Battle for first place in Gateway League tonight in Downey

Calm, cool, and collected.

That 's how the La Mirada Matadores operate; as they defeated the Foothill Knights 53-50 in a comeback thriller at the MLK Dream Classic at St. John Bosco Monday night.

La Mirada started the night rough. They couldn’t get much going offensively and defensively they couldn’t stop Foothill’s bigs.

The Matadores (18-6), headed to the locker room down at halftime 30-21. However there was no yelling or screaming to motivate. Instead, La Mirada head basketball coach Randy Oronoz reiterated the team message of: don’t panic.

“There was no speech, he was just nailing in us our schemes and principles,” Sophomore guard Julien Gomez said of Coach Oronoz’s halftime talk.

Coach Oronoz noted that it was weird to see a team down and so calm. “They almost have to calm me down.”

The Matadores flipped the script in the second half. It all started in the beginning of the half, where Gomez exploded for a 9-0 run by himself to tie the game at 30. He finished with 30 points on the night.

La Mirada took their first lead late in the 4th quarter and never looked back and they simply held on to defeat the highly-ranked Knights (20-2).

La Mirada didn’t have the size advantage in this one, but once again, the physicality the Matadores brought in was too much to handle for their opponent. Junior forward Chris Cuevas and Senior forward Anegi Castillo helped the Mats tremendously off the bench in limiting Foothill’s big Sophomore Danny Kennard to just 15 points. Kennard had 10 in the first quarter alone.

Senior guard Sean Cervantes finished with 9 points and led the offense all night for La Mirada.

This win boosts the Matadores’ impressive resume. With wins over St. Anthony twice, Campbell Hall, Orange Lutheran, and now Foothill, the Matdores have assured themselves as the number one team in the San Gabriel Valley area.

La Mirada has an important league matchup coming up tonight at home against Downey, as they face a 21-1 Vikings team that is currently on a 14-game winning streak. Both teams are currently 3-0 in Gateway League play.