San Marcos horses look sturdy in 63-21 blowout

You don’t have to watch more than a few minutes of a San Marcos High boys basketball game this year to see that the Royals are in great shape. They were much bigger, faster and stronger than Lompoc in Thursday night’s 63-21 demolition at the Thunderhut.

“We’ve been going to P3 (Peak Performance Project) since August. They’re quicker off their feet, they’re quicker to react defensively and they jump higher,” said coach Jarrod Bradley, sounding like he was talking about a stable of horses. “Another thing is that they don’t tire as quickly. Their anaerobic conditioning is phenomenal right now, so we can run guys for six or seven minute stretches and they just don’t tire.”


JP Dodson had 14 points and Johnny Manzo added 12 for the seventh-ranked Royals (9-2), who gave up just two field goals the entire first half to take a 33-10 lead at the break.

San Marcos forward Christian Mkpado

San Marcos forward Christian Mkpado

Christian Mkpado had just four points, but he took three chargers and snagged eight rebounds.

“Taking charges is a good filler for when I don’t do anything scoring-wise. It’s important to try and contribute in other ways,” said Mkpado, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound rock in the middle.

He’s joined in the post by the likes of Josh Guild and Matt Welsh, both 6-foot-6, as well as 6-3 Bennie Kirkwood (a standout high jumper for the track team), and bruising 6-3 sophomore Thayer White. Bradley said that Welsh added nine inches to his vertical in the offseason.

“We’ve gotten a lot bigger and faster. We’ve got one of the best post games in the Channel League,” said Mkpado.

Lompoc’s star player is senior center Trae Vernon, who was all but shut down on Thursday, scoring just six points.

“Trae’s a great player, but basically our game-plan was to not let him catch the ball. If he did, it was going to have to be outside and we would double-team him. He’s a really good player, but they just didn’t have a lot of other weapons,” said Bradley.

The Braves seemed panicky, being called for traveling five times. They didn’t get their first field goal until Vernon hit a jumper to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter that made it 14-6.

The Royals play Agoura in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on December 26th.

Bradley said he believes the Channel League race is “wide open” this year.

“If we can take care of the ball, our defensive rebounding is good enough for us to compete with anybody,” he said.


LOMPOC — Jackson 3, Vernon 6, Hirzel 3, Cancellos 2, Moreno 7. Totals 8 7-15 23.

SAN MARCOS — Manzo 12, Kirkwood 3, Guild 2, Koopmans 8, Mkpado 4, Ridenour 8, Dodson 14, Welsh 3, White 9. Totals 22 14-23 63.

Lompoc…6  4  9  2 — 21

San Marcos…15  18  14  18 — 63

3-pointers — SM 5 (Ridenour 2, Manzo 1, Koopmans 1, Dodson 1). Fouled out — Kirkwood, Jackson. Technicals — Lompoc Coach.