East County Sports

BOYS: Meza, Knights knock off Windward

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

CARLSBAD – It only took the Foothills Christian Knights seven games to post a signature victory in the 2019-2020 season.

The Knights knocked off nationally-ranked Windward High, of Los Angeles, 69-59, at the BSN Sports Showcase at Carlsbad High on Saturday.

Junior Nico Meza continued his rapid rise, scoring 25 points, grabbing six rebounds and handing out four assists to lead the third-ranked Knights.

The Knights led 19-13 early in this one, but the Wildcats battled back to tie the game at 24-all at halftime.

However, Foothills Christian surged to the lead, 45-34, after three quarters.

Jalai O’Keith added 15 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Jaden Lebel contributed 13 points and five rebounds for FCHS (5-2).

Lebel hits a three-pointer to extend Foothills Christian’s lead to 10, but the Wildcats answered with a three to trailed, 37-30 with three-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter.

Meza scored 11 points in the third quarter, as the Knights extended the lead to 40-32 just moments later.

Windward scored five quick points to open the fourth but still trailed, 45-39, with seven minutes left in the game.

 

EL CAPITAN 57, CLAIREMONT 41 – Jake Pfitzner and Blaize Saiz combined for 33 points to lead the Vaqueros over the Chieftains at the Destined To Be Stars Tournament at West Hills High.

Pfitzner also had six rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot, and a steal. He was 5-of-11 from the field.

“It was a great game,” Pfitzner said. “It was a really good team win in that we just lost to Calexico the night before – a game that we should’ve won – and to come out and beat Clairemont was a very good feeling.”

Saiz added three steals and was 5-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line.

“Pfitzner and Saiz gave us extremely good mileage tonight,” El Capitan head coach Elias Totah said. “I was pleased with their poise on both ends. It was a great adjustment from the other night versus Calexico.

“Jake with only two total turnovers, that makes you very pleased as a head coach. Blaize had it going on the offensive end and was in great positioning on the defensive end to get a few steals and start the break.”

The Vaqueros shot a season-high 33 free throws in the contest.

“The aggressiveness was there on the offensive end making Clairemont pay for it at the charity stripe,” Totah said. “We are thin and short-handed as it is, but I am pleased with the presence of sophomore guard Daisean Desinor and junior big man Jacob Howard. Two huge contributors off the bench during this stretch run.”

El Capitan led 12-4 after one quarter but the Chieftains eventually closed the gap to 31-28 at the end of three periods.

But the combination of Pfitzner and Saiz took over again.

“I’ve been good friends and a teammate with Jake for years now and I think that’s what really helped our chemistry together on the court,” Saiz said. “I know what he’s going to be doing with and without the ball and same for him to me so it makes it much easier to play with him and play well.

However, a 26-13 edge in the fourth quarter decided it for good.

“We aren’t the biggest team but we got guys who can get on the floor and run,” said Desinor, who had seven points in the contest. “We’re solid and have a few things to clean up but in the end we’ll be right there with all the competition.”

El Cap senior Jaqori Harris had four assists, three rebounds, and two steals to go along with six points.

R.J. Lugtu added seven points, three rebounds, and two assists for the Vaqueros, who improved to 4-5. Clairemont is now 4-3.

The Vaqueros underwent some changes in the offseason but the seasoned duo was going to be ready for the season.

“Having another new coaching staff just means having to adjust again with a new way of coaching, different playbook, and starting a whole new system and it’s what I’ve had to go through for the past four years at El Capitan,” Saiz said. “This year is looking pretty good for us. I think if we play up to our full potential the end result could be a league championship and maybe even CIF.”

El Capitan will face Classical Academy next Thursday.

 

VALHALLA 61, VALLEY CENTER 47 – The Norsemen defeated Valley Center, 61-47, to advance to the finals of the Imperial Valley Tournament. Joe Avalos lead the Norsemen with 19 points.

 

SAN YSIDRO 84, VALHALLA 58 – The Norsemen dropped the tournament championship game to San Ysidro. Avalos led Valhalla with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while teammate Josue Amaya contributed 11 points, four assists, and four rebounds. Bashar Noor scored 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Norsemen.

