East County Sports

Sultans move in on Valley banner

Monte Vista holds the ball down low against Santana on Friday. / photo by Dave Dickens



EastCountySports.com staff report


SANTEE – A pair of local coaching friends are developing quite a rivalry between their two highly-capable programs.

Grossmont Valley League-leading Santana, under head coach Jordan Franey, held off the charge of the Monte Vista Monarchs, who are headed up by Sabrina Jimenez, 51-42, in the crucial league match of the late-season on Friday night.

The Sultans improved to 7-1 in the GVL (13-13 overall), while the Monarchs took their key third loss of the league season, dropping to 5-3 (12-14 overall). The teams both have two games remaining.

Monte Vista sophomore Meadow Delino at the line on Friday night. / photo by Dave Dickens

The difference in this one may have come in the rebounding department. The Sultans put up big numbers in the rebound column.

Bella Terry scored 12 points for Santana. She also had 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Brianna Jerig had nine points for the Sultans, including a three-pointer in the third quarter. She also grabbed 11 rebounds and made five steals.

“My kids showed up,” Santana head coach Jordan Franey said. “They were the lead actors rather than the supporting roles in a play we have been writing for a good while now. We have talked a lot about strong starts and managing chaos and tonight we went out – from the jump – and took care of business.

Santana led 12-8 after one period and 23-13 at halftime. Six Santana players scored baskets in the first quarter.

Joey Barkhimer added 11 points and 16 rebounds for the Sultans.

Taylinn Warren, of the Sultans, ended with eight points, six rebounds, and three steals.

“I think my kids have taken on a little bit of my persona,” Franey said. “We are direct and to the point and we execute the game plan and we do it the right way. We understand what it means to have a sense of urgency. We knew pressure going into this game and we welcomed it.”

Monte Vista’s Meadow Delino was 9-for-10 from the foul line in the contest.

Heidy Romero scored 12 points, including six in the fourth quarter.

Santana with the ball against Monte Vista on Friday night. / photo by Dave Dickens

“Once Jourdan went out in the first quarter, we lost a strong post player,” Delino said. “Therefore, we lacked some inside defense. Heidy (Romero) did a good job today in stepping up and filling in.

“Also, our guards were putting up shots but only a small percentage were actually falling. Towards the end, we were just making unnecessary mistakes. Recognizing that I had to contribute in a different way, I went by finding my teammates that were hot and got them the ball.”

The Monarchs did close the gap on Santana after a 20-point home loss back on Jan. 17.

This time, Monte Vista went on the road and closed a 23-13 halftime deficit to 36-30 at the end of the third in the Santee gym.

“Even though we didn’t lose to Santana as bad as we did at home, tonight’s loss was still tough,” Delino said. “Next season, we are definitely going to be putting work to redeem ourselves for that league title.

“In these last couple of league games, we need to make sure we take care of business and get ready for playoffs and compete for a CIF title.

Sami Gonzalez had 10 points for the Monarchs, including a three-pointer in the second quarter.

Maya Garcia finished with seven points for the Monarchs.

Monte Vista and Santana in action on Friday night. / photo by Dave Dickens

After the game, my teammates and I sat and waited in silence,” Garcia said. “I noticed we were all sad and were hanging our heads low with defeat. But as I listened to the silence and felt the sadness for a big loss, I was proud and happy to finish this game with each and every one of our players. We each worked hard and put heart into this game.

“We did have quite a few bad passes and had trouble with our shots, but our goal was to work the key, which we did. I believe we became an even stronger team. Our main scorers, Meadow and Sam, both did their jobs at attacking and trying to find our bigs, and Heidy Romero was able to make most of the baskets from inside the key. Heidy helped us so much inside the key offensively and defensively. I always knew how tough of a player she was and is. She got plenty of steals, rebounds, and assists. She made sure she stayed with her man and helped over on defense when we needed her.

“I always remind her that she is a strong player and tonight it really showed. She has worked hard ever since I came to this school and I have been lucky enough to spend three years with her as a teammate and a friend that I consider family.

“Something I think my teammates and I really learned was how to trust each other and support one another even when we made mistakes and would start to doubt ourselves. We kept each other in a positive mindset and that’s why I believe we were okay with this loss. With losses, we also gain knowledge. Today, we learned the true meaning of being a team.”

For the coaches, the programs seem suited to continue this rivalry into the next year despite the Sultans’ season sweep.

Both coaches are former Grossmont Conference scoring champions.

Franey averaged 24.5 points in 2005-06 with the Sultans, then Jimenez won the local title with a 17.2 scoring average in 2010-11 with the Granite Hills Eagles.

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