In an exciting matchup between two of the best teams in the area, the St. Paul Swordsmen (8-2) defeated the La Mirada Matadores (9-5), 63-60.
La Mirada was riding high after a good performance at the St. John Bosco tournament last week, playing some good teams including the host in the finals.
However, tonight the Matadores got off to a sluggish start. “Coming off the Bosco tournament, and after a couple of those wins, guys were feeling themselves a little bit and it showed,” Coach Randy Oronoz of La Mirada put it.
St. Paul got off to a quick start with back-to-back three’s by senior guard #5 Maurice Wright Jr, who had 31 points to finish the night.
La Mirada shook off the slow first half and exploded in the second. The third quarter alone featured a 20-point outburst by La Mirada. However, the strong frontcourt for the Swordsmen was too much to handle as Junior forward #34 Kamron Fontenot and Sophomore forward #10 Tong Mawein combined for 16 points.
Sophomore guard #3 Julien Gomez showed why he is one of the best players in the area with a 34 point explosion, which included 21 in the second half. He was a momentum killer to the Swordsmen as every time it seemed St. Paul was going to put it away, Gomez would respond with a big shot to inch La Mirada closer. Even when he didn't have the ball in his hands he was a difference maker. He was all over the court defensively.
Sophomore forward #24 Morgan Smith of the Matadores also pitched in with eight points.
In the fourth quarter, it was St. Paul who just ended up making more shots when it counted. Gomez gave all he could for the Matadores as he and Wright Jr. had a sequence with about 3 minutes left where they were exchanging buckets.
“We need losses like this to get a little more humble,” Coach Oronoz pointed out-giving credit to the team’s testament for playing tough games during the preseason.
The La Mirada Matadores play their next game next Tuesday 12/20, versus Cerritos at La Mirada High, and the Swordsmen take on the Bishop Amat Lancers on the road Friday 12/16.