By Stephen Jiron
MONTE VISTA — Basketball is back in the valley. Thursday night, Monte Vista welcomed Del Norte for girls and boys basketball. In the girls’ game Del Norte handily earned the win by a score of 59-18. In the boys game Monte Vista defended home court earning a 70-59 win.
First up were the girls. Del Norte as a team that was competitive last season, only falling in the regional round to Holyoke. With Thursday night serving as the season opener for both teams, it played like it. Monte Vista scored first and those two points were the lone basket for a while. Then Del Norte seemed to find their way to the basket with junior Kendra Parra leading the charge followed by Lacie Jones and Sophie McConnell to go on a six-point run. Parra would go on to lead the Tigers with 23 points in the win.
However, while Del Norte’s girls picked up points they also piled up penalties putting Monte Vista in the bonus just four minutes into the first quarter. As a result Monte Vista added three points off their five visits to the charity stripe. As the game continued Del Norte’s defense began to bear down and allowed just two points in the second to go to the half with a 41-11 lead.
Coming back from the half Del Norte had the game in hand and let off the gas, totaling just 18 points in the final two quarters. For Monte Vista, freshman Analysia Perea led the Pirates with four points off the bench.
Later in the night the boys took the court, Monte Vista led by new head coach Jeremy Romero. For Del Norte, a 3A opponent early in the season is nothing new. Last year Del Norte dipped into the Intermountain League when they attended the Mountain Top Tournament where they faced Centauri in the championship, falling by a score of 66-59 in overtime.
Thursday night the boys, like the girls, took a little time adjusting. The result was plenty of fouls, forcing a slow paced technical game. Both teams were in bonus before the end of the first quarter. Del Norte’s Kade Glover benefitted with eight points all from the free-throw line. Glover had a great penalty shooting night going 84 percent for 11 points, he’d go on to finish second for the Tigers in scoring with 18 points.
Monte Vista would close the first quarter with a two-point advantage, leading 19-17. A late rush from Izeah Peterson in the second quarter capped by two successful foul shots tied things up at 36-all going to the locker rooms. Peterson led Del Norte in scoring with 24 points in the game.
The pace would once again slow in the third quarter this time it was Del Norte who came out with 53-49 lead.
Two points inside the paint from Kaidon Wenta to start the fourth got the ball rolling for Monte Vista. Six more unanswered points and Monte Vista retook the lead. And with the lead they asserted themselves with a ball control offense and capitalized on Del Norte’s mistakes to outscore the Tigers 21-6 in the final frame. Senior Darrius Garcia led the Pirates with 20 points collecting four from the free throw line.
The win for Monte Vista is a good first step for new Head Coach Romero and for the Pirates who haven’t enjoyed a winning season since 2013-14.