Farmer’s Hall was packed full of screaming Gridley and Live Oak fans on Friday night, as the Bulldogs took on neighboring Live Oak in the NSCIF quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs led most of the game, but the atmosphere was intense from tip-off until the final buzzer, both teams nailing baskets, blocking shots, stealing balls and playing aggressive basketball.
Entering the final quarter, the Lions’ Tony Arellano and Gurbeer Kooner hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Bulldogs’ lead down to one. Both teams continued to hit shot for shot most of the final quarter.
Gridley’s Emery Haddy hit a three-pointer of his own to give Gridley a little wiggle room, but after another three from Arellano and two free throws from Romario Acosta, Live Oak pulled ahead 42-41.
Live Oak’s second lead of the night did not last long, as Haddy and Sam Cota were both successful from beyond the arch. The Lions’ Aaron Pamma picked up two after going to the line to bring the score to 49-47 with less than a minute left in the game.
But the Bulldogs, in front of a capacity crowd, were determined to get the W. Mat Scott topped off the scoring for the Bulldogs after hitting two at the line. Ahead by four points with less than 15 seconds in the game, Tyler Abrego made one of the biggest plays by stealing the Live Oak ball and securing a trip to the semi-finals, where they will take on the No. 1 seeded Corning Cardinals.
Gridley fans rushed the court as the Bulldogs pulled out a thrilling 51-47 victory over the Lions in the Northern Section Division IV quarterfinals.
Haddy had a game-high 14 points, with four three pointers. Abrego scored 13 points for the Bulldogs, while Sam Cota finished with 10.
Arellano led the Lions with four 3-pointers. Pamma, Kooner and Acosta each had nine points.