This is the time of year when basketball coaches start peeking at the power rankings produced by MaxPreps.
There, right atop Division III, are the Mount Miguel boys. Coach Jay Rowlett wants his team to be in the same place at the end of the season.
“Last year we were the No. 9 seed, which meant we had to travel,” Rowlett said after his Matadors blitzed Santana 87-39 Friday night in a Grossmont Valley League contest.
“We want the No. 1 or 2 seed because everyone has to come to our house in the playoffs.”
The crowd certainly was treated to a shooting exhibition Friday, especially in the first half when Mount Miguel (19-4, 4-0) went on a 15-0 run late in the first quarter and then pulled away to lead 54-16 at the break.
Leading the way were senior Daron Traylor and junior C.J. Jackson, who each scored 16 points in diametrically different ways, Traylor tossing in four from beyond the arc while the 6-foot-6 Jackson counting 10 of his points on crowd-pleasing, thunderous slam dunks.
“Our zone defense and our shooting were really on the first half,” said Traylor, who had three treys as the Matadors buried seven of 10 attempts. “We’re just trying to get our points any way we can.
“I think we belong in the Top 10 (the Matadors are unranked in San Diego but No. 15 overall in MaxPreps), but we could be better. Tonight we were more cohesive, especially on defense. We try to make them speed up the game, make them uncomfortable.”
Indeed, the Matadors forced 29 turnovers — many of which were converted into layups — against the Sultans (14-9, 2-1), who are also a Division III team.
Traylor says he likes to get up early and work on various phases of his game at the YMCA before heading to class.
“I practice shooting, ball-handling, all parts of my game,” said Traylor.
Rowlett, meanwhile, says this year’s Matadors remind him a lot of the 2010 section championship team.
“Oh, yeah, this is the best group since that 2010 team,” said Rowlett. “These kids all like each other; do things together. And this is C.J.’s first year so he’ll get better.”
The Matadors spread around the wealth, getting nine-point efforts from Marquis Neal, James Allen and Marquise Edwards. T.C. Simmons’ nine points led the Sultans.
Brand is a freelance writer.
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