Bonita Conquers Aztecs 65-27, Awaits Next Opponent

February 18, 2010
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Bonita's Garrett Horine calmly watches a free throw attempt.

Bonita's Garrett Horine calmly watches a free throw attempt.

If you were a late-arriving fan to the Bonita-Barstow first-round playoff game last night, you could have turned around and caught Jeopardy or American Idol at home because the Bearcats bolted out to a dominating 16-2 lead in the first quarter never to look back on their way to a dominating 65-27 victory over the Aztecs.

It was a good old-fashioned Az-kicking. Bonita limited the Aztecs to seven first-half points and dominated the boards, which set up several fast-breaking, cherry-picking points.

The biggest drama came in the third quarter. After Casey Horine slammed home two points, making the score, 34-9, he received a technical for hanging on the rim. Play got a little chippy after that. Barstow missed the two technicals, but went on to score the next five points to close the deficit to 34-14. Next, C.J. Miller stroked a three-pointer, pushing the lead to 37-14 and then it appeared Garrett Pendleton was going in for an easy lay-up when he was fouled from behind by Barstow’s Josh Perdue, who was flagged with a flagrant. Tempers flared. Both Miller and Caelan Tiongson were teed up. Pendleton missed his two foul attempts and then Barstow’s Kalani Magaony sank three of four technicals from the charity stripe to make the score 37-17. The next time down the court, Barstow’s Alvin Jefferson hit a free throw, shaving the score to 37-18, but that’s as close as the Aztecs would get the remainder of the night.

At the end of three periods, Bonita had comfortably pulled away to a 48-22 lead and with 4:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, Eckler emptied his bench as Bonita coasted to a 65-27 final, Chris Finch sinking the last four points to put the exclamation point on the win.

From start to finish, the Bearcats played with a crispness and a confidence that the Aztecs had no answer for. The biggest complaint Eckler could muster was Horine’s hanging on the rim.

“That was stupid, that looked ugly,” Eckler said.

He was much prouder of the team’s defensive aggressiveness

“That was the focus,” Eckler said. “I thought we rotated well and challenged shots along the perimeter. That set us up for some easy fast-break baskets.”

He liked the energy, emotion, intensity and focus, as well. “It was good,” Eckler said.

What did Eckler tell his high-flying Bearcats after their 38-point win?

“It gets tougher as you go,” Eckler said. “Like a monster, the next team is waiting for us on Friday.

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