Monache Marauders maintain bold start to season

Monache has won eight of nine games over the last month

By Jermaine Johnson II 

VISALIA – Both Monache and Golden West have gotten out to an 8-3 start to their seasons. But it was the Marauders who got the win when the two teams met during last week’s Andrew Bedoya Holiday Classic tournament at CVC. 

Most of the game was played rather evenly, especially in the first half, but Monache continued to knock down shot after shot which gave them the edge. The Blazers consistently lost possessions due to sloppy turnovers and they left points on the court by missing free throws. As a result, the Marauders were up 22-19 heading into halftime. 

The ball ended up in the basket more frequently for Golden West during the final period, but they still struggled to overcome a nine-point deficit. Monache continued their stellar shooting throughout the game, which helped them close out the Blazers as they won 52-44. Senior Jalen Ballejos filled the stat sheet as he led the Marauders in scoring with 16 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, plus a steal, block, and turnover. According to head coach Herb Abiog, his team’s execution in the fourth quarter was the difference in the game. 

“We’re starting to move the ball more and look for open guys,” he said. “That’s what I have been trying to instill in them to make basketball easier: find the open guy and trust that they’re going to make the shot.” 

In his second season as head coach, Abiog was adamant about the fact that his team is still making too many mistakes. There is still some growing up to do, but his players are buying in more than last year and they are still learning new plays.

This loss for the Trailblazers was their third in a row, after starting the season 5-0. They responded well to the skid by winning another three games in a row, which improved their record to 8-3.  This is their best start in three years and they have already matched their win total from last season. 

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