Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 14
Knights win defensive battle to capture fifth section title in six years
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO – Foothills Christian lost its leading scorer just before the postseason – but the Knights didn’t lose their way in the Division V playoffs. Friday afternoon at Jenny Craig Pavilion, top-seeded Foothills Christian beat second-seeded The Rock Academy 44-36 to win their fifth section title in six seasons.
“It’s awesome to bring it back to Foothills,” said Foothills Christian junior guard Nick Loudon.
Both teams struggled to score from the outset, and Foothills Christian (19-11) went scoreless in the first five minutes. Knights senior guard Andre Johnson hit a three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to tie the game at 10.
“The first five minutes was just a defensive battle between the two teams,” Loudon said. “We both wanted to lock up.”
In the second quarter, Foothills Christian built a lead with outside shooting. Johnson and Loudon hit two three-pointers apiece to lift the Knights to a 26-18 halftime lead over The Rock (18-10).
Foothills Christian had a seven-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, and The Rock methodically rallied to come within three points in the final minutes. Desperately in need of a basket, the Knights got a layup from 5-foot-8 senior guard Joe Buenrestro to make it 38-33 with 1:38 left.
“They were playing a zone and I just got lucky on the skip pass,” Buenrestro said. “I just drove – I faked on the pass and just went up with it. I’m usually not a scorer on the team – I’m usually the defensive guy.”
After the Knights made a defensive stop, Loudon hit a three-pointer on the next possession to seal the victory. With the win, Foothills Christian captured its fifth Division V title in six seasons after falling in the finals last season.
“Last year we came here and we slipped up,” Buenrestro said. “We worked hard all year long and all that work paid off.”
Loudon and Johnson led Foothills Christian with 15 points apiece. The Knights seemed unlikely to make a finals run after losing leading scorer Dalton Mosser to a season-ending wrist injury late in the regular season, but regrouped to rise to the top of Division V.
“Dalton is the best player on our team and one of the best scorers in San Diego, so losing him was a big blow to us,” Loudon said. “But we were able to step back up and take the title.”
Junior guard Jay Dutra led The Rock with 15 points, and sophomore guard Jonathan Dutra added 11. The Warriors were making their first title appearance in the five-year history of their program.
Foothills Christian – 44 (10-16-7-11)
Loudon 15, Johnson 15, Hoffman 8, Buenrestro 4, Adams 0 (starters) Van Ommering 2
The Rock – 36 (10-8-8-10)
Ja. Dutra 15, Jo. Dutra 11, Haskett 5, Elliott 5, Kizziar 0 (starters)
Pictured: The Rock guard Holden Haskett drives against Foothills Christian guard Andre Johnson in the Division V finals
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