Cougars erase seven-point deficit and rally for win against Gaston behind 21 fourth-quarter points

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Gervais sophomore Jose Esquivel was instrumental in the teams 45-39 victory over Gaston Saturday night, scoring a team-high 11 points while dishing out five assists. Heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday’s championship game of the 2013 Cougar Classic, the Gervais boys basketball team had a tall order in front of them.

The team had just finished playing a dismal third quarter against the Gaston Greyhounds and were staring up at a 31-24 deficit heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The team needed to get hot quickly to pull out a win, and that’s just what happened, as the Cougars erupted for 21 points in the fourth quarter to go home with a satisfying 45-39 victory to finish the weekend and the year.

Gervais rode the hot hand of sophomore guard Jose Esquivel and took advantage of some poor free-throw shooting on the part of Gaston to win their second straight game and take home the championship game of their home tournament.

Esquivel led the team with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Teammate Adam Jaramillo pitched in eight points and eight rebounds, and center Kylor Kelley had nine points and seven boards in the victory.

Senior wing Lazaro Villegas came off the bench to help run the offense as well, pitching in seven points, four assists and five rebounds, as the Cougars used a team effort Saturday night to take home their second straight victory.

Gaston’s poor shooting performance across the board helped Gervais get back in the game in the final minutes. The Greyhounds hit just 4-of-14 free throws in the game and finished the contest going 10-of-39 from the floor.

The win puts Gervais on the right track going into 2014 with a slate of league games on the horizon.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Adam Jaramillo had a near double-double on the night with eight points and eight rebounds.The Cougars (4-3) enter 2014 with a record above .500 and back-to-back wins thanks to a successful weekend at home.

Prior to the game against Gaston, the Cougars were led by Austin Garcia’s game-high 21 points in the first round of the Cougar Classic against Santiam.

The Gervais senior finished with six rebounds, three assists and three steals to go along with 8-of-9 shooting on free throws. In total, the Cougars had the right touch from the charity stripe Friday night after hitting 19-of-23 free throws.

Three other Gervais players finished with double figures in scoring. Esquivel, Jaramillo and Kelley each added 10 points in the win.

The latter two played their usual stout defense in the paint, combining to grab 17 rebounds — more than the entire Santiam team had in the game. Kelley added six blocks and two steals as well.

Gervais has one more non-league game Friday at Monroe (3-4) before starting the West Valley league schedule on Jan. 7 against Colton (5-4).

The Cougars play their next four games on the road and play their league home opener Jan. 15 against Westside Christian (4-4).

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