Holding a three-point lead after three quarters of play, Whitney High slowly pulled away in the fourth to defeat Ponderosa 59-51 to win the Gold Dust Tournament consolation trophy Saturday at El Dorado High School.
Less than 24 hours after the offense shot down Nevada Union for a second-round victory on their home court, the Bruins struggled from the field despite good looks. After hitting 10 three-pointers Friday, Ponderosa managed three against the Wildcats. Taylor Bybee, who bucketed 23 points against the Miners and was an all tournament selection, was held to three by Whitney. Travis Fisher tried to pick up the slack with a game-high 16, Zacc Williams added a dozen and Ryan Miles chipped in with nine but time after time the Bruins couldn’t hit the shot they needed. Free throw shooting also hampered Ponderosa which made only eight of 19.
“If we don’t shoot a reasonable percent from the field we’re going to struggle,” Bruin coach Andy Beal said. “Our energy players got into foul trouble and we let calls frustrate us instead of playing through it. We’d get a bucket and then some defensive energy but couldn’t sustain it. We had a lot of decent shots that just didn’t fall. Whitney did a good job finding their open shooters and their elbow threes killed us.”
Behind Fisher’s eight points and six by Miles, Ponderosa led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter. Miles had inside position for a follow shot that trimmed a five-point Wildcat lead to 28-25 at the halftime break.
Each team scored nine points in the third quarter, the Bruins led by four points from Chris Brown, before Whitney built an 11-point advantage with 2:24 left in the fourth. But Fisher went glass for two points, stole the ball and went in for another two before Griffin Fontana took Williams’ pass and sank a big corner three to get the Bruins within 49-45 with 1:34 left.
Ponderosa stayed within striking distance as Williams hit a clutch three with :34 to play but the ‘Cats held on from the free throw line. Cort Erickson’s pump-fake jumper from 15 feet came with nine ticks left and were the Bruins’ final points.