HONDO – For both the boys and girls basketball teams, Vaughn has just two losses in District 3-1A.
In both cases, those losses have come at the hands of Hondo.
The latest Eagle wins came Feb. 14, as the Hondo boys and girls squads earned comfortable victories – 74-55 for the boys and 45-21 for the girls – to remain unbeaten in District 3-1A and on track for the top seed in the upcoming district tournament.
They have one more doubleheader at Corona on Feb. 16 before the post-season tips off.
While both contests were highly anticipated, the boys game proved to be interesting because of the new makeup of Vaughn’s squad.
In their prior meeting, the Vaughn Eagles (18-5, 4-2) were without some key players due to suspensions, meaning the Valentine’s Day game marked one of Hondo’s greatest challenges this season.
“I knew this would be a different game for us,” said Hondo coach Ben Sanchez. “We had to step up defensively, we had to be smart with the ball, because those guys make a big difference for them (Vaughn).”
Hondo (20-5, 5-0 district) proved it was more than up to the challenge, flying out to a 22-4 lead in the first quarter and never looking back.
A majority of those points were scored by Simon Gonzalez who had a beyond-astounding 53 points in the victory.
That’s 71 percent of all of Hondo’s scoring.
“It was a district game, first of all, and our opponents, Vaughn. We have a lot of respect for those guys,” Gonzalez said of what motivated him. “Those guys always bring us their A-game, and they have since my sophomore year.”
“If Simon can keep scoring like that, and we get the other guys with 10 or 11 points each, we can go far,” Sanchez said. “We have to play Corona next, then get ready for the district tournament.”
No other Hondo player was in double figures, but it didn’t matter on Tuesday. Gonzalez was more than enough to offset Cristian Mendez and Hector Mendoza for Vaughn, who had 19 and 13 points each.
Gonzalez also led the way with rebounds (12), Steals (2) and had five 3-pointers in the contest.
Herrera is the tops
Sophomore Nina Herrera was the go-to girl for the Lady Eagles, scoring 14 points and hauling in 15 rebounds in the victory.
“We were excited, we just had to keep our heads and play like we knew how,” Herrera said. “We executed very well and played good as a team.”
Things were a bit more dicey for the Lady Eagles (20-4, 5-0), as the Aguilas (12-8, 4-2) had the initial lead in the first quarter before a hook shot by Herrera put her team ahead for good.
It was much more than just Herrera doing damage to the Aguila defense. Every Hondo player seemed to be in sync in the victory.
“Just knowing what basketball is like on the east side of the state with Melrose and Elida, I know we have a lot of work to do,” said Hondo coach Alice Velasquez. “Tonight was a good opportunity to show that we can get up and down the floor.”