After having just defeated Argonaut 61-45, the Bears simply shook hands with the opposing Mustangs and walked humbly to their locker room.
But as several Bears explained, that’s because they have more to accomplish in an already stellar season that has seen Summerville go 12-0 against MLL competition.
“It feels good but you still want other things,” said Bear co-captain Rosendo Amaya-Wood of earning a share of the MLL crown. “Our next step is undefeated in league, after that it’s win the section, then win games in state playoffs. We’re always looking forward.”
Summerville wasted no time rolling over Argonaut on their quest to best the achievements of a 2010-11 team that won the MLL title, advanced to the Final Four in the Section playoffs and won its first-ever state playoff game.
The Bears rained points on the Mustangs in the first quarter, jumping out to a 21-9 lead by the end of the period.
In the game’s first minute, Summerville’s Jesse Roberson drained a 3-pointer off a pass from Joey Brocchini, with Brocchini getting one of his own roughly 1:30 later.
“Joey Brocchini shot the ball pretty well on the outside,” said Summerville forward Connor Morningstar. “He gave us big guys a lot of open looks on the inside because he’s such a big threat from the outside for three points.”
After the fast start, the Bears scoring slowed down, only edging Argonaut by two points in the second quarter.
“The start of our games are always the highlights, we always come out pretty pumped,” said Morningstar. “But Argonaut’s a scrappy team, they’ve got two big, tall guys who are tough.”
Morningstar pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds while contributing nine points, three assists and two steals as well.
“I thought Connor was really aggressive on those rebounds tonight,” said Bear co-captain Jesse Roberson. “We would get a rebound and they would come strong after us, they weren’t giving up after we got it. And Connor did a good job of keeping possession of the ball, pivoting and giving it to our outlets so they could get it up the court.”
Roberson also had a big night for Summerville. The 6-6 center scored nine points in addition to grabbing eight boards and getting two assists.
During the third quarter, Roberson channeled his inner quarterback — the position he played on the school’s football team — when he sent a long pass flying from underneath Argonaut’s basket up the court to Colton Ebbers for an uncontested layup.
The Bears added another 21 points to their total during the game’s third period for a commanding 20-point lead going into the fourth, which at that point, Summerville head coach Ben Watson cleared the bench with roughly 2:30 left.
“They were ready to play,” Amaya-Wood said of the second-string. “Kenny (Phillips) had a nice turnaround J that was pretty sweet, and everybody else did great. We were just playing really smooth.”
Bear guard Logen Foster led Summerville with 14 points while Argonaut’s Kenny Litchfield scored 19 for the game-high. Summerville out-rebounded Argonaut 32-21 on the night.
“Everybody contributed and I think everybody had a little bit of a letdown and made a couple mistakes, so it wasn’t any one guy stepping up,” said Watson. “I liked the way we shared the ball, we’re an unselfish team. I also thought we rebounded well on the defensive end in the first quarter but in the second they got some boards on free throws and stuff like that.
“We had some execution things we didn’t do well, but a lot that’s coaching and we need to work on that stuff more. I also thought we could do better defending off the dribble and there were a couple fouls that were kinda late, so there’s some things to clean up for sure.”
Watson said he’s confident in the way his Bears are playing and thinks this squad has what it takes to out-do their successful 2010-11 MLL champ predecessors.
“That team was super-talented, but I think we’re a little deeper and a bit taller,” said Watson.
He and his Bears will look to prepare for the final three contests of the regular season in which any win can clinch them sole ownership of this year’s league title. They first host the Calaveras Redskins in Tuolumne on Tuesday before traveling to Linden where they take on the Lions on Friday. Their final MLL matchup is Feb. 12 against Amador in Sutter Creek.
“It’s a long road,” said Watson of the quest for a perfect MLL season. “We want to play well and be peaking at the right time so that we go into playoffs with some momentum. That’s our goal. The kids have got a lot of work ahead of them and they know it, they’re very coachable.”
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties