Season Comes to an End for Vista Murrieta Boys, 68-56

Guard Armani Mills moves the ball against a full-court press during Vista Murrieta's game against Burroughs Tuesday night. Photos by ...

Guard Armani Mills moves the ball against a full-court press during Vista Murrieta's game against Burroughs Tuesday night.
Photos by Daniel Millhouse

By Daniel Millhouse

After winning in the first two rounds of the CIF-SS Division 1A playoffs despite being the underdog, the Vista Murrieta High School boys basketball fell to John Burroughs High School of Burbank at home in the quarterfinals Tuesday night, 68-56.

The Indians of Burroughs High (22-7) started the game on fire with a 7-1 scoring run in the first three minutes of the game. For the rest of the game the Indians never looked back, not once letting Vista Murrieta take a lead in the game.

That’s not to say that the Broncos (17-12) didn’t have their chances to come back throughout the game, but with turnovers and too many missed shots in the first half, the hill was too high to climb.

The Indians’ Tristin Hill scored 8 points in the first quarter alone to lead his team to an 18-10 lead after one quarter of play.

Vista Murrieta’s defense played tougher in the second quarter, holding Burroughs to only 12 points scored in the quarter, but once again had a hard time finding their groove on offense, scoring only 10 more of their own. This left the score at 30-20 at halftime.

(At left, Nate Duran goes up for a layup).

"We were just on our heels in the first half," Vista Murrieta coach Andy Rucker said after the game. "We weren’t aggressive like we were the first two games. We weren’t attacking them. Our game plan was they press and they run and we were going to try to go back right at them, but we didn’t."

After regrouping at halftime, there was a noticeable shift in energy in Vista Murrieta’s favor. Their fans grew more vocal and the defense fed off of this. Rucker had his team switch to a full-court pressure that initially gave the Indians trouble. Camryn Jones gave Burroughs’ ballhandlers trouble in the back court, forcing them to make errant passes that gave the ball back to the Broncos.

After being down as much as 12, the Broncos cut the lead in half when junior Cole Clark drilled a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the third to put the score at 39-33. But Justin Henderson of Burroughs countered by hitting a short jumper while being fouled, then hitting the accompanying free throw to give his team a nine-point lead.

Within five seconds of Henderson’s free throw, Clark took the ball to the hoop and sunk a layup while he too was fouled. Sinking the free throw, Vista Murrieta was once again down by six with 1:35 left in the third.

By the end of three quarters, the score was 46-40 and Vista Murrieta’s gym was at its loudest. Vista Murrieta was able to keep it within six points for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, but eventually Burroughs was able to adapt to the full-court press.

After Marcus Gonzalez hit a baby hook shot to put the score at 51-45, the Indians outscored the Broncos 17-11 for the rest of the game.

Burroughs reached the foul line 13 times in the fourth and although they only hit eight of those free throws, it was enough to ward off Vista Murrieta.

The Broncos put together a competitive second half, being outscored by only two points in a 38-36 second half effort.

Scoring was pretty even across the board for the Vista Murrieta players. Jones led his team with 10 points scored, along with his stellar defense. Five of his teammates scored at least 7 points. Clark, Gonzalez and Nate Duran each scored 9 points, Michael Carongcong scored 8 points, and Armani Mills scored 7.

On the other end, Hull led his team with 17 points scored, followed by senior Ross Lee’s 13 points.

Burroughs will go on to face the Vikings of Santa Monica High School (27-2) on Friday.

"The four of the five seniors, Camryn Jones was a transfer, coming from where they came from when they were ninth graders and we were 7-19 to almost flip that season and make a nice run in the playoffs, it’s a credit to them," Rucker said of his outgoing seniors. "They just kept grinding for a couple of years and were able to put something nice together. That group of kids have been together since they were in elementary school. It’s a credit to them that they stayed in and hung in with each other."

Three Vista Murrieta players apply the full-court press to try and stop the Burroughs offense. 

Cole Clark drives to the basket against a group of defenders Tuesday night.

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Vista Murrieta High School 7992992955959919386

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