June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

San Juan Hills gets much needed victory with solid effort against Woodbridge

Mason Hodges led San Juan Hills with 31 points Saturday vs. Woodbridge. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

San Juan Hills boys basketball team came out hungry Saturday afternoon in the final day of the Portola-Woodbridge Classic.

After losing three straight games to three tough opponents, the Stallions needed a win.

San Juan Hills took command early and captured a 59-46 victory over Woodbridge in a hotly-contested game at Portola which featured tons of fouls. The Stallions led 20-7 after one quarter and built their lead to 30-7 in the second quarter.

Junior center Mason Hodges scored a career high 31 points and teammate Nate Brosch, a senior, had 14 to lead San Juan Hills (5-4).

Woodbridge (5-4) was led by guard JC Schindler, who had 30 points and made three, 3-pointers. Jaiden Sabino and Stephen Lamp added seven points each for Woodbridge.

“It was a step in the right direction for us,” said San Juan Hills Coach Jason Efstathiou. “We had a really strenuous week, we had five games in six days, we played Mater Dei at Mater Dei and that was a really, really tough one, we played Edison over here and credit to them for playing really tough and physical but we just did not look right.

“I think we’ve been in that inconsistent mode and I think some of that started with Mason coming into the week kind of hurt and that kind of affected us. Even Monday at Laguna we pulled one out, but we were in this mode of not really establishing ourselves. Another one of our guys is out hurt with a sprained ankle and a couple of the guys let it get to them mentally so that combined with five games in six days and minimal practices, it just made it this really tough week but with some adversity we faced, a game like today kind of helped us with refocusing.”

San Juan Hills led 33-20 at halftime and 47-36 after three quarters. Woodbridge was able to cut the lead to eight points with about four minutes left in the game but a 3-pointer by Hodges increased the lead to 10 and sealed the victory.

“A lot of the guys came through big, we had some big shots towards the beginning of the game to get that lead,” said Hodges. “We held on to it all the way through and we played really well. We had a couple losses coming into today and it just motivated us to come out and work hard and get the job done, especially on the defensive end.”

Woodbridge Coach Steve Scoggin said he knew his team would be in for a battle.

“San Juan Hills is tough, they’re a good team,” Scoggin said. “They’re well coached, they run their stuff and they shoot the ball really well and they’ve had a tough week and we knew we were going to get their best game and you got to give them credit, they came out and shot the ball extremely well and got us early.”

Scoggin was pleased with Schindler’s effort.

“JC kept us in the game, that’s was a senior all-league guard is supposed to do, his heart is out on the floor, he left it out there and that’s the type of kid he is,” he said.

Schindler said he believes the Warriors will benefit from the experience competing against solid teams.

“It was a tough game for us but I feel like we will learn from it, it’s good to have these type of games early in the season so we can learn from it and take those lessons right into league,” Schindler said. “I think it was a really good week for us, we only came away with one win but I think the lessons we learned from this entire tournament, we can bring it to league and CIF and it will help us in the long run.”

San Juan Hills finished 2-2 in the event and Woodbridge was 1-3. Each team was guaranteed four games. No champion was crowned.

“The start was good, we had a little bit of up and down, you saw us have a good spurt and then we had a really slow spurt and what we’re ultimately trying to do is get more consistent each week because I think we have some nice pieces, it’s just a matter of us believing in ourselves on a consistent basis,” said Efstathiou.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com