Hillmen fall, face waiting game
Mark Lee knew it would take a near-perfect performance for his Placer High boys to topple Foothill Tuesday night at Earl Crabbe Gym. The Hillmen weren’t quite perfect and the Mustangs were as good as advertised.
Foothill posted a 62-50 victory to finish 10-0 in the Pioneer Valley League. Placer (4-6 PVL, 16-10 overall) was left in limbo, needing some help to make the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff field.
“We gave them a run, but you can almost play a perfect game against them and not get a win,” Lee said. “I’m proud of them, I thought we played well. Now we just have to wait and see and hope we get to play again.”
The Mustangs overcame some serious foul trouble to down the Hillmen. Senior star Michael Bryson, who will play at UC Santa Barbara next year, picked up his third foul in the final minute of the first quarter. But Foothill didn’t flinch.
Placer never led in the game, but the Hillmen trailed by just two points after Alec Knox’s hoop inside late in the second quarter. The Mustangs answered with a quick 6-0 run to close the half and build a 30-22 lead.
Knox’s bucket early in the third quarter cut Foothill’s lead to 32-28 before the visitors mounted an 11-0 run that included a long 3-pointer from Bryson.
The Hillmen never surrendered, cutting the lead to eight on two occasions in the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t overcome Foothill’s relentless pressure and balanced offensive attack. Bryson and Douglas James scored 13 points apiece and Anthony Williams added 12.
Pineiro scored a game-high 19 and Knox added 12 to lead Placer.
“We thought we were prepared, we just didn’t have the best execution and we missed some shots that we could have made,” Pineiro said. “Every time we got close, they just hit a 3 and kept going.”
The Hillmen are hoping they can take the court for at least one more game this season. The postseason begins next Wednesday and Foothill will be the top seed in Division III. Placer began the week at No. 14 in the power ratings, but the loss means they’ll need the teams behind them or in front of them in the ratings to lose as well.
“We’re going to be nervous,” Pineiro said. “But we’re going to practice this week like we’re in and hopefully we make it.”
Lee noted the seniors on this year’s team had never posted a winning season in their high school careers.
“I’m proud of them for sticking with it,” Lee said of seniors Andy Riggs, Michaeal Wiebelhaus, D.J. Stiehl, Cedric King and Knox. “They persevered. The leadership of Riggs, Wiebelhaus and Knox was excellent and they’re all just quality kids. It’s been a lot of fun coaching them.”
Lincoln 75, Colfax 63 at Colfax – The Zebras clipped the Falcons in the season finale for both teams.
Junior Will Buell scored a game-high 27 points for Colfax, which finished 1-9 in the PVL and 10-17 overall. Senior Luke Beninga scored 17 in his final game as a Falcon.
Lincoln got 20 points from Kyle Lowe as it finished 4-6 in the PVL and 11-10 overall.