East County Sports

Knights, Monarchs win; Patriots edged

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

CHULA VISTA – Three Foothills Christian players scored over 20 points in a 74-22 non-league rout of Mar Vista on Friday night.

Junior Arantxa Fonseca, sometimes overlooked because of the high-profile presence of senior teammate Ellie Turk, who is one of the top players in the county, scored a career-high 26 points for the Knights.

Turk scored 21 points, and sophomore Nataly Bravo added 23 points for the Knights.

Fonseca also had five rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a blocked shot.

Turk, meanwhile, handed out 13 assists, had seven steals, and also grabbed five rebounds.

Bravo had eight boards, four steals, and three assists,

Junior Caroline Burke was the only other Knight to end up on the scoresheet, coming in with four points. She also grabbed four rebounds and handed out four assists.

Junior Christie Sarkis contributed with four rebounds, three steals, a pair of assists and two blocked shots.

“I walked in the gym tonight with a mindset that I needed to play defense because defense wins championships,” Sarkis said. “I can’t always want to just shoot the ball since I’m not the best ball handler on the team.

“I think I really showed what kind of defensive player I can be. Even though I didn’t score any points this game, I know I impacted the team with my rebounding and assists.”

Sophomore Abby Bowen had three rebounds, two steals, and an assist, while sophomore teammate Faith Wilson grabbed a pair of rebounds.

“Things are starting to ramp up for us,” Foothills Christian coach Joey Turk said. “We are playing at a high level because everyone on our roster has improved. Christie Sarkis had her best defensive game and contributed even without scoring.”

The Knights have a game next Tuesday at Monte Vista.

“Next month will be a good measure of where we are,” Coach Turk said.

 

MONTE VISTA 46, HIGH TECH CHULA VISTA 25 – The Monte Vista Monarchs defeated the High Tech Chula Vista Bruins in a non-league contest on Friday night.

Sophomore “Point God” Samantha Gonzalez scored 14 points, while sophomore Destiny Smith added 10 points, as the Monarchs controlled the game from the outset, scoring 21 points in the opening period.

Lina DeLeon, Jourdan Barber, and Vanessa Braun each had a team-high five rebounds. De Leon had five steals, as well.

“Everyone really stepped up,” Gonzalez said. “Vanessa (Braun) was playing great, Jourdan (Barber) has been really stepping up and I am really happy because even though Meadow (Delino) is out, we gave it our all and we had to prove to coach (Sabrina Jimenez) that we can step up in times like this.”

DeLeon had six points, while sophomore Pulega Asaou added five points.

“It has been a rough few weeks without two of our players, Meadow Delino and Destiny Smith, but I am most impressed with how my teammates have stepped up,” said senior captain Maya Garcia. “I always make sure to play hard for every game and encourage my teammates to do the same. I always make sure to start and finished every game with the same intensity when it comes to playing strong defense.”

Monte Vista led 21-3 after one quarter and 33-5 at halftime.

“I feel that the coach has confidence in me,” Garcia said. “She knows I finish strong and play with heart. I try my best to sprint to the ball and get as many steals and rebounds as I can. When I know I mess up, I don’t let it affect me and the game because at the end of the day I need to continue so I don’t let my teammates down. I may not score as many points, but I do hustle nonstop and play excellent defense. I am one of three captains on the team and she has faith in my leadership.”

One of the other captains, along with Braun and Garcia, is senior Heidy Romero, who had four points, four steals and a pair of rebounds in the contest.

“Our energy was definitely there tonight,” Romero said. “Maya is always bringing hustle to the game, it’s something she does very well, and to me, she is one of the players that have the most energy. I just try to be as strong as I can on the post, getting the ball back was one of my main focuses. I felt that was helping my team get more chances offensively.

“As coach Sabrina always says ‘Energy can’t be coached,’  so it’s an admirable trait of Maya’s.

“As for Sam, she does an amazing job at keeping her energy up no matter how the game is going.

“We are always bringing the spirit and we always keep communication amongst each other. This game is mostly about playing with heart and hustle, as well as, playing smart.

“The team has very good chemistry on and off the court. It doesn’t matter who is on the court at any given time, we all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We can adjust accordingly to complement each other and add to the strategy of the game.

“The glue of it all is Coach Sabrina, she makes us work hard every day and encourages us to challenge ourselves during the game by believing in us and letting us play ball, she trust our instincts and respects our input.”

MATER DEI CATHOLIC 63, CHRISTIAN 61 – The Patriots had a rough shooting night but still almost prevailed against the Crusaders at the Sweet 16 Tournament at La Jolla Country Day.

