Finn Whetstone, 24, drives to the basket during a 2nd half comeback to win against West Valley College, taking a share of the Cuesta Rabobank Tournament.
Photos by Alexander Bissell / Cuestonian
By Michael Baird & Asa Mason
The Cougars men’s basketball team won a share of the Rabobank Tournament.
The Cougars defeated College of Sequoias in the opening game of the tournament 65-54.
Cuesta was lead by the outstanding performances of Jorge Bueno and Nico Gonzalez who both lead the team with 17 points.
The cougars had a shaky start with it being their first game but after they got a few shots to fall they started to get their rhythm.
The clear advantage Cuesta had was the 3-pointer. The Cougars scored nine 3-pointers with four coming from Freshman guard Josh Wilson-Murray, compared to two 3-pointers for the visiting Giants according to the official game stats.
After the game head coach Rusty Blair felt optimistic about the team. “That was a good win for us.” said Blair.
“Last four or five years we haven’t played well in the beginning but I thought the pace of the game slowed down the nerves.” said Blair.
Cuesta lost the following game to West Hills 98-87.
The Falcons came out aggressive in the 1st half with pressure defense that put the Cougars offense out of sync.
On top of playing out of sync on offense the Cougars defense was not playing aggressive enough and not getting rebounds.
“There was no defense and we gave up easy shots,” according to Saunders.
The Cougars were hurt by 16 turnover that led to easy points for the Falcons.
The Cougars largest deficit was 24 points with 11 minutes remaining in the second half.
However the Cougars were able to cut the lead to 8 with 3 minutes left to play in the game.
One of the bright spots in the loss for the Cougars was Guard Noah Saunders who led the team with 25 points.
“We dug ourselves in a hole and were never able to overcome,” Guard Noah Saunders said.
The Cougars came back in the last game of the Tournament against West Valley to win share of Rabobank Tournament.
The Cougars from tip off began the game with an aggressive tempo.
The Vikings managed to counter the Cougars with aggressive defense and scoring with a high shooting percentage.
The Cougars finished the first half with a 11 point deficit due to sloppy passing, poor shooting and lack of offensive rebounds.
The Cougars offense was out of sync throughout the 1st half.
In the second half the Cougars were much more sound of defense and offensively shooting improved and the Cougars were able to shrink a 14 point Viking lead.
The Cougars were able to take the lead with two minutes to play in the game.
The 3-point shots were falling for the Cougars which was not the case in the first half.
Freshman Guard Rodrigo Majarin added 5 3-pointers in the second half to push the Cougars past the Vikings.
“Defensive intensity helped us create turnovers and our shots were falling which ended up giving us the win,” Saunders said.
“We played well as a team and with intensity throughout the Tournament,” Coach Casey Blair said.
“Being a young team it was nice to see everyone confident,” Saunders added, “We still have work to do.”
Cougars guard Noah Saunders was named tournament MVP.