The Guards’ starters returned in full strength in the second quarter, and that spelled trouble for the Indians.
Bell-Jeff helped force 51 turnovers and was able to breeze to a 60-19 win at home in a first-round game of the CIF Southern Section Division IVAA playoffs.
“I don’t think that [Maricopa] knew that wasn’t our regular rotation in the first quarter,” Camacho said. “But we wanted to do something special to honor our seniors, especially the ones who have been with our program for a few years. That’s why they got to start.”
With the win, the Guards (22-5) advanced to today’s second-round game. Bell-Jeff will be at home in a 7:30 p.m. contest against Saddleback Valley Christian.
Saddleback (16-5), the No. 2 team from the San Joaquin League, defeated Moreno Valley Calvary Chapel, 46-29, in its opening-round game Thursday.
“We know things are going to get more difficult, and we will be facing tougher competition as the playoffs go on,” said Camacho, whose squad advanced to the quarterfinals last season. “We have to be ready every game and we have to be focused.”
The Guards have been a focused group all season. Along with playing against some tough nonleague competition, they have also taken part in big tournaments. That experience helped Bell-Jeff claim a share of the Santa Cruz League championship, its first title in 11 years.
Against Maricopa — the third-place team from the Coast Valley League — Bell-Jeff’s focus was on defense, and it totally frustrated the Indians.
“We place a big emphasis on defense,” Camacho said. “We want to help create our offense through our defense. We work a great deal on our defense.”
With the Bell-Jeff senior-night crew on the floor, the team held an 11-10 lead after the first quarter.
In the second, however, the Guards stepped up their defense attack. The Indians committed 20 turnovers in the quarter and were held scoreless as a result of Bell-Jeff’s full-court pressure.
Maricopa (9-11) missed all seven of its shots in the second quarter. The team also had 31 turnovers in the first half.
The Guards had no such problem on offense, outscoring their opponent, 22-0.
With the game well in hand in the second half, Camacho went to his bench. Seventeen Guards saw playing time and 14 players scored points.
Even when Bell-Jeff called off its press in the fourth quarter, the Indians were only able to score three points.
With the scoring spread around, no Bell-Jeff player tallied double figures. Joelle Hajj and Angela Devera had nine points each and Julia Tani added seven.