Gary Hannig let out a long exhale as the final seconds ticked away Tuesday. And after the final buzzer sounded, The Meadows boys basketball coach had a relieved look on his face.
“It’s good to get a close win, on the road especially, and finish out a game,” Hannig said. “I’m just glad to get a win.”
Eric Hirsberg scored 14 points, and the visiting Mustangs pulled away in the final two minutes for a 69-62 victory over Mountain View.
Brandon Rufty had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Jake Epstein had 11 points and eight boards for The Meadows (13-4, 3-0 Division III Southern League), which used a late 7-1 spurt to secure the win.
“We’re not just Eric. We have seven or eight guys who contribute,” Hannig said. “It really was a great team effort.”
Mountain View’s Tevin Gray held Hirsberg, the Mustangs’ top scorer, in check most of the night. Hirsberg fouled out with 5:01 left and The Meadows up 55-53, but the Saints (7-9, 2-2) didn’t capitalize.
Nick Jenkins’ floater in the lane for Mountain View cut the Mustangs’ lead to 62-59 with two minutes left. Matt Biafore’s finish after a nice spin move put The Meadows back up by five on its next possession, and Biafore’s two free throws with 24.6 seconds to play gave the Mustangs a 69-60 advantage.
Biafore had six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and added five rebounds.
“The decisions we made both offensively and defensively didn’t enable us to take advantage of the fact that (Hirsberg), who I think is the best player in our league, fouled out,” Saints coach Ray LeBoeuf said. “It’s clear when you go against an experienced team like The Meadows … there’s a learning curve. But I can’t get frustrated when the kids try their butts off, which is what they did.”
Connor LeBoeuf led Mountain View with 17 points and six rebounds, and Gray added 15 points, five assists and four rebounds. Jenkins scored 13, including nine in the second quarter as the Saints hit five of their seven 3-pointers to go into halftime tied at 32.
“The first half, they beat us on dribble penetration and kicked the ball out,” Hannig said. “Credit to their guys.”
Hirsberg nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to open the third quarter, and Max Hisatake (eight points) gave The Meadows a 51-43 lead entering the fourth quarter on a putback basket as he was falling down.
Matthew Larson had seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and collected six rebounds for Mountain View.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.