(Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles)—The Mighty Rough Riders from Roosevelt, now proud owners of an overall record of (22-10) are happily living their newest “Hoops” dream as we speak, the dream that’s becoming more like the “real deal,” because they continue to win playoff game after playoff game, a total that has now added up to (6) in-a-row since the start of the recently concluded CIF/L.A. City Section Title playoff run of (4) in-a-row, and then adding (2) CIF/State Southern Regional Division 5 playoff wins just this week.
The Magic Carpet Ride that the Riders are still on was once again evidenced by their hard-earned victory over the visiting Bishop Diego Cardinals from Santa Barbara, CA. They went on to defeat them by the final score of (54-45). As a huge benefit for their efforts, this win has now put the Rough Riders in the great position of hosting their third consecutive home playoff game due to this win, coupled with their #2 seeding in the tournament.
Next up for the Riders will be the #3 seed, Delano Tigers with their overall record now standing at (21-4) and AAA Section 5 League record of (4-0). They were (62-46) winners over the #6 seed, the Fowler Redcats in their 2nd round game on Thursday. The Delano game will take place on Saturday, 3/7. Tip-off is set for 6:00 pm and will be “Live Streamed” in the usual manner with the NFHS Network’s, local Affiliate, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions bringing viewers and subscribers the “Play-By-Play” game call. A reminder to all Rough Rider supporters that you should make plans to arrive early for a good, to a decent seat.
(1st Half)—It started as a “back and-forth” type of game, with neither team stretching out to a double figure lead. The first quarter ended with a (17-15) score favoring the Cardinals, The pace quickened in the second stanza as both teams began to settle into their game plans. The Riders, loudly and passionately urged on by their fan-base in attendance, took a slight lead and then relinquished it due to a rash of those dreaded “turnovers.”
The halftime score was a close one with the Riders holding just a 2 point lead, at (29-27). Of Significance: Rough Rider shooting guard #3/Jhonny”J.J.” Gomez was saddled with two “reaching-in” fouls and had to take a seat based on Head Coach Mario Perez’s decision. Scoring totals for the Riders were the following: José Arellano (15), Cesar Romo (7), J. Garcia (3); Gomez and Burgueño (2) each.
HALFTIME SCORE: Roosevelt 29 Bishop Diego 27
(2nd Half)—The 3rd quarter was played similar to the 1st. However, the Riders got a huge lift with the play of Jhonny Gomez as he buried two 25′ long 3-pointers, keeping the lead and the momentum swing on the Riders side. Both teams managed to score 10 points. The quarter ended with the score reading, Roosevelt 39 Bishop Diego 37
To start the 4th and final period, the greatly feared “turnover” counter started to rise for the Cardinals. The Riders were also caught up in it but managed to survive it slightly better than their opponent. Steadying the Riders’ ship was Team Captain and Senior, José Arellano, who brought the gym down with thunderous rotes of approval by scoring his third 3-pointer, a patented floater in the lane, and one free-throw providing a small margin of separation with these 6 quick points. Then, after being re-inserted into the game, Super Soph J.J. Gomez was fouled on a missed 3 point attempt and as he has done during this entire playoff run, he calmly stepped to the line and buried all three shots, giving the Riders a small 5 point lead. Contributing on a big time play was the feed from Gomez to a cutting Roberto Peña for a crucial lay-up basket that kept the Riders in front. Peña also came through with 2 big free throws giving the fans a slight sigh of relief that victory was at hand. However, the drama and the tension were still present, and the clock was winding down to the final minute of play, when Arellano came up with the play of the game by cleanly stealing the ball at half court from the dribbler, and thus putting the Riders into the safe zone to preserve the lead, and then claiming ultimate victory. A big tribute goes to Coach Perez and his Assistant Coach, Emmanuel Medina for sticking with their zone defense to hold the Cardinals to just 8 points in the quarter. The key to victory for the Rough Riders shined forth again—execution of the Coach’s offensive game plan, playing with poise, staying focused on defense, and making “clutch” free throws during the most critical times in the game.
FINAL SCORE: Roosevelt 54, Bishop Diego 45.
(Roosevelt) Arellano (21/(3) 3-pointers); Gomez (13/(2) 3-pointers); Romo (9 points-8 rebounds-2 blocks); Julio Garcia (5 pts/(1) 3-pointer); Peña (4); and Burgueño (2 points-9 rebounds-2 blocks-2 steals).
(Bishop Diego) Matt Cunningham (20/(2) 3-pointers); Tyler Williams (13/(2) 3-pointers); Kai Murphy and Bryan Trejo (6) each.
FINAL SCORE: Roosevelt 54 Bishop Diego 45