East County Sports

GIRLS: Vaqueros, Sultans, Knights win



EastCountySports.com staff report


LAKESIDE – The El Capitan Vaqueros soundly defeated the visiting Santa Fe Christian Eagles, 62-19, on Saturday to improve to 3-1 on the season – but more importantly, the victory provided a tune-up for a huge county Top 15 matchup next week.

Earlier in the day, the team took part in a Media Day, organized by the coaching staff and EastCountySports’ Dave Dickens.

El Capitan junior Mackenzie Curtis takes a shot on Saturday night. / photo by Dave Dickens

Later, El Capitan junior Mackenzie Curtis scored 25 points but she was genuinely more interested in hyping up her newer teammates following the game.

“The girls coming on to the team bring a lot of new energy,” Curtis said. “Kaylee Cole running at point helps get many of our scorers in position by us not having to worry about bringing the ball down the court and Gracie Thorne plays well on defense which really makes teams nervous.

“Jacey Danks really is a threat in the paint and teams have to worry about her. The bigger the threat in the paint, the more open the shooters will get.”

Junior forward Emma Driskill had 13 points for El Cap. Eleven of the points coming in the first half.

“I think this was the first time in a while that we understood what our goal was and what we had to do in order to win,” Curtis said. “My job wasn’t needed as much tonight, but Jacey Danks, Hannah Burton, and Stephanie Yeakle really stepped it up.

Curtis scored 11 points in the first quarter, including a three-pointer. She also had 11 points in the third quarter.

Junior center Jacey Danks added 13 points for the Vaqueros, nine of which came in the second period.

“W got more confidence in our game the second quarter,” Danks said.

Sophomore Tiffany Bickford contributed six points for El Capitan.

El Capitan goes for a rebound on Saturday. / photo by Dave Dickens

“This has been my best game this season so far even though I only had six points,” said Bickford. “It’s been a little bit of a rocky start for me because my shot hasn’t been falling, but today was the first day that I started attacking the basket more and it worked.

“I played a lot more confident today than I have in a while and I think that helped with my team’s overall game today. In practice, we have been working on a lot more defense-oriented game instead of our normal offense orientation.

“I think that our team finally came together today because we didn’t have the best start even though we started off the season 2-1, Bickford said. “We were adapting to the other teams playing 2-3 against us instead of man which has never happened.

“Even though it seemed like we played really well, which don’t get me wrong we did, it showed to us what we need to work on and clean up before our next game against La Costa Canyon. But, overall, it was a very successful day for us and we can’t wait to get back at it in action next week.

El Capitan will face La Costa Canyon in a Tip-Off Classic game on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Lakeside.

“I believe La Costa is gonna be a strong, well-disciplined team, Danks said. “We are gonna have to run our offense and our defense the way we practice and do our job individually and as a team.”

La Costa Canyon comes in just 1-0 but was ranked seventh in the county preseason media poll. The Vaqueros debuted 15th.

El Capitan has the ball on Saturday. / photo by Dave Dickens

“Although it seems like it would be a challenge to go from Santa Fe Christian to La Costa in a matter of three days, we are ready,” Bickford said. “Looking at our schedule, this game seems like it will be the hardest for us. But this is what we have been working for all offseason and in season. We’re excited about the challenge most of all to see if we can step up to the challenge.”

The defending Division I champs and 11-time consecutive Avocado League titlist is led by sophomore Megan Quain and senior Haley Dumiak

“The key to help us win will be our defense and all of us just having confidence in ourselves and each other to trust ours and each other’s abilities,” Bickford said.

The Mavericks already had a top-rated win, defeating 14th-ranked Scripps Ranch last week, 71-52.

“They will be a tough test for us,” El Capitan head coach Darrin Curtis said. “They come in as one of the top teams in the county this year, but our experience and hard work showed today and our defense is getting better every game.”



SANTANA 66, MAR VISTA 27 – Brianna Jerig, a senior, scored 27 points to lead the Sultans over the Mariners, as Santana feasted on the victory.

Jerig also had four assists and four steals, while shooting 12-of-21 from the field.

Santana players get together for some time away from the court with some pizza following the holiday.

“Brianna was incredible tonight,” Santana head coach Jordan Franey said. “She is lethal in the open floor and was able to get out in transition and finish tough plays.”

Sophomore Bella Terry had 13 points and five rebounds for Santana, which improved to 2-2.

“We absolutely got back to business this week,” Franey said. “We came together through tough practices and overcame adversity and it really showed tonight. We controlled the tempo on both ends of the floor and executed when we needed to while allowing the game to come to us. Our basketball IQ is definitely growing every day and our leadership is stronger than ever.”

Only two Sultans are seniors and expectations are rising because of the program’s long- and short-term successes.

“Around here, talk is cheap, and tonight my kids clocked in, got their work done, and clocked out,” Franey said. “We are young and hungry and it’s a fun thing to be a part of,” Franey said.

Junior Joey Barkhimer had 12 points and four rebounds for Santana.

“We started and ended strong both defensively and offensively,” Barkheimer said. “I would say that we have come a long way since last season.”

Senior Lakaila Aquiningoc-David has six points, five assists, and six steals.

Santana girls varsity basketball coaching staff.

“Lakaila has been our floor general leading our break and by doing that’s she has really changed the dynamic of our team,” Franey said. “We care about the small things here. Little things matter to us whether that’s taking care of the ball to making sure we are dialed in and prepared for every game.”

The work came in preparation for a game against West Hills on Tuesday night at 6 at Santana.

“I’ve told my kids that I refuse to let them walk out of here in four years and be average,” Franey said. “We have a special group of kids that can do big things and with that comes a lot of responsibility. It’s something I think we can handle if we continue to put in the work.”


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 62, CANYON CREST 38 – Foothills Christian senior Ellie Turk had 17 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals and a pair of blocks as the 23rd-ranked Knights won over the host Ravens.

While Turk is one of the top players in the county and should lead the Knights to a terrific season, the program will be in steady hands in the future, as well, as the remaining members of the roster are all underclassmen.

Sophomore Nataly Bravo had 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and four steals for Foothills Christian.

Junior Arantxa Fonseca had 13 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists for the Knights.

Junior Caroline Burke had 10 points, five rebounds, three steals, and a pair of blocks for Foothills.

Sophomore Faith Wilson had three points and six rebounds for FCHS.

Junior Christie Sarkis added three points and three rebounds for the Knights.

“We played a solid game,” Foothills Christian head coach Joey Turk said. I’m excited about our future. There is lots of room to grow and get better. 

The Knights will meet Tri-City Christian on Tuesday at 6 in Vista, as Foothills Christian will put its 4-0 record on the line.

“We had three good quarters of defense,” coach Turk said. “We let up in the third quarter and didn’t keep the consistent pressure we like to have.”

GROSSMONT 56, RAMONA 30 – The Foothillers knocked off the Bulldogs at the Tip-Off Classic at Grossmont.

Senior Sarah Henry scored 24 points to lead the Hillers. She also grabbed seven rebounds and had a pair of steals.

Sophomore Mckenzee Purnell added 12 points for 21st-ranked Grossmont, which improved to 2-0. She also had two rebounds and two steals.

Junior Daneca Perez contributed nine points and seven steals.

Senior Alex Purnell grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.

Grossmont will face Westview (3-0) in the Excalibur Classic on Wednesday at 5. The tournament is played at San Marcos High.

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