Valley Dominates Fourth Quarter for Victory Over Vista

#42 Austin Bryant hits a buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter to put his team up by 2 In front of a packed gym full of fans, t...

#42 Austin Bryant hits a buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter to put his team up by 2
In front of a packed gym full of fans, the Nighthawks of Murrieta Valley pulled away in the fourth quarter of a close game, to win beat crosstown rival Vista Murrieta, 72-55.

"When you're playing another district school, there's that extra emotion," Murrieta Valley's Coach Steve Tarabilda said about the rivalry. "We had Mesa and Vista in the same week. That's an emotional week."

For most of the game, both teams remained within a couple of shots of each other, regardless of who held the lead at the time. It wasn't until the fourth quarter, when the Nighthawks ran away with the game when they outscored the Broncos 26-12 in the quarter.

"We know each team is going to go on runs and each team is going to have moments of brilliance, and each team is going to break down," said Coach Tarabilda. "We just told them that we had to survive that first quarter and that's what they did. Then we started passing the ball better and getting better looks and Zandi (pictured left) got hot and that changes the ballgame right there."

Up 3 points after three quarters of play, Murrieta Valley (8-9, 2-0) opened the fourth quarter with an 11-1 scoring run, to force the Broncos' backs against a wall. Vista Murrieta (8-9, 0-2) began trying to catch up via shots beyond the arc and forcing shots inside the paint that had low odds of going in.

The Nighthawks passing game and willingness to slow down the pace of the game in the fourth, forced the Broncos' defense to foul Murrieta Valley and putting them in the double bonus. The Nighthawks reached the line 24 times alone in the fourth, sinking 14 of their free throws and burying the Broncos.

Early in the game, the guards of both teams dominated the scoring. In the first half, the Broncos' sophomore Michael Carongcong (pictured left) scored 10 points and senior Joey Diaz scored 8 points, to lead their team in scoring. Not to be outdone, Nighthawks' guards Jacob Forte sunk 3 three-pointers for 9 points and Jacob Zandi sunk 4 threes for 12 points in the half. Both Forte and Zandi would hit one more three-pointer each in the game, giving Murrieta Valley nine total shots made from beyond the arc.

"This team is starting to mature and we're so happy about it because it's when it counts," Coach Tarabilda said of the recent play of his team.

Vista Murrieta's leading scorer for the season, Damon Dubots, was held to only 4 points for the game.

Notable performances by Nighthawks in the game included Austin Bryant's 26 points scored, Zandi's 21 points scored, Forte's 12 points which were all scored from beyond the arc, and Michael Ochner's 11 points. Notable performances by the Broncos include Carangcong's 15 points, Diaz' 12 points, and Cameron Eakins 9 points.

Murrieta Valley will travel to Temecula to face Chaparral High School (9-8, 0-1) on Jan. 21. Vista Murrieta will play a non-league game at home on Jan. 17, against Twentynine Palms High School (3-5, 2-2), before continuing league play on Jan. 21, against Murrieta Mesa (8-10, 0-2) on the road.

Murrieta Valley High School hosted a packed house for the crosstown rivalry
#5 Joey Diaz climbs over #21 Jacob Forte during a fast break
#41 Michael Ochner grabs a rebound while #24 Damon Dubots, #34 Cameron Eakins, and #42 Marcel Condray try to grab the ball from Ochner's hands
#24 Damon Dubots drives in for a layup


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