ALONE AT THE TOP: Bonita Sinks Walnut, 9-8, To Lead Hacienda League

October 16, 2010
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Bonita's Matt Zachary applies pressure defense.

Bonita's Matt Zachary applies pressure defense.

The Bonita Bearcats spurted to an early 4-0 lead, then held on late to dunk Walnut 9-8 at Las Flores Park in La Verne yesterday. Alec Williams and Keaton Renta each scored four goals and Matt Zachary chipped in another to account for Bonita’s scoring.

In the first quarter, it appeared the game would be a rout. Kevin Webb registered three straight assists, resulting in goals by Williams, Renta and Zachary.

“Webb’s been our leader in assists,” said Bonita head coach John Ashby. “He drops dimes, sometimes quarters. He was on point today.”

In the second quarter, again attacking from the right side to the middle, Zachary found Renta, who feathered in a drop-shot to put Bonita up, 4-0 with 6:29 left in the first half.

“We were really clicking,” Ashby added.

Walnut finally responded on three consecutive goals from Danny Overstreet to create the close game everyone expected between the two undefeated league rivals.

The outstretched arm of Alec Snow made it difficult for Walnut to overcome an early deficit.

The outstretched arm of Alex Munson made it difficult for Walnut to overcome an early deficit.

Still leading 4-3, Bonita collected its first goal of the second quarter with Webb and Renta connecting. Then Zachary found Williams for another score, expanding Bonita’s margin to 6-3. Walnut ended the scoring flurry with another goal to enter the locker room, down just two goals, 6-4.

At the half, Ashby was frustrated that Walnut had been let back in the game. “Our kids are young and sometimes their nerves get the better of them,” Ashby said. “But everybody was excited about being in the water.”

In the third, Bonita and Walnut traded goals. On a cross-pool pass from Zachary, Renta climbed high out of the water to corral the ball and flip it into the net for another the score.

“He’s another one our terriers,” Ashby said. “When he rises out of the water, you think he’s 6-foot-5, but I think he’s like 5-foot-6.”

Trailing 7-5 lead, Walnut answered first in the final period on another goal by Overstreet. Once again feeling the pressure, Bonita responded when Alec Snow passed to Williams who found the back of the net, giving the Bearcats an 8-6 lead. Then Williams tallied again, pushing the leading to 9-6.

“Williams works hard every single day in practice,” Ashby said. “I was utterly pleased that he was the one who ultimately put the game away. I want the ball in his hand at the end of the game. He has become our Tom Brady.

“You’ll never hear us call him ‘Alec,’ he’s ‘Brady.’ He runs our offense.”

With the victory apparently sealed, Bonita tried to play keep away, but the Mustangs railed one last time, getting back-to-back goals from Overstreet to trail 9-8. Finally, Bonita ran out the clock. Bonita goalie Caleb Guarino had 12 saves.

Ashby thinks the Bearcats probably created too many scoring opportunities for Walnut, letting them back in the game, but was still happy over the win.

“I think if we can tidy up some of those mistakes, we should be in a position to make a run at CIF.

Bonita plays three times next week. Its biggest competition is expected from La Serna on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Las Flores.

Gallant in Green: Smiles abound as Bonita remains undefeated in league.

Gallant in Green: Smiles abound as Bonita remains undefeated in league.

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