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Super size special for San Ysidro

01/11/2013, 9:45pm PST
By Dennis Lin

No. 10-ranked Cougars' lineup too tall in win over league rival Sweetwater.

Ronald Steward scored 22 points to lead San Ysidro, which improved to 13-5 overall and 3-0 in the South Bay League.

San Ysidro's Keeko Sinegal drives past Sweetwater's Michael Gloria as Sweetwater High School played San Ysidro in boys basketball Friday night.

NATIONAL CITY — Layup. Layups. More layups.

They were seen all over the court, occasionally interrupted by a 3-pointer, rarely interrupted by an overmatched defense.

San Ysidro appeared to score from every point on the floor, outmuscling and outsprinting a smaller Sweetwater team in its own gym in an 87-77 victory Friday night.

“I don’t think there’s many teams in the county that have our combination of size and speed,” Coach Terry Tucker said after his Cougars improved to 13-5, including 3-0 in the South Bay League.

Speedy, shifty Ronald Steward led the victors with 22 points, but they also got 16 from 6-foot-5 Orlando Quionoes, 14 from 6-5 John Crowder and another 14 from 6-4 Keeko Sinegal.

“That was the best I’ve seen a San Ysidro team play down low as far as pounding the ball inside,” Sweetwater coach Jesse Aguirre said. “I’ve never seen them pound the ball like that, like they did tonight. And they needed to because we’re not as big as them. They did a great job.”

Aguirre’s tallest player, Jose Nava, stands 6-2. San Ysidro started three players at least two inches taller than that.

“They killed us on offensive boards,” Aguirre said. “Us missing all those free throws in the first half didn’t help either.”

The Red Devils (7-6, 3-1) went 11 of 18 from the line before the break, and trailed 51-38. The Cougars’ inside-out attack stretched the lead to 22 early in the fourth quarter.

When Sweetwater clawed back, making it a nine-point contest with a little more than two minutes left, the San Ysidro defense produced a turnover. That led to Steward spotting up from 3-point range, no defender in sight.

“I knew it was going in,” said Steward, who made it 83-71 with 1:30 to play. “I felt it.”

Fellow 5-10 scorer Spencer Mattox led everyone with 33 points.

“I could’ve had 43 if not for all those missed free throws,” the Red Devils junior said. “I’ve been out of rhythm all week. I don’t know what it is.”

C.J. Cadua finished with 23 points for Sweetwater, but found himself on the wrong end of one of the game’s defining moments.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the diminutive 5-4 guard curled around a screen and rose up for three points.

He came away with zero as San Ysidro forward Justin Johnson, towering above him at 6-8, easily swatted the shot without raising a toe.

Lynard Steward, Ronald’s younger brother and another speedster at 5-11, added 10 points for the Cougars.

“That’s the most complete game we’ve played,” Ronald Steward said. “Our bigs, they’re good at posting up, and whenever they double-teamed they kicked it out and we got the outside shooting going.”

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