East County Sports

Kygar’s magic helps Vaqueros extinguish Firebirds in OT



By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com

LAKESIDE (2-25-16) — Revenge is a dish best served cold is a famous saying and that is exactly what the No. 7 seeded El Capitan Vaqueros were able to exact as they took on the visiting No. 10 seeded Pacific Ridge Firebirds 40-33 in the San Diego Section CIF Division IV playoffs, Wednesday (Feb.24).

The last time these teams met the stakes were at an all-time high as it was in the 2014-15 championship game of the Division IV playoffs where the Firebirds were able to overcome a late El Capitan lead and edge them 58-55.

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El Capitan’s Donald Irvin lets a buzzer-beater attempt go at the end of the first quarter Wednesday night. / photo by Ramon Scott

However this time around the Vaqueros and the seniors from that squad had this on their mind as they got things going early on.  Both teams went back and forth and the Vaqueros were able to take the 10-7 lead after the first period.

Things would get interesting in the second quarter as the Firebirds jumped out first, using a 6-0 run to take a 13-10 lead. The Vaqueros would finally answer as they scored their first basket in about 8 minutes, going back to the final minute of the first period to make the score 13-12.  Pacific Ridge would ultimately outscore the Vaqueros 9-5 in the second period to make the score a blustering barnburner 16-15 at the break. In the first half the Vaqueros shot 6-25 as a team from the field.

Both teams went back to the drawing board for the second half and it would be the Vaqueros who would take the period as they outscored the Firebirds 8-6 to lead 23-22 heading into the final stanza.

In the fourth period the game would ping-pong and with about 4:30 to go, a technical foul was called on a Vaquero player for taunting after making a play that would have given the ball back to El Capitan. Pacific Ridge would go to the line and sink both free throws to give them a 27-23 lead.  KADE KYGAR, who on the night led all Vaqueros with 23 points, at about the 2:50 mark would nail one of his five treys to give the Vaqueros the 28-27 lead.

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The Vaqueros’ Donald Irvin takes the contact against a Pacific Ridge player on Wednesday night. / photo by Ramon Scott

Another lead change would occur as the Firebirds received an and-one on a layup to give them a 29-28 lead.  The big play of the night would occur with about :24 seconds remaining and the Firebirds clinging to a 31-28 lead.  Kygar had the ball in his hands with about 5 or 6 seconds on the shot clock when he launched what looked like a bad three point shot but somehow would bank off the glass through the net to tie the game at 31-31. The entire El Capitan faithful erupted with joy while the Firebird fans were stunned in disbelief.

However despite the game being tied, the Firebirds called a timeout to give them one last shot to win it in regulation. They would come out of the timeout and bring the ball down the court where their first attempt missed and they got the rebound with a couple of seconds left and the second attempt failed as well, thus sending the game into bonus play.

The overtime period was pretty much all El Capitan as Kygar and DONALD IRVIN with his only one of the night would nail consecutive threes to give the Vaqueros a 6-point lead at 37-31. The Firebirds would score one more basket and the Vaqueros would tack on three more points to round out the final scoring.  When the buzzer sounded the Vaqueros erupted with joy as they knocked off the defending Division IV champions on their home court and guaranteed there would be a new champion.

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Kade Kygar brings the ball up the floor on Wednesday night against Pacific Rigde. / photo by Ramon Scott

When asked about his heroic game-tying shot Kygar had this to say, “I wasn’t sure it was going in as after I let it go I flew to the basket to crash the boards and luckily it banked off the glass and in. Beating them was great as the seniors had a bad taste in our mouths after losing to them last year in the championship game. We had this game on our minds and thus watched as much film on them and prepared for them as much as we could.”

El Capitan:  Kade Kygar 23 (6 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Donald Irvin 12 (5 reb, 2 blk), Jakob Lopez 3 (1 reb), Dominic Iudiciani 2 (8 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 4 blk), Devin Dulay 2 (3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Brendon Head 1 (4 reb, 3 stl, 1 blk), Danny Estrada (6 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Carson Tabor (1 reb).

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