In typical Mission fashion, the Bears executed a strong defense on Tuesday to cruise to the end of the season with an 88-67 victory over the Washington Eagles. Forcing 29 turnovers, the swarming Mission defense kept pressure on the Washington ball handlers, giving themselves numerous fast-break opportunities.
“We were unselfish today and we played defense and we got the running game going,” Mission’s head coach, Arnold Zelaya, said moments after the game.
“That’s what it’s all about — Mission basketball,” he added as he stacked chairs in the Mission locker room.
In the early segments of the contest, the squads were evenly matched. Although turning over the ball 12 times in the first frame alone, Washington was able to take advantage of a Mission offense that struggled early on.
In the second and third quarters, the Bears found their offensive rhythm, outscoring Washington 26-18 in the second and 23-18 in the third for a 64-52 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
In the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, the Bears had a 14-3 run, giving Mission a 20-point advantage. The Eagles were unable to catch up as they emptied their bench with the clock at 3:27. The rest of the contest was simply a time for padding stats.
The Bears were led by the aggressive Gione Edwards, who had a staggering game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guards Antione Porter and Kevin Murray each had 13 points.
“It’s just another win,” Zelaya said. “It guarantees us a home game and the crowd. Now we start playing do or die.”
This season-finale victory puts Mission’s overall record at 20-10. Their 13-3 league record at the end of the regular season gives the Bears the home-court advantage for Friday’s AAA playoff game, when their opponent will be the Burton Pumas.
Friday will be Mission’s final home game before the AAA basketball season goes to Kezar Pavillion to crown the top-ranked SFUSD school.