For sheer excitement and drama, Murrieta Valley's Hawk’s Nest was the place to be Friday night. The Broncos came into town for the battle for first place in the Southwestern League.
It didn’t take long for the action to get fast and physical, as both teams refused to give in to the other. Vista Murrieta took control with a 17-14 lead in the first period. The Nighthawks stood firm and the half ended 30-22.
“I was very pleased with our senior leaders Alexis Rivas and Serafina Maulupe. They have really shown the ability to take their years of experiences and guide our team when it matters most. I was equally impressed with the ability of our younger players. They have produced at an uncharacteristically high level for their age. I hope that the mix we have will produce some success the rest of the way, and we are excited to test that,” said Bronco Coach Chris Jones.
The Nighthawks came storming back in the second half and pulled within two until a determined Broncos squad held on and pulled away for good late in the fourth period. Final score Broncos 61, Nighthawks 51.
“The MV game was good for us on many different levels. Our girls responded every time MV made a charge. This was not something that we have done well in the past few years and we paid for it with a couple narrow losses. MV has built a solid program the last couple years and we are excited to be able to win twice against them this year,” Jones added.
Sarafina Maulupe led the Bronco charge with 21 points. Freshmen Jaelyn Brown and Brittney Reed were outstanding and both had double-doubles in the Vista Murrieta victory. Brown scored 20 points and 13 rebounds while Reed had 16 points and 12 boards.
Yuendie Guridie and Leitasi Cravens each scored two points for the Gold and Blue.
Nighthawk Karen Wolf for earned her 10th double-double of the season. Wolf scored 20 points and recorded 11 rebounds against the tough, physical Broncos. Wolf did a great job keeping the team focused on the court and fighting inside the paint all evening long.
Aliah Marshall scored 11 points, Ariana Hernandez nine, and Deshea Wilkes seven for Murrieta Valley. Brynn Dahmer had four points and hauled in five rebounds.
Both teams will pay their final Southwestern League games next week before the CIF playoffs begin. The Broncos are ranked seventh in the Southern Section Division 1A. The Nighthawks are in Division 2A and are currently seeded fourth.
With the way these teams are playing, Murrieta may be the home of two CIF Girls Basketball Champs.