Boys' CCS basketball: Aptos runs into buzz saw in Monterey

Aptos senior center Anthony Sanchez (3) works on Monterey senior forward Evans Charles (24) during Saturday night's CCS D-III Championship at Palo Alto High. — Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian

PALO ALTO — Aptos was hoping it would withstand Monterey’s initial push.

It didn’t.

The Mariners were also hoping the Toreadores would take their foot off the pedal a bit after.

That wasn’t the case either.

There was no mercy on Monterey’s mind.

Only championship trophies.

“We came ready to play today,” said Monterey coach Greg Daniels.

Clearly.

Top-seeded Monterey cruised to its second Central Coast Section Division III crown in three years with a 59-31 rout of No. 2 Aptos on Saturday at Palo Alto High.

Aptos (18-11) scored the first points on a layup from senior center Anthony Sanchez, but Monterey (22-4) responded with a 16-1 flurry to break things open.

The Dores led 25-9 after the first quarter, and the Mariners were never able to close the gap.

“The first quarter, they jumped on us,” said Aptos coach Brian Bowyer. “They got hot, and we had a hard time responding.”

Senior guard Mohammed Adam scored a game-high 19 points for Monterey, and splashed home a pair of 3-pointers during the Dores’ first-quarter blitz. Mohanid Adam and Tahjae Ordonio also swished a 3 during the first quarter for Monterey, which last season finished runner-up to Archbishop Riordan a year after beating Saratoga for the program’s first-ever section crown.

“After winning one and losing one, we knew both sides,” Daniels said. “This year, it was all about not being on that other side of the trophy ceremony.”

Sanchez paced Aptos with 12 points, but nobody else scored in double figures for the Mariners, who tied their lowest scoring output of the season in the loss.

“We played the best we could, but we made some mistakes,” Sanchez said.

Aptos turned it over 15 times. Six came in the first quarter. The Mariners gave it away four more times in the second quarter, and went into the half down 34-16.

Saturday was the second time the two teams had met. Monterey won the first meeting in early December by 31 points. It was much of the same once again.

“We didn’t want to give Aptos any confidence,” Daniels said. “I know [Max Pepperdine] is a really good player, and I didn’t want him to get in any kind of rhythm.”

Pepperdine, the Mariners’ senior point guard, finished with five points, four rebounds and four assists in just his fourth game back from a foot injury.

Aptos, which was playing in its first CCS final since the 2014-15 season, had reeled off three straight victories in Pepperdine’s return, including its upset of Santa Cruz in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League tournament final.

The Mariners had also not allowed a team to score more than 50 points in a game since Jan. 18. 

They’ll try to bounce back in the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal playoffs, which begin on Tuesday at host sites.

Brackets will be released Sunday.

“It’s all icing on the cake right now,” Bowyer said. “We were able to get a share of the league title, and that was unbelievable. We made it here, and that unbelievable, too. We win another game? That’s great. This is all icing on the cake. We’re going to go play as hard as we can, and let things happen as they happen. I’m so excited to be here. Two teams made it this far, and we were one of them. I’m really happy. Really happy.”

More In Sports