Matadors setting the bar for East County basketball

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The year may be almost over but the Matador’s basketball season is just beginning, and it is shaping up to be a good one. 

For the D3 Grossmont Valley conference team, this year is the culmination of the last several, with a robust roster of juniors and seniors who have played together long enough to build what co-captain senior James Allen calls chemistry.

The year may be almost over but the Matador’s basketball season is just beginning, and it is shaping up to be a good one. 

For the D3 Grossmont Valley conference team, this year is the culmination of the last several, with a robust roster of juniors and seniors who have played together long enough to build what co-captain senior James Allen calls chemistry.

“We don’t argue, it’s all teamwork,” said Allen. “There’s no ‘me’ ball — we know our roles.”

Now 10-1 and top of both league and division standings, Mount Miguel has won the Baron/Matador Classic, beating Bonita Vista, 88-72 in their final game to win the tournament undefeated. They were 4-1 in the Grossmont Winter Classic, which ran from December 15-23. 

Head Coach Jay Rowlett said performing well in pre-season tournaments is a good confidence boost.

“That’s our goal, to win the tournament,” he said following a 74-62 win at Olympian on Thursday, December 21, the Matador’s third match in the Grossmont Winter Classic. “We messed up and lost to Carlsbad this tournament but we bounced back today and got a good Division W.”

Mount Miguel’s only loss was to Carlsbad, a close 68-62 drop on December 15 at Santana High School.  Five seniors and four juniors wear Matador jerseys, all of them seasoned and serious on the court. Rowlett, who has been coaching the Matadors for more than a decade, said the team is at its peak this season.

“Right now I like my squad,” he said. “This is probably the best squad I’ve had since we won CIF in 2010.”

Junior and co-captain Marquise Edwards said the age of the team’s players does not make as much of a difference as the shared experience of working with each other for the last several years. 

“You’re playing two years together, you kind of come together as a team,” he said. “We come together as one.”

Edwards and a senior transfer from Olympian, Daron Traylor, both said that shooting is the strength of the team, especially three-pointers. It was not a skill they displayed well in their game against the Eagles on Thursday, but they still managed to take home the victory.

“We have work to do to get better,” said Edwards.

The Matadors are set to play in the Aztec Holiday Classic this week with games against Point Loma and Southwest El Centro.

They begin league play on January 12, 2018, with an away game at El Capitan.

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