East County Sports

Matadors return for championship justice



By Ramon Scott



SAN MARCOS – Mount Miguel senior JUSTICE CHIMA picked a good time to have the best game of his career.

Chima, a durable performer for the Matadors all season, came up with a performance he can brag about for a lifetime, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in helping ninth-ranked Mount Miguel win one of the most memorable title games in section history in a 79-76 triple-overtime victory over Carlsbad in the San Diego CIF Division III championship game at San Marcos High on Saturday night.

After coming up one win short last season in the section final, Mount Miguel won its 30th game of the season to come up with its first CIF title since 2010 under head coach JAY ROWLETT.

“We played overtime and lost three players that fouled out,” Rowlett said. “But they played their hearts out in tonight’s game, our squad achieved three goals win the league, get 20 wins for their coach and win the CIF.”

Senior DARON TRAYLOR led Mount Miguel (30-4) with 24 points, while senior rock star JAMES ALLEN did it all and did it all night, scoring 13 points, dishing out eight assists and recording seven steals.

The game had nearly as many lead changes than a restrictor plate race.

Sixth-seeded Carlsbad (15-16) led through most of the first half until the Matadors put up a 10-0 run, capped by a score from Chima.

Mount Miguel, which came in averaging over 77 points per game to rank as one of the top 15 scoring offenses in section history, was merely “held” to 31 points in the first half, but still claimed a five-point lead.

Another of Mount Miguel’s talented crew stepped up big time once again as MIKEECE DUNBAR had five three-pointers in the contest, including three on four attempts in the second quarter.

The Matadors were consistently able to work Dunbar open for his favorite shot and even when he missed a series of attempts, the coaches and teammates were eager to encourage him to stay with his shot.

The Lancers got the jump after halftime, quickly jolting out back in front.

Traylor hit a deep three in the third quarter for his second triple of the period, then junior forward C.J. JACKSON, who also was saddled with three fouls in the first half, grabbed an offensive rebound and putback for back-to-back buckets and a 47-44 lead at the end of three.

Allen scored four crucial points and a pair of steals as the Matadors rallied in the first overtime. His steal and layup tied the contest once again.

After hitting a huge three-pointer to put Mount Miguel ahead 60-58 with 1:25 left in regulation, Traylor recorded a steal on a late Lancer possession after they had tied the game.

Dunbar knocked down a huge three in the third overtime session.

Matador junior MARQUISE EDWARDS had a game-tying basket in the second overtime that proved important. Despite battling foul trouble most of the evening, he had a huge contribution with seven rebounds and four blocked shots

Traylor later scored a crucial bucket also in the third extra four-minute period.

Chima had seven rebounds over the three overtimes.

The Matadors had just one player on the bench when the game ended, as starters Edwards, Traylor and Jackson had all fouled out.

“I knew I had to take over and that’s what I did,” Traylor said. ” We worked all season to get to this point. We are special because we play as a team.”

The Matadors now have a 15-game winning streak heading into the state playoffs.


David Willauer contributed to this report

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