Banks boys get a razor-thin win over Gladstone in their home opener
by: Tommy Whitcomb, Banks' Josh Marsh gets fouled by Kyle Mirich as he drivess to the basket in the second quarter of Tuesday's game.

In the home opener of the 2006-07 season, the Banks boys basketball team got its fans to stand up and cheer. The Braves won their second game of the season, 57-55, Tuesday night over the Gladiators of Gladstone.

Banks got off to a slow start in the first three minutes, missing easy lay-ups and cues for passes. The Gladiators took a 5-0 lead and appeared to be on a roll. But after shaking out the jitters, senior Jared Tijerina gave the Braves their first bucket, which was quickly followed by another from fellow senior Jordan Quinones, who stole Gladstone's inbound pass for any easy lay-up under the basket.

The Braves also showed off their defensive skills, forcing the Gladiators to run plays continually and take shots from beyond the arc.

Strong rebounding on the offensive and defensive sides led to a steady stream of points for the Braves, who went into the locker room up 32-25.

Banks began the third quarter strong, forcing a Gladstone turnover on the initial inbound pass, but were not able to pull down the rebound after their missed shot.

The Braves had a razor thin 42-40 lead as the fourth quarter began. Senior standout Jeff Stradling put up a quick four points after another inbound mistake by the Gladiators.

Throughout the second half Gladstone appeared to be getting the good-luck rolls while Banks could not seem to buy a bucket. Banks saw its biggest lead of the night (40-30) quickly dwindle as Gladstone threatened to steal the game in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.

'We looked good in spots, but we had typical dry spells that we will continue to work on throughout the season,' said Banks head coach Norm Ballou of his team's spotty play.

The Braves persevered, however, as the Gladiators were forced to commit fouls, giving Banks three chances from the foul line in the last two minutes. Stradling scored Banks' final two points, putting them up 57-53 with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Gladstone scored on a last second lay-up, but it was not enough as the Braves won their first home game of the season, 57-55.

High scorers for the Braves included Quinones with a season-high 23 points. Stradling and Nathan Horlacher had 11 apiece.

'Jordan (Quinones) has really stepped up to help out Jeff (Stradling), so did Josh (Marsh) and we got good minutes off our bench, those are good things that we were able to do,' said Ballou.

For a detailed recap of the Braves' week on the hardcourt, be sure to pick up a copy of the Dec. 16 edition of the News-Times.

And for more photos from Tuesday's game against Gladstone (and many more), check out Whitcomb Photography

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