Nicholas Mattson/Atascadero News
Paso Robles High School senior Sebastian Galsim drives to the basket against Atascadero on Feb. 3.
Bearcats leave it all on the court against rival Atascadero
ATASCADERO — It cannot be overstated, and Friday was no exception — all bets are off when the Greyhounds and Bearcats take the floor for battle.
In the second round of the PAC 8 League round robin, the Atascadero High School varsity boys basketball team hosted Paso Robles and the Bearcats had upset on their minds.
Paso Robles came out with an elevated intensity that stunned the Greyhounds through the first minutes, and battled to a 38-33 halftime score with Atascadero holding a small lead.
The second half was all Greyhounds, who scored the first seven points of the third quarter on the way to a 77-53 victory.
Atascadero won the tip, but the Bearcats took the early lead, 8-4, and held it through the first quarter.
AHS junior Levi Williams knocked down a 3-pointer to pull the Hounds within 8-7, but PRHS stayed steps ahead with junior Max Cabrera knocking down a 3-pointer to give the Bearcats a 13-9 lead.
Atascadero chased, and Paso Robles answered. Holding a 15-11 lead with 3:05 left in the first quarter, freshman guard Cade Casida hit a 3-pointer from the baseline to put the Bearcats up, 18-11. It would be the biggest lead of the game for Bearcats, and their supporters at Ewing Gymnasium roared with approval.
The Greyhounds charged back with six straight points to keep the heat on, climbing back within 18-17, with 1:29 left in the first quarter.
Paso Robles stopped the slippage with a fast break ending in an Anthony Napoli layup against AHS junior Kyler Warren, before Williams knocked down another 3-pointer to knot the game at 20-20 with 1:11 left.
Paso Robles scored the final bucket of the first quarter to take a 22-20 lead into the second.
To start the second quarter, Atascadero went on a 16-6 run to grab the lead for good. AHS seniors Trevor Howell and Elijah Cooks both dropped 3-pointers to give the Greyhounds a 36-28 lead with 1:11 remaining in the half.
Paso Robles battled back with a 5-2 run before the time expired in the first half, but still trailed by a deficit of 38-33 at intermission.
Atascadero was warmed up by halftime, and a full squad went to work. The Greyhounds popped off the first seven points of the second half to build a double-digit lead, and did not look back.
Adding an even dozen to their lead, the Greyhounds exploded in the third quarter with a couple 3-pointers and an alley-oop dunk by Cooks to get charged up and put Atascadero on top, 62-45 at the end of three.
Through each quarter, the Bearcats did not let up on the energy. It was apparent that this game meant more than just a ‘W’ to the boys in crimson.
PRHS junior Sebastian Galsim led the Bearcats 18 points and rebounds. Senior Gabe Linn scored seven points and pulled in 10 boards. Junior Anthony Napoli added nine points with five rebounds. Casida, Cabrera and Dante Coletta contributed six points each.
On Tuesday, in a high-scoring shootout with Righetti High School, the Bearcats lost an 81-71 battle with the Warriors.
Galsim led all scores with 28 points, as well as grabbing four rebounds and dishing three assists. Linn posted 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Coletta added 10 points and six rebounds. Casida made three 3-pointers, for nine points, and junior Griffin Betancourt came off the bench to score eight points.
The Bearcats played their final game of the season against Mission Prep at home on Thursday. Results were unavailable at press time.
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