Eldorado boys clear hurdles, remain in first place

Eldorado’s boys basketball team faced plenty of obstacles Friday night.

Not only were the Sundevils playing for the first time in a week, but they were on the road against a tough league opponent. Then fouls started mounting, as three regulars hit the bench with foul trouble in the first half.

But Eldorado cleared every hurdle, finishing with a 71-64 road win over Valley to remain alone in first place in the Northeast Division.

“It was a big win for the team, just because we’ve played a lot of games and we’re wearing down,” Eldorado coach Mike Uzan said. “We had a gut check, and the kids really stepped up. They stepped up and answered everything I asked them to do.”

Point guard Mike Elliott went to the bench with his second foul with 4:08 to go in the first quarter, and Marcus Moreland joined him two seconds later. Then leading scorer Curtis Malone picked up his third foul with 6:19 left in the first half and sat for an extended period.

But Mitrell Clark helped keep the Sundevils (16-6, 6-0 Northeast) in the game. He hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 26 points.

“Mitrell’s really evolved,” Uzan said. “He’s really playing well. He’s a great kid. He does the things he’s supposed to do in the classroom and on the court.”

Clark was key in Eldorado’s full-court pressure, coming up with five steals as the Sundevils forced 25 Valley turnovers.

The Vikings were the bigger team, with two 6-foot-7-inch players in David Michaels and Deante Jones, so Uzan thought his team had an advantage if it pushed the pace.

“We knew running them, picking up the tempo, that would be OK,” Uzan said. “That’s the style we like to play.”

Valley outrebounded the Sundevils 50-30, but the turnovers and dismal shooting helped keep the Vikings from taking advantage.

Valley (16-7, 4-2) was 22-for-61 (36 percent) from the field. Jones and Michaels each had 13 rebounds, many of them offensive, but combined to shoot 4-for-19 from the field.

Malone had 18 points, including a 10-for-10 effort from the foul line, as the Sundevils made 18 of 22 free throws.

Cordero Harris led the Vikings with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or (702) 380-4587.

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