East County Sports

Braves’ win over Matadors ruled forfeit, but wait…



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior Writer

EL CAJON – In a contest that appeared completely against the safety of participating players, referees in Friday’s (Dec. 22) Braves Winter Classic girls basketball tournament contest declared a forfeit during the second quarter between host El Cajon Valley and visiting Mount Miguel.

However, the controversy escalated following the contest when reports on social media indicated that the rough play may have been premeditated.

The views expressed, filled with hearsay and innuendo, were started by a single message among friends, yet spread like wildfire, keeping East County buzzing throughout the night and into Saturday’s final round of the 4th annual tournament; unbeaten Rancho Bernardo (13-0) downed San Marcos for the championship.

Adding to the off-court drama was on-court malaprops of the whistle by game referees, who were overwhelmed in controlling the action. Thus, both head coaches were saddled with technical fouls despite what seemed to be reasonably light questioning of foul calls. Most of the attention centerede around Matadors freshman standout Jaylene Hughes, who recently equaled the Grossmont Conference and East County single-game scoring record — 52 points against Canyon Hills on Dec. 6 — less than 10 games into her varsity career.


Making her free throw is Mount Miguel freshman guard Jaylene Hughes. / Photo by Nick Pellegrino

Moments after Hughes and an ECVHS player collided head-on in an attempt to recover the basketball, Hughes was called for an offensive foul — a questionable call considered the severity of calls not called in the contest. It was also Hughes’ fifth foul and disqualified her from further action.

Mount Miguel head coach Jasen Hughes — Jaylene’s father — then requested a timeout, but when the timer sounded, the coach told the referees that his team was not returning to the court.

Hughes later said his remaining two bench players were already ruled out due to injury and that he didn’t have enough players to continue the contest.

Thus, a forfeit was declared, with El Cajon Valley accepting a 32-20 decision with 3:08 remaining before halftime.

Coach Hughes was not immediately available for comment following the contest, instead transporting his daughter to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Grantville for treatment for a possible concussion. He later spoke to us with a text message, but by then, the online buzz was out of control.

The most notable message came from a player from the Braves — and a friend of player Hughes — stating that the actions by El Cajon Valley to play extra-physical were part of a game plan to remove her from further action.

Obviously, both sides differed on the truth.

Because the player who sent the original text messages is a minor and the alleged actions by Braves players, if true, were also minors, all names have been redacted. Copies of her messages were forwarded to East County Sports as one side’s view as evidence leading to player Hughes injury.

Tricky Business

With the fall of traditional newspapers and the lack of coverage from news outlets, gaining reliable information is becoming complicated. Thus, can a reader truly believe in a text from someone in their early teens, or is it just the mainstream attempting to control the wold with propaganda?

Thus, we offer both accounts of the events. Because of the age of the sender and the alleged perpetrators, names of minors have been redacted.

The following are quotes in a series of text messages from the ECVHS player, along with commentary by coach Hughes, transmitted from the medical facility while attending to his daughter:

The original messages were sent following Friday’s (Dec. 22) ECVHS-Mount Miguel contest. It should be noted that the ECVHS player and player Hughes are friends.

The text (with typos and internet shorthand) reads:

“They were trying to piss you and ur dad off, trying to prove ‘we can win.’ They were saying you guys were butt hurt. They said u guys are quitters.”
Hughes, the player, replied by asking the Braves’ head coach about injuring her or her team. But this was denied — it was the players.
“No, not the coach, but [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] did… they just said they wanted to break ur knees or something (something).”
“‘NAME’ said she was gonna try to break your leg when we would play y’all. And they were trynna (sic) fight you ‘being aggressive w you is to get you mad.”
The ECVHS player mentioned this train-of-thought continued right up to the opening tip-off.
“Before the game, they were talking a lot of [BLEEP] saying unacceptable things players shouldn’t say.”
Specifics were requested by Hughes, although by this time, the daughter may have handed her cell phone to her father.
“She was gonna try to make u mad in the game so u can fight her.”
Hughes (either) again asked if the coach was involved. This was again denied.
“He wanted us to *iss u and ur dad off and make you foul out.”
In response, Matadors coach Jason Hughes was, obviously, not pleased: “My daughter’s friend sent her these messages explaining how the girls were threatening to break Jaylene’s legs and ribs. They were also told by their coach to intentionally foul her.”


