Village News Reporter
For the first time in the program’s history Bonsall High School’s boys basketball team won five of the Legionnaires’ first seven games of the season.
A 74-47 home victory Tuesday, Dec. 12, against Julian High School gave Bonsall a 5-2 season record. A winning record over the team’s first seven games occurred only once before in program history; the 2020-2021 Legionnaires who won the Sierra League championship had a 4-3 start.
The Legionnaires began their season with a Nov. 14 home loss to Guajome Park Academy, a Nov. 16 home victory against San Diego Academy, and a Nov. 17 loss at Coastal Academy. Bonsall’s season record was evened at 2-2 Nov. 28, with a 48-30 triumph at home against Warner High School.
A Dec. 5 trip to Alpine High School gave Bonsall a 62-42 win over Liberty Charter School. Bonsall’s scoring included 22 points from freshman Kaimana Levy, 12 points by senior Nathan Winebrenner and 10 points from junior Phoenix Young.
Cornerstone Christian High School made the trip from Wildomar to Bonsall for a Dec. 11 match. Bonsall’s 76-56 triumph included leads of 15-11 after the first period, 42-25 at halftime and 65-38 when the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. Levy had 35 points against Cornerstone Christian while also leading the team with nine steals and with eight rebounds.
“He was hitting jumpers, he was hitting floaters,” Bonsall coach Bernard Cantrell said. “Everything he put up was going in.”
Winebrenner had 29 points, six rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. Young provided eight points and seven rebounds. Five steals apiece were obtained by junior Ryan Skaine and sophomore Raul Martinez Jr.
“Our leaders took over that game early and just kept the pressure on,” Cantrell said.
Julian has restored basketball after a three-season lapse. The 2019‑2020 season included two Julian-Bonsall games; the Legionnaires prevailed by a 56-41 margin Nov. 21, in Julian and won a 56-54 overtime game Dec. 9, in Bonsall. This year’s Julian team has 11 players, and despite the Eagles’ inexperience Julian took a 4-4 record into the Dec. 12 game at Bonsall.
The Legionnaires scored the game’s first 12 points, although the score was 22-12 in Bonsall’s favor at the end of the first quarter. Bonsall outscored Julian by a 26-3 margin in the second period.
“Our defense is so far ahead of our offense,” Cantrell said. “I think we got frustrated offensively early and so we took it out on the defensive end.”
Bonsall had 21 steals during the game.
“We put so much pressure on the ball consistently all night long,” Cantrell said.
“We need to improve our ball handling and decision making when it comes to passing. I think that’s probably what hurt us the most,” Julian coach Garrett Huffman said.
Levy had seven of those steals, Winebrenner obtained four steals, Martinez and freshman Rowan Collup each stole the ball three times, Young accounted for two steals and Skaine and junior Devin Duke recorded a steal apiece. Winebrenner had one blocked shot as did senior Brayden Duke.
In the second half Julian scored 15 consecutive points, including the final 13 points of the third period, and Julian had a 17-10 scoring advantage in the third quarter.
“They showed a lot of heart and grit,” Huffman said. “We started to make a little bit of a comeback against their bench.”
Cantrell took out Bonsall’s starters early in the third quarter.
“I got everybody playing time,” he said.
That not only gave Bonsall’s substitutes playing experience but provided that experience against another team’s starters.
“The pace was good for them,” Cantrell said.
Julian was also outscoring Bonsall in the fourth quarter before the Legionnaires made the final basket of the game for a 16-15 scoring advantage in the final period.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Huffman said.
Julian senior Kenny Morytko was the game’s top rebounder with 13 of the Eagles’ 33 grabs, and Morytko also had five of Julian’s ten blocks. Bonsall’s 35 rebounds included 10 by Winebrenner, seven from Levy and five taken by sophomore James Miramontes.
Nine different Legionnaires scored against Julian; Levy had 24 points, Winebrenner contributed 14 points, Martinez sunk eight points worth of shots, Young and Brayden Duke each provided six points, Miramontes and sophomore Anthony Sierra had five points apiece, junior Sebastian Garcia accounted for four points and Collup scored two points.