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October 2, 2014

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Prep Basketball:

Coronado holds off Green Valley

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Coronado sophomore Austin Nelson had no problem hanging with Green Valley's upperclassmen on the basketball court Friday night.

The Cougars' starting point guard never showed his youth and never let on that his team was an underdog as he led Coronado to a 75-65 win against the Gators.

"There isn't much intimidation going against the older players," said Nelson, who led all scorers with 19 points. "I have played my whole life against older players so I'm used to it."

Green Valley (9-8, 3-3) came out with all the momentum, starting the game with a 17-8 run and making four of its first six shots.

But the Gators had trouble staying consistent for the remainder of the game.

After forcing five Green Valley turnovers, Coronado (8-8, 2-4) was able to get within a point of the lead in the second quarter.

Sloppy mistakes would continue to plague Green Valley, however, as it finished with 26 turnovers.

"We have put the brakes on offense in practice and have worked on nothing but defense," Coronado coach Paul Berg said. "We know we are better than what we have shown and it's really paid off."

After a slow start, Nelson came on strong with seven points in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer he made at the halftime buzzer.

Green Valley still had a 34-32 advantage going into the third quarter, but Coronado had all the momentum.

"After the first quarter things felt really good for me," Nelson said. "I'm just glad I came through when my team needed me tonight."

Coronado took control of the game with a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter.

Cougars guard Charlie Wakefield, who finished with 17 points, helped seal the game with a pair of layups in the final minutes.

Green Valley guard Julian Franklin scored 10 points of his team high 16 points in the final three minutes, but it was too little, too late.

"We weren't fatigued and we kept coming at them strong and I think that worked to our advantage," Berg said.

While Coronado stayed fresh, Green Valley may have been affected by its 102-85 win from the night before.

"We were just lazy tonight," Green Valley coach Christian Svendsen said. "I think last night — having a 102-point game — had a lot to do with it. Our legs were a little tired and I just don't think we had the energy tonight."

The game was a must-win for Coronado, which lost its first four Southeast Division games on the road.

After defeating Green Valley, the Cougars are 2-0 in league home games.

"We had our backs against the wall, coming out with a slow start in league," Berg said. "We didn't tell our guys that it was a must-win before the game, but I think they already knew."

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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