Mount Miguel freshman star Jaylene Hughes. / Nick Pellegrino

He concluded by noting that, “Jaylene not only was elbowed in the temple, but she was also hit in the eye, they grabbed her in the neck, and after she was fouled, she was pushed in the back.”

“After this, I wanted to protect my players and place their safety first so we forfeited the game. They were beating Jaylene up so badly last night and then giving Jaylene the fouls I’ve never seen anything like that in my life and the refs won’t even talk to me.

“Going forward I’m really unsure what to do my daughter is not safe out there with these refs. It’s win at all costs and she is taking a beating out there. It’s not basketball, not even close.”

Hughes also claimed the ECVHS coaches were involved, although the text messages that were received do not indicate such a plan.

If Kaiser medical personnel did determine a concussion, CIF San Diego Section rules state a player must sit out a minimum of two weeks. On Saturday’s in the medal round of the tournament, Mount Miguel forfeited its contest, citing a lack of available/healthy players.

The flip-side

El Cajon Valley administrators were not available due to the holiday break. However, Braves girls basketball head coach James Thomas was clear regarding his comments to rebuff all allegations:

“Preposterous,” declared Thomas. “I have been at El Cajon Valley for five years and I have never been accused of anything to the sort.

“I am also a club coach and I know how the systems work. I f something like this was true, I would never have lasted this long.”

Thomas also noted that if coach Hughes was so concerned about his daughter, he should have conducted concussion protocol when the head-butt situation took place and not leave her in the ballgame.

“This isn’t football or sports like rugby,” he added. “Sure, there is come contact, but nothing like those other sports. And to accuse a coach of playing dirty just isn’t right.”

The tournament features teams from throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. As the final day of the tournament wound down, coaches from most of the schools offered their support of Thomas and the job he is doing in his fifth season mentoring the Braves.

Indeed, the situation was the talk among coaches, other referees, scouts, fans and the attending media all Saturday afternoon, lasting into the championship contest.

Whistle while you work

Meanwhile, there was also concern on many, many mistakes by referees in Friday’s ECVHS-Mount Miguel contest.

Included was a driving lay-in by Braves guard Onnamarie Miller, who was fouled. The call was made by the baseline official, while the back official indicated the basket was good.

However, when the referee switched positions and the trail official started to administer the free throw, he instead allowed ECVHS to shot a 1-and-1 instead of a single shot.

Coach Hughes asked the refs to check with the scorekeeper to correct the error, but was given his first technical foul. Thus, with the basket and the foul shots, the Braves earned the strange 7-point play to take the lead after once trailing, 18-11.

The points were part of a 21-2 scoring run to close the contest before the forfeit was declared.

There were also foul calls that went unreported to the scorekeeper, plus a timeout which was not given to the scorekeeper.

Hughes Corporation

Mount Miguel was featured on a Fox 5 News broadcast last week, social media was not happy with quotes on the segment by the Hugheses, her father indicating he hopes she not only breaks the single-game scoring record, but also register 100 or more points in a game in the future.

Thus, posters in social media threads noted Hughes will receive likely intense defensive pressure on the court for stating such a rarely-achieved goal. Then again, how many 14-year-olds own much experience in talking to the media and making more politically-correct statements.

It should be noted that the Matadors have drastically reduced the success-level of their non-conference opponents this season following the firing of the program’s previous mentor. Mount Miguel has won 23 consecutive league championships but currently sits at 1-8 with a pair of forfeit losses.