By Bill Tamburrino
Coach David Reichner’s Bulldogs opened Valley League play with laughter and a game that brought tears to the eyes of the Bulldog faithful.
Ramona beat Mission Vista (4-8, 0-2) in a game that was decided in the first minutes, and lost to Oceanside (6-13, 1-1) at the buzzer as the Bulldogs finished the first week of Valley League play with a 1-1 record. Both games were in the Dawg House. The boys team is 7-10 on the season.
The Bulldogs started off against Mission Vista with an 11-4 run and never looked back as they coasted to a 73-35 victory.
Matt Lawler paced the Dawgs by posting a double-double as he scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to go with his four assists and two steals.
Scott Stransky led all scorers with 16 points and Zach White also scored in double digits with 13 points in a game where everyone played and everyone scored. Ryan Heiar (8), Riley Hubbard (4), Marco Cobian (6), Dylan Fieger (9), Davis Windes (3), and Alex Rogers (2) all scored.
Reichner was pleased with the way the Dawgs kept improving as the game progressed.
“In the first quarter our defense was lacking communication and we missed plenty of lay-ups. We came out in the second half and executed our offense better and increased the level of play on defense,” he said.
The Oceanside game was a hard fought battle from the opening tip off. The lead changed 13 times and was tied seven times before the Pirates stole the game 50-49.
The Dawgs only trailed once in the first quarter and led 13-9 after eight minutes. Oceanside battled back and only trailed by one, 26-25, at intermission. The Pirates took the lead after three periods and led 38-36 going into the last period.
Ramona tied the game at 40 and at 42, and then took what appeared to be a winning margin as the Dawgs built a 49-44 lead with 10 seconds left, when Oceanside hit a desperation 3-point shot. Ramona had the ball under the Pirate basket but could not inbound the ball and the Pirates got the ball back under their own basket. The Pirates got the ball to Tofi Pao Pao and the 6-foot-3-inch power forward scored from under the bucket to tie the game and drew a foul on the play. Pao Pao went to the line with the game tied at 49 and hit the free throw after answering taunts from the Bulldog fans with taunts of his own.
Ramona successfully inbounded the ball and Alex Rogers drove the length of the court and put up a last second 3-point shot that did not go in. It was the second time in two weeks that Ramona lost by one on its home court.
The stats for the Bulldogs were ironic. Ramona shot 80 percent from beyond the 3-point line but could only hit 32 percent from 2-point range and shot a dismal 48 percent (13 for 27) from the free throw line. Reichner pointed out other stats that were key in the Dawgs 1 point loss.
“Only six turnovers in the first half and 17 in the second half, 11 assists and 23 turnovers and lose by one,” he said. Reichner also pointed out that Oceanside had 20 offensive rebounds (Ramona had seven).
Stransky and Rogers both scored in double figures. Stransky had 12 points and Rogers scored 11. White (7), Heiar (9), Cobian (5), Fieger (2), Windes (1), and Lawler also scored for the Dawgs.
Heiar led the Dawgs with nine boards and Lawler had six rebounds. Cobian had three assists, two blocked shots, and a steal. White led the Dawgs with three steals.
The Dawgs remain at home this week with games against Valley Center and Del Norte. The Dawgs play Friday at 7 p.m.