Yucaipa's Nathen Hernandez jumps center against Indian Springs' Jordan Culberson.

The Yucaipa High boys basketball team trailed by three points entering the fourth quarter but cranked up its defensive intensity for a 61-56 victory against Indian Springs of San Bernardino.

The victory came on Wednesday, Dec. 21, in a non-league game.

“We stepped up our defensive pressure,” Yucaipa coach James Simpson said. “We need to buy in and be harder to play against, and that’s how we went on that run.”

Said Thunderbird guard Malik Young, “We executed in the fourth quarter. We picked up the energy and picked up the intensity. We needed to play defense because they scored a lot in the second and third quarters. We also needed to box out and prevent the second-chance rebounds.”

Indian Springs’ Larry Jacobs scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to put the Coyotes ahead by five points. But for the next almost four minutes, Yucaipa went on a 13-0 run to lead 54-46 with 3:09 left. Young was at both ends of the run with a pair of free throws to start it and a field goal to end it. Nathen Hernandez made four baskets in between as the Thunderbirds (8-4) took control.

Indian Springs never threatened after that.

It helped to have big forward Tristan Doty back in the game in the fourth quarter after four fouls sidelined him.

“The biggest improvement for Tristan Doty has been his defensive presence,” Simpson said. “Anybody he’s played against defensively, he’s given up inches and given up weight. He’s a big, strong competitor.”

Yucaipa led 16-6 after one quarter and 34-27 at halftime.

Hernandez led Yucaipa with 27 points, Young had 15, Doty eight, and Adam Cano six.

Joshua Barajas led Indian Springs (10-6) with 12 points, Jacobs had 10, and Paul Nora 13.

It was an excellent bounce-back victory for Yucaipa after it lost 50-47 to Arrowhead Christian Academy the previous night.


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