From the opening tip on Tuesday, the Wilcox Chargers and Milpitas Trojans looked like they would be locked in a tight defensive battle. Both squads demonstrated defensive prowess in the first quarter, as Milpitas carried just a slim 8-6 lead into the second quarter.
Wilcox would take the lead back to start the second with senior Lilly Muyco draining a three to put the Chargers up by one. Unfortunately for Wilcox, Muyco would be the only Charger to score a field goal in the first half.
Muyco accounted for the Chargers’ first nine points. Wilcox would add just three more points the rest of the half, all on free throws. The Trojans would finish the second quarter strong, taking a 17-12 lead into halftime.
With the lack of field goals, one could only wonder if the Chargers had enough juice offensively to get back into the game. Wilcox did just that though to start the third quarter. A nice floater off the glass by Ilaisa Dela Rosa pulled the score within 17-14.
After a defensive stop, Amanda Atayde drilled a three-pointer from the corner and just like that, the game was tied. Just when one thought the Chargers had the momentum to take the game over, Milpitas had an answer, sometimes of the fluke variety.
Down 19-17, Wilcox played a tremendous 30 seconds of defense, nearly forcing a 30-second, shot clock violation. Unfortunately, a desperate heave of a three-point shot dropped in the basket just in time to beat the shot clock.
The Chargers could have dropped their heads at their misfortune, but instead, they kept charging back. Gielle Holubiczko dropped in a layup to pull within 22-19 at the end of the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, it was Dexie Medida draining a three-pointer to tie things up again at 22-22. Milpitas would yet again deny the Chargers from taking a lead.
The Wilcox defense started to become a bit unplugged as the Trojans scored the next nine points to take what appeared to be a commanding 31-22 lead with less than four minutes remaining.
Despite the deep deficit on the score clock and little time to work with, Wilcox still found it in themselves for one more rally.
Muyco put a stop to the Trojans’ run with a layup and then Dela Rosa drove the bucket and got a layup to fall while getting fouled in the process. After nailing the free throw, the Chargers were back within five at 32-27 with just over a minute left.
Addy Munoz would split a pair of free throws to pull Wilcox within four at 32-28. Having to go for steals and/or foul, Wilcox put the Trojans on the line for two free throws that were both successful.
At 34-28, things looked bleak again. But then Dela Rosa swished a deep three with 31.8 seconds left to pull back within three.
That is as close as the Chargers would get though as Milpitas would put the game away with free throws to win by a final of 38-31.
Wilcox now falls back to .500 in league at 5-5 with two more games remaining. The team will face Cupertino on Feb. 9 and play currently undefeated Fremont on Feb. 14.