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Longhorns control pace, boards to capture city championship

VISTA – With only one regular season meeting against crosstown rival Vista, No. 5 Rancho Buena Vista made it count on Friday night. The Longhorns won 67-59 in a fast, physical game played before a capacity crowd at Vista High.

“It means a lot because we only get them once this year,” said Rancho Buena Vista guard Johnny Dee. “We really haven’t beat them consistently in the past couple years.”

Rancho Buena Vista (15-2) led 20-16 after a fast-paced first quarter and led by 11 midway through a more defensive second quarter. Early on, the Longhorns and Panthers looked to fast break at every opportunity.

“We didn’t want to get too fast. We wanted to transition because that’s our best offense but at the same time we wanted to slow Vista down,” Dee said.

The Longhorns were largely in control through the first three quarters and had a 50-38 lead headed into the fourth quarter. Vista (10-7) turned up the tempo late, but couldn’t get closer than four in the final minutes as Rancho Buena Vista went on to win by eight points.

“A lot of these guys play together, so there is a lot of competition and we really want to go out there and beat them,” Dee said. “We did that tonight and facing them only one time kind of ups the rivalry.”

Rancho Buena Vista coach Terry Miller said rebounding was key in the Longhorns’ victory. There were very few uncontested shots in the game.

“They didn’t shoot well, we didn’t shoot well but we didn’t give them a whole lot of extra shots,” Miller said.

Despite an off night shooting, Dee still poured in a game-high 27 points to go along with 17 rebounds. The senior guard got his points on the free throw line and through second chance opportunities.

“It may not be points and it may not be pretty, but his leadership is the heart of our team. This is our leader,” Miller said.

Dee was one of three Longhorns in double figures against Vista along with senior guard Anthony Alston and senior center Joey Vaz. Both Alston and Vaz finished with 17 points.

“We’re a great team, not just a couple players,” Dee said. “A lot of people thought we were going to be an average team coming into the season but we have great players one through 15.”

With league play just around the corner, Rancho Buena Vista finds itself a surprise contender in a stacked Avocado West League. The newly aligned league includes top 10 teams El Camino and La Costa Canyon.

“I think we have the toughest league in San Diego County, but we’re definitely a player in it and I think that takes a couple people by surprise,” Miller said.

The Longhorns’ only two losses this season have come at the hands of Torrey Pines in the Hilltop Tournament in December. Rancho Buena Vista won only eight games last season.

“Confidence is a wonderful thing to have and we have some confident seniors,” Miller said. “Confidence will help us succeed.”

In a losing effort, four of Vista’s five starters finished in double figures, led by guard John Fletcher with 17 points. The Panthers have lost two straight after winning three of four in the Chula Vista Spartan Classic.

Rancho Buena Vista – 67 (20-12-18-17)

Dee 27, Alston 17, Vaz 17, Vivier 2, Morris 2 (starters) Wood 2

Vista – 59 (16-8-14-21)

Fletcher 17, Miller 16, Johnson 12, Childress 10, Thompson 0 (starters) Walker 3, Clark 1

Image

Vista forward Sedrick Childress drives to the hoop against Rancho Buena Vista guard Johnny Dee

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