TEMPLETON — It was not the prettiest win for the Templeton Eagles boys basketball team, but a win nonetheless and a first for the seniors on the roster. The Templeton Eagles opened the season with a win at home on Monday night over the Cabrillo Conquistadors, 53-46.
“It is more than just being a home win,” senior point guard Jordan Stowers said. “We have never beaten Cabrillo in the four years that I have been here — so it is huge.”
It was a full team effort as the Eagles did not shoot particularly well but played hard and aggressive defense and received a major lift from the play of their bench.
“I would look at it like this, and this is what they are going to hear tonight,” head basketball coach Andrew Cherry said following the game. “I don’t think we played well but we persevered and, to me, that is what we needed. Our second team saved our butt. The bench played phenomenally, Evan Asplund, specifically. We have a goal of going for a certain amount of turnovers and deflections a game and he probably tallied half of those alone.”
Templeton ran a 1-3-1 zone defense with three-quarter to, at times, full-court pressure that bothered the Conquistador ball handlers and forced them into a lot of bad passes that resulted in turnovers and ultimately easy THS points.
The Eagles led at the end of the first quarter 18-15 but began to struggle offensively in the second and that is when Asplund began wreaking havoc in the Conquistador backcourt. The 6-foot-tall, junior wing stole or deflected a Cabrillo pass on what seemed like four consecutive possessions, which sent the Templeton bench — currently occupied by starters — into a frenzy.
Asplund finished the game with nine points, tied for the second leading scorer with Stowers and behind Will Tedone who finished with 12. On the night, nine different Eagles’ players scored a point, however, they still trailed at halftime, 30-28.
Much of the third and fourth quarters were back and forth between the two teams with the most pivotal play coming with 3 minutes and 20 seconds to go in the game with Templeton up 45-41.
Asplund set a good screen at the top of the arc freeing Stowers into the lane where he dished it to Tedone who got the layup to go plus the foul. The three-point play brought the student section to their feet and led Templeton to the eventual victory.
“It is just a different group of guys this year,” Stowers said following the game. “We have a different kind of confidence...It is an excellent way to start our season and get us going. It will give us some good confidence going into tournaments.”
The boys will play three tournaments during the month of December, the first of which will be this weekend at the Morro Bay HIT followed by the Corcoran High School Tournament, as they prepare for their first Ocean League game which will be on Jan. 4 at Santa Maria.