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For Placer men, a hoops triumph

By: Trevor Horn, Special to the Journal
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This was not a game Isaiah Pineiro planned on being a part of. 
 
After the Placer football team’s season fell short of the section title hopes they were looking for, Pineiro put away his cleats and picked up right where he left off — leading the boys’ basketball team to a 65-57 victory in the Foundation Game against Roseville on Monday night at Earl Crabbe Gym.
 
“It feels good to be back with the basketball team,” Pineiro said. “(The football season) was a little shorter than expected, but it feels good to be back and start off with a win.”
 
Pineiro finished with 16 points and used his size and power to find open lanes on long passes down the court that resembled his days grabbing interceptions on the football field.
 
“He does a great job for us and he is one of our leaders,” head coach Mark Lee said. “He steps up and communicates well and he is a competitor.”
 
After going into the half up 34-30, Placer saw the lead evaporate into a 47-42 deficit to end the third quarter as Roseville went on a 17-2, capped off by a running jumper by Matt Tawlks as time expired. 
 
But the Hillmen stormed back Monday.
 
Led by Pineiro and junior Jordan Tucker, the pair scored seven points apiece to fuel a 15-7 fourth quarter and seal the victory for Placer. 
Tucker, who looks more apt to play football with his bulky frame, let loose a corner three-pointer to give Placer a 61-57 lead with 33 seconds to play. 
 
“That was really clutch, he is one of our best shooters and I think it helps with his confidence a lot,” Pineiro said. 
 
Peter Kean lead Placer with 17 points. Michael McNamara also chipped in 13 as four Hillmen scored in double figures. 
Bryce Crouch and Daniel Rios led Roseville with 17 points and Marcus Garcia scored 13.
 
Placer opens the regular season in the Harlan Carter Tournament this weekend with a little momentum with this win.
 
“It is a confidence builder,” Lee said. “We played terrible at times. We just couldn’t play catch, but we came through on the (rebounds) in the fourth quarter and limited them to one shot. A little bit of opening night jitters for us, but I think we will be fine down the road.”