East County Sports

Champ Foothillers bid aloha to Highlanders



By Bill Dickens

© EastCountySports.com


EL CAJON (2-13-16) — If ever there were an athletic scale for bumps and bruises, Grossmont High 6-foot-9 senior TOMMY RUTHERFORD might, in his future, consider buying a jacuzzi.


Every time Rutherford walks on the court he knows he’s going to get cuffed around, and this time it was no different as the Foothillers clinched at least a tie with West Hills.


Rutherford was like a pingpong ball in this game as the Helix Highlanders knocked him from corner to corner. But the UC Irvine pivot accepted the challenge by pouring in 26 points, gathering 17 rebounds, blocking 3 shots and delivering 3 magnificent dunks as Grossmont vanquished Helix 58-50 in Friday’s (Feb. 12) Grossmont Hills League game.


“He’s a different animal,” said Helix coach JOHN SINGER of Rutherford. “No matter what you do, he’s hard to guard. I thought our kids played well against him but there’s no way to stop him.”


Said Rutherford, “I love to battle and they love to battle. That’s what makes this such a great tradition.”


Rutherford is no gangly performer, as he proved with three Herculean dunks – one spectacular play in particular coming off a steal where he dribbled the length of the floor for a power punch that thrilled the capacity crowd at Grossmont.


He talked about the electricity that flows when he dunks.


“We have a great fan base and they love that kind of stuff,” Rutherford said. “


While it’s obvious that Rutherford is the star of the show, his supporting cast is solid and knows its role.


One of those is MATT MURRAY, a transfer from Raleigh, N.C. The 6-3 senior forward pitched in with 9 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the floor. He also gobbled up 6 rebounds and dished 2 assists. His dunk in the second quarter, however, was the throw down of the night.


“We have no jealousy concerning Tommy,” Murray said. “He helps us win and we all know that. He is what he is, and he helps me get open shots.”


JAYLEN ARNOLD led Helix with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while CARSON BAKER added 13 points and 8 rebounds and DYLAN LEE chipped in with 10 points.


Foothillers coach FRANK FOGGIANO said his Foothillers played one of the most physical games of the season. “Tommy took a pounding, but he expects that.”


Grossmont:  Tommy Rutherford 26 (17 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 3 blk, 3 dunks), Matt Murray 9 (6 reb, 2 ast), Hunter Gaines 5 (2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Dayveion Crawford 5 (3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Branik Brown 4 (2 reb, 4 ast), Jonah Hebel 3 (2 reb), Hunter Mulder 2 (1 ast), Jacob Niskey 2, Alex Lilliard 2, Ryan Shirley (1 reb).


Helix:  Jaylen Arnold 15 (10 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk), Carson Baker 13 (8 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk), Dylan Lee 10 (4 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk), Malik Tambwe 6 (3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 4 blk), Isaiah Wooden 4 (2 reb, 1 ast), Justin Flisher (injured) 2 (1 blk), Amari Green (5 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl), Marvin Roberts (1 reb).

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