Coach Bob Walker’s Mesa Grande girls basketball team won its 14th league championship in 16 seasons after a stunning, 44-43 upset of highly ranked Bloomington Christian to officially give the Cardinals a co-championship. Both team complete league play with 11-1 records. MGA was 17-3 overall.
MGA played its CIF-Southern Section first round playoff game Feb. 7 at home against Jacinto Valley Academy. Walker said the game was dedicated to the recovery of former Cardinals' star athlete Carla (Bartlett) Monnier who was randomly shot and remains paralyzed in Florida. Joy Burdick played like the great Bartlett in the season-changing win at Bloomington by scoring the game's first eight points, helping her team to an early 16-point lead. Burdick, a junior, finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds. Junior point guard Maddie Hoffer ran the offense and finished with eight points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
“As usual we had a very balanced attack. We try to share the ball to find the open player,” said Walker. “I am so very proud of the girls who ran the game plan to perfection.” MGA’s other juniors Rachel Langford and Izzy White added 11 and ten points. Walker went on to say his four juniors “ have been awesome.”
Hoffer is also on course to reach Bartlett’s laurels by leading the Cardinals’ offensive in all categories. Hoffer is a three-time All-Victory League first team pick. In addition, Burdick, Langford, White, and possibly Kaylie Wheeler will be named all-league.
Considered one of the top girls basketball programs in the Inland Empire, MGA enters the Division 5AA playoffs with a No. 9 ranking and nine game win streak. The Cardinals have no seniors on the team.
MGA’s boys basketball team completed a 17-6 season record, finishing second in Victory League at 10-2 and own the No. 5 ranking in Division 5AA. Coach Todd Nelson’s roster is stocked with freshmen, yet led by seniors Joe Herling and last season’s league MVP Jacob Langford. Each is capable of earning double, doubles. Logan Neal and super frosh Noah Lucero lead the cardinals in scoring. Nelson says he likes the playoff experience of his team.
“We have boys that this will be their fourth year in the playoffs.” MGA boys tentatively will play city of Industry’s Workman HS at home Thursday at 3 p.m. or Sat. at 7 p.m.