If Tuesday’s game between Montebello and Schurr high schools is any indication, the race for the Almont League boys basketball title will be tight.
Schurr emerged with a rugged 51-41 victory to win the opener in a battle of teams that were each looking to move forward after going through struggles in nonleague play.
“We’re now 8-8 on the season and I’m very confident that our team can compete with anybody in our league, if we play hard game in and game out,” Schurr Coach Rene Herrera said.
The Spartans played hard especially in the fourth quarter, as they outscored Montebello, 24-13 to win it. The outburst in the final period nearly matched the Spartans’ scoring in the game’s first three quarters.
Schurr did most of its damage at the free throw line, making 14 of 18 attempts in the second half, with Jason Ibarra hitting five of six to finish the game with nine points.
“We knocked down free throws when we needed to and that’s what won the game for us,” Herrera said.
Brenden Fujishige scored a team-high 11 points to lead the Spartans, who also got 10 from Michael Ortega and eight from Steve Ramirez.
“We played our style and I thought we did a real good job in terms of executing our plays,” Herrera said. “We play good defense and we’re pleased with the play we got from our bench.”
Schurr takes on San Gabriel (6-7, 0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at home. San Gabriel lost its league opener to Keppel, 57-28.
“San Gabriel is our next test and that’s going to be a hard game just like this one,” Herrera said. “It’s only going to get harder from here on because all the coaches in the Almont League do a good job of scouting.”
Montebello dropped its fourth straight game and fell to 7-12 on the season. The Oilers play Bell Gardens at 7 p.m. Friday at Bell Gardens. The Lancers took an 8-9 record into Tuesday’s league opener at Alhambra.
The Oilers were led Tuesday by Christian Astorga with 10 points and Andy Munoz who had eight. Michael Mendoza chipped in seven.