By Eric Terrazas, SGVN
Strong outside shooting lifted Bonita High School to a 68-40 victory over Pioneer in Thursday’s pool-play game of the 19th Annual Blue Pride Classic boys basketball tournament at Pioneer High School.
The Bearcats (3-1) successfully connected from 3-point land 12 times. Brian Mahood scored 22 points to pace Bonita, which finished in third place in its pool.
Bonita will play Hawthorne at 6 p.m. today at El Rancho High School.
“It was the first game we actually shot the ball well,” Bonita coach Greg Eckler said. “That was the big difference. In the previous games, we shot the ball poorly. (On Thursday), we found our stroke.”
Courtney Ahamnisi recorded 12 points to pace the Titans (3-1), who will face El Segundo at 3 p.m. today at El Rancho. Pioneer took fourth place in its pool.
“Bonita shot the ball really well (on Thursday),” Pioneer coach Greg Gilmore said. “We couldn’t rebound. They killed us on the boards. I don’t think we played terrible defense – Bonita just made tough shots.”
Mahood made six 3-pointers to pace the Bearcats’ outside shooting attack. Riley Brungard also played a key role, by successfully converting from 3-point territory four times.
Brungard added 12 points for the Bearcats.
Bonita built a 29-13 halftime lead by dominating the second quarter.
Leading 12-10 after one quarter, the Bearcats gained momentum by scoring seven unanswered points. Bonita’s surge started with back-to-back buckets from Dane Hollar and Noah Montoya. Brungard then increased the Bearcat lead to 19-10 with a 3-pointer.
Pioneer’s Ray Flores then reduced the Bonita cushion to six by making his own 3-point attempt. Flores’ field goal turned out to be the Titans’ only points in the second quarter.
Bonita, which held Pioneer to just three points during the second quarter, closed the first half in impressive fashion by going on a 10-0 run. Brungard and Mahood both made 3-point buckets during the surge. Mahood culminated the run by delivering his 3-point conversion right before halftime.
The Titans showed life during the early stages of the third quarter by cutting Bonita’s lead to 34-26. Flores and Kyle Henderson both sank 3-point baskets to help fuel Pioneer’s rally.
Pioneer, however, would draw no closer as Bonita regained control by putting together a 12-0 run, which was highlighted by successful 3-point attempts from Kyle Gray and Mahood.
The Bearcats went on to secure the victory by outscoring the Titans 19-10 in the fourth quarter.