East County Sports

Highlanders hand Monarchs GHL defeat




By Dave Dickens



SPRING VALLEY (1-14-2022) — It almost seemed as if you were at Disneyland, watching Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride right before your eyes.


Forget what was on paper before the tip-off began. The Helix Lady Highlanders (5-3) came in as the favorites as the host Monte Vista Monarchs (8-8) were on a four-loss skid. The Monarch gymnasium was deafening with loud excitement and full of energy from the home and visiting fans to the two squads facing off on the gymnasium floor. 


The Lady Monarchs came out firing as the first quarter, appeared to be well in hand with the host Monarchs. 


Monte Vista was up 11-8 at the end of the first quarter, however, the visiting Lady Highlanders put their bigs into action, grabbing rebounds and overpowering the host Monarchs in the second quarter, 16-9, to ultimately take the slim lead at the half, 24-21.


Who knows what Monte Vista head coach Jimenez told her squad in the locker room, whether it was small adjustments or just words of encouragement, just to infuse the ladies with how important it was to avoid a fifth loss, not to mention a 0-1 start in Grossmont Hills League play also at stake.


Onto the court came a fired up and focused Lady Monarch team, ready to take this win, to also bring their record back to .500 as well.


Leading the charge was Lina DeLeon, especially with her defensive press, steals, and rebounds.


The third quarter was mostly a back and forth affair, both squads scoring, but not at will for Helix, if DeLeon had anything to say about it. Monarchs took the third quarter, 19-15, leaving the score 40-39, Lady Monarchs up by one, heading into the fourth quarter.


When a crucial time-out was called at a most vital point in the game, DeLeon was allowing the visitors and her own head to create issues with her play. The Lady Highlanders were up 47-40, and possibly questioned adjustments.


“The first three quarters were tight but in the fourth quarter, we slipped. We had costly turnovers and missed shots that put us behind, said Jimenez.


“Coach Sabz really helped me focus and get out of my own head, being critical of myself. I honed in on what she told me to do and I scored,” said DeLeon.


As the fourth quarter continued, the Lady Monarchs really started pushing hard and playing very Physical. One of the biggest highlights as the fourth quarter was winding down, DeLeon didn’t hit one, but two vital three-pointers, blocked a pass, lights out defense, and was great on the boards. However, even with the incredible crowd support along with the bench, the Lady Monarchs came up just a few points shy, losing a hard-fought contest, 63-56, to the visiting Lady Highlanders.


Meadow Delino is always the field general even if she doesn’t come up with the big shots.


“My shots weren’t dropping tonight like I had hoped so I had to produce by going to the hole, drawing the contact, and making my free throws count, especially the important ones. I knew that if I couldn’t produce my offensive game as I usually do, I had to step it up on defense and create opportunities for my teammates. Early in the game, we kept trading leads, but eventually, they took the lead. Even though they had the lead, the clock didn’t display three zeros yet, so I knew we were still in the game and I took any and every opportunity I had to prevent them from having the ball in their hands,” said Delino.


“Even after I hyperextended my knee a couple of months ago, I feel good and I’m glad to be back playing with my teammates,” Said Sami Gonzalez.  “It was a battle tonight, both teams were after it defensively. The gym was packed, the intensity was like a playoff game. Helix always comes ready to play, I love the intensity and competition they bring to us every time we play. I loved the energy the girls brought onto the floor. We got a surge of energy from Lina that got us back into the game. The kid works hard for those moments, she made it count. No excuses tonight, we fought, we fell short in game execution, but the kids played their hearts out,” said Jimenez.


Leave a Reply

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