hustle

Porterville High's Justin Duran, left, and Monache High's Arnel Sahagon fight for the ball Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 during the first half at Monache High School.

Wednesday’s clash between the Porterville and Monache high school boys basketball teams was for nothing more than bragging rights. But when it comes to this rivalry, bragging rights are all that matters.

Porterville beat Monache 70-60 at Monache High School on Wednesday in the final regular season game for both teams. With the Marauders finishing the season with just one win in East Yosemite League play and a 7-19 overall record, they are not eligible for the playoffs. For Porterville, the Panthers had already qualified for the postseason with an overall record easily over .500.

The last time these two teams met, Porterville outlasted Monache 40-29 on Jan. 29 at PHS.

This was also Panther senior Eli Moreno’s second game back after missing a couple of weeks with an injured hamstring. His return meant Porterville had a player who could create his own shot as well create for others, thus making it easier for the Panthers to score. After scoring just three points in his first game back, he finished with 18 against Monache, a team- and game-high.

Moreno also looked as if he was having fun playing, evidenced by a couple of behind-the-back passes.

The Marauders took control of the first half when they ripped off an 11-0 run on the Panthers. Sophomore J’Len Sims scored five points on a couple of jump shots and backup point guard Dominique Asuncion added four points.

During the run, the Maraduers vaulted to a 28-23 lead.

But Porterville fought back before halftime to trail just 34-33 with the help of aggressive play from junior Treager Wallace and Moreno.

Then in the third quarter, Porterville’s Richard Goodman got hot from beyond the arc and gave the Panthers a 43-37 lead.

Monache’s Marlon Johnson also hit a three in the period to give his team a 37-35 lead.

Porterville went into the fourth quarter with a 46-39 lead, and Moreno kept the Marauders at bay by scoring half of his points in the final frame. And at that point the only real competition was between the student support sections of Porterville and Monache, with Porterville eventually gaining the advantage with chants of “scoreboard.”

Monache head coach Gary Miller gave credit to his team for playing hard throughout the season.

“The kids played hard every game,” he said. “They never gave up. I’m very proud of them. They just need to get bigger and stronger.”

Andrew Mosana scored 12 points for Monache, while Johnson chipped in seven points and Arnel Sahagon contributed six.

The playoff seedings for the Central Section should be determined on Friday. Porterville is the defending Division III Valley champion.

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