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San Marcos reserve helps clinch crown

02/21/2014, 10:43pm PST
By Terry Monahan, Special to the U-T

Senior guard takes over as Knights finish atop the Avocado East League standings

— A year after San Marcos High upset Mission Hills to claim a share of the Avocado East League boys basketball title, the Knights struck again.

This time, it was reserve guard Trace Dimeff who turned the tide in San Marcos’ favor.

After missing his first six field-goal tries, the 6-foot-1 senior warmed up, and when he was done the league championship belonged to the Knights after a 52-39 home victory Friday night.

When the defending San Diego Section Division I champion Grizzlies cut the deficit to 36-32 in the fourth quarter, Dimeff finally found the range. He followed up a 3-pointer with a steal and a layup for a 41-32 lead with 6:36 to play.

After Ben Perez made a free throw, Dimeff hit six of seven free throws to finish with 12 fourth-quarter points, helping to clinch the victory.

He also had a steal in the final minute.

“Beating them in our new gym is better than beating them in their gym to share the league title,” Dimeff said. “We didn’t want to share anything with them like we had to do last year.

“My shot wasn’t falling, but my teammates kept telling me to keep shooting. When the first shot went in, I figure they all should go in.

“I may have had a better fourth quarter playing in AAU, but never here.”

Perez led the Knights (18-8, 7-1) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Johnny McWilliams added 14.

Jean Williams led Mission Hills (18-9, 5-3) with 10 points.

“Every time rivals like us play, it’s a battle,” Dimeff said. “It’s always low-scoring and tough to make shots.”

In a game that started 40 minutes late because of San Marcos’ Senior Night, Mission Hills never led and trailed by as many as 14 points.

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