PASO ROBLES — After winning three straight league games, the Bearcat have now dropped two straight. Last Tuesday night Paso fell to the St. Joseph Knights at home, 79-66. Friday, in their fifth home game in the last six games, the Bearcats faced the top PAC 8 team in the San Luis Obispo Tigers.
The Bearcats lost to the Tigers but only by two points. While Paso currently sits in sixth place, they have beaten the No. 3 team in
When their shooters are on, the Bearcats can beat any team in the PAC 8, but their lapses in defense and shooting lulls can hurt them over the stretch of a game. Paso’s leading scorer Sebastian Galsim has a knack for hitting shots at the buzzer. He lifted the Bearcats over the Royals with a three at the horn and hit two more buzzer beaters against SLO, but the last one only brought the Bearcats within two.
Paso and SLO traded baskets in the first quarter as each team tried to establish its own rhythm. The Tigers shooters quickly diagnosed that they were not having a great night — Anthony Napoli recorded at least two blocks in the first half and set an early defensive tone.
The Tiger turned to their big man and started scoring inside. The Bearcats were within three points of the lead with 10 seconds on the clock before halftime and Galsim did it again, hitting a three from the top of the arc as the clock expired.
SLO opened the second quarter on a 15-3 run, fueled by three consecutive three-pointers to open up a 39-27 lead. Paso began pressing to break the Tigers rhythm and again ended the quarter on a run led by Galsim. The senior drained a three and then scored a layup plus a foul shot to bring Paso within one point, 42-41, and sent the student section into a frenzy.
The fourth quarter was a defensive struggle. SLO missed four consecutive free throws as each team went scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the quarter. Marshall Wiesner’s layup gave Paso their first lead with 2:27 left to go in the game and the score at 47-46. On the next possession, the Tigers hit a three-pointer and won the game, 52-50.
Paso will host Atascadero on Friday night as they look to sweep the Greyhounds in the season series.