East County Sports

Matadors win in front of raucous Avondale students

Avondale Elementary students comprise one side of the Matadors bleachers on Thursday.
Mount Miguel defeats Del Norte in front of a weekday afternoon crowd primarily comprised of students from Avondale Elementary School on Thursday afternoon. / video by John Duran

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL

EastCountySports.com staff report

SPRING VALLEY – The Mount Miguel Matadors held their annual weekday matinee in front of younger students from a nearby school on Thursday afternoon

This year, the kids from Avondale Elementary came over to the Matadors’ gymnasium once again, many of them witnessing the excitement of a high school sporting event for the first time.

“It was really about doing something for our community and elementary school that’s right here by Mount Miguel,” Matador head coach Robbie Sandoval said. “Show them the pride that we have in our school. It was great that the kids came over. They showed a lot of energy, very loud and very appreciative of coming to the game. We just wanted to continue to build off our big win from last night and we played a pretty good Del Norte team and played pretty well.”

Mount Miguel doesn’t have to hand pick an opponent to show the youngsters about the Matadors’ winning tradtion since they would be favored against almost any team in the county on their home floor.

But what they got to see, they might not quite understand what they were witnessing.

Sophomore SYLENA PETERSON put on a dominating show for the Avondale Tigers. Peterson exploded for 43 points, including seven three-pointers in a 69-22 win over the visiting Nighthawks.

Avondale students take note.

The Matadors are a great team with great players year-in-and-year-out, however, No. 23 will rank as a generational type of player.

The type of player that those students will one day say they saw play in person. Even if they will have to be reminded.

“These type of games I really work to improve my mid-range,” Peterson said. “Not just that. Attacking-wise. Like my coach tells me I need to be more aggressive.”

But the story of the day was the Avondale Tigers in attendance. Their energy and excitement seemed to ignite the Matadors as soon as the game started.

Peterson said the contest on Thursday may have been her team’s best performance of the season.

“We have other games that have been pretty good but this is up there,” Peterson said. “As you can see we had a high scoring game. Everyone was hitting their shots. I got to say yes, it was a pretty good game overall.”

At 7-1, Mount Miguel is battle-tested and showing they are still one of the top teams in the county. Coach Sandoval feels his Matadors are trending in the right direction.

“I like where we’re at. We still have a long ways to go if we want to have an opportunity to get back to what we did last year,” Sandoval said. “But I like where we’re at right now and we’re just continuing to look to improve.”

The Matadors got off to a strong start, as expected, but they really turned up the intensity in the second quarter, outscoring Del Norte, 18-2, for a 43-12. halftime lead.

But those kids weren’t going anywhere despite the lopsided score. They were here for this occasion.

The Matadors’ TIAJA BENNETT added 11 points.

Mount Miguel will next take on Mater Dei Catholic at home on Saturday. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.

MOUNT MIGUEL STATS

Michelle Corley

6 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals

Tiaja Bennett

11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals

Japonica Melvin

1 rebound

Sylena Peterson

43 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 7 steals

Nya Maga

1 point, 1 rebound, 1 block

Deyona McBride

2 points, 1 rebound, 3 steals

Jacquee Brown

2 points, 1 rebound

Citlalli Gurrola

6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals

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