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Buena Park continues to sizzle, knocks off Sunny Hills

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

BUENA PARK – Buena Park’s boys basketball team had a terrific run in nonleague play.

The confident and focused Coyotes welcomed Sunny Hills into its gym Wednesday night for the right to sole possesion of first place in the Freeway League.

Rocky Watkins scored 23 points with five 3-pointers, and the Coyotes rallied past the Lancers, 63-47, in front of a packed house at Buena Park High.

Buena Park coach Aaron Riekenberg told his players their great start had to carry over to league. In beating Sunny Hills, which ended Sonora’s 26-game league winning streak last week, the Coyotes (16-4, 3-0) are in position to accomplish their goal.

“We want to win a league title,” Riekenberg said. “We’ve talked about it all year. We want to be the first ones (from Buena Park) since 1992.”

The trio of Adi Rao, Luke Ross and Sam Barrera combined for 25 points in the first half for the Lancers (9-10, 2-1). Sunny Hills held the lead, 29-21, at halftime.

Watkins, who missed his first seven from the field, came out on fire in the second half. He scored 17 of his 23 points after the break. His 3-pointer with 2:50 left in the third quarter liftedg the Coyotes to a 37-35 edge.

“Rocky knew his shots were going to go down eventually,” Coyotes center Ryan Nelson said. “When it went down, we knew it was coming. He started hitting them, the whole team started feeling good, and we just took it from there.”

Nelson had 11 points and 19 rebounds. Gianni Michael and Joe Galvan each added eight points, and Cameron Dashiell had seven.

With the Coyotes sitting atop the league at 3-0, the streaky Watkins had one thing to say.

“It’s our year,” he said. “That’s all I got to say.”

Buena Park is at Troy on Friday.


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