East County Sports

Awesome Avestro brings Pack back



EastCountySports.com staff report

SANTEE – Before he was the head coach for the West Hills boys varsity basketball team, the late JEFF ARMSTRONG had success guiding the Granite Hills’ boys program.

On Tuesday, the two schools’ teams met in Santee and provided a wild ride that had both teams holding big leads in the game before the Wolf Pack closed strong to take the victory, 68-64.

West Hills, which led by as many as eight early at 16-8, had to come from behind late and finished the game on an 18-5 run for its sixth win of the year.

Senior guard MICHAEL TOTAH knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer from the top of the arc with 17 seconds left in the game to put West Hills up by a point.

But the Pack would’ve never arrived at that point without the hot shot of ASHTON AVESTRO.

Avestro led the Pack with 25 points, hitting seven three-pointers.

Granite Hills (2-4) provided the gradual momentum swing to take a double-digit late in the fourth quarter.

“Avestro willed us on the offensive end,” West Hills assistant coach ELIAS TOTAH said. “He had it going and we just wanted to make sure he was getting touches throughout the whole fourth quarter.”

Michael Totah had 11 points in the fourth quarter, icing the game with two free throws with six seconds left.

Meanwhile, Avestro had a pair of threes in the fourth quarter.

“A big team victory today,” Elias Totah said. “Plenty to work on, but plenty to be proud about.”

West Hills coach TIM BARRY said that the team is “kinda feeling that guardian angel on our shoulder,” but at least in this one, coach Armstrong may have sat with the Eagles for old times’ sake for much of the second and third quarters.

The Eagles nailed four three-pointers in the third quarter and made 10 field goals overall in the period.

Eagle junior MCKAY ROBERTS scored seven of his 16 points as Granite surged to the lead in the third.

Granite Hills guard JOHN YAKOU had a strong performance with 17 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals with no turnovers.  

Yakou helped his club climb back in the game with 12 points in the second quarter, including a pair of threes.

Sophomore JUSTUS MCCOMB had his best production of the season with 11 points including 4-for-4 from the field. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of our improvement and our effort,” Granite Hills coach DAN DUFFY said. “I give west hills a lot of credit, they’re always well coached and hit some very big shots down the stretch when they needed them.  

“We’re getting better each game.  We had a tight game last night, played more of the bench tonight.”

Sophomore KYLE DOBYNS scored eight of his 12 points in the first half for West Hills (6-4).

HUNTER PIKE finished with seven points for the Eagles.

OTAY RANCH 79, SANTANA 39 – The Sultans fell to 2-6 following a road loss to the Mustangs (5-4).

Santana will face Sage Creek in the Grossmont Winter Tournament at La Holla High on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY 56, LIBERTY CHARTER 49 – Senior DAVID MILLER had 12 points for the Lions, while sophomore teammate JONAH BELPREZ added 10 points.

Liberty outscored SDJA 45-40 after a disastrous 16-4 first-quarter start.

The Lions’ TYLER SNELL, a sophomore, had a field goal midway through the fourth quarter that actually gave his team a 29-28 lead.

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