East County Sports

Sultans withstand valiant Eagle effort

Santana and Granite Hills meet on Tuesday. / Dave Dickens



By Dave Dickens



SANTEE (1-18-2022) — It was a rude awakening and a very much improved Monte Vista Lady Monarchs team that faced the Santana Lady Sultans this past Saturday afternoon. However, as of recent, the Sultans defeated a mediocre Valhalla Lady Norsemen last Tuesday, 42-28, to establish their first league win of the season. Valhalla, hardly a test. Why? 


Well, after the Sultans defeated the Granite Hills Lady Eagles (9-9, 1-2 Grossmont Valley League) and Valhalla (7-10, 0-2 GVL), the most interesting part of the equation, is the Steele Canyon Lady Cougars, who are on a four-game winning streak and are 3-0 in league play (9-11 overall), defeated the Granite Hills Lady Eagles, 45-26, in the first week of January, and destroyed Valhalla last Friday, 66-27.


The Lady Eagles were having an off day, and to be honest, the Cougars struggled to beat the El Cajon Valley Lady Braves, no disrespect to the Braves.


Some of these teams were to play the Lady Cougars at full strength, meaning the Eagles and Braves. The Lady Cougars would be exposed, and soon will be average at best.


The reason for the loss to the Lady Monarchs? They graduated to the GHL because they have really become a much-improved team each year, minus a key injured Sami Gonzalez, and tremendous play out of Meadow Delino, and always lights out defense from Lina DeLeon, in reality, the Sultans should have lost more to the tune of 68-40 with a 100 percent Sami Gonzalez, healthy, add an additional 8-to-10 three-pointers each night, the Cougars would be destroyed, as well.


Which brings up a huge question as to how did the Lady Eagles lose, and why by so many points?


As the beginning of the first quarter started, and until the very end of the triple zeros illuminated on the scoreboard, there were a few issues the Lady Eagles had against themselves, but also usually forbidden to even have an opinion regarding officiating.


Some of these calls on the evening legitimately were bush league calls. Did this cost the Lady Eagles the game? No, because there were also the three three-pointers towards the end of the third quarter, which were amazing shots from the outside.


Granite Hills head coach Jermani Stewart had even discussed the possibility of this player hitting the three-pointers would end the game, even before the buzzer. 


The issues started at the beginning when the Sultans had stolen the first quarter of play, 22-8.


If you were wondering where the fouls started, look no further as to how many times the home team came to the line for free throws. And to add insult to injury, it was a very physical, almost boys-type game of hoops.


Prior to the half, the Lady Eagles pushed themselves, and the big push at the end of the second quarter put up the 12-11 win on behalf of the visiting Eagles. It was 33-20 Sultans at the half.


After watching a horrendous performance in the first quarter, it appeared that the same team that played against Steele Canyon had reared its ugly head once again and the visiting Eagle fans were in for a long night.


Believe it or not, there was a little bit of defense from both squads, but there were also quite a few bad shots, bad rotations on both sides, and even a total of 26 points scored in the second-half total. The incredible part of the fourth quarter, one free throw made for Granite and two free throws on behalf of the host Sultans. The final was 46-33 Santana.


“Today was hard, as we were out of it from the get-go, Santana wanted it more. The foul calls made it harder, as well, taking some girls out of the game. We got close but bad defensive rotations helping off the ball side hurt us badly,” Stewart said.


Delaney Fry had 15 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.


Jade Hughes had 17 rebounds, while Anne “Maggie” Moskus had two steals.


“It’s hard to play your game when the refs are literally taking it from you. We have to deal with it, but it is very hard, she actually did better on all defense. But we, as a team, didn’t rebound, which can make our big rebounders not look so hot,” Stewart said.


“I was very fatigued by the fourth quarter, but no excuse. Tonight we didn’t play our game, and really didn’t execute the offense, there was not so much ball movement and we weren’t playing like a team. I think our defense is what really cost us the game. We gave up too many three-pointers, in the third quarter especially, which ultimately ended up costing us the game,” said Hughes.


As the Lady Eagles will regroup and lick their wounds, they will also heal up mentally to make less of the same mistakes that end up contributing to a loss.


It’s time for the Lady Eagles to get serious and win from here on out if they want to end up hosting a playoff game this year. They have the talent to make it happen.


Up next for the Lady Eagles, a must-win league game versus Valhalla at 5:30 p.m., on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, at Valhalla.

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