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Bryan Alcazar is listed as a generous 5-foot-11-inch guard in the Elk Grove boys basketball program. But Thursday night the senior played like one of the bigs down low to help lead the Grenadiers to a 62-53 Mid-Suburban League East win over visiting Hersey.
Alcazar finished with 11 points and 6 rebounds -- nothing out of the ordinary -- but all 6 of his rebounds came off the offensive glass, and all four buckets from the field came as a result of an offensive rebound. Even his 2 free throws came after an offensive board.
"He's our best defender and rebounding is what he is most comfortable doing," Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman said. "He's just our staple. You know he can do whatever. He can cover big, cover small, cover the point, he's going to rebound for you. You just trust him with anything."
One of Alcazar's buckets was arguably the biggest of the game. With the game tied at 37, the senior guard cleaned up the glass for a putback to beat the buzzer, ending the third period. Earlier in the quarter the Grens saw their once 12-point advantage evaporate.
"In high school I think confidence and momentum are the two biggest things, and that basket definitely gave them both heading into the fourth," Hersey coach Steve Messer said. "I thought we did a pretty good job defending the shot but if we grab that rebound it's all different."
Trailing 27-15 midway through the second, the Huskies (3-4, 0-2) capped a 19-7 spurt with 2:57 left in the third on a trey from the left wing by Alex Mueller. The game-tying bucket was set up by Max Heeren, who picked up one of the Huskies' 11 steals in the game. Heeren also started the comeback by scoring 7 straight points towards the end of the second quarter.
The Huskies missed their first 9 shots of the game, as Elk Grove (6-1, 2-0) raced out to an early 8-0 lead before leading 16-9 after the first eight minutes of play.
"The last couple games we have had really nice second halves and played really good in the thirds, but now we need to have good first quarters to go along with those second halves," Messer said. "I told the kids I was disappointed, but believe it or not I felt like we made progress. We played harder for a longer amount of time in this game."
Elk Grove scored the first 6 points of the fourth to re-gain an 8-point advantage. The Huskies were not able to close any closer than 6 the rest of the way.
The Grens knocked down 10 of 11 foul shots to ice the game in the waning minutes and finished the game 26-for-31 from the line.
Joell Melendez led the Grens with 14 points, while Scott Furlong (11), Adam O'Malley (9) and Tyler Ingebrigtsen (9) combined for 29 points. Melendez added a game-high 10 rebounds.
Heeren led the Huskies with 16 points, while Tyndale Dahnweih added 9 points, 6 steals, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.