By Tim Peterson
(Pasadena) – Maranatha fell behind early and never could gain control in a 66-62 home loss to Bakersfield Wednesday night in the first round of the CIF Division II State playoffs.
The Drillers jumped out to a 10-2 lead and still led 16-12 after the first quarter. Terrance Lang went to work inside in the second quarter scoring six points and the Minutemen were tied with seconds left in the first half. But Xavier Esquivel buried a long three as the buzzer sounded to give Bakersfield a 32-29 advantage at the break.
Esquivel was on fire in the third knocking down three from beyond the arc and scoring 11 points in the quarter. Maranatha continued to hang around however as Lang scored eight more and Chris Austin and Freshman Marcus Reedy hit a couple of buckets each to keep the Minutemen within two, 51-49, entering the fourth.
Bakersfield scored the first four points of the fourth to go up six and never relinquished the lead. Esquivel it five three pointers in all and led all scorers with 21 points. Clayton Pruitt was also in doubles with 13.
For Maranatha, Lang was a force in the paint with 19 points to lead the way. Chris Austin had 10, and guards Sean Espinosa and Skyye Decatur both finished with nine. Reedy added six.
The Minutemen lost their last two games falling in the CIF Final last Saturday night to Rancho Verde before succumbing to Bakersfield. They finished the season 18-11 overall.