January 18, 2011 (Spring Valley) - The Mt. Miguel Matadors' varsity basketball team visited their crosstown rival, the Monte Vista Monarchs for the opening game of Grossmont Valley league play Friday night (1/14). Both teams played evenly for one half, but an 18-6 scoring run in the third quarter by the Matadors was too much for the Monarchs to overcome as Mt. Miguel won easily, 58-36.
At first glance, the Matadors' lineup seems to be at a disadvantage. Only eight players suit up for the varsity team and no player is taller than 6' 3", but what the team lacks in depth or height is made up for with a quick, hard-nosed defense.
The Matadors' defense proved to be so tenacious that the Monarchs were never able to run their offense in the second half. On several occasions, Monarchs' point guards brought the ball into the frontcourt, but were unable to find an open teammate to throw the ball to. This led to several turnovers, either because of steals by Matador defenders or five second violations.
Shooting well from three-point range as well as the free throw line contributed to the Matadors' commanding win. They shot 81 percent (13-16) from the free throw line and connected on five three-point shots.
Thomas Butler led the way for the Matadors with 18 points; his teammate, Marcus Booker added 17. James Jackson led the Monarchs in scoring with 12 points.
"We try to get to the basket and get fouled and get easy points at the free throw line," said Butler. He was 5-7 from the free throw line.
"The last five or six games, we've played good defense. So we're pressuring the ball, helping each other, talking so it was a good team effort on defense--especially in the second half," said Mt. Miguel head coach Jerry Rowlett.
Mt. Miguel improved to 14-5 overall with the win and is 1-0 in Grossmont Valley league play. Their next game is a non-league game against El Centro Southwest at the MLK Classic on Saturday (1/15) at Horizon Christian in the Clairemont area. UPDATE: Mt. Miguel easily defeated El Centro Southwest on Saturday (1/15) by a score 66-30, and improved to 15-5. They play on Friday 1/21 at home in a league game against Santana (13-6).
Monte Vista drops to 10-7 overall and 0-1 in Grossmont Valley league play. Their next game is also a non-league game at Helix High School on Tuesday (1/18).
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area and is an avid Chargers, Padres and Detroit Red Wings fan.
Mt. Miguel: Butler 18, Booker 17, Littleton 10, Mohammed 7, Wagner 4, Hill 2 - Total: 58
Monte Vista: Jackson 12, Houston 11, Starling 6, Taylor 3, Rendo 2, Nwande 2 - Total: 36