It’s not a good idea to get Robbie Berwick frustrated.
The Atascadero High sophomore guard just couldn’t handle the 19-point pressure his team was under in the third quarter of Friday night’s PAC 7 game against visiting Righetti.
So he did what he does best, and that was letting the shots fly. He nailed four straight 3-pointers, some of them as far back as NBA range, to carry the Greyhounds back into contention.
But he just couldn’t do it alone.
Righetti, ranked by The Los Angeles Times as a top 25 team in the Southland, was too loaded and too strong to panic about Berwick’s 28-point performance, as the Warriors walked away with a 77-62 win in front of a nearly packed Ewing Gym to keep them undefeated in the league standings.
“Rob got the hot hand,” Atascadero coach Jerry Tamelier said. “We were kind of desperate and he brought us back. But eventually we’ll need more involvement against a good team.”
How good was Righetti?
The Warriors (14-2, 4-0 PAC 7) finished with four double-digit scorers in freshman Cameron Walker (19 points), seniors Ryan McGready (16) and Hunter Walker (15) and reserve 3-point threat Patrick Sims (14). They had their biggest lead at the 3:35 mark in the third quarter when they were ahead 50-31.
Atascadero (12-6, 3-2 PAC 7) twice narrowed that margin to seven in the fourth quarter but didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:11 until two meaningless buckets by Joe Johnson (nine points) and Berwick to end the game.
Righetti finished the game on a 10-4 run, as the Greyhounds — who were playing their third game this week after an overtime loss to Arroyo Grande and a two-point win over St. Joseph — missed seven of their final eight free-throw attempts.
“Our teammates did a good job getting open,” Berwick said. “We just couldn’t hit the shots. If we knocked down those shots, we’d have been right in the game when we made that little run at the end.”
Righetti made it a double-digit advantage with just 4:14 left in the first quarter, when Cameron, a 6-foot-6 freshman standout already garnering interest from Pac-12 schools, nailed his lone 3-pointer to put the Warriors ahead 17-5. They led 43-26 at halftime.
“Righetti is a very good team. We knew that coming in,” Tamelier said. “A lot of tough matchups with their size, their skills and their speed.”
McGready punished Atascadero inside the paint, the two lengthy Walkers made it difficult for such shooters as Hayden Mislavsky (10 points) and Connor Kim (eight points) from becoming factors and the Warriors took advantage of fast-break opportunities.
All that was just too much for the Greyhounds to overcome — even with Berwick around.
He scored 15 points in the third quarter, nailing four consecutive 3-pointers and connecting on a 3-point play, because he said, “When I’m frustrated, I play a little better.”
He then assisted Kim on a 3-pointer to open the fourth and cut the deficit to 56-49. But Righetti always had a response to every rally, evidenced by Sims’ 3-pointer just seconds later.
And when Atascadero made it 62-55 with 5:18 left after a Berwick score, Hunter Walker responded with a 3-point play. The Warriors’ size, skill and speed were too much to handle.
“They’re a great basketball team,” Berwick said.