Behind Dan Smith’s 25 points the El Dorado High boys basketball team took care of visiting Calaveras Monday 64-58 in its annual Foundation game.
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The scrappy Redskins, a team known for its ability to shoot three-pointers, had several chances to challenge the Cougars but couldn’t pull any closer than six through most of the game, and even with a late surge in the fourth, fell short by six.
After Calaveras scored first in the opening period, Smith started a 13-point El Dorado run with a trey from the top of the key. Joe Visman and Justin Morrison added two more baskets, but the Redskins cut the deficit in half with a pair of threes, 16-8, and got within seven with another bucket before Nick Jemmot’s free throw ended the quarter with the Cougars up 17-10.
El Dorado dominated the boards with 14 rebounds in the first quarter but let down in the second, managing just five. Still the Cougars outscored Calaveras 18-13 to take a healthy 35-23 advantage into the break. Kenny Headd sunk a freebie, Visman and David Cochran combined on a theft and Visman took it in from half court for two, Smith made a pair of free throws and Cocharan’s spinning layup had the Cougars up by 10.
Smith landed a wing three, Visman scored on a reverse and Cochran’s putback kept the pressure on Calaveras. Headd pulled down a rebound and put it in, and after Morrison was fouled on his steal and drive to the hoop, he buried a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to cap the first half scoring.
El Dorado went up by 13 in the first minute of the second half but Calaveras answered with back-to-back-to back treys to get within six, 40-34. The Cougars clamped down defensively to regain momentum and after Cochran intercepted a pass, Morrison spotted up for a three. He and Headd were both fouled scrambling for rebounds and made two-of three from the line and Jemmot’s layup answered a Calaveras three, sending the teams into the fourth quarter with El Dorado on top 52-39.
The Cougars extended their lead to 15 with Smith’s two free throws before Calaveras went on a seven-point run to get back in the game. Visman went baseline for two and Smith scored two on a one-and-one to offset five Redskin points. Smith’s follow shot and second basket, and Cochran’s banker accounted for the final Cougar points — enough to hold off the Redskins, who scored eight in the last two minutes.
“We had an off night shot-wise but we played some great defense,” Cougar coach Allen McCoy said.
Joining Smith in double figures were Visman with 12 and Morrison with 10. Cochran scored nine. Calaveras was led by Gino Alberts with 16, Garrett Cline with 11, and Greg Baker with 10.
After an away game with Antelope Tuesday, the Cougars gear up to defend their Gold Dust title this week. El Dorado opens Thursday at home at 7 p.m. against Whitney. Games are played the first two nights at both El Dorado and Ponderosa. The Bruins take on Colfax in their new gymnasium Thursday at 7. The tournament wraps up Saturday at El Dorado. Log onto mtdemocrat.com to see the full schedule.