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Boys Basketball: Monte Vista Holds Off San Leandro in MLK Classic

Mike Harris did it all for the Mustangs.

Monte Vista 64, San Leandro 53

The Star: Monte Vista's Mike Harris scored 23 points, while leading the Mustangs to the victory.

The Turning Point: With three minutes, 20 seconds left in the game, Monte Vista's Nate Gonzales hit a three-pointer, then Dan Gallagher hit a turn-around jumper to turn a 49-44 lead into a 10-point advantage as the Mustangs pulled away

The Quote: "We knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play here on a Division-I court," said Monte Vista coach Bill Powers of the game at Haas Pavilion. "The guys were in awe during shootaround."

What's next? Monte Vista gets back to the East Bay Athletic League slate with a quick turnaround, when it hosts California on Tuesday.

Bottom Line: When the Mustangs needed a big basket, it was Harris who carried the load. His inside presence made was hard for San Leandro.

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For some, the bright lights and the big stage of a Division-I arena can be tough to adjust to. For  Mike Harris, it was the perfect setting for a breakout game.

The broad-shouldered senior carried the Mustangs, tallying 23 points in a 64-53 victory over San Leandro at Haas Pavillion in the 14th Annual Martin Luther King Holiday Classic on Monday.

"He is our leader," Monte Vista coach Bill Powers said. "We talk a lot about putting the team on his shoulders. Whether its rebounding, playing inside or whatever. He led us today."

Monte Vista (7-9) raced out to an early 20-4 lead in the first quarter, behind Harris, Dane Turner and Dan Gallagher. San Leandro would close the gap in the second quarter and the Mustangs would lead 31-23 at the half.

Nate Gonzales had 16 points for the Mustangs.

The third quarter saw the teams go back and forth, as San Leandro's Hamed Ali did everything he could do get the Pirates within striking distance. Ali led all scorers with 31 points, including three treys.

"We knew that everything went through (Ali)," Powers said. "He was key number one for us. I thought we did a good job of making it diffficult for him."

San Leandro (8-7) went on a 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter, compliments of a three-pointer and an and-one from Ali to cut the Mustangs' lead to 47-43 with five minutes, 30 seconds left in the game.

Moments later, the Mustangs would put run away with the contest.

A Gonzales three-pointer and a turn-around jumper from Gallagher turned a four-point lead into a ten-point cushion with three minutes left. The Pirates wouldn't get any closer.

"We weren't playing with any heart," Ali said. "They are coached well. They hit to hit first. We let them hit us."

Monte Vista, playing in the early-morning game, didn't show any signs of tiredness and relished the opportunity to play in the MLK Classic.

"We knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play here on a Division I court," Powers said of Haas Pavillion. "The guys were in awe during shootaround. There is so much history and success in this building, and to be apart of it. We took nothing for granted."

The Mustangs will now get back into East Bay Athletic League play, when they host second-place California on Tuesday.

"Cal is similar to San Leandro in many ways," Powers said. "They dribble-drive and shoot well from the outside. We don't have much rest before then but we'll be okay. The guys would much rather prefer to play an early morning game today than be in our own gym practicing anyways. But the early game today gives us a chance to rest for the rest of the day, and prepare for tomorrow night." 

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Monte Vista 64, San Leandro 53 1 2 3 4 F

22 9 16 17 64 SL 9 14 14 16 53 Individuals — (fg ftm-fta tp) MV Linck 2 1-2 6, Gallagher 3 2-2 8, Lockie 1 0-0 2, Gonzales 4 6-8 16, Daulton 0 1-2 1, Harris 9 5-7 23, Turner 4 0-0 8. Totals 23 15-21 64.  SL Johnson 1 2-3 4, H. Ali 11 6-9 31, I. Ali 2 0-0 4, Woods 1 0-0 2, McFadden 1 0-0 2, Thompson 0 2-2 2, Gaines 4 0-2 8. Totals 20 10-16 53. 3-point goals: Monte Vista 3 (Gonzales 2, Linck). San Leandro 3 (H. Ali 3). Fouled out: Zamora Records: Monte Vista 7-9, San Leandro 8-7 Highlights:  East Bay Athletic League, Hayward Area Athletic League, January 17, 2011 Follow Patch Sports East Bay on Twitter

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