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Bonita Vista Muscles Up, Uses Its Inside Game to Beat Chula Vista for Title

Bonita Vista High School flexed its muscle with a strong inside game to beat No. 7 Chula Vista, 77-61, in the championship game of the Hilltop Invitational boys basketball tournament at Hilltop High on Saturday.

The Barons (4-1) kept their game plan simple--feed the ball as much as possible to 6-foot-5 senior center Rope Perry.

“Our whole game plan was to work it inside out,” Bonita Vista Coach Jim Conlin said. “We wanted to go to Rope and when we did that, we played within ourselves.”

Perry, who was selected to the all-tournament team, dominated the boards on both ends of the court and finished with 21 points. His performance helped fend off a second-half surge by the Spartans (3-2).

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Bonita Vista’s David Rusk had nine second-half points and finished the game with 13. Mike Barnett, named the tournament most valuable player, scored 10. Barnett and Rusk both hit three-point baskets in the second-half.

“I knew Chula was a good team going in there and I knew we were going to have to play one of our top games to beat them,” Conlin said. “It was a great win for us. I couldn’t be more pleased with my players and their composure throughout the game.”

Bonita Vista ran up an 18-6 lead early before Chula Vista’s Ken McDuffy sank a three-point basket and Andy Duran converted a pair of free throws and a jumper to pull within 20-11.

The Barons then tightened the defense a notch, allowing Chula Vista only six points on free throws for the first six minutes of the second quarter. With 2:28 remaining, Shane Howell hit his first three-pointer as the Spartans went on a 6-2 run to narrow Bonita Vista’s lead at halftime, 32-26. Howell, a 6-5 senior, scored 21 points on the night, making three three-point baskets.

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A fired-up Jerome Green, who was held to four first-half points, led a Chula Vista comeback in the third and gave the Spartans a temporary one-point lead, but steals by Barnett and a layup by Perry gave Bonita the lead for good. Green, a 6-2 sophomore, ended with 14 points and was also named to the all-tournament team.


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