Vista Murrieta's Derek Clos (2) drives against Fontana Summit's Devean James in a CIF Southern Section Division 3AA first round playoff game at Summit High School. Valley News/Jerry Soifer photo

By Derryl Trujillo —

FONTANA – Before Friday evening’s CIF-SS boys basketball division 3AA 1st round playoff game Vista Murrieta coach Daniel Carlin was telling me one of the teams he wanted another shot at was No. 3 Linfield Christian. After eight minutes that shot was looking doubtful as the Broncos trailed Summit 15-11. Then Vista Murrieta (20-7) hit their stride offensively and outscored the Skyhawks 35-12 in the middle sixteen minutes to turn a three-point game at half into a rout. They prevailed 60-38 and will host Linfield Christian on Tuesday night.

Back-to-back Skyhawk three pointers by David Burnham and Mahmood Awad gave Summit a 15-9 lead with a minute left before Gary Dotson answered with a floater to make it a four-point Summit lead (15-11) after a quarter.

Dotson remarked about the win “We came out and trusted the offense in that second half. That combined with a better defensive effort allowed us to stretch things out. Last time Linfield Christian got us we weren’t ready. We’ll be ready this time around and we’re excited for the opportunity to play at home.”

The Skyhawk lead reached 19-13 with just under six minutes until half on Burnham’s floater which forced a Bronco timeout. From there to the intermission Vista Murrieta went on a 12-3 run to grab a 25-22 halftime lead. That run was punctuated by Derek Clos’ corner 3 pointer with just under 40 seconds to intermission.

Vista Murrieta’s, Kamryn Harding (10), is fouled by Summit’s Aaron Williams on a drive to the basket in the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. Valley News/Jerry Soifer photo

Skyhawks coach John Romagnoli said “We hang our hats on defense so I was extremely pleased to hold them to a low twenty halftime score but when you defend so long without scoring it hurts…it’s like a defense that can’t get off the field on third down in football. My heart breaks for these seniors that we don’t get more time together, but they’ll always have a home here.”

After Awad connected on a mid-range jumper to make it 27-24 Broncos with just over six and a half minutes to go in the third Vista Murrieta went on a 19-3 run to put things out of reach. Dotson accounted for eight straight points converting a transition layup but not finishing the three-point opportunity, going three for three on a free throw trip, and banking in a three pointer as time expired. The Broncos led 46-27 after three quarters and were never seriously threatened again.

Carlin added “We did a much better job on the defensive glass which allowed us to get our running game going and open things up offensively both inside and out. This time around we actually get to prepare for Linfield Christian properly. It is a local game where everyone knows each other so everyone is excited for the opportunity to prove ourselves. Vista Murrieta is a proud school that has had some basketball success (although not a lot recently) and we want to have that again. These guys have done a great job in beginning that process.”

Vista Murrieta’s Brandin Jackson (1) goes to the hoop against Summit Friday, February 11. Valley News/Jerry Soifer photo

Vista Murrieta Scoring:

Dotson 16, Clos 10, Jackson 10, Je. Barrow 7, Harding 6, Gunn 6, Ja. Barrow 5

Three Pointers: Je. Barrow (1), Clos (2), Dotson (2)

Summit Scoring:

Lundy 1, Burnham 5, Williams 2, Dawes 3, Awad 8, James 4, Parker 10, Roberts 3, Brady 2

Three Pointers: Burnham (1) and Awad (2)

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at