East County Sports

Foothillers topple Cougars en route to Toga Party

Jeremiah Appleton dribbles against Steele Canyon Friday night in La Mesa. / photo by Ramon Scott



By Bill Dickens

© East County Sports.com


EL CAJON (1-30-16) — With many of the Grossmont Foothiller fans chanting plans of a post-game Toga Party – ala Animal House – the host Foothillers started the celebration early – for good reason as Grossmont clipped visiting Steele Canyon 61-53 in Friday’s (Jan. 29) Grossmont Hills League encounter.


The centerpiece in Grossmont’s victory against Steele Canyon was 6-foot-10 UC Irvine bound TOMMY RUTHERFORD, who turned in a powerful double-double of 26 points, 23 rebounds and 4 blocks.


Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 8.28.21 AM“It’s always gonna be a battle,” said Rutherford, who was wearing a double butterfly bandage on his right cheek, the result of the hand to hand combat between the Foothillers and the Cougars in a highly physical game. “Going into a game like this I almost expect it. I know our opponents are going to be angry but it’s my job to overcome it.”


It’s typical for Rutherford to draw at least three defenders in the course of a game. Thus points for him will come at a premium.


“Teams are so busy trying to defend me that guys like JEREMIAH APPLETON and MATT MURRAY can take advantage,” the big guy said.


His two Foothiller sidekicks accounted for 19 points and 10 rebounds between them as Grossmont captured a 30-18 halftime advantage.


The victory hoisted No. 9 ranked Grossmont to a GHL leading 3-0 mark and an 18-3 record overall.Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 8.26.15 AM


“We’re a team,” said Appleton, a senior guard who scored 12 points. “We have an excellent big man but he’s not our only player.”


Murray was a force inside for Grossmont. He’s another player that wants to prove that the Foothillers are not a one-man team.


“They swarmed around Tommy but we were able to execute our game plan when we moved the ball up and down the floor,” Murray said.


Steele Canyon (9-13, 0-5 GHL) fell into the cellar following Friday’s hard fought loss to Grossmont.


Fleet-footed MARCUS WHITE scored 18 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and THOMAS FISHBURNE hit a trio of 3-pointers for the Cougars.


JALEN SAYLES also landed a trio of triples in the frustrating loss.


Grossmont:  Tommy Rutherford 26 (23 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 4 blk), Jeremiah Appleton 12 (3 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Matt Murray 9 (7 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Jonah Hebel 8 (1 reb), Branik Brown 4 (1 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Alex Lilliard 2, Ryan Shirley (1 reb, 1 ast), Dayveion Crawford (1 reb).

Steele Canyon:  Marcus White 18 (5 reb, 1 ast), Thomas Fishburne 13 (3 ast, 4 stl), Jalen Sayles 9 (2 reb, 1 ast), Javon Nutter 5 (7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Gage Sanders 6 (3 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk), Nick Hodge 2 (4 reb).

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