With help from several young players, the Jurupa Hills basketball men have performed quite well in recent weeks, and they kept up that hot pace when the CIF playoffs began.
The Spartans, who took second place in the San Andreas League, obtained a 79-69 victory over Rubidoux in the Division 4A tournament opener on Feb. 12.
Sophomore guard Dillon Botts, who scored 22 points, said the players work together effectively.
"Everybody is good with each other, and we have good chemistry," he said.
Tyler Darrett, a junior, supplied 20 points and senior Dominic Sanders had 18 as the Spartans displayed a balanced offensive attack.
"We have good teamwork and communication, on the floor and off," said freshman Nate Simon, who put in 13 points.
The Spartans led throughout the game and kept thwarting Rubidoux's comeback attempts, enabling them to claim their sixth straight victory and raise their record to 18-11.
Coach Respp Relatores said he was pleased with the improvement the Spartans have demonstrated after entering the league season one game over .500.
"These guys were young, and so I didn't know how they were going to react, but they had a lot of close games that they learned how to win," he said. "So what they've learned over the last 10 games really came to fruition tonight."
One of the most impressive triumphs came in the regular season finale against Eisenhower on Feb. 6, when the Spartans brought down first-place Eisenhower, 74-64. In that game, Darrett poured in 23 points, Botts had 21, Sanders and Simon both had 8, and Oscar Rodriguez and Guillermo Velasco Jr. had 6 apiece.
The next game for Jurupa Hills in the playoffs will be on Friday, Feb. 14 against Yeshiva University of Los Angeles.
----- IN OTHER PLAYOFF GAMES FOR FONTANA TEAMS ON FEB. 12:
• In the 4AA Division, Summit pounded Elsinore, 71-57. The SkyHawks, who were the co-champions of the Sunkist League, will face Xavier Prep in the second round on Feb. 14.
• In the 3AA Division, Kaiser lost to Glendale, 69-55. The Cats were co-champions of the Sunkist League.
• Also in the 3AA Division, Fontana A.B. Miller suffered a 66-50 setback to Newbury Park. The Rebels were co-champs of the Mountain Valley League.