Vista Murrieta set the pace from the opening tip off and played their usual tough, aggressive, physical game of basketball all night long. Led by their two key Sophomores Jaelyn Brown and Brittney Reed, the Broncos took control early and never looked back.
Vista Murrieta got off to an early 20-11 lead over the Bulldogs and never let Highland get into their game. The Broncos had a 10 point lead by halftime and led 32-22 at the break. The Bulldogs could not break down the Bronco defense in the second half and Vista Murrieta would outscore Highland 28-21 in the final two frames. The 60-43 victory propels the Southwestern League Champions into round two of the CIF SS Division 1AA Girls Basketball Playoffs.
Jaelyn Brown scored 27 points to lead the Bronco offensive effort. Brittney Reed who went down hard a couple of times and seemed to tweak her back and leg in the 4th quarter had 15 points. On a team with taller teammates, senior captain Yuendi Guridi was the unlikely rebound leader for Vista Murrieta. She grabbed 11 boards, scored eight points and had seven assists.
Senior Tatiana Navarro scored four points and Alexis Marshall, Alex Orozco and Victoria Chea each scored a basket in the contest.
The Bulldog’s senior point guard Ashley Kelsick scored 37 of Highland’s 43 points. Kelsick was the Golden League’s leading scorer and averaged 41 points per game this season.
The Broncos advance to round two of the tournament and will travel to play Los Alamitos High School next Wednesday. The Griffins placed second in the Sunset league this season and are coming off a close 45-41 victory over Crescenta Valley. Game time is 7pm.