CALEXICO — Using a pace that most teams would have trouble matching, the No. 3-seeded Vincent Memorial High boys’ basketball beat Escondido Adventist High, 66-21, in the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Division V playoffs here Tuesday.
The Scots’ full-court press created several opportunities to outscore and outwork the Hawks throughout the game.
“Basically our defense is our game; we are a hustle team,” Vincent Memorial senior guard Nico Soberanes said. “When we have it going, it gets us pumped up, it gets our momentum going and it puts points on the board and that helped us get the ‘W’ tonight.”
At half time the Scots found themselves with a 20-point lead and despite the score the pace never slowed.
“Tonight was a ‘win big or go home’ game just like any playoff game,” Soberanes said. “They came to win but we have been working hard all season and wanted this win more tonight.”
The Scots had 16 steals on the night along with several turnovers that led to the 66-21 victory.
“When we started practicing we would always do a lot of running,” senior point guard Willie Zepeda said. “We play with that speed to get the other team tired and to take advantage of their turnovers.”
With five seniors on the Scots’ squad, home playoff games are just that much more special.
“It was really special playing at home tonight.” Zepeda said. “I feel comfortable playing here and being able to play such an important game in front of the school is great.”
In the game for the Scots, Soberanes had 17 points, Zepeda had 15 points and both Kenny Bush and Michael Henderson had 13 points.
The Scots were without senior Richie Murillo on Tuesday due to an injury. Murillo has averaged 23.9 points a game and 8.2 rebounds a game for the season so his return will be welcomed in the Scots’ next game.
“We were missing our leading scorer tonight in Richie tonight, so we all had to work as a team tonight,” Soberanes said. “We are looking forward to having him back on Saturday so we can keep working our way towards the finals.”
With the win Vincent Memorial (21-5, 8-0 ML) will advance to the second round of the D-V playoffs and host the winner of Calvary Christian and San Diego Academy at 7 p.m. Saturday.