Chargers mature in win over Righetti

Robert Vickers had a sequence in the final 20 seconds of Dos Pueblos’ 56-49 boys basketball victory over Righetti that would make even grumpy ol’ Bobby Knight jump for joy.

The Cal State Northridge-bound shortstop came up short on a big free throw at 52-49 with 20 ticks left that would have made it a two-possession game, but he sprinted to the sideline to grab the long rebound.

He then drove in for a lay-up, stole the ensuing inbounds pass, made another lay-up and drew the foul to get back to the free-throw line.

“I was excited. I felt like I kind of had an off-night, so that felt real good because I really wanted to get the win… That’s the first time we’ve beaten them in my four years here, so that was important to me,” he said.

The hard-nosed Chargers (6-5) are already 11 games into the season but now have a week-long break to rest up. Tuesday night’s performance was certainly a good one to have before heading into the hiatus.

“I was really proud of my guys because in the second half we did a much better job of taking care of the ball and we got the shots we wanted,” said coach Joe Zamora. “We’ve been a young team for 10 games but I told the guys that tonight was the night to show that we’re no longer youthful.”

A 6-for-18 mark from the free-throw line was just about the only part of the game that really reflected the team’s youth, except for a stretch of turnovers late in the second quarter. The ball movement around the perimeter was strong and 6-foot-9 center Malik Heptot did well against Righetti’s formidable big men, 6-7 Garret Passmore and 6-6 Nate Lewis. The two Righetti (2-3) trees combined for just 11 points.

“I thought he did a great job…We talk to him in the breaks and at halftime about what we want him to do, and he responds well,” said Zamora of Heptot, who had nine boards and nine points. “He’s gone up against some real size so far and played strong.”

Evan Munoz was on the mark in the game, leading all scorers with 15 points on five treys, while Vickers finished with 12.

Warrior guard Paeery McBeth nailed one from long range with six minuts left in the third that knotted things up at 30 apiece, but Vickers responded with a high-arcing swish from downtown right after. Heptot then made a nice move in the post to put the Chargers up 35-30, and the lead would hover between three and seven points the rest of the way.

Crowd-favorite Bryan Heller made a steal and lay-up with 45 ticks left in the quarter that put DP up 41-36, and the Chargers held on to the advantage somewhat comfortably until Dominik Hitch nailed one from downtown to pull the Warriors within three with 23 seconds remaining.

Vickers followed with his stellar sequence, and that was that.

“We’re going to take this week-long break and recover a little bit,” said Vickers.

The Chargers don’t play until Tuesday in their alumni game and then Friday in the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic.

(Photos by Blake Dorfman/PresidioPics. To order prints email [email protected])


RIGHETTI—Holloway 10, Hitch 2, Walker 2, Senior 14, McBeth 3, Sims 3, Passmore 9, Lewis 2, Saver 5. 15-24 FT.

DOS PUEBLOS—Miranda 2, Muñoz 15, Larinan 8, Heptot 9, Vickers 12, Mestas 8. 6-18 FT.

Righetti………….11  11  16  14 — 49

Dos Pueblos…..13  15  13  15 — 56

3-point goals—R 4 (Holloway 2, Senior 1, McBeth 1), DP 6 (Muñoz 5, Vickers 1).

Total fouls—R 14, DP 17.

Team records—DP 6-5, R 2-3.