By Bill Tamburrino
A short-handed Ramona High basketball team lost its season opener in the Dawg House to El Cajon Valley High School 85-57.
Due to injuries, eligibility issues, and two players yet to report from football, coach David Reichner only had six players available to play against the Braves’ 11 players.
The Braves got off to a fast start and led after one quarter 16-10. Ramona bounced back and outscored El Cajon Valley 13-17 in the second quarter and trailed 29-27 at intermission. The Braves took control of the game after halftime as they rode the hot hand of Andre Nikita to outscore the Bulldogs 32-9 and led 61-36 going into the final eight minutes.
Nikita led all scorers with a phenomenal 50 points. Ramona used zone and man defenses in an effort to stop Nikita but the 5-foot-11-inch senior could not be slowed down. He also led both teams in assists.
Alex Rogers led the Bulldogs with 19 points as he hit one from beyond the three point line and had four assists. Dylan Fieger contributed 17 points with three assists. Scott Stransky also scored in double figures as he scored 10 points. Zach White (5), Riley Hubbard (2) and Davis Windes (4) also scored in the game.
White led Ramona with eight rebounds as the Braves controlled the boards. Only seven of Ramona’s 27 rebounds came at the offensive end of the court. The Dawgs seldom got a second shot on offense.
A major factor in the game was the battle of turnovers. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 21 times and only forced one turnover.
“We played good team ball the first half. We went into the break down by two. However, the second half was a different story. We turned the ball over and allowed too much penetration defensively and could not make shots. With only one substitute it was difficult for the boys of Ramona to get rest,” posted Reichner on the Bulldog website.