East County Sports

Monarchs need 50 years for second title





By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SPRING VALLEY — High in the rafters of the gymnasium at Monte Vista High hang 21 banners for CIF-San Diego Section championships in wrestling, which ranks second to only Poway, plus a 1970 CIF state championship banner in wrestling, the first few under head coach Norm Wooten, then the majority of the rest under legendary head coach Bill Clauder.

It was a glorious time In Monarchs’ history, with section titles in a variety of sports, including the newly instituted girls programs.

Tucked in a corner near all of the wrestling commemorative is one, single banner boys basketball, going back a half-century to 1971, when the Pete Colonelli-guided Monarchs edged league rival Grossmont, 64-53, at the San Diego Sports Arena.

While Grossmont returned to the title game and won it all under coach Jack Shawcroft the following season, Monte Vista has since only once tasted a shot at another section crown and was crushed by powerful Torrey Pines to cap the 1991-92 year.

A member of that Monte Vista ballclub was a guard named Mike Tully, who now coaches his alma mater. His goal gives his old school a second championship banner to hang among the rest.

On Friday (Feb. 25) — more than three decades later — the rare accomplishment of a student returning to claim a title for his old school came true for Tully.

’22 Heroes

Behind a game-high 26 points by Isaiah Hilke, plus 14 more by Brandon Tully — the coach’s son — top-seeded Monte Vista overcame a slow start to run over the Victory Christian Knights of Chula Vista, 54-36, for the Division IV crown.

“It feels good knowing that all the work we put in over the past year paid off,” said Hilke, who made 11-of-13 shots from the floor. “Early morning and late nights and pushing each other to be better. We are just going to keep bringing it to whatever team we play next.”

Hilke dominated the paint, grabbing a season-best 19 rebounds, as a game virtually tied after one period became a one-sided affair.

Victory Christian (the former Lutheran High) swapped leads at the start to hold a 17-16 lead through the opening eight minutes. After that, it was all Monarchs.

“Tonight was just a great night for us,” noted Brandon Tully.”Isaiah was able to score in the second quarter because they were box-and-one in double-teaming me in the second half.”

Opponents have known all season that Tully in the defending Grossmont Valley League player of the year. But with him drawing attention through the season, including the playoffs, many believe Hilke will gain the title when all-league teams are announced next week.

“All that matters is we were able to get the win today,” added Tully. “The one thing I have to praise my team about is the excellent defense played after the first quarter. We shut down victory Christian’s double-teaming, doing everything we knew we could do.”

“The necklaces were something nice from the parents. And my friend, Kate, asked me for an autograph”

Marco Bahlin added six assists and five for Monte Vista.

The coach compared his ball club to the one he played for all those years ago.

“We couldn’t get it done when I played Torrey Pines 30 years ago,” he recalled. “But this team played pretty well — and we did it!. We got it done this time!”

What was the difference between the halves was easy for the coach to explain to pull away for a comfortable, memorable triumph.

“I told them that the job isn’t finished and we need to continue playing hard until the clock hits zero.”

Monte Vista controlled so well, yet there was tagged for only seven fouls over the course of the contest.

Monte Vista (24-5 overall) also received 6 points from Saheed Jarvis, 5 points, and 4 boards from Armando Rasing, while Hilke registered half on the Monarchs’ four blocked shots.


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