By Tommy Fellner //
Acalanes Men’s Basketball (1-2) lost a nail-biter to Hayward high school in the 5th place game at the Rob Vares Jr. Memorial Tournament, 50-47. Both teams met in the 5th place game following a win in the second round of the tournament. The Dons fell to Castro Valley and rebounded with a win against American to reach the 5th place game.
Both teams got out to a hot start, but Hayward took a slight edge, leading 14-13 at the conclsuion of the first quarter.
In an attempt to slow the game down, Hayward transitioned to a 1-3-1 zone, clogging up the middle of the court while still being able to apply pressure to the wings, but leaving the baseline open.
The defense worked just as it was intended and the Dons fumbled the ball and made risky passes leading to Hayward steals and fastbreaks. Acalanes still managed to hang in the game, trailing 28-22.
Hayward really opened things up after halftime. Going out on an explosive 9-0 run, Hayward built up a double digit lead.
Acalanes then decided to switch up their defense, going to a zone as well. It also worked and the Dons slowed down Hayward’s offense. The Dons went on a 9-2 run of their own and trailed 39-33 at the end of the third.
In the fourth the Dons tied it at 40, propelled by momentum swinging 3 pointers from senior Nico Brightbill. Brightbill scored 9 straight points for the Dons. Acalanes then took a 42-40 lead.
Hayward tied it back up at 47 and then took a two point lead.
The Dons had one final offensive possession but failed to convert and Hayward secured the rebound and the win. After some free throws the final score was 50-47, Hayward.
Alex Kinnear was the high scorer for the Dons with 24 points.
Acalanes next game is Wednesday the 9th against Hercules.