San Marcos stays in Channel hunt with big effort on Dos Pueblos scorer Rillie
After Dos Pueblos guard Jaron Rillie dropped 17 points in the final quarter of their previous matchup, San Marcos knew slowing down Rillie would be key to secure a victory.
And they did just that.
Rillie scored just one point in the opening quarter on a free throw but was held scoreless the rest of the way as San Marcos defeated the Chargers 63-55 in a Channel League boys basketball game Thursday night at Maury Halleck Gymnasium.
The Royals (13-7, 7-1) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the games opening minutes, sinking three first-quarter 3-pointers.
San Marcos took the first quarter 21-8 before going into the break 34-23.
Senior Beau Allen brought the crowd to its feet and sent the student section into a frenzy after throwing down a hard one-handed dunk in the open floor with 4:48 to go in the 2nd quarter.
“I just saw an open floor and wanted to boost our energy, try to keep our run going,” Allen said after the game.
The Royals took a 13-point advantage after the 3rd quarter on their way to victory.
San Marcos coach Jelani Hicks said his team took it personal after Rillie’s impressive fourth-quarter shooting performance the last time these two teams met. San Marcos threw multiple defenders at Rillie, who played the entire game.
“We know he’s their leading scorer usually, so the best I could lock him down, I tried to do,” said junior Tommy Condon, one of several Royals to attempt and lock down Rillie.
As San Marcos’ regular season comes to a close, Hicks said his team is learning how to close out games.
“As the season goes on, they want to win, but winning is a skill, so it takes a lot of games just to figure out how you want to play, and then how to win games with your style,” he said. “I think every game, we’re getting just a little bit better at it.”
For the Chargers (10-15, 4-4), after digging themselves into an early hole, they were able to hang tough. They got within nine points in the final minutes of the game before the Royals closed it out.
“We just came up a bit short,” coach Joe Zamora said. “I’ve been saying that a lot this season but at the same time that’s a reality.”
Other players were forced to step up with Rillie garnering so much attention.
“Everyone knows the scouting report, (Jaron’s) gonna get a lot of attention, no matter where we go,” Zamora said. “In my eyes, he’s the best player in the Channel League, so he’s going to get that attention.”
Alex McCeney finished with a team-high 16 points and Baylor Huyck added 13. Kelen Pisacane and Alex Perez each finished with nine points.
While his lockdown defense was key in the victory, Condon led the way offensively as well and finished with 16 points, including a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers.
“I just try to stay ready,” Condon said postgame. “My teammates really got me going in the 1st quarter and I was hitting shots and it just became contagious.”
Allen scored 13 points and Isiah Hicks added 11 points before fouling out with 4 minutes to go in the game.
Dos Pueblos will travel to Orange today and play Orange Lutheran in the Nike Extravaganza, with tip-off set for 4:30 p.m.
The Royals will take the court next in a big-time matchup against Santa Barbara Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.