Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Grizzlies hold Monarchs to three points in third quarter in win
SPRING VALLEY – Mission Hills head coach Curtis Hofmeister said this season’s Grizzlies are one of the best defensive teams he has coached, and on Thursday night at Monte Vista that claim was hard to dispute. Mission Hills held the Monarchs to a season-low in points in a 48-31 victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.
“As a complete game, this was one of the better games we played,” Hofmeister said. “That is a quality team – they’re as athletic as anybody we have played – and to go on the road and beat them by 17 is big.”
Mission Hills (10-6) had a 24-18 halftime lead and took control of the game by playing stifling defense to start the second half. The Grizzles held Monte Vista (10-6) scoreless for the first six minutes of the third quarter and limited the Monarchs to three points in the entire period.
“The key was to let them shoot, because none of them could really shoot, and then don’t let them get into the paint,” said Mission Hills junior center Kameron Rooks.
While Mission Hills kept Monte Vista off the board to start the third quarter, Grizzlies junior guard Kibret Woldemichael almost single-handedly broke the game open offensively. In the middle of the quarter, Woldemichael scored eight straight points – including three-pointers on consecutive possessions – to stretch the Mission Hills lead to 18 points.
“Those two three-pointers during that spell kind of set the tone offensively for us,” Hofmeister said. “We guarded really well and we kind of separated offensively.”
Mission Hills led 36-21 entering the fourth quarter and went on to beat Monte Vista by 17 points. This season the Grizzlies have held opponents to an average of 43.9 points per game.
“If we don’t turn it over, they don’t get any easy baskets,” Hofmeister said. Rooks recorded a double-double to lead Mission Hills, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds in his best game of the season. The 6-foot-9 junior shot 7-for-15 from the floor and provided steady offense throughout the game for the Grizzlies.
“I just tried to go out there and do the best for the team – rebound as much as I can,” Rooks said. “Points didn’t matter as much as getting stops on defense.” Woldemichael and senior guard Dylan Brix each added 10 points for Mission Hills. The Grizzlies haven’t lost a game by more than seven points this season, including narrow defeats to La Costa Canyon, Hoover, and Cathedral Catholic.
“We’ve proven we can play with anyone in the county at anytime because we guard and we rebound,” Hofmeister said. “The question is can we make enough shots – if we make enough shots we’re hard to beat.”
Senior forward Tony Jackson scored 10 points to lead Monte Vista. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Monarchs.
Mission Hills – 48 (17-7-12-12)
Rooks 19, Brix 10, Woldemichael 10, Hall 5, Delaney 0 (starters) Reider 2, J.C. Williams 2
Monte Vista – 31 (10-8-3-10)
Jackson 10, Houston 8, Taylor 3, Luster 2, Nwando 2 (starters) Jarvis 2, Daniels 2, Coleman 1, Harris 1
Pictured: Monte Vista senior guard Rueben Nwando puts up a shot in the lane over Mission Hills guard Dolyn Hall