East County Sports

GIRLS: Sultans off to 3-0 Valley start

Kristin Williams lets a shot fly against Serra on Tuesday. / photo by Dave Dickens

Christian’s KoKo Akridge lets a shot go from three against Serra on Tuesday. / photo by Dave Dickens



EastCountySports.com staff report


SANTEE – The Santana Sultans took their bumps and bruises playing a rugged non-league schedule.

That price is paying off now that Grossmont Valley League play has arrived.

The Sultans improved to 3-0 in the GVL on Tuesday by defeating short-handed El Cajon Valley, 63-22.

It was Santana’s fifth-straight victory.

Bella Terry led the way for Santana with 17 points, five rebounds, four blocked shots, and four steals.

It felt great to take a big ‘W’ tonight. We all worked very hard to be in the position we are right now. We’ve been putting in hard work day in and day out during practice, which is showing on the court. Coach (Jordan Franey) has been pushing us hard at practice especially with our defense, it feels so good to see it transfer in the games. The passes are putting me in perfect places to score the ball. Our chemistry is getting very strong and really showing. Coach has been pushing us during practice very hard to execute on all of our shots and layups and reducing our turnovers as much as possible. We’ve been working extremely hard at practice to push our selves to new standards since some of our hard loses. The entire team has improved so much. Brianna (Jerig) is killing it on her steals and threes, which is such an important part of our team. Joey (Barkheimer) has been showing a tremendous post presence down low. Taylinn (Warren) is helping us pick up a lot of boards, offensively and defensively, which is great especially for her first year playing high school ball. I’m overall very happy and excited with the way this season is going so far. – Bella Terry

Lakaila Aquiningoc-David had 14 points, eight assists, and five steals for the Sultans.

Things are just coming together. Our basketball IQ and our feel for the game is finally there. We finally found what it means to play our game and not someone else’s. I think we realized that we are in control of the game and no one else. Our preparation especially has helped us. We push each other so hard in practice. Our team is just getting it, whether it’s breaking a press or being in a zone defense. Our team is continuing to grow. Something clicked for us and all our parts have been working. We still have our times of panic but they have been minimized, and we have found the ability to get from chaotic to calm waters.  I’m really proud of us all, and not just in the game but hard work at practice too – Lakaila Aquiningoc-David

Joey Barkhimer finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for Santana.

We came out stronger in the first quarter than we have in the past and like most of our games, we are moving the ball, but I think this game we moved it better and had some great looks. Coach Franey makes us prepared for the game and tells us to start strong and stay strong throughout the game and she gets us pumped for the game. Joey Barkhimer.

Brianna Jerig added 13 points, six assists, and five steals for the Sultans.

The Sultans jumped out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter and extended the advantage to 31-8 by halftime.

We came out strong to start the game and never looked back. We wanted to go out and prove to ourselves what direction we are headed. My kids delivered and again. It was a game that everyone was able to get on the floor and be successful. This is a really special group. We get to work every day and we do things the right way. We take both our wins and losses and always get back to the drawing board.

I can’t say enough about Lakaila. She is a warrior plain and simple and she gets the job done no matter what task I give her. She is leading a young team and setting the pace for how we play.

Brianna’s defensive intensity in the second half really got our team going when we hit some lulls.

Joey and Bella both did an incredible job offensively and defensively. They worked for positioning night were able to score the ball or kick it out at the right time. – Jordan Franey

Santana improved to 9-12 overall but will need to keep winning to improve their playoff chances in Division III.

We are a close group and the trust and communication with my kids get stronger the more we play. We hold ourselves accountable at practice and we compete. I’m looking forward to seeing how far this group can go. – Jordan Franey


HELIX 54, WEST HILLS 31 – The Highlanders downed the Wolf Pack in a Grossmont Hills League game to pick up their first league win in three starts.

Sophomore Ariy’Ana Duke continued her strong season, finishing with 25 points in the contest. She also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Junior Selena Soloman added 12 points for Helix.

Samonah Betts added three points, two blocked shots, and 11 rebounds for the Highlanders.

Le’Niyah Jones had an unselfish contribution for the Scottes, registering six rebounds and six assists.

