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San Ysidro forward finds his shot — at nearby rec center

01/30/2013, 10:22pm PST
By Steve Brand, Special to the U-T

Keeko Sinegal was so frustrated with his shooting in recent games he decided to take some extra practice.

Keeko Sinegal (shown in a game earlier this season) scored 18 points in San Ysidro's win over Montgomery.

Keeko Sinegal was so frustrated with his shooting in recent games, the 6-foot-4 San Ysidro High forward decided to take some extra practice.

Between the end of classes Wednesday and the game against visiting Montgomery, he went to the nearby recreation center and shot. And shot. Then shot some more.

“He spent so much time he was a little late to the game,” said Cougars coach Terry Tucker, “but after he started hitting his shots, all was forgiven.”

Sinegal scored 11 of his 18 points in the first quarter to get No. 9-ranked San Ysidro (17-6, 7-0) off to a 24-16 lead it would never relinquish en route to an impressive 80-54 basketball win that moved the Cougars one giant step closer to their first undisputed South Bay League title after back-to-back co-championships.

For Montgomery (18-4, 5-2), the loss damaged its title hopes and snapped a seven-game winning streak.

Sinegal led the way, but Lynard Steward (16 points), Orlando Quinones (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Ronald “Woda” Steward (12 points) also chipped in double-figure scoring.

“My shot was broken,” said Sinegal, explaining the senior’s unusual trip to the rec center, “but I knew right away it was back. It felt good from the start.”

All of the numbers favored the hosts as San Ysidro forced 20 turnovers while committing just 11 and held a 44-28 rebound edge.

Tucker said the large crowd played a big role in the win.

“South Bay teams aren’t used to playing in front of big crowds and when they tried to communicate with their coach, they had trouble,” he said. “We switched up on defense to confuse them in the second half.”

Only 6-foot-4 Jestin Jameson enjoyed any consistent success for Montgomery as he accounted for 22 points and nine rebounds.

“That was our plan, to get Jestin the ball,” said Montgomery coach Edward Martin, “but for some reason we came out flat. We had no energy. We just didn’t play well — especially in the second half.”

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