Trabuco Hills finds way past No. 10 Mission Viejo with help from Hotmer, Cabrera

MISSION VIEJO – No. 11 Trabuco Hills went on a 15-0 scoring run in the second half to beat No. 10 Mission Viejo 55-45 Friday in a South Coast League game at Mission Viejo High.

The two teams traded the lead six times in the third quarter when the Mustangs slowed the pace and went on the run. Daniel Prendergast and Kelvin Cabrera combined to score 13 of those 15 points and made three 3-pointers.

“For some reason, for a team that starts five seniors, we were rushing in the half court,” Trabuco Hills coach Sean Sullens said. “We sped ourselves up. Big game, on the road with a big crowd and we allowed ourselves to not see the floor. On that run, it helps making threes, but it helps shooting threes that are wide open and that was the key.”

Trabuco Hills (16-4, 2-0) was trailing by one point when the run began and was up 51-37 when Mission Viejo called a timeout early in the fourth quarter.

Center Trevor Hotmer, who is 6-foot-7, was a dominant presence inside for the Mustangs. Hotmer scored a game-high 18 points and had seven rebounds.

“He’s the best big man in the league and at the end of the day we have to get him the ball,” Sullens said. “They (Mission Viejo) did a good job in the second quarter giving him different looks on double teams and he turned it over a couple times. Once he slowed down in the third quarter, it was kick outs for threes.”

Trabuco Hills avenged an overtime loss to Mission Viejo in the championship game of the Eagle Classic tournament in December. Since that loss, the Mustangs have won eight of nine games.

Cabrera scored 16 points for the Mustangs, 11 of which came in the second half. Prendergast had 13 points and made three 3-pointers.

Mission Viejo (17-4, 1-2) had a 13-game winning streak snapped by Capistrano Valley on Wednesday and was unable to bounce back Friday. Zack Gald and Griff Higgins each scored 12 points and had seven rebounds for the Diablos. Rey Cabiling also scored 12 points for Mission Viejo.

The South Coast League is one of the most competitive leagues in Orange County this season. Trabuco Hills is the only unbeaten team after the first week of league play.

“This is one of the biggest games in the league right now, so this is a great win, Hotmer said. “It’s super-competitive. I think it’s one of the top leagues around here for sure.”

The atmosphere Friday was indicative of how competitive it is in the South Coast League. The Mission Viejo gym was near capacity and both student sections were loud throughout the game.

“Three of our first four league games are on the road, so any road win we can get is huge,” Sullens said. “This is a rivalry, the schools are only 6 miles apart, so it’s always going to be fun when these two teams play. We executed late in the game and were able to separate and do what we needed to do.”

Trabuco Hills plays its first home league game Monday, Jan. 14 against San Clemente, which handed Capo Valley its first league loss Friday. Mission Viejo hopes to bounce back Monday against Aliso Niguel, which snapped its four-game losing streak Friday by beating San Juan Hills in a nonleague game.

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