TOC: San Marcos seniors lead comeback over DP

“That was a great game… Well, it was a close game,” said Kristyn Miller with a grin.

Her San Marcos girls hoopsters went over eight minutes without a point in the first half Tuesday and still managed to pull out a 45-43 win over Dos Pueblos in the Green Division of the Tournament of Champions.

The Chargers led by as many as 10 in the second quarter and had a 33-25 advantage with 1:47 left in the third, but the Royals’ three seniors knocked down their shots when it counted.

Marissa Unzueta led the trio of elders with 14 points, while Kimmy Sanchez had 13 and Vanessa Curiel had 11, including seven straight that gave the Royals their first lead of the game early in the fourth.



“You’ve gotta give credit to the three seniors on that team,” said Chargers coach Maynard Pilapil, who has no upperclassmen on his roster. “They were resilient and came back. We had some leads, but our team was getting a little rattled every time they’d make a run.”

An Unzueta lay-up with four minutes to play in the first quarter cut DP’s early lead to 7-5, but the Royals went in the tank after that, going scoreless until Sanchez hit a trey with 3:40 left in the second.

The Chargers, meanwhile, got four points and one of numerous offensive boards from Talitha Draper (13 points, 11 rebounds) as well as a swished longball from Kristen Gowdy. An offensive board and lay-up from Unzueta with three seconds to go in the half cut the DP lead to 19-15.

Unzueta, a post player, opened the second half by knocking down a pair of jumpers, which she said is in her arsenal whenever she finds the gusto to fire it up.

“Coach Miller talked to me and said I needed to shoot more often. I can make it if I try, but most of the time I try to drive and get to the free-throw line,” she said.

She knocked down another shot to tie the score at 25-25 midway through the third, but DP’s Chiara DiMarco (11 points, six steals) buried a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer to put the Chargers back up. Jasmine Mata then added another three for DP and DiMarco nabbed a steal and lay-up to push the Charger lead up to 33-27.

Then it was the Royals’ turn.

Curiel ducked through the defense and made it to the hoop for a lay-up and Sanchez soon followed with an offensive board and put-back. Unzueta then got to the charity stripe after a steal and nailed both shots. Curiel grabbed a steal and weaved her way through the lane once again for a lay-up that tied the score at 33-33 with eight seconds to go in the third. She came out and hit a baseline jumper on the first possession of the fourth quarter and swished a long-ball the next time down.

San Marcos had gone on a 15-0 run, taking a 40-33 lead. DP hung tough and actually had a last-second 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game that was off the mark.

Six of Curiel’s 11 points came on drives in which the 5-3 guard simply ran into a cluster of bigger defenders and came out on the other side with an open lay-up.

“Ever since I was little driving was my main thing. It’s easier for me to do that. I guess my size might have something to do with it,” she said.

Dos Pueblos (6-6) plays in the seventh place game at the Thunderhut at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, while the Royals (9-4) play in the fifth-place game at 2:15.


SAN MARCOS — Curiel 11, Hyslop 3, Porter-Ray 4, Sanchez 13, Unzueta 14. Totals 17 7-13 45.

DOS PUEBLOS — Hilton 2, DiMarco 11, Mata 8, Gowdy 9, Draper 13. Totals 16 8-12 43.

San Marcos…5  10  18  12 — 45

Dos Pueblos…9  10  18  12 — 43

3-point goals — SM 4 (Sanchez 2, Curiel, Hyslop). DP 3 (DiMarco, Mata, Gowdy). Total fouls — SM 14, DP 12. Fouled out — Hilton.