Christian, which led by double-digits early, made just 22 of 72 shots, including 7-of-31 from three-point range.

“We were out-hustled when it counted and I felt we needed more leadership and fight in crunch time,” Christian High head coach Vickie Carrington said. “However, we had some great spurts and had a great start and then we let up. Mater Dei wanted it more.

“We didn’t finish and shots weren’t falling. It’s no excuse but I’m sure the girls were discouraged. As a coach, I’m digging deep, using the bench looking for a spark, but all in all, we have to stay checked in and find a way to get it done.”

The Patriots, which got off to a hot start, had a 22-10 lead late in the first quarter and built that lead to 35-21 in the second quarter.

Kristin Williams and Koko Akridge had back-to-back three-pointers in the second quarter to help Christian to a 30-19 lead. Then Williams tacked on another trey for a 14-point advantage.

“I need to improve on running the baseline and knowing when to shoot and when to pass,” Williams said. “I need to work on efficiency, as well. It’s all about heart and hustle. If you want it more than the other team, you have to fight harder.

“At the beginning of the game, we were getting buckets from transition and we stopped doing that by settling. I think we got tired and just didn’t want to run the floor anymore. I don’t think shooting-wise we broke down but we definitely should have driven in more because they kept fouling. I just think if we swing the ball quicker and then look for a shot the game will come much easier.”

However, Mater Dei’s run late in the second quarter closed the game to just 35-31 at halftime.

The Patriots came out of halftime with hot starts by Simone James and Allie Carreon, who combined for the Pats’ first 12 points of the second half to put Christian ahead 44-36, including a three by Carreon.

Akridge had a field goal that still had the Patriots up by nine at 49-40.

“I have great skills and athleticism but I have to have more confidence in those skills,” Akridge said. “My biggest strength is on defense. I am a really aggressive defender and my defense brings the energy up. I feel I can make smarter decisions as far as knowing when to drive and when to shoot the three. I am very thankful I get to be apart of Christian High’s program with an amazing group of girls and coaches who only want the absolute best for me.”

The Patriots led 53-49 entering the fourth quarter.

After Mater Dei tied the game at 55-all, Amaya Howard canned a three-pointer to regain the lead.

“We started off great and we had the game at a comfortable point so that made us get complacent,” Howard said.In the first half, we were just working as a team and doing our thing. We started to shoot instead of drive when they were in foul trouble.”

Mater Dei finally took over the lead but Howard tried to help regain the momentum with a three-pointer to bring the Pats back to within 63-61.

“I think our downfall really was the lack of rebounding, and for me, getting into foul trouble takes some of our momentum out of the game because I think I ignite the energy on the floor,” Howard said. “Our talent wasn’t what lost is the game. I learned from this game that you can’t let your foot off the gas at any time, that you need heart and hustle and to really listen to what your coaches are saying. Our next game, I think comes down to smart decisions and to limit turnovers as much as possible.”

Christian is 2-2 and will face another top team in the county on Saturday against Bonita Vista.

“The positives from this loss is that we came out uptempo and on fire, our players played hard and the majority of shots were good shots, but they just wouldn’t fall,” Carrington said. “We are talented but I know we have not arrived. There are a lot of little things that we need to fix and they were visible today. That’s positive because I know what we need to fix. And it’s early in the season. So that’s a good thing.”

Still, the Patriots figure to have one of their best teams ever in a long history of success, dating back to the days of the old Gymdenberg, before Christian played in the beautiful Ryan Center.

And Carrington brings a ton of coaching experience to the program.

The pairing of leadership and talent has risen the expectations even further, and given last season’s enormous success, a pair of losses isn’t going to slow the team’s growth.

“I have been blessed to coach some very talented varsity players over the past (17) years,” Carrington said. “At Horizon, my teams competed in the very tough Coastal Conference against loaded teams like La Jolla Country Day, Bishop’s, Parker, Santa Fe, and we never backed down from anyone.

“I have coached against some of San Diego’s greats like Charde Houston, Candice Wiggins, Kelsey Plum, and more.

“We have the pieces to the puzzle, I feel I have a coach’s dream of completeness, we just have a few kinks to straighten out. I love coaching this group, they have so much potential and talent.”

Elsewhere

VISTA 67, GROSSMONT 53 – The Foothillers dropped a game to the Panthers at the Excalibur Classic in San Marcos. It was the first win of the season for the Panthers.

OTAY RANCH 55, VALHALLA 32 – Valhalla led 9-7 after one quarter but trailed 27-13 at halftime.

CANYON CREST 47, STEELE CANYON 21 – The Cougars remained winless following the road loss.

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