COD (11-12; 2-3) collected one of the biggest wins in program history by knocking off the #2 team in the state, the Mt. San Jacinto Eagles (18-4; 3-2), 104-86.
The all-around game by the Roadrunners was brilliant, the game that all facets snapped into focus and the team played well, from opening tip to final buzzer. A complete effort that forecasts some great things to come under head coach Trent Skinner.
Skinner, who spent many years as the assistant under Mt. San Jacinto head coach Patrick Springer, faced off with his mentor for the first time as opponents and Skinner fared well against his old boss.
Desert shot almost 57% (37-65) from the field and shot 88% (22-25) from the free throw line, which were both season highs. In a bizarre twist, the team lost "The Battle of the Boards" by a fairly large margin, 51-32, but tightened things up considerably on turnovers, winning that battle, 14-10 and snagging a staggering 27 points off of those turnovers.
The best number from the game were the numbers from beyond the arc, in the past couple home losses, against MiraCosta and San Bernardino Valley, their shooting percentages from three-point range were 21.2% (7-33) and 15.6% (5-32) respectively. In tonight's game, the Roadrunners limited their three-point shooting to only 22 attempts, going 8 of 22 (36.4%) from three-point range, choosing instead to take higher percentage midrange jumpers and layups, using their bigs in the low post to set up their guards to nail big shots.
Sophomore starting guard Riley Welch (Littleton (CO) Chatfield) had a great night from the free throw line, shooting 10 of 11, dishing out a team leading nine assists, which tied a season high and a collecting a career high 29 points on the night. "We just played really well as a team, you know guys made shots, I was fortunate enough to make a couple layups tonight, which I hadn't been doing this year, so I was excited about that," commented Welch, "but it was really just fun to play well as a team, play with each other and get a big win that we needed after losing three straight games."
Freshman starting guard Sam Skipper (Perris H.S.) collected his eighth 20+ point night of the season, and only his second 20+ point night where the Roadrunners claimed victory. His efforts were rewarded with a 21 point performance, shooting 9 of 17 from the field and an impressive 3 of 9 from three-point range. "I feel great, you know, the team was really confident," said Skipper, "I feel like we came out with a game plan and we followed the game plan, and given that we did that, we just came out and punched them in the mouth, basically."
Welch would add later on the win, "Feels pretty good, because we've lost to some teams, I think we definitely could have beaten, so to beat a team that's good, I think, you know, it shows us that we can do better throughout the rest of the season."
Skipper agreed, stating, "It feels great, only because a lot of people sleep on us and you know like, I feel like, when they come out and sleep on us, like that's when they lack and when they lack that's when we punch them, so we did great you know. (It was a complete) team effort, that's all that matters."
Sophomore starting guard Gunnar Mogolis (Palm Desert H.S.) nailed his ninth double digit performance of the season, as he collected 11 points on 5 of 13 shooting. The Roadrunners are 8-1 when Mogolis goes for double figures.
Freshman forward Kristopher Howard (Palm Springs H.S) had his second best scoring night of the season, as he grabbed 11 points off of the bench, shooting 4 for 5 from the field and sophomore guard Marquete Eddie (Washington, D.C. Friendship Collegiate Academy) added a strong 11 points off of the bench, on 3 of 7 shooting from the field and going an impressive 4 of 5 from the charity stripe in the win.
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Information & Story provided by COD Sports Information. Photo by Michael Leone Photography (firstname.lastname@example.org).