Atascadero boys open season 2-0

ATASCADERO — Thanks to a couple of clutch Dylan Talley shots, the Atascadero boys basketball team hung on late for a 58-53 win in their home opener against Paso Robles. Tuesday’s early-season matchup was the only scheduled game this season between the two big rivals and the crowds responded as Ewing Gymnasium had a healthy buzz inside.   

“Before this game, I actually texted a lot of friends and made sure they showed up because it’s my senior year and it’s our last game against Atown,” Paso Robles senior Cade Cassida said following the game. “So I wanted to make sure it was memorable and that everyone got to come.”

Paso Robles captain Trevor Mullis blocks Atascadero’s Ayden Bremer (photo contributed by Sharon West)

Last season’s Atascadero versus Paso Robles game needed and extra quarter to be decided but Tuesday night’s matchup might have been even more entertaining as the fans were treated to stepback jumpers and one-on-one matchups. 

Atascadero came out hot to start the game and jumped out to a 9-0 lead before most people had found a place to sit. The Hounds showcased their ball movement and use of multiple shooters but did not shoot as well from the floor as they would have liked. 

With the offense sputtering just a bit, the burden of scoring fell on the shoulders of junior shooting guard Mitchell Carpenter who answered the call putting up 19 points and was one of only two Greyhounds to score in double figures. 

While the Hounds struggled to convert their opportunities, the Bearcats established a presence inside to their big man, senior captain Trevor Mullis. Mullis is listed at 6-foot-5-inches and towered over the shorter Greyhounds’ starting lineup and was a nightmare in the post in the first half. Mullis finished the game with 16 points.

Atascadero freshman Stevie Waiters attacks the rim during the Hounds in on Tuesday. (photo contributed by Sharon West)

After trailing 9-0 to open the game, the Bearcats cut the deficit to four at the half and went into the locker room trailing 31-27.

Trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, Paso Robles’ Cassida took over. The North County sharpshooter, who once played on the same 3Ball team as Carpenter, scored 11 of Paso’s 15 points in the fourth including two huge three-point shots with hands in his face. The senior scored on a fast break to tie the game and then followed it up with a corner three on the next possession to give Paso its first and only lead of the game at 53-52, but down the stretch, the Hounds’ offense was too much. 

For three quarters, Atascadero’s co-captain, Talley, was forced to battle in the post with the bigger Mullis and was quiet offensively. However, when Atascadero needed a clutch score in the final minute of the game, he was ready. 

Atascadero’s Aiden Bremer hits a baseline jump shot over Paso Robles’ Trevor Mullis. (photo contributed by Sharon West)

With under 30 ticks left on the clock, Carpenter held the ball at the top of the key looking for a way to attack the Bearcats zone. While Carpenter drew the eyes of two defenders, Talley slipped to the free-throw line and hit a turn-around elbow jumper that put Atascadero up three and sealed the game (video below).

“That’s what I do, man, I live for those moments,” Talley said after the game. “The team requires me to have that. I can not take a single shot in a game but as long as I am putting in effort and helping the team win that’s what I love the most. I could take no shots in the game.” Talley finished with 12 points.

With the victory, the Hounds move to 2-0 on the season. They defeated SLO on Friday 69-59, and will head into the tournament season full of confidence and be adding one more player that could have a major impact in the coming weeks. 

The Bearcats fall to 1-2 on the season following a pair of losses to Ocean League opponents and will look to get their first win against the other league on Monday when they host Templeton.