ZERO POWER: Castillo's bucket at buzzer boosts Bartlesville Bruins to 3rd-straight 'W'

·6 min read
Bartlesville High guard David Castillo, left, makes a pass to the low post to teammate Kent Girard for a crucial fourth-quarter layup during Tuesday's home battle against Bixby High. Castillo scored the winning bucket in Bartlesville's 72-70 victory.
Bartlesville High guard David Castillo, left, makes a pass to the low post to teammate Kent Girard for a crucial fourth-quarter layup during Tuesday's home battle against Bixby High. Castillo scored the winning bucket in Bartlesville's 72-70 victory.

Cheers exploded throughout the Bartlesville High Bruin Fieldhouse like a fireworks show of bursting ecstasy.

It could have been minus-10 degrees outside and the cold wouldn’t have phased the Bruin faithful.

They floated outside on a warm cloud of joy after David Castillo hit what undoubtedly was one of the most exciting buzzer beaters in Bruin history — at least during the Clent Stewart Coaching Era.

The cat-and-mouse scenario down the stretch couldn’t have been more exciting or breathtaking.

The layers of drama grew deeper than a stack of pancakes at a Marine Corps chow hall prior to the dinging of the meal bell.

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With the score knotted, 70-70, Stewart called timeout to set up a play with 19.5 seconds left.

Meanwhile, the Bruin faithful tried to massage away a bit of a stunning turn of events.

Bartlesville had led going into the final minute, 70-64, and appeared set to wrap up the win.

But, the scrappy Spartans somehow clawed back within a few seconds — on a free throw, a basket-and-one and a fast break bucket to knot the score, 70-70.

In just 39 seconds the Spartans had erupted on a 6-0 run and threatened to yank away what had appeared to be a sure thing for Bartlesville.

On the layup that tied the game, 70-70, Bartlesville took the timeout with 19.5 seconds showing.

After Stewart made his pitch, Aadhi Ayyappan inbounded the ball under the Bixby basket to David Castillo.

Bixby opted not to apply significant backcourt pressure.

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Castillo walked down the court with the court and continued to dribble while being guarded.

Then, when the block wound to about five seconds, Castillo took off like an arrow. He sliced to the baseline on the right side of the hoop and threw the ball up.

It seemed to hover forever in the air as it floated toward the rim. Then, drawing a little iron, it fell through for the 72-70 triumph.

While the crowd launched massive thundering rolls of happiness, the Bruin players swarmed together, near the media table, and pounded Castillo in celebration.

The victory elevated the Bruins to 7-4 overall to their third-straight Frontier Valley Conference victory.

Bartlesville surpassed its win total for all of last season (6-15) and more than justified its No. 12 ranking in the OSSAA Class 6A poll released Monday morning.

Castillo finished with 19 points as Bartlesville’s second-leading scorer.

Kent Girard tallied a career-high 22 points to lead the list and Ayyappan added 18 points.

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The Bruins dropped in eight three-pointer for the game.

Sam McCormick and Parker Friedrichsen both racked up 16 points for Bixby.

Truth is, Bartlesville’s offensive firestorm in the opening quarter proved to be the ultimate factor. Bixby outscored the Bruins in the final three quarters, 52-49.

Bartlesville crashed out of the gate with Girard winning the opening tip to Ayyappan who snapped in a long two-pointer in the opening five seconds.

The scrap had been enjoined.

Bartlesville’s second bucket came from an unlikely source. With Bixby trying to keep the lid on Bartlesville’s Big Four offensive threats (Castillo, Girard, Ayyappan and Jordan Carter), 6-foot-6 forward Nick Smith popped in a three-pointer, off an inside-out feed from Girard.

Castillo dropped in his first two points on free throws with 4:54 left in the opening period. They pulled Bartlesville to within a point, 8-7.

Moments later, the lanky-armed Ayyappan stole the ball and bolted to the fast break layup to move the Bruins on top, 9-8.

The Bruins got the ball back on another quick steal, leading to another Ayyappan deuce.

However, Bixby kept pace early, as well.

Bartlesville started to carve out some breathing room after Castillo canned a trey and Ayyappan knocked in his third basket, 18-13.

In the closing stage of the period, DaRon Davis dialed in a trey — off an assistant from Carter — and Simian Gilkey made a layup deposit to elevate the Bruins to a 23-18 lead.

The points by both teams continued to grow like Jack’s beanstalk.

Castillo flushed a triple early in the second period — off a Carter feed — for Bartlesville’s 27th point.

Carter also set up Ayyappan for a trey that powered the Bruins to a 30-22 lead.

Girard then started warming up on the offensive end, scoring nine points in the final four minutes of the second period, including a three-pointer.

Bixby’s Tristan Driver rang up a trey just before halftime to make it a six-point game at the break: Bartlesville 41, Bixby 35.

The stage was set for a drama-laden second half.

After the Spartans knotted the score, 43-43, Girard dropped in his second three-pointer.

But, Bixby spurted to a 51-46 advantage, thanks to a pull-up trey by Friedrichsen.

During that sequence, the Bruins struggled a bit with miscues or missed shots.

With time running down in the third period the Bruins went on a 4-0 run — a transition layup by Ayyappan set up by Girard’s defensive rebound and outlet, and two free throws by Castillo — to claw back into the lead, 58-55.

Bartlesville widened gap and led by two possessions for most the fourth period.

But, after going ahead by six, 70-64, with 2:36 left, Bartlesville’s offense fell into a coma, at least as far as scoring.

That kept the door open for Bixby’s amazing last minute rally to tie the score.

But, then the Bruins turned to Castillo.

And, the rest was happy.

Bartlesville now opens play Thursday in the Carl Albert tourney.

The Bruins and Destiny Christian will clash at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The Bruins will play at either 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Friday.


Bartlesville 72, Bixby 70

Bixby 18-17-20-15–70

Bartlesville 23-18-17—14—72

Bixby

Sam McCormick 16, Parker Friedrichsen 16, Devin Isham 1, Tristan Driver 12, Connor Schiffley 8, Tristan Madden 4, Miles Hill 2. Totals: 27 10-15 70.

Bartlesville

Kent Girarde 8 4-5 22, David Castillo 5 7-9 19, Aadhi Ayyappan 8 0-1 18, DaRon Davis 1 0-0 3, Nick Smith 0 0-0 3, Dayton McCall 1 1-2 3, Simian Gilkey 1 0-0 2, Jordan Carter 1 0-2 2. Totals: 26 12-19 72.

This article originally appeared on Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise: Bartlesville High boys basketball wins at home against Bixby

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