Citrus Men's Basketball reminded the home crowd Saturday night how freakishly good they are this season. In its conference opener vs. LA Valley, Citrus displayed steady poise and confidence throughout the game and assembled a solid 83-60 victory to extend it's win streak to 4 and start the conference season on top.
Citrus controlled every aspect of the game from the start, as it built on leads throughout and capitalized on defensive mishaps by the Monarchs, as well as outstanding defensive and rebounding play from the reserves. In fact the Citrus bench has shape shifted itself all season to appear seamless to the starting lineup. Head Coach Brett Lauer and Assistant Casey Norris masterfully construct unique and effective lineups based on game situations and matchups, and even the deep reserves on the Citrus bench put up great numbers night in and night out.
A few key ingredients that led to the Owl win came from reserves Psalm Maduakor, Miles Crawford and Treyvon Watts-Hale. The 3 combined for 29 points on the night, and Maduakor worked his tail off pulling in 10 rebounds (all of which seemed to be major plays) in just 15 minutes, and rejected Monarch shooters a terrorizing 5 times. Watts-Hale went 3-5 from the three point line and made some key hustle plays that gave the Owls second chance opportunities. Crawford, who went off for 14 points, played the point guard position masterfully when floor general Jeremy Smith was getting breathers on the bench.
Citrus was its familiar self from the three point line as a team, as it shot 35% from the arc.
Rounding out the standouts for the night were starting point guard Smith who dropped 19 points, dished 8 assists and snagged 4 steals, and Austin Clarke and Kyle Gray, who both reached double digits in scoring with 10 and 13 respectively.
Citrus continues conference play next Wednesday at Victor Valley. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM.