BRAWLEY, Calif. - Two of the Imperial Valley's best prep boys basketball programs went "toe to toe" in what would become a classic playoff contest, as Southwest and Brawley met for the 4th time this season; this time in the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV Semifinals.
Brawley was the uncontested Imperial Valley League champion and entered the D-4 tournament as the top seeded team. The Southwest Eagles come in as the 4th seed and had lost the 3 previous meetings between the programs; but the games would be tighter every time they played.
It certainly was the case this time around, as both teams went back and forth in scoring. Southwest held a single point lead after the 1st quarter, and then Brawley would lead by 6 points at the half, and then the Eagles came back to tie the contest at the end of the 3rd.
The 4th quarter proved to be the most defensive and key to the whole contest, as the 2 teams couldn't put more than 21 points combined down the stretch.
The Wildcats would take the 3 point lead with less than a minute remaining. But then Eagles center Grant Hansink almost reduced it to a 1 point margin; but Isaiah Bustamante's block gave the Cats the possession and allowed them to chew most of the remaining clock.
But with only 6 seconds remaining, the Eagles had one more chance to put the game into overtime. Southwest would turn to Tyler Saikhon; who put up a 3-point attempt at the top of the key, but the shot wouldn't go in as the buzzer sounded.
The Wildcats would hold on to the 61-58 victory and move on to the Division IV title game for the 2nd straight season, as they square off against 2nd seeded Olympian on Friday.