Quincy’s Keston Pilgrim and Portola’s Ricky Lowdermilk go toe to toe for the ball during the Jan. 22 showdown between the Trojans and the Tigers at Portola High School. The game had everyone in attendance on the edge of their seats as Portola staged a remarkable comeback to win the game. Photo by James Wilson
Quincy’s basketball players thought they had the game in the bag. Quincy started hot and kept a lead through nearly the entire game. Portola’s tenacity overcame, however, and Portola’s boys team took down the Trojans 59-55 last Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The two teams played twice this season before the last game; Portola won the first game and Quincy the second. The rivals hold nothing back whenever they face each other, which was apparent watching the game.
Quincy’s offense started tougher than it has all season, scoring nine points before Portola made a single shot. Portola’s coach, Tim Brubaker, called a timeout to make some much-needed adjustments.
“When we got down 9-0, I reminded my team there was a lot of ballgame left,” said Brubaker. “I told them to pick up the intensity defensively. The team worked hard and it paid off for us.”
Portola immediately began its comeback. Defensively the Tigers began forceful coverage. Quincy only put four more points on the board while Portola made its first nine.
The next quarter the Tigers outscored the Trojans 14-11 to end the half behind by only one: 24-23.
Quincy came out of the half bound and determined not to lose its lead and stepped up its offense. Within minutes the Trojans once again had a nice cushion between their score and the Tigers’. Portola continued its game plan and the final quarter started with Quincy ahead 40-36.
Portola made it apparent that they weren’t going down without a fight and made eight points to Quincy’s four to finally tie the game 44-44. Portola then made a penalty shot to take a one-point lead. Ty Morrison immediately afterward sank a three-pointer to regain a lead for the Trojans.
The two teams swapped the lead for the next couple of minutes. With only 50 seconds remaining, Portola’s players took a 55-54 lead that they kept for the remainder of the game.
Quincy, aware that time was quickly running out, made two more attempts at scoring, but only managed to make one penalty shot. Portola made one more layup and two free throws to end the game 59-55.
“We knew going into this game it would be a dogfight,” said Brubaker. “It always is between these teams. They are a good team — much better than their record indicates. We knew we had to play good defense against them.”
Ricky Lowdermilk was the clear star of the game. Lowdermilk made an astonishing 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Michael Martinez contributed 13 points to Portola, making 56 percent of his shots. Martinez nabbed 12 rebounds.
Portola 60, Colusa 50
Portola knew it had to play its best when facing Colusa on Jan. 25. Colusa was undefeated in league at game time. Portola managed to take an early lead that it maintained throughout the game to come home with a 60-50 victory, delivering the first loss in league for Colusa. Portola is now 2-2 in league and 5-9 overall.
“We knew (Colusa) was scrappy and we knew we had to play good defense; box out and control the boards,” said Brubaker. “We didn’t necessarily play our best game of the year, but we rebounded more than we do most games and that made the ultimate difference.”
Portola totaled 35 rebounds. Flint Fambrough made 10 of those along with scoring 24 points for a double-double. Lowdermilk nearly got a double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds.
One element that had strong bearing on the Tigers’ win was the help they got from the bench. J.T. Bones, Kolin Osbourn and Timmy Benbow all contributed immensely to the team’s playing ability.
“We got some real quality minutes from the bench,” mentioned Brubaker. “We couldn’t have gone on without them.”
Quincy 45, Williams 44
In an uphill battle the entire game, the Trojans walked away with a one-point victory over the Williams Yellowjackets on Jan. 25. The win bumped Quincy’s league record to 1-4 and 2-15 overall.
Quincy kept a lead most of the game, though Williams started to come back in the second half.
“Our second half wasn’t as good as our first,” said Quincy’s coach, Howard Hughes. “During the last few minutes we didn’t take care of the ball or make decisions as good as we could have.”
Quincy managed to hold on to its lead, however, and win the game. Hughes mentioned Ty Morrison’s shooting as a major factor in Quincy’s win.
“(Morrison) played a really good game,” said Hughes. “Defensively as a team we played much better as well. Any time you hold your opponent under 50 you have a good chance of winning the game.”
Quincy hosts Colusa on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m.