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Monte Vista gets its motor running

01/11/2013, 11:29pm PST
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

Monarchs rally from early 12-point deficit to beat El Cajon Valley in league opener.

— Monte Vista High boys basketball coach James Carroll, despite 11 wins by the Monarchs in their first 15 games, said his team has been stuck in the mud lately.

After the first seven minutes of Friday’s Grossmont Valley League opener against El Cajon Valley, he probably thought that mud was more like quicksand as Monte Vista trailed by 12 points.

Led by the ball hawking of reserve guards Jemeil Jackson and Thomas Walker, the Monarchs found their footing and continued on for a 51-47 victory.

The issue was decided from the free-throw line, where Justin Brandy and Brendan Harris each netted a pair of free throws in the final 1:20.

Brandy is fortunate to be playing. He got fouled going up for a shot during a preseason game and wound up face down on the floor.

“It was off a fast break and when I hit the floor I got four front teeth knocked out,” Brandy said. “My lip was cut up pretty bad.”

He went to the hospital, had dental surgery and missed seven games.

The Braves (11-8, 0-1), who registered a rare nonleague victory over Helix earlier in the week, jumped to a 15-3 lead over the Monarchs in the first quarter.

Hasani Jarvis led Monte Vista with 15 points and Walker added 11 points for the Monarchs, while Andre Nikkita finished with 23 points for the Braves.

Monte Vista has not lost a league game in two years, and the Monarchs junior varsity is working toward its third straight undefeated league season.

This marked the third meeting between the Braves and Monarchs (11-7, 1-0) this season. El Cajon Valley won 76-75 in overtime in the Olympian Holiday Classic. The Monarchs bounced back for a 64-58 nod in the Baron Optimist Tournament last month.

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