East County Sports

Lady Monarchs win opener with heart

Monte Vista junior captains Sami Gonzalez and Saniya Raley




SAN DIEGO (3-20-2021) – The Monte Vista Lady Monarchs gave us an inside look on, well, a David versus Goliath-type situation, if you will.


It will be for the whole season, however, since the average height on this club on the entire squad is 5-foot-6.


No matter, as they will outrun, wear you down, and then the defense will steal, block, and rebound, as they hand it off to the speedy offense to lay it up, shoot from downtown, or, maybe get the height from a Spud Webb-type of ally-up over you and nailing the bucket.


The visiting Lady Monarchs wasted no time establishing their roadrunner speed down the court in a 63-58 win over Francis Parker on Saturday.


However, it was the defense that only allowed 12 points to be scored in the first quarter of play, as Monte Vista led 23-14 just a minute into the second period. The Monarchs extended the lead to 33-22 at halftime.


Leaving a frustrated host scratching their heads, all will and heart players, led by defensive standout SANIYA RALEY, the young sophomore, that has made her presence felt quickly.


“The girls came out with a lot of energy and got to them early. They followed the game plan and executed it, and Saniya really stepped up for us on the defensive side,” said coach Sabrina Jimenez.


Up just 44-43 at the end of three quarters, the Lady Monarchs showed up to make a statement of how big their hearts and will to win are going to be during this shortened season.


One of the bigger standouts, no pun intended, was on offense, which happened to be a key player in last year’s roster as well, SAMI GONZALEZ.


“Francis Parker had some bigs, and we are aware we didn’t, but that didn’t intimidate us tonight. Coach Sabs always says, ‘heart over height’,” said Sami Gonzalez.


Sami, as most people would agree is a very humble player, and did still end up with 25 points.


Although her point totals don’t show it, the facilitator of this group is junior standout MEADOW DELINO.


Delino has unfortunately been plagued with many ankle injuries and other injuries, that have sidelined her on many occasions where many games may have been won with even just her presence on the floor.


“Francis Parker did go on some runs but we brought a lot of energy tonight. I’m really proud of my teammates and my coach for holding each other up tonight,” Gonzalez said.


“Saniya, Lina (DeLeon), Micyaah (Flournoy), and Keilani (Polite) also brought it this evening on defense leading to turnovers in our favor. Meadow made some great plays tonight to help us get a win tonight also.


“After this game, I believe anything is possible. Defeating a Division 2 team is just amazing. Our plan tonight was to make them uncomfortable tonight and our defense tonight was the key.”


The second half was much closer but the Lady Monarchs never gave up and ultimately knocked off what may have been expected to be the superior team coming into the evening.


“I am really proud of the work the girls have put in over the offseason, it definitely showed tonight. Keilani and Saniyah really stepped up on the defensive side, and Lina and Micyaah added some offensive ammo to Sam and Meadow. A really well-rounded game tonight from all the girls,” Coach Jimenez said.


It has only been one game, however, Saniyah seems to be the defensive key to winning the turnover battle.


“My defense tonight caused the point guard to be very uncomfortable, leading to my opportunity to steal the ball or for her to make bad passes causing my teammates to come away with the ball and score. Our speed outweighed their height, said Raley.


Francis Parker took the lead early in the fourth quarter. But later, Flournoy and Gonzelez scored on consecutive possessions for a 54-50 lead.


The Monarchs led, however, just 57-56 with 1:45 left following a steal and basket.


Flournoy scored on a bank shot in the key for a 59-56 lead with 1:15 to go.


Monte Vista secured a rebound with 50 seconds left and DeLeon put the Monarchs up by five with 24.7 left.


Parker got a bucket but had to get into the foul game.


The Monarchs pinpoint accuracy in passing to close, open looks was key down the stretch.


Both teams wore facemasks throughout the contest, including those in the game.


Coming up next for Monte Vista, they will host their first home game since the beginning of the pandemic versus an all too familiar opponent in the West Hills High Wolf Pack on Wednesday the 24th at 4:30 p.m. West Hills started off strong last year but had a tough time in some of their league games.


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