Vintage boys basketball head coach Rob Johnson had said winning can lead to more winning after the Crushers beat Pioneer on Friday.
He was proved right on Saturday as Vintage held off a talented Vallejo squad, 57-51. The win gave Vintage (2-2) a 2-1 record for the Wine Valley Tournament and fifth place.
Johnson was feeling good after 3-point bombing by Abrahan Cortes and David Fernandez – who led Vintage with 14 and 12 points, respectively – more than made up for Vallejo’s athleticism.
“Our 3-point shooting was awesome,” Johnson acknowledged. “Abrahan came in with a lot of energy, and we need that from him because he has that capability. Hopefully we can keep building on this momentum. It was a great team win and everybody played amazing. It was a happy locker room in there.”
Vintage set the tone early in this one when Max Phipps nailed a three from the top of the key for an early 3-1 lead. Vallejo (2-2) rattled the Crushers with its press and scooted to a 9-5 lead, but Fernandez rattled in another three to put the Crushers back in front at 10-9. The Red Hawks had the last word in the first quarter and left the court with an 18-14 lead.
But the second quarter would be all Vintage.
The Crushers came out hot with a 9-0 run. Jared Rendon nailed a 3-pointer from the corner, and Fernandez hit a trey from almost the same spot to put them back in front for good.
“Our plan was to take what they gave us,” said Johnson, “and when they packed in their zone, we found our spots and started knocking them down.”
Vallejo didn’t score until halfway through the quarter due to some tight Vintage defense. Fernandez buried another three late in the quarter, and Imani Lopez made a clever spinning shot to close it out, and the Crushers took a 30-25 lead to the locker room.
After the Red Hawks fought back to tie the game at 35 in the third quarter, Vintage went back to its long-range bombing and was rewarded when Rendon, Cortes and Fernandez all drilled 3-pointers to put the Crushers back in control. After three quarters, it was 45-38 Vintage.
Appropriately, it was another Fernandez three late in the fourth quarter that sealed the six-point victory for Vintage.
Johnson again credited his team’s long range-shooting after the victory.
“I have confidence in them to make those shots,” he said. “We’re a smart team. If they have a shot they feel confident in, then I say go ahead and knock it down.”
Rendon had eight points, Damian Alfaro scored seven, Hunter Gutierrez had five, Lopez and Phipps had four apiece, and Jakob Bittner rounded out the scoring with a free throw.
The Crushers next game is a rematch with the Pioneer Patriots (1-3) in Woodland on Tuesday, with a 7 p.m. tipoff.