The Bears scored more than 100 points for the first time this season, beating the Burton Pumas 103-87 in the first round of the playoffs. Reminiscent of their Jan. 24 match, the Bears held a comfortable lead until the fourth quarter, when the Pumas rallied and provided a scare, but ultimately could not catch up.
“Straight energy, we just kept it going with that playoff energy. That’s all it is,” senior Shaq Fisher said of his last game in Mission High’s gym.
The second quarter ultimately decided the contest, when Mission caught fire to score 35 points — just four points shy of their season high of 39 points in one quarter. With a 57-34 lead at the half, the Bears pushed toward their largest lead of the game, 30 points (69-39 at the 5:07 mark of the third). It seemed the Mission High team was strolling to the next round of the playoffs.
But the Pumas weren’t going down without a fight, and went on a 21-9 run in a span of four minutes to cut the bulky lead to 13 points with just 2:36 left in the game. But this was the closest Burton came, as the Bears nailed their free throws and some late-game buckets to clinch the victory.
“We kept the pace of the game where we wanted it. We played fast and we defended really well in the first half, not so much in the second half,” said Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya.
The Bears were carried by the play of a quartet consisting of junior Antione Porter and seniors Gione Edwards, Miles Prescott and Shaq Fisher. Porter facilitated the night’s high-octane offense with 11 assists to go along with 18 points. Edwards pushed his double-digit streak to seven games as he went for 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Prescott played the floor game, scoring 15 points, dishing out five assists, grabbing eight rebounds and collecting seven steals. Fisher pulled down 10 rebounds and had 16 first-quarter points that set the tone for the game. Fisher finished the contest with the game high, which matches his jersey number, 22.
The Bears will take on the Lowell Cardinals on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in Kezar Pavilion. The two teams will battle for a spot in the AAA finals on Friday, March 2.
“We’re just going to play our game, fast and full-court,” Zelaya said calmly as he headed to the locker room.
Before leaving the Mission High gym on Friday, an enthusiastic Shaq Fisher said, “We’re ready for Kezar.”