East County Sports

Matadors win first, clinch title share

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

LAKESIDE – The drama of the Grossmont Hills League championship has come down to the final two nights of the regular season for the Mount Miguel Matadors and El Capitan Vaqueros.

In Thursday night’s first game of the scheduled back-to-back set, the fourth-ranked Matadors out-scored the tenth-ranked Vaqueros 16-8 over the first 11:16 of the game on the way to a 55-38 victory to clinch their share of the Grossmont Hills League championship.

The teams meet again tonight at 5:30 at Mount Miguel High.

Junior Danay Williams-Pope has dramatically transformed her game over the second half of the regular season for Las Matadoras.

Williams-Pope scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds. Her left hand with the ball to the glass was strong against the Vaqueros and she matched it with her short jumper, as well.

“They played physically which led us to play even harder because we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Williams-Pope said. “This game, I was more focused on stepping up my roll on the court with scoring, rebounding, and finding and getting my teammate open shots.”

Ixchel Rojo added 16 points, grabbed four steals, and made five assists for Mount Miguel (18-4, 7-0 GHL).

“It was a great game in the first half,” Rojo said. “Danay got rebounds and scored off some of those but it was also teamwork.”

Back-to-back three-pointers by Zanna Hurst made it 22-9 in the second quarter in favor of Mount Miguel. It was the Matadors’ only triples of the night.

Sophomore Jennifer Moreno, who has missed virtually the entire league season with an injury, returned to the floor in limited action for Mt. Miguel.

“(Moreno) was out for so long and we knew she wasn’t at one-hundred percent so we had to play harder and help her on defense,” Rojo added.

El Capitan senior Mackenzie Curtis, who is headed to the University of New Mexico to play college basketball, scored 24 points, as well, including 7-of-7 from the foul line. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Kaylee Cole, a sophomore, made a couple of threes for El Capitan (19-8, 6-1 GHL). She brought her team to within 34-23 with 3:30 left in the third quarter with a triple, then added a nice running shot off the glass to make it an eight-point deficit.

Mount Miguel led 30-15 at halftime but the Vaqueros closed the game to 38-30 at the end of the third quarter.

The Matador ball movement was sharp down the stretch, as Mt. Miguel built the lead to double digits with under two to play.

Rojo had a  basket and foul conversion with just over a minute to play before Cole nailed her second trey.

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