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Rough Riders Lose Playoff Game In Overtime

Riders Moved Into Div. 1 For CIF/L.A. City Section Playoffs

(East Los Angeles/Boyle Heights) February 25, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Roosevelt Rough Riders Boys basketball team lost a close first round Division-1 CIF/L.A. City Section (LACS) playoff game to the visiting and 9th seeded, Granada Hills Charter “Highlanders”  last Wednesday, 2/16, by the score of (65-61) in Overtime. The Riders ended their season with a (23-6) overall record and were Co-Champions of the Eastern League with the South East Jaguars, who also made the Division 1 playoffs. Both schools were (11-1) in league play.

[Game Summary]: {1st QtrBoth teams struggled to find their offensive rhythms in the period, allowing their team defenses to keep the scoring at a low level. The early scoring leaders in the game were SR/F-C/#21 Joshua Rodriguez who had (6) points and PG/JJ Gomez who hit a 3-pointerAt the end of the 1st quarter it was Highlanders  13, Rough Riders  11.


 {2nd Qtr}  Shooting averages for both squads was low, resulting in another low-scoring period. The Riders did manage to see their stalwart player, #3/Johnathan “JJ” Gomez begin to find his range as he tallied (5) points, that came on a 3-pointer and a field goal. Romeo Avila chipped in with (3) free throws. The score at half-time was Granada Hills Charter 21, Roosevelt  19.

{3rd Qtr} The Riders pulled ahead by a score of (38-36) at the end of the period. It was a battle that went back and forth with several lead changes and concluded with the Shot of the Game, when “JJ” Gomez hit a tremendous “buzzer-beating” 48 foot (3/4 court) shot, that gave them the lead back. This period saw the Riders equal their first half total with 19 points.

 {4th Qtr} Roosevelt took apart control of the game at the (6:00) minute mark when it hit a short “hot streak” and increased its lead to (9) points at (47-38). This period was basically played at a very swift “windshield-wiper” pace due to the intensive and passionate play, with players missing key “1 & 1” free throw attempts, diving for loose balls onto the floor, to tempers flaring on hard fouls assessed to each team’s defense. Again, it all came down to hard core basics—-protecting the ball, scoring at critical times, and avoiding all costly turnovers. The Riders were impacted by a rough time of mistakes leading to the (2:00) minute mark that included all of the above. The game ended in regulation with a (55-55) tie. Key 3-pointers were made by Keven Lopez and Romeo Avila that produced the earlier (9) point Riders lead in the period.

{Over-Time} Without the benefit of an official Public Address (PA) announcer, the fans in attendance were not aware of a critical game situation “Technical Foul” that was called against the Rough Riders at the end of regulation play. Due to that major infraction, the Highlanders were awarded two Technical Free Throws to start the (4:00) minute Overtime period. In addition to the pair of successful free throws, Granada Hills Charter was given possession to start the period. They then started the Overtime period with a (57-55) lead.

This unexpected but huge momentum change favored the visitors, and they went on to outscore the Riders by a (10-6) advantage, capitalizing on making their free throws at clutch times to seal the victory. Leading the Highlanders to their upset win were Guard/Ashton Eckert (18 points) and Forward/Noah Ramirez with (16 points). For the Riders, “JJ” Gomez [4 -3 pointers] finished with (21), Joshua Rodriguez had (14), while Keven Lopez and Romeo Avila each had (10) apiece, and Joe Garcia added (6).

It was a bitter loss for the 8th seeded Riders who played well enough to win if only one of their following game statistics had been kept to a minimum. We speak of turnovers, shooting percentage, free throwing, and a crucial technical foul which was administered to them at the end of regulation. But to the contrary, all were definitely factors that impacted the team for most of the game and on into the four minute Overtime period.


(Forecast for Next Season): While this year’s team was heavily loaded with Seniors, next year’s team will have just a few returners from this team, some players moving up from the JVs, but Riders’ Head Coach, Manny Medina, will certainly be looking to welcome transfers onto the campus just as he did this year with Joe Garcia, and Mike Ramirez, from Garfield, and Keven Lopez from Mendez.


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