Vista Murrieta played tough and almost upset the Aztecs Monday. Keppel High School is ranked 18th in the state and is one of the top 100 girls basketball teams in the nation. Their record this year is 12-3.
The Broncos started strong from the opening tip-off and led 31-27 at the half. Vista Murrieta’s early success was due to their domination of the defensive boards, out-rebounding the Aztecs early in the game. The Aztecs had a difficult time stopping Vista Murrieta’s Serafina Maulupe, who scored 22 points and had six rebounds for the Broncos.
The Broncos held the lead until midway through the fourth quarter, when Keppel tied the score at 50 apiece with 3:46 remaining in the game. It was hoop for hoop from then on. The Aztec full-press defense and relentless attack finally broke through in the final minute and the Broncos lost a heartbreaker, 60-57.
“Another tough loss” commented Coach Chris Jones. “I love where are team is right now but that was tough to swallow today. If Yuendie Guridi had played I think it might have made a difference for us. She is such a good perimeter defender.”
Jaelyn Brown scored 17 points and led the Broncos with 14 rebounds. Brittney Reed added nine points and nine rebounds while Leitasi Cravens scored eight points and played intense defense.
Alexis Rivas added a basket and Tatiana Navarro a free throw.
The Broncos were 2-3 in the West Coast Holiday Festival Tournament and are now 11-5 overall as they head into league play. Vista Murrieta will travel to Temecula Valley to play the Golden Bears on Jan. 9.