By Frank Smith
The San Manuel Miners varsity basketball team has hit the hardwood running in the New Year with five games since the turn of the calendar, picking up wins against Greenfields, Immaculate Heart and Miami while taking tough losses to Ray and Hayden.
The Miners started off the year with a trip to Northwest Tucson to face off against the Griffins from Greenfields with many happy returns as the Miners came away with a 47 – 34 win.
San Manuel held an 8 – 4 lead after the first quarter then took a 13 – 2 second quarter to take a 21 – 6 lead at the half. In the second half, the Griffins fell 12 -13 in the third quarter and outscored the Miners 16 – 13 in the fourth quarter but gain what was lost in the first half with the Miners taking the win 47 – 34.
Leading the Miners was Andy Monfred with 18 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one block. Andre Sierra chipped in with 15 points, five assists, two steals, and two blocks. Andres Moreno scored five points, two rebounds and had two assists. Martin Esquivel scored four points with one steal. Sergio Hernandez scored two points with three rebounds and three assists. Wolf Tubach scored two points with three rebounds and three steals. Demetrious Dietz rounded out the scoring with one point and six rebounds.
Head coach Ryan Sichting said, “We played a great first half defensively only giving up six points. As a team we struggled scoring early on in the game, but we improved offensively as the game went along. We tried reaching to much in the second half and gave up too many points. I really liked the effort our guys gave during the game.”
San Manuel hosted Immaculate Heart on Jan. 9 and picked up a 20-point win over the Knights, 44 – 24.
The Miners fell behind at the end of the first quarter 5 – 9 but picked up the pace in the second quarter outrunning the Knights 17 – 5 to grab a 22 – 14 lead at the half. In the second half, the Miners finished the third quarter ahead with a 9 – 4 effort and then San Manuel turned it up in the fourth quarter 13 – 6 to take the 44 – 24 win.
Andre Sierra led the Miners with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and two blocks. Andy Monfred led the way also with 14 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks. Andres Moreno scored eight points with two rebounds and one steal. Alvaro Alvarez scored two points, had one rebound, four assists and two blocks. Demetrious Dietz had two points, grabbed nine rebounds, one steal and one block. Rounding it out for the Miners, Roberto Lee scored two points with one rebound.
Sichting said, “We played exceptionally well against Immaculate Heart. We shot well from the field, shooting 43 percent from two point field goals and 33 percent from three point field goals. Andre had 16, Andy 14, and Andres with eight. That’s the scoring we need out of those three players. Then we played very good defensively only giving up 24 points in the game. Junior Alvarez played very good defense. We have been putting him on the other teams best player and he has been doing a very good job. Demetrious Dietz did a good job of rebounding, pulling down nine boards.”
On Jan. 11, the Miners hosted the Vandals from Miami, sinking the Vandals with a 39 – 31 loss. The Miners took a 12 – 5 lead at the end of the first quarter and then a 8 – 7 advantage in the second quarter to take a 20 – 12 lead at halftime. San Manuel again had the lead at the end of the third quarter outscoring the Vandals 8 – 6 and in the fourth quarter, Miami made a run at the Miners but could not overcome the first three quarters – falling short to the Miners in the quarter 13 – 11 to take the 39 – 31 loss.
Leading the way for the Miners was Andre Sierra who scored a team high 25 points with five rebounds and three steals. Andres Moreno scored seven points with three rebounds, one assist and one steal. Andy Monfred scored three points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. Martin Esquivel scored three points with three rebounds and one assist. Alvaro Alvarez scored one point with three rebounds. Anthony Garcia scored one point and collected one rebound.
Sichting said, “This was probably the worst we played this season. It was our third game of the week, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We struggled at both ends of the court. We had trouble rebounding and boxing out. As a team we struggled in shooting from the floor. We somehow pulled off a win, but we will have to play better next week against much better teams (Ray, Hayden, and Pusch Ridge).”
The Miners hosted the visiting Bearcats from Ray on Jan. 15. San Manuel looked to slow down the run-and-gun style of offense the Bearcats have thrived off this season but the Miners had no answers for the coast-to-coast scoring display as Ray outran the Miners in a 56 – 22 loss.
San Manuel stayed within range in the first quarter as the Miners kept pace in the first quarter with the Bearcats finishing the quarter with the lead 12 – 8. In the second quarter the Ray defense held the Miners to three points as the Bearcats scored 13 in the quarter to bump their lead to 25 – 11 at the half.
In the third and fourth quarters, Ray out ran the Miners as San Manuel scored 11 points in the second half compared to the Bearcats 31 points to take the victory 56 – 22 when the final buzzer rang.
Leading the Miners was Andy Monfred with 14 points, five rebounds and one steal. Andres Moreno followed suit with three points and one rebound. Andre Sierra finished with two points and six rebounds. Jordan Peasley chipped in three points and three rebounds.
Sichting said, “Ray is a very talented team that understands the game of basketball. They always have multiple guys on the floor that can shoot the ball. They are a very difficult team to defend. They are also very good at scoring in transition. We did a good job of slowing the game down early in the first quarter, but they pulled away in the second and third quarter.”
San Manuel made a trip into Winkelman on Jan. 17 to take on the Hayden Lobos. The Lobos looked to avenge an earlier loss to the Miners in San Manuel back on Dec. 19 – and avenge it they did, caging the Miners 39 – 22.
The Miners finished the first quarter with an 8 – 7 lead but then the Lobos outscored the Miners 11 – 8 to take an 18 – 16 lead into the locker room at the half. In the third quarter, Hayden added to their lead after taking the quarter 9 – 6, and in the fourth quarter Hayden continued to add to their lead as the Lobos held the Miners to only four points while they went on to score 12 to hold on the win 39 – 26.
Leading the Miners was Andre Sierra with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Andy Monfred scored five points, collected eight rebounds with one steal and one block. Jordan Peasley scored four points with six rebounds. Demetrious Dietz scored two points with four rebounds. Alvaro Alvarez scored one point with one assist.
Sichting said, “We really struggled shooting the ball against Hayden. When you shoot eight percent from two point field goals and 25 percent from three point field goals you are not going to win too many games. That has been our major weakness this year. I thought we played good defensively. We just didn’t make shots and execute at the offensively.”
The Miners hit the road on Tuesday to Miami and will return home to host the Lions from Pusch Ridge on Jan. 29 with the JV playing at 5 p.m. and the varsity taking the floor at 8 p.m.