ACTON — Vasquez High’s Omari Mathis said it’s a new year and his team is focused on the big picture, which is making the playoffs.
Despite only two wins on the season, the Mustangs have an opportunity to finish fourth in their league and earn a spot.
First thing’s first.
Vasquez had to begin a winning streak starting against Lancaster Baptist.
With the help of Mathis’ 26 points the journey began as the Mustangs had no problems with the Eagles with a 65-37 victory, Thursday night at Vasquez High.
“We started off the season not so well. Now we’re trying to start a new winning streak,” said Mathis. “Tonight we started with a lot of intensity, but then we got complacent. But this victory is good to begin our win streak.”
With the victory, the Mustangs (2-14, 2-6) remain only 1½ games behind Trinity Classical and Faith Baptist. Vasquez plays both of those teams later this season.
The Mustangs came out like a team possessed as they jumped out to a 15-0 run in the first 2½ minutes of the game. Thirteen of those 15 points came from Mathis (six) and Kylen Colfer (seven), which provided the 1-2 scoring punch for the Mustangs.
Colfer finished with 14 points in limited action after the game was beginning to get out of hand. Mathis scored half of his game-high points in the first quarter to help the Mustangs build a 26-2 lead after one.
Lancaster Baptist’s Josiah Conner temporarily put a Band-aid on the bleeding to stop the run with the Eagles’ only field goal of the quarter at 4:12.
“Hopefully we can win our remaining league games. It will give us a chance for the playoffs,” Mathis said. “We have to continue to run our sets and play solid defense. When we play these other teams we have to have the same confidence level.”
Lancaster Baptist, despite trailing the entire game, began to shoot better in the second quarter as it netted three 3-pointers in the quarter, including one each from Drew Whitman, Caleb Begg and Noel Flores. Still the Eagles trailed 39-13 at halftime.
“For many of our guys this is their first year playing organized basketball so I have focused on teaching fundamentals,” Lancaster Baptist head coach Sherrod Tibbs said. “But a lot of the guys have stepped up over the past few weeks. They never quit and they play hard. We’re going to do our best despite the score. We’re definitely growing as a team.”
Of their 11 players the Eagles sport three freshmen, four sophomores, three juniors and only one senior (Arik Ballesteros).
One of those freshmen, Whittman led his team with 16 points and drained three 3s. As a team, Lancaster Baptist netted seven 3-pointers on 7-of-31 from beyond the arc.
“Our coach drills us on fundamentals. Just because we’re losing doesn’t mean we can’t improve. We’re narrowing the gap in several games,” Whittman said. “There is always room to improve and hopefully we’ll be a better team next year. I see so much improvement in this team.”
Isaiah Calvin finished with 10 points for the Mustangs and teammate Brady Chikato added nine. Flores scored six points for the Eagles both off 3s and Begg and Mikey Halter each added five.
Vasquez’s next game is on the road against Trinity Classical Academy, the team that the Mustangs lost to at home earlier this season.