Matadors claim 17th-straight league championship
- Updated: February 14, 2017
2016-17 EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL
By Ramon Scott
SANTEE – The 10th-ranked Mount Miguel Matadors allowed the West Hills Wolf Pack only two points over the final 5:07 Tuesday evening to thwart yet another bid to their title throne, capturing their 17th consecutive league championship with a 53-45 road victory.
Senior SATERA BATES scored 26 points and had seven rebounds, while junior CAMARA DOUGLAS added 16 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Matadors to their ninth Grossmont Hills League win of the season without a loss, clinching the title outright.
West Hills could have cinched a share of the banner with a win at home.
With the score tied at 43-43, it was the sure experience of Bates and Douglas that forced the Wolf Pack’s hand in a series of missed shots over the final minutes.
Bates and Douglas were two major stars from last year’s title team that turned away contending rival Granite Hills on the season’s final night.
“West Hills is a really good team and they gave us a great fight,” Douglas said. “We really had to execute, especially defensively, to get it done.
“We knew what was on the line, we just had to come in here and take what’s ours. We don’t want to break that (championship streak).”
The Matadors led 26-22 at halftime behind 16 points from Bates in the first half.
West Hills turned the tide, however, as the second half progressed, taking a 35-31 lead late in the quarter.
CARLY RALEY had 13 points in the first half for West Hills, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. She finished with a team-high 17 points. MAYA CLEMONS added 12 for the Wolf Pack, including a pair of key buckets that countered the Matadors’ early attempts to pull away in the early in the fourth.
“I thought we played really well,” said Wolf Pack coach RYAN KINSER. “We were able to get them in foul trouble. We knew they would be aggressive defensively and we were aggressive right back.
“The last 3 minutes we ran out of gas. Mount Miguel made plays and we didn’t. I thought our post played great tonight, Maya Clemons also did a good job attacking the basket.”
“We were told to deny the post,” Douglas said. “Deny, deny, deny, then come with the help defense.”
Mount Miguel head coach ROBBIE SANDOVAL told his team following the game to focus on what they did right defensively down the stretch, as a postseason meeting with the same West Hills team could end up in the offing.
“It’s the first time this season we overcame some adversity in the fourth quarter,” Sandoval said. “We were trying to get the ball out of (point guard VIVIAN PANELA’s) hands.”
Bates, the team’s lone senior, scored seven points in the fourth quarter, while LAILA SMITH added six of her 10 in the final eight minutes. Smith also had nine assists and four steals.
“It’s my senior year, so I wanted to help this team win league and hopefully win a CIF title,” Bates said. “I’m trying to come out with a ring.”
The Matadors seem headed to the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 playoffs, but interestingly are teetering on the edge of qualifying for the Open Division’s postseason rumble. The Wolf Pack could end up opposite the Matadors as the possible No. 4 seed.
There still could be some movement with most teams scheduled to play one more game in the regular season.