East County Sports

Proud night as Vaqueros down Pack

West Hills' Tim Barry and El Capitan's Elias Totah following the game.

West Hills and El Capitan captains meet before the opening tip on Wednesday.



EastCountySports.com staff report


LAKESIDE – El Capitan head coach Elias Totah knew he was in for an emotional night on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old first-year head coach was facing his alma mater, guided by his friend and mentor, Tim Barry, for the first time when West Hills came to visit for a non-league game.

The pair faced each other as head coaches for the first time. Both were assistants at West Hills under the late Jeff Armstrong, who gave Totah his first coaching opportunity with the Wolf Pack.

The Vaqueros gave Totah the win over the school at which he played, as well, in a 61-55 win over the Pack.

“I am very humbled and blessed to come out victorious,” Totah said. “The players bought into our scouting of them, and they executed. All the credit goes to our players and staff. A job well done.”

El Capitan during a time out on Wednesday night in Lakeside.

The win was as close as advertised.

A back-and-forth game came down to good composure by a veteran Vaquero team, as El Capitan made 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter.

By contrast, West Hills went 10-for-26 at this line, including just 3-of-12 in the fourth period. The Vaqueros had just eight turnovers in the contest.

The Vaqueros led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter as Jake Pfitzner had a three-pointer for El Cap, while Kyle Dobyns had five points and Ashton Avestro had four in the opening eight minutes.

Then West Hills freshman Luke Gibson had a big second quarter scoring six points for the Pack.

However, Vaquero sophomore Trevor Molkestad had a three-pointer in the period as El Cap led 23-22 at intermission.

But the sequence of the game went to El Capitan junior R. J. Lugtu.

Following a three-pointer by Cash Creighton which gave the Wolf Pack a 29-25 lead, Lugtu hit three three-pointers and Pfitzner added another triple, as the Vaqueros went ahead 43-37 at the end of three.

“He had it going for a few possessions,” Totah said. “He was shooting with confidence and I know he has had that ability all season.”

Jayden Moreno scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half to keep West Hills definitively in the game.

But it was the clutch free-throw shooting in the fourth by Pfitzner and Harrison Morton, along with another three-pointer from Molkestad, to keep El Cap ahead.

Molklestad finished with nine points.

“(Molkestad) has the ability to shoot the basketball and he has been working on it consistently,” Totah said. “He’s going to be a special player for our program for years to come.”

Dasean Desinor added eight points, five of which came in the first quarter.

“I had it going on defensively but I have to give it to my teammates,” Desinor said. “A huge spark from the three from Raymond Lugtu. Also, Kalen Lavallais coming on the court with nice assists and being a great floor general, and Trevor Molkestad coming off the bench with great minutes and hitting big shots down the stretch.

“Last but not least, Jake Phitz was an absolute monster, always consistent with his numbers. I am confident we can bring this into league.”

Pfitzner had 18 points and six rebounds for El Capitan. He was 6-for-6 from the line on the night. Morton was 5-for-6 from the line down the stretch.

“(Coach Totah) was preaching at practice how bad he wanted to win this game,” Pfitzner said. “I wanted to do everything in my power to make that a reality. It was a great team win.”

The Vaqueros also finished 7-of-15 from three-point range.

The teams head off the court at halftime on Wednesday.

“Extremely proud of our men tonight,” Totah said. “Many contributions tonight in all phases. Knowing that West Hills was going to prioritize on Jake Pfitzner tonight, other players had to step up and compensate. Jake still played extremely well and created for others to thrive.”

Dobyns finished with 14 points for the Wolf Pack.

“Both teams played hard tonight but we had a tough time putting the ball in the hole,” said Barry, himself a former star at Santana High. “It’s  a tough loss but we need to turn the page, let it go, and retool to start Grossmont Hills League play on Friday.”

El Capitan improved to 8-7. The Vaqueros will face the Sultans on Friday in the Grossmont Valley League opener.

West Hills fell to 7-9.


GRANITE HILLS 56, VALHALLA 34 – The Eagles turned in their best effort of the season on defense, according to head coach Dan Duffy.

Deon Spear led Granite Hills with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He grabbed seven boards.

“We did our jobs and played our roles,” Spear said. “We didn’t give up to many easy buckets and every time a shot went up we crashed the boards. Now we just have to polish a couple more little things and work on our shooting as a team.”

McKay Roberts scored 13 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers, to finish with 13 points. He also had seven rebounds and handed out four assists.

John Vrzich had 10 points, four steals, and 11 rebounds for the Eagles, who improved to 7-9 on the season.

“They were pressing off and on but we figured it out and start to capitalize on it,” Vrzich said. “We’re getting used to our flaws on defense so we know when to help and to not. It was a great win overall – not really a good shooting day for us – but we still got the dub.”

Caleb Erickson had three points, five blocked shots and six rebounds for GHHS.

“(Valhalla head coach) Keith (Jackson) always has Valhalla playing hard,” Duffy said. “This was the best defense we have played all season. A total team effort.”

The Norsemen will host Helix on Friday in the Grossmont Hills League opener on Friday night at 7.

Granite Hills will host El Cajon Valley in the Grossmont Valley League opener on Friday night at 7.


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 89, ORANGE GLEN 57 – Foothills Christian, the county’s second-ranked team, moved to 3-0 in Coastal League play with a win at Orange Glen.

Blake McIntyre had a career-high 14 on the night as the Knights moved to 12-5 overall.

Six-foot-3 sophomore Jaden LeBel led the Knights in scoring with 22 points. He also grabbed six rebounds.

Jalai O’Keith and Nico Meza both had 13 points for FCHS.

Senior Yassine Gharram came home with eight points and 13 assists.

Derrien Carter-Hollinger had eight points, six rebounds and six assists for the Knights.


CALEXICO 59, MONTE VISTA 47 – Calexico had a three-point lead with three minutes left in in the game, but following a foul, then a technical foul against the host Monarchs, followed by a basket by the Bulldogs on the ensuing possession, and all of a sudden, Monte Vista found itself down double-digits.

Brandon Tully led Monte Vista with 13 points, including a pair of three-pointers.

Devon Whitley and Ivan Maynard both added nine points for the Monarchs.

Niamiah Alston finished with eight points for Monte Vista.

Monte Vista will play against Valley Center on Thursday.

The Bulldogs improved to 13-2, while the Monarchs fell to 9-7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *