East County Sports

Vaqueros upset Foothillers at tourney

El Capitan warms up prior to the game on Wednesday night.



EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – The El Capitan Vaqueros earned their first win of the season by defeating the previously unbeaten Grossmont Foothillers, 69-62, in the Grossmont Tournament at Grossmont High on Wednesday evening.

El Capitan coach JEFF BICKFORD knocked off mentor FRANK FOGGIANO, the legendary skipper of the Hillers, in a matchup of conference teams.

Foggiano hired Bickford to be a varsity coach back in 2010.

It was the second-straight night that Grossmont has faced a Grossmont Conference opponent at its own tourney.

Junior guard JACOB PFITZNER led El Capitan with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.

“Our squad this year is a lot younger than it was last year,” Pfitzner said.  “We only have one senior in our starting lineup but we also have a lot more basketball experience on our team which means we have a lot more talent than we did last year.”

Senior center RANDY TUCKER added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Vaqueros.

Junior point guard HARRISON MORTON contributed 10 points.

“I thought we were able to come together as a unit and execute well in order to come out with the victory,” Morton said. “Things got close but Jake Pftizner and I were able to close the game out at the line.”

Pfitzner and Morton combined to go 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Pfitzner nailed his down the stretch with the Vaqueros holding a one-point lead.

“I felt like my rebounding helped the team win,” Pfitzner said.

El Cap junior guard BLAIZE SAIZ added nine points.

The Vaqueros shot nearly 62 percent and made 13-of-17 from the line.

“JAZAY and JAQUORI (HARRIS) and KALEN (LAVALLAIS) played great box-and-one defense on No. 12 (LACHIN BEKIROV) for Grossmont,” Bickford said.

Coming off a pair of losses, Bickford noted the team was still playing hard through a 34-point defeat to Del Norte on Tuesday.

“Our motto is, ‘We, not me,'” Morton said. “The focus before the game was ‘togetherness’ and in order to win tonight we were gonna have to play together and have energy from all aspects of the court, (including) the bench, the stands, (and) on the court.”

Senior forward YAPHET YOKLEY was named a team captain, although he remains injured following football season.

“Knowing I have my family and team’s support it makes it all the better and motivated to get back,” Yokley said. “I feel honored to be named a captain for the team knowing I can offer my experience and leadership to get us on the right foot.

El Capitan will face Fallbrook on Friday in a tournament game at Olympian High School.

“he key to winning against Fallbrook on is to keep playing as a team,” Pfitzner said. “Which means no arguing with each other and not being selfish.”

On the court, Morton has a formula, as well.

“Pushing the ball and playing fast transition basketball will help us,” said the point man. “Our athletic advantage will be the key to winning in my opinion”

Yokley has had to put all his team contribution in helping the team focus.

“I saw a high level of want and energy for a win,” Yokley said. “Once we got the momentum in the first half, it brought everyone together. Our bench brought a lot of energy, which was crucial. If we keep it at the same pace and same level of energy, I think we will have no problem winning more games.”

El Capitan will find itself in the Grossmont Valley League mix this season. The Foothillers defeated the Monarchs at this event on Tuesday night.

“I believe we have a shot at taking league,” Yokley said. “We have young guys who have experience already on varsity and it’s all about finding that groove and executing the game plan. Winning league is definitely a goal we can achieve.”

MONTE VISTA 72, PREUSS UCSD 46 – Senior JAIDEN DAWN had a team-high 18 points, including eight in the first quarter, as the Monarchs won their first game at the Grossmont Tournament in three outings.

Dawn also had five rebounds and five steals.

Senior DERRICK WILEY added 11 points and seven rebounds, while fellow senior DEMARCUS MCKAN added 10 points for the Monarchs.

ERNIE ARAMBULA contributed a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points overall for Monte Vista, while teammates KENNY STEVENS and ISAIAH TAYLOR both added seven markers.

McKan had nine points in the second quarter.

“The scoring was pretty balanced so that was a positive,” Monte Vista coach MIKE TULLY said. “We need to continue to improve. We have a long way to go.”

The Monarchs face University City next in the tournament this Friday at 1:30.

UNIVERSITY CITY 61, STEELE CANYON 35 – At the Grossmont Tournament, The Cougars trailed just 13-10 after one quarter, but they scored just two points in the second quarter to trail 30-12 at halftime.

Steele Canyon finished strong as both teams put up 18 points in the fourth quarter.

Steele Canyon (1-2) will face Westview on Friday at 4:30 at Grossmont High in the Grossmont Tournament.



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