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Widefield boys go old school to beat Sierra, snap long streak
On a night when Widefield honored the achievements of three of its former coaches, the Gladiators took a page out of the past with an old-school defense that helped them break a long streak against league rival Sierra.
Anthony Saunders and Jordan Guyette scored 11 points apiece and Alan Herndon added nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks, as Widefield (10-5 overall, 4-2 4A Metro) held Sierra scoreless for the final 2:17 and pulled away for a 45-36 victory. It was the Gladiators’ first win over Sierra since Feb. 2, 2008, and the first for fourth-year coach Brent Garretson.
It also snapped an eight-game winning streak for Sierra (10-5, 5-1).
“We ran a diamond-and-one and a triangle-and-two zones, very old school,” Garretson said. “Those other coaches know about it. We just worked hard to take their shooters out of the game and didn’t give them very many open looks.”
Before the game, the Widefield public address announcer read off the accomplishments of Gerald Gerber, who coached the first group of Gladiators in 1958-59 before the original gym was completed, as well as Ray Sanchez (1979-92) and Mark Munoz (1993-2008).
The players exchanged handshakes with Sanchez and Munoz; illness kept the 85-year-old Gerber from attending. Seeing the 1985 state championship trophy must have fired up the home team, too.
“That’s all of our dreams and goals,” Saunders said. “We’ve got to come out working if we want it. If that’s what it takes to get us fired up, we've got to do that.”
Herndon, who missed five of six shots in the first half, hit a short jumper from the right side of the lane that broke a 28-28 tie with 6:30 left in the game. After that, Widefield outscored Sierra 15-8 the rest of the way.
“I thought our defense was pretty good,” Stallions second-year coach Terry Dunn said. "We just weren’t making shots. We didn’t get a lot from our interior guys, and that put more pressure on our shooters from the perimeter.”
Tytus Winters, a senior, led Sierra with 13 points, 10 in the second half. Sophomore KeAndre’ Lewis scored all eight of his points in the first half, when the Stallions built a four-point lead in the first quarter and a 20-15 advantage late in the first half.
Herndon, Damian Chatman and Saunders scored consecutive baskets in the first 2:10 of the third quarter, as Widefield turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 24-20 lead. Winters added a 3-pointer from the left corner and hit one of three at the free-throw line to tie the game at 24.
Dominic Howard scored on a layup on a nice inbounds pass from Saunders, then added a driving layup through the lane to once again put the Gladiators ahead by four. But Sierra answered with four straight points, including Michael Jordon’s high bank shot that made it 28-28 with 7:36 left in the game.
Then, Widefield turned on the defense.
“We had to keep our intensity up,” Guyette said. “In our last game against Wasson, we gave up. We knew we couldn’t do that against a team like Sierra.”