By John Sherrard
The Bonita High School boys basketball team just seems to have Rowland’s number.
In fact, the Bearcats (13-4, 1-0) have had everyone’s number since they entered the Hacienda League in the 2010 season.
The visiting Bearcats, behind a game-high 21 points from junior forward Dane Hollar, reeled off their 25th consecutive league victory and defeated Rowland, 57-47, on Wednesday in the league opener for both teams.
“The last tournament (San Gabriel Classic) my shot wasn’t going and I don’t what happened,” Hollar said. “But (Wednesday) I just started feeling it I guess, and got my shot back.”
The Bearcats, who went 12-0 in the last two seasons in league, connected on nine baskets from behind the arc. Hollar contributed five while sophomore guard Kyle Gray had 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Leading the way for Rowland (10-5, 0-1) was senior guard Chris Arzadon with a team-high 15 points and five assists and senior forward D.J. Jackson, who had 10 points and six rebounds.
“This was a big one,” Bonita coach Greg Eckler said. “I felt coming in with all of their senior returners that if you’re going to win a league title it’s got to go through them.”
Rowland, which has five starting seniors in its lineup, got into an early hole and trailed 16-8. Most of Bonita’s scoring to that point came on four 3-pointers.
The Bearcats led, 22-14, after the first quarter.
“The first quarter we shot the lights out and we were scorching hot in the first half,” Eckler said. “In the second half we didn’t shoot as well, but luckily we picked it up on defense.”
Rowland began the second quarter with a 9-0 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer from senior guard Jacky Tu. Most of those points came from steals by the Raiders, who had nine in the game.
Bonita led by only four points at the half, 33-29.
The third quarter was a low-scoring affair, but Bonita outscored the Raiders in the fourth quarter, 15-8, to win going away.
Hollar hit a 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining that gave the Bearcats a six-point lead at 52-46.
“We didn’t play to our standard and that’s what cost us,” Rowland coach Gordon Hamlow said. “I thought Bonita played hard, they played well and adjusted when our point guard went out.
“I don’t feel that Rowland played to their standard, and then we will have trouble.”
Senior guard Riley Brungard added 11 points for the Bearcats.