This was a different team than what we faced in San Ramon a month ago. They have since added Daniel Simmons and Kay Martinez, two of the best basketball players in Costa Rica. San Ramon now has a solid playing rotation that can easily go nine deep and can mix and match all different sorts of lineups. They also posses the best front court duo in the country with Simmons and the imposing Jefney Anderson; you have to account for them at all times which creates plenty of space for their wings.
We knew this would be our toughest test since the Barva game.
The first quarter was high scoring. San Ramon was sharp from the three point line early, particularly Dominican Ripool, while we were able to score inside against San Ramon's big frontline. We were able to break out a six point lead at the end of the quarter 24-18. The second quarter was more of the same as both teams relied on their depth; our bench played very well in that stretch, stretching out the lead to 8 going into halftime.
Then the third quarter rolled around. A very determined San Ramon team hit the offensive glass and converted easy baskets, chipping away at our lead. David Carnegie got called for his third and fourth in a two minute stretch early in the third quarter sending him to the bench. San Ramon came all the way back and flipped the score 55-54, setting up a photo
The fourth quarter was like boxing match. Both teams landed punches, but neither could put the other one away. San Ramon went up by four, we would tie it up. We would go up by three and San Ramon would tie it up. With about three minutes to go we were able to get some defensive stops and build a four point lead. With under two minutes to go, we were able to get a steal but somehow squandered a 3 on 1 break that would have likely been the knockout blow. San Ramon got a late stop and got a key basket from Daniel Simmons to get the lead down to 2. We came down and missed, giving San Ramon a chance to tie with less than 20 seconds to go. Our defense, which had been pretty good all quarter, was able to force San Ramon into a tough shot. The ensuing rebound bounced around for an eternity, neither team being able to control before it went out of bound (off us apparently). With 0.8 seconds to go, San Ramon had one last try for a tap-in, but Carnegie was able to tap out the ball for the win.
- Neil missed the game so I was back in the first seat on the bench. It was a fun game of coaching chess, going head to head with Coach Erickson for San Ramon. I suspect we have a lot of the same underlying assumptions about the game (opinions on Austin River aside).
- The game was poorly officiated for both sides. Tapped balls got called for the wrong side. Uncalled charges. Quick eight second calls. Weakside ref making calls out of position. The strange thing is that we had two of the better refs in the league manning the game; they just had a bad game, I guess. I wonder if the refs look at the game tape to improve on their mistakes.
- Dave Millinier was an iron man last night. Between Dixon's injury and Carnegie's foul trouble we had to lean on him for more minutes than usual (I'm guessing about 37 minutes) against a very tough frontline.
- Henry Martinez saw his first game action for us last night, providing some needed offense off the bench. His brother Kay plays for San Ramon. It must be weird going against your brother in a game like this.
- Pablo Echeverria had a very solid game off the bench for us, easily his best game this season. As our star Sub-21 player he comes under a lot of pressure to perform. San Ramon is blessed with two of the league's best young players, the Gabelo brothers (sons of Costa Rica goalkeeper legend Luis Gabelo Conejo), but Pablo answered the call and played well in this key game.