Wed, Feb 08 2012 11:56 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Sweetwater Red Devils girls basketball team shared the South Bay League championship with the Montgomery Aztecs two seasons ago and finished runner-up to the Aztecs last season. This season, it appears the National City team will have outright possession of the league banner after its 60-47 victory at Chula Vista High School Wednesday night.
The game, which was played in front of a raucous near-capacity gym in adherence with the schools’ longtime rivalry, left Sweetwater two games in front of the second place Spartans with three games remaining in league play.
“This pretty much does it for us — it’s not official but I think we pretty much have it in hand now with this win,” SuHi coach Heather Huckaby said.
It appeared in the first half that Chula Vista might force a co-championship this year.
The Spartans rallied from an 18-15 deficit to lead 34-28 at halftime. But the Red Devils went to work midway through the third quarter to turn the scoreboard around.
A bucket by Candice Akaigbe sliced the CV advantage to 34-33 with 3:28 left in the quarter. A steal and ensuing drive to the hoop by Nayely Sanchez put the Devils ahead, 35-34, just seconds later.
The teams proceed to trade scoring shots until Sweetwater’s Lauren Benitez dropped in a three-point bomb with just under three minutes to play to make the score 40-36 in the visitors’ favor.
A turnaround shot by Anastacia Rodriguez upped the SuHi lead to 42-36 with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
Rodriguez was a huge presence on the floor at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth quarter to bedevil the Spartans. She scored on another turnaround shot for the first points of the final quarter. Playing defense under the CV basket, she then lofted a one-handed pass down court to teammate Janine Elpidio for a breakaway bucket.
With Akaigbe grabbing a dozen rebounds in the second half, the hosts were unable generate any momentum.
Akaigbe led all scorers in the game with 28 points, followed by CV’s Anesa Wolfblack with 21 points.
“We have an inside advantage this season for once and we took advantage of that,” Huckaby said. “Since I took over we never really had many big girls but now we have. Our bigs came up big for us tonight.”
Sweetwater improves to 9-0 in league play, 14-8 overall, while Chula Vista drops to 7-2 in league play, 12-10 overall.
The Devils host Castle Park on Friday (Feb. 10) and also play host to Southwest on Feb. 14 before closing out regular season play Feb. 16 at San Ysidro.
Cougars on the prowl
The San Ysidro Cougars defeated Castle Park, 89-56, on Wednesday to sport an undefeated 9-0 league record and 21-3 overall mark. San Ysidro holds a one-game lead over Sweetwater (8-1, 14-10) after the Red Devils downed visiting Chula Vista, 89-74, also on Wednesday.
San Ysidro and Sweetwater meet for the second time in league play Feb. 16 at SYHS to close out regular season play.
Javion Watson continues to lead the Cougars with a 27.9 game scoring average, followed by teammates Fernando Ahumada (14.3 points per game) and Ronald Stewart and Keeko Sinegal, each with 10.3 scoring averages.
Watson had 24 points in last Friday’s 87-48 win over Mar Vista and poured in 28 points in Wednesday’s victory against the Trojans.
Spencer Mattox led Sweetwater with 37 points in Wednesday’s match-up against the Spartans while teammate Johnny Gonzalez tacked on 26 points.
San Ysidro will play El Camino in a non-league game Saturday (Feb. 11) as part of the Coaches Versus Cancer showcase. Game time is 7 p.m. at SYHS.
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