Justin Stock
Dos Pueblos junior Justin Stock drives against Mater Dei Friday. Stock scored 11 points against the Monarchs. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

It was always going to be a tall task for the Dos Pueblos High boys basketball team facing off against Division 1 powerhouse Mater Dei, but even in a 104-66 loss at Sovine Gym, the Chargers saw some good things to build off.

The loss was Dos Pueblos’ first of the season.

Chargers coach Joe Zamora said he enjoys playing Mater Dei early because his team is able to see a team with a bevy of talent and get some good reps against fierce competition.

“It’s really fun to do this,” Zamora said. “Coach McKnight and I have been doing this for 19 years. He’s really good to us. I don’t care about having a running clock, or anything. I’m not worried about the score. At the end of the day, he wants to get his guys reps and I want to get my guys reps.”

Zamora said they usually schedule Mater Dei early in the season for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to give his team the opportunity to face height his team won’t see as much in the remainder of the schedule.

He added that the ability to cover big defenders came in clutch during last years’ CIF run, when Dos Pueblos faced Faith Baptist and a 6-foot-10 center.

“The size is really why we do it,” Zamora said. “We want to say when we get to playoffs and we see a team that has not 10 guys with that height, but one guy like that, because we have been there and we’ve seen that, we know how to defend it.”

The height certainly made a big difference, causing Dos Pueblos to turn the ball over 15 times Friday night while the Monarchs were able to get a lot of buckets in the paint.

The Monarchs led 26-12 by the end of the first quarter. Leading the Chargers then was Justin Stock, who scored 8 of his 11 points in the first frame.

Coulter Jay

Dos Pueblos’ Coulter Jay, a 6-foot-5 freshman, takes a shot against Mater Dei Friday. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

But in the second, Mater Dