Placer boys fall at Center High; school was on lockdown

By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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ANTELOPE – On paper, it was supposed to be an easy win for Placer.
But with leading scorer Isaiah Pineiro playing nearly the entire game in foul trouble, the Placer boys basketball team was outsized and beaten on the road by Center 51-46 on Wednesday night.
The win for Center was the first in Pioneer Valley League this season and just the fifth this season for the Cougars (6-16, 1-5).
And the loss drops Placer (17-6, 4-2) into a two-way tie with Colfax for second place in the PVL behind one loss Lincoln.
Without Pineiro, who stands 6-foot-5 and is a strong presence near the basket for the Hillmen, Center was able to use a huge height advantage to jump out to a 28-18 halftime lead.
The Cougars play three post players throughout the game that all stand over 6-7. And the duo of Isaiah Jones (6-9) and Austin Hampton (6-7) combined for 26 points against an undersized-Placer team.
“It is tougher because it is harder for our shorter guys to match up against the bigger guys because they definitely a big advantage over us,” Placer senior Andrew Dahlin said. “Without Isaiah in there, it also brings down our tempo a little, too.
“It’s rough when he fouls out or gets in foul trouble.”
Despite trailing 43-31 going into the fourth quarter, Dahlin sparked a comeback by Placer, scoring nine consecutive points for the Hillmen, including two 3-pointers. And with a traditional three-point play by Pineiro, Placer reeled off a 14-0 run to start the fourth quarter and came within two at 45-43 with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game.
“In the fourth quarter, we brought a different tempo to the game,”
Dahlin said. “We came out strong and we knew it was a critical game in league.”
Pineiro fouled out with just 48 seconds left in the game and Center iced it with five free throws in the last 48 seconds of the game.
“Both teams came out strong,” Dahlin said. “We had a little bit of a comeback, but it unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to get them. They played good.”
Michael McNamera led Placer with 14 points, Pineiro scored 11 in limited minutes and Dahlin scored all nine of his points in the four minute stretch to start the fourth quarter.
Safety Concern
The game itself almost took a backseat to the drama outside of the gym as local police and Center High School administration put the school on lockdown during the game.
According to Twin Rivers Police Department, a parolee with an arrest warrant, who was believed to be armed, was seen on campus earlier in the evening as authorities took precaution with high school students in the stands and kept fans from exiting the game without a police escort.
At no time was play on the court interfered as school officials only asked that students without parents waiting in the parking lot to remain inside the gym until an adult arrived to take them home.
No other details of the suspect were given.