 

CHRISTIAN 73, MT. CARMEL 23 – The Patriots improved to 4-2 by routing the Sundevils in a Grossmont Tournament game at Francis Parker High.

The Patriots will be next in action on Thursday against the Grossmont Foothillers in a Grossmont Winter Classic game at 7:30 p.m.

 

UNIVERSITY CITY 81, WEST HILLS 50 – The Centurion led 23-17 after one quarter and kept extending the lead throughout.

UC led 41-25 at halftime.

West Hills fell to 4-3 overall, while University City improved to 7-2.

The Wolf Pack will host Hoover next on Thursday in a Winter Classic tournament game at 7:30.

Just this week, junior guard Ashton Avestro returned to the lineup from injury, which is key for West Hills.

“It’s good to have him back and he should be at full strength by our game next Thursday,” West Hills head coach Tim Barry said.

Avestro had been out since the first week of tryouts with a bad ankle sprain. He played 20 minutes on Saturday.

“I knew Coach Barry and the coaching staff were gonna play it safe and not just throw me in there knowing I just came back from an ankle injury,” Avestro said. “To be honest it just felt good to play the game that I love again and especially with my brothers.”

The Wolf Pack stand to be one of the top clubs in the East County this season.

“It’s just good to be back out there with my brothers,” Avestro said. “Obviously, our goal this year is to win the league and possibly CIF, too, but we just gotta take it one game at a time.

“We’ll be playing Hoover next and we know they’re a tough scrappy team and they love to press a lot so we just gotta take care of the ball and be strong with it as well.

 

MATER DEI CATHOLIC 65, HELIX 59 – The seventh-ranked Crusaders knocked off the Highlanders in a Sweetwater Tournament game.

Maurice Holmes scored 20 points, including 11 in the fourth period, for Helix. He had a pair of three-pointers in the second half.

Senior Sammy Stewart added 15 points for the Highlanders, including a three-pointer in the second quarter.

“I knew we were playing a high-ranked team in San Diego County and knew I had to go 110 percent,” Stewart said. “Helix has a great team. I look forward to having a winning season and an amazing senior campaign.”

Still, Stewart misses the fact that he will not get to play in his home gymnasium in his last two years of high school. The team school has yet to be able to install bleacher seating as part of a refurbishment project that still isn’t complete after more than a year.

“At Helix, we have great fans, teachers and students and they do their best to attend (all the games on the road,” Stweart said. “But, I really miss the chants and roaring of the student section at home games.”

Helix seniors Isaiah Robinson and Xavier Otis both had eight points in the win.

Helix jumped out to a 15-11 lead after one quarter, but Mater Dei Catholic outscored the Highlanders, 25-10 in the second period.

 

CALEXICO 60, MONTE VISTA 53 – At the Grossmont Tournament, the Bulldogs knocked off the Monarchs, as Monte Vista fell to 7-4.

Lamonte Jenkins led the Monarchs with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists.

Niamiah Alston added 12 points and five rebounds for Monte Vista.

Ivan Maynard got the Monarchs off to a good start, scoring all nine of his points in the first quarter, including a pair of three-pointers. He also grabbed six rebounds.

Dyvarre Dawson scored eight points for Monte Vista, which will host Health Sciences in a Destined To Be Stars tournament game on Thursday at 6 p.m.

 

TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN 87, STEELE CANYON 58 – The Cougars were in the game early, even holding leads during the first and second quarters.

However, Steele Canyon fell to 1-5 after falling to Tri-City Christian (6-3) in a Grossmont Tournament game at West Hills High.

The Eagles jumped out to a 9-1 advantage but the Cougars came right back early to cut the lead to 9-8 behind the play of Chris Carter.

Steele Canyon eventually led 15-14 late in the first quarter.

However, the Eagles led 23-18 after one period.

Once again, the Cougars were resilient, getting hot early in the second quarter and jumping back into lead, 30-25.

Tri-City Christian led 44-37 at halftime.

The Cougars made four three-point field goals in the first half. Steele also had three three-pointers in the second half.

 

Editor’s note: Don’t see your team’s highlights here, text your scores, stats (take a picture of your scorebook and stat sheet to save time), and information to 619-300-9868. 

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