In their match-up on Friday, the Lincoln Mustangs nearly blew a lead over the Mission Bears that had been as large as 27 points. A late and valiant effort by the Bears brought the final score to 80-74, but this was mostly a one-sided game in which Lincoln took advantage of a struggling Mission offense.
Suiting up just nine bodies for the game, the Bears suffered from an extremely slow start, with a dismal 8-35 shooting performance in the first half. In addition, the Bears’ signature full-court press was not up to par, as the team forced only seven first-half turnovers. The score at the end of the half was 24-43.
At the beginning of the third frame, it seemed as though Lincoln was going to run away with an easy win when they went on a 6-0 run in the first minute, with three quick field goals in the paint. The rest of the quarter went badly for the Bears, as Lincoln pushed the deficit to a discouraging 27 points, with a 35-62 score at the end of the half.
But in the fourth quarter, the Mission offense woke up.
The Bears went on an 11-2 run in the first two minutes, but the crucial moments came from the four-minute mark to the two-minute mark, when the Bears went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead from 70-49 to 70-58. At the 1:13 point, when the score showed 74-60, the fans’ hands flew in the air.
The Bears went on a 14-4 run in one last attempt to climb out of the hole they had dug themselves, with guards Gione Edwards and Antoine Porter each nailing two three-point shots from as far as five feet beyond the arc.
Although the Bears made things exciting with their intensive defense and jaw-dropping three-point shooting, it was simply a matter of too little, too late. The Bears fell just short when Porter picked up his fifth foul seconds after he hit a 35-foot trey.
With just eight ticks left on the game clock at that point, the Bears could not secure any more plays to beat the horn.
“The tempo was crazy and that’s just normally how we play, but we got to figure out how to play like that for four quarters,” Mission’s head coach, Arnold Zelaya, said after the game in regards to the ridiculous 39-point fourth quarter.
“We got to get to work and we need everybody on the team to go hard, and good things will happen,” Zelaya said when asked how Mission would react to the loss.
This loss gives Mission a two-game losing streak, something that hasn’t happened since late December, during the preseason. The team’s record is now 17-10; their league record is 10-3.
The Bears hope to snap their two-game skid on Valentine’s Day, when they travel to take on the Balboa Buccaneers in Balboa territory. Tip-off is at 5:30.