By Tom Bequette, Staff Writer
// The Acalanes Varsity men’s basketball team (13-6,1-4 DFAL) came back from a twelve-point deficit to stun College Park 69-62 in front of a raucous home crowd Friday night.
The Dons came into the game in desperate need of a win as they were riding a five-game skid, including getting blown out by Campolindo 78-35 Jan 17. The team was also searching for their first win in the ever-tough Diablo Athletic League (DAL).
Early on, it seemed that Acalanes would have to search elsewhere for their first DAL win as the Dons offense stumbled out of the gate, and College Park’s explosive transition offense helped the Falcons race out to a 17-9 lead.
Luckily, sharpshooting juniors Scott Ruegg and Jackson Aris-Dumas were able to provide a spark for the Dons, with some clutch shots from the pair keeping the Dons in the game for much of the first half. A pull-up three from Ruegg and a quick layup from junior Joey Carrillo with 4:39 left in the first half was able to give the Dons their first lead of the game, 23-21.
College Park answered with a run of their own by raining three consecutive three’s on the Dons during a devastating 15-3 run to end the first half and putting the Falcons up 36-26 at the break.
“We did feel a little frustrated after finishing the half like that, but we really believe that we can come back from any deficit so we were still pretty hyped up at half,” Carrillo said. “Plus our coaches got us in a good place mentally for the second half.”
Whatever the coaches said at halftime seemed to work, as the Dons pounced on College Park and erased the halftime deficit to tie the game at 50 apiece heading into the fourth. The comeback was fueled by senior Aidan Bodner’s physical post-work and the Dons unrelenting defense was able to snatch four consecutive steals at one point.
Graham Smith scored five consecutive points for the Dons to put them up 55-50 early in the fourth quarter.
The DAL competitors then proceeded to exchange buckets for much of the fourth until with 1:40 left in the game Ruegg rose above his defender and converted an impressive jumper to give the Dons a 64-60 cushion.
College Park quickly responded with a two free throws, leaving the Dons with a two-point lead and the ball with only 66 seconds remaining in the game.
Aris-Dumas was able to hold the ball for the Dons until there was only about 33 seconds left in the game and with 5 seconds on the shot clock he calmly dribbled up to the top of the key and knocked down a three-pointer right in his defenders face to give the Dons a 67-62 lead and send the Acalanes cheering section into a wild frenzy.
The Dons were then able to get a stop on the other end and put the game on ice, ultimately winning the game 69-62.
Dumas and Carrillo led the way scoring-wise for the Dons with 18 points each while Ruegg added 12 of his own.
The Dons will look to capitalize on their momentum when they go toe to toe with Las Lomas at home on Monday night.
“Hey fun game, fun crowd and a fun comeback, what else do you want from a Friday,” Carrillo said.