The Leigh High School varsity boys basketball team scored the first basket of the game with a layup from senior forward Trevor Peterson and didn’t look back Thursday night as the Longhorns defeated Branham High School 55-46 in a matchup that has always been a historic rivalry between the two schools.
Sophomore guard Kyle Morrison led Leigh in scoring with 16 points, including two three-point field goals, one that put his team up by eleven points with just over three minutes left in the game.
The Longhorns led by as many as 12 points with just under four minutes left in the first half, and stopped the Bruins every time they threatened to comeback with a scoring drive with strong defense from Peterson and sophomore forward Jared Williams, who had one block each.
Peterson finished the game with 13 points and Williams finished with 8.
Branham also failed to win easy baskets on free-throws, and shot only 21 for 31 from the line.
Leigh Head Coach Patrick Judge said that his team got in foul trouble way too much Thursday night, but things started to fall in place as the game progressed.
“We were fouling a lot and at the end of the game we did a better job of executing,” Judge said. “We started focusing on defense and moving the ball around on offense.”
Morrison, who also serves as one of the team's three captains, credited his performance Thursday night by playing tough down the stretch and getting help from the bench.
“We held in tight at the end, we knew we had to man up and do it,” said Morrison. “Our second team came in and gave us good energy as well.”
When speaking on the intense rivalry between the schools within Campbell Union High School District, Morrison said he felt lifted from the strong support from the Leigh crowd.
“The crowd electrified us and didn’t let me get tired,” he said.
The Bruins closed the scoring deficit with a third quarter surge that got them trailing by four points with just under three minutes left in the third quarter when Leigh stole the momentum and scored nine unanswered points from Morrison and Peterson, who scored three baskets in a row including a three-pointer.
Senior guard Ryan Tanaka hit two three-point field goals including one at the buzzer at the end of the first quarter.
Branham scoring was led by seniors Brandon Nall with 22 points and Darnell Sankey with 11.
The Longhorns improve to 5-1 overall and have four remaining preseason games this season before they kick off league play against Willow Glen High School at home on Jan. 4.
In preparation for the team’s next non-conference game at Del Mar High School Wednesday, Judge said he is looking to come out and play the same style of offense that he was trying to compete with in Thursdays win.
“For the next game it will be more of the same, we need to be good teammates and make the extra pass.”
In other news, the school’s Junior Varsity team lost 58-44 to Branham Thursday night.