Helix, a top contender in the section’s Division III, improved to 13-5 overall.

The Highlanders are at Mount Miguel on Friday at 5:30 in a game that could determine their chances at getting back into serious contention in the league race.


EL CAPITAN 45, GROSSMONT 44 – The Vaqueros outscored the Foothillers, 17-11, in the third quarter to help win a Grossmont Valley League game in Santee on Tuesday.

The Foothillers led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, then extended the lead to 20-17 at halftime.

Kaylee Cole knocked down a three-pointer in the first half for El Capitan. She took a pass following a steal to make a layup in the final minute of the first half.

Cole had a breakaway layup in the second half during the comeback.

The win improved the Lady Vaqueros record to 3-0, while the Foothillers fell to 1-1, in the Grossmont Valley League.

Shyann Van Kirk scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had four blocks for Grossmont.

Grossmont will travel to face 0-2 West Hills on Friday at 5:30 p.m.


GRANITE HILLS 45, STEELE CANYON 34 – The Eagles defeated the Cougars in a Grossmont Valley League game in El Cajon.

The Eagles led 15-13 about two minutes into the second quarter when Fonivictoria Pitia made a free throw for a 16-13 lead.

Pitia then made a steal and was rewarded on the other end with a pass for a layup basket and an 18-13 lead.

The victory propelled the Eagles to 2-1 in the Valley League, making them an instant contender for the league title.

The upstart Eagles will face their key game of the season this Friday against Santana in Santee at 5:30 p.m.


SERRA 61, CHRISTIAN 57 – Simone James had 30 points and 20 rebounds, although the third-ranked Patriots were upset by the 19th-ranked Conquistadors in Tierrasanta.

“Tonight’s game was a game that we could have definitely won, but I feel that we lacked the energy that we needed,” James said. “We were kind of sluggish in the beginning, but O feel that towards the end we tried to pick it up, which is too late, but that’s something we need to know how to do better, which is finishing our games. This game was definitely a game that we need to reflect back on and come back stronger.”

Christian senior Simone James at the line on Tuesday against Serra. / photo by Dave Dickens

Amaya Howard had nine rebounds for CHS.

“We have to play solid defense and I just believe that we need to talk and communicate to be successful,” Howard said.We have to have heart and hustle and execute the game plan.”

KoKo Akridge had 11 rebounds for her career-best for the freshman.

“Today’s game was a very good game for me and I was able to show some of the skills that I haven’t shown before,” Akridge said. “Having my record high rebounds is obviously a  great feeling but it just shows that rebounding is another way for me to contribute to the team. I feel I contributed in ways that I haven’t before as far as pushing the ball up the floor and being aggressive to the basket which are things that I am capable of doing but there are always areas I need to improve on.”

As a team, Christian had 35 offensive rebounds and 20 defensive rebounds.

“Probably one of our best rebounding efforts,” Christian head coach Vickie Carrington said.

The Patriots were without star Allie Carreon, who is currently sidelined with a rotator cuff strain.

“I hope to be back soon,” Carreon said. “I know I have to lead my team another way at the moment. I just need to encourage them and get them fired up from the sidelines, it’s all I can do at the moment. I believe in my team tremendously, I know they can win and succeed with whoever is on the court, they just need to believe for themselves.

“We learn and go back to the drawing board tomorrow. Another practice ahead of us as we prepare to take on (La Jolla) Country Day. Physically, I can’t play but mentally I’m ready to do whatever it takes to help my team get better and be ready for Country Day. Hopefully, I can play in that game.”

The Patriots travel to meet the Torreys, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, on Saturday at 4:30.

“I’m still trying to get my shot back,” Christian High’s Kristin Williams said. “I’m playing hard but I just need to let it come easily and patiently.

“I still think we need to finish games. And we definitely aren’t doing the little things, which are killing us, but I hope that we can get it together for the rest of the season and be that comeback team.”


VALHALLA 52, MONTE VISTA 34 – The Lady Norsemen upset the Monarchs, which was Valhalla’s first win of the season.

Valhalla led 24-17 after the second period.

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