Chad Deal 6 p.m., Feb. 27
Wildcats continue dominance over rival Panthers with 19-point win
VISTA – El Camino has made a habit out of beating rival Vista, and on Tuesday night the Wildcats made sure that didn’t change. The 10th-ranked Wildcats used defense and outside shooting to knock off the sixth-ranked Panthers 77-58 on their home court.
“We knew we had to win this game. Vista has never beaten us and we wanted to keep it that way,” said El Camino senior guard Dayton Boddie. “We can’t let them beat us – that’s a rule.”
El Camino (11-4) trailed Vista by seven at the end of the first quarter, but opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 24-22 lead with 3:41 left in the half. The Wildcats had a six-point lead over Vista (14-3) at halftime.
“We know Vista comes out hard and we just had to match their intensity,” Boddie said. “We went above and beyond.”
In the third quarter, El Camino extended its lead as Vista continued to struggle offensively. Wildcats guard Lorenzo Garcia hit a pair of three-pointers in the final minute to propel El Camino to a 55-41 lead after three quarters.
“If we play like we did today, we can beat anybody we face on the schedule. We just have to play hard,” Boddie said.
El Camino stayed hot in the fourth quarter, leading by as much as 25 on the way to a comfortable victory. Since the 2004-05 season, the Wildcats have beaten Vista 19 straight times.
“Vista has always been our rival, we’ve never lost to them and we had to keep the tradition going,” Boddie said. “In this game we were rolling and everything was on point – we were moving on defense, making our shots and doing everything right today.”
Boddie scored a game-high 24 points and was one of four El Camino players in double figures. The Wildcats made 11 three-pointers against Vista including five by Garcia, who scored 19 points off the bench.
“I came out in the first half and got some threes, and I feel like everybody fed off of me and my shots,” Boddie said. “Everybody hit shots and we were just going to work.”
In a Division I race that appears wide open, El Camino is a legitimate section title contender. Led by UC Riverside-bound Boddie, the Wildcats have the talent to challenge top-ranked La Costa Canyon when Avocado West League play begins later this month.
“We’re not scared of anybody – anybody that faces us we’re going to take them down. No matter who you are, we’re going to come at you,” Boddie said.
Senior guard John Fletcher led Vista with 16 points, and senior forward Sedrick Childress added 14. The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak that included the Spartan Classic championship.
El Camino – 77 (13-21-21-22)
Boddie 24, Griffin 15, Pao Pao 11, Sobers 6, Garner 0 (starters) Garcia 19, Finney 2
Vista – 58 (20-8-13-17)
Fletcher 16, Childress 14, Arnold 11, Johnson 4, Co. Nyenhuis 4 (starters) Stoner 4, Anderson 3, Arce 2
Pictured: El Camino guard Dayton Boddie drives past Vista defenders to the basket
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