was just too much for the Gauchos to overcome.
“They are two very talented big guys who are also able to step outside and make 3’s,” Casa coach Jake Lee said. “You have to look for ways to stop the other guys.”
Windsor got enough out of “the other guys” to hold off the Gauchos.
Casa Grande had one of its best point productions of the season. “I was happy with our ball movement,” Lee said. “We had a lot of assists.”
The Gauchos also shot well from the outside, hiting 10 shots from beyond the arc.
Casa Grande (3-11), as it has done all too often this season, got off to slow start, missing everything it threw up in the first three minutes as the Jaguars zipped off to a 10-0 lead.
The Gauchos began to unlimber their shootin’ arms in the second period and, led by treys from Josh Jovick, Vikram Singh and Ian Cerruti, tied it at 27-27 at halftime.
A 3-point bomb from Frank Gawronski put the Gauchos in front by five (32-27) midway through the third period.
It looked like Casa Grande might really take control of the contest, but then the Gauchos hit one of those inexplicable dry spells that have proven so costly over the course of their season.
During the final four minutes of the third period, Windsor outscored the home side, 19-2. The Smith brothers each tallied seven points during the run, and each connected on a 3-pointer.
By the time the final quarter dawned, Casa Grande was behind, 51-36.
The Gauchos tried manfully to get back into contention, forcing Windsor to keep the Smiths and their main helpers in the game until the end, and moving to within seven at one point before time brought the game to its conclusion.
Casa Grande’s fourth-quarter charge was fueled by a flurry of threes, with Singh (twice), Patrick Brodsky and Noah Bailey all hitting from beyond the arc.
Casa fouled in the waning seconds, but Carlozzi and Kobe Roman hit four straight charities to swell the Windsor win margin back to 12.
Sophomore Bailey had a big game for the Gauchos with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists. Singh added 11 points. Jovick had 10 off the bench.
The Casa Grande junior varsity kept rolling, beating the Windsor JVs, 55-31.
Casa Grande continued to play well without a reward on Friday, losing a heart-hurting game at Maria Carrillo, 50-48.
“It was a back and forth game all the way,” Lee said.
“We made a mistake at the end. We went for a steal, missed, they got the ball to their big guy for a dunk and the game was over. We played well. I was pleased that we limited our turnovers. We are definitely taking steps in the right direction. We’re playing 80 percent of a full game, now we just have to figure out to play that other 20 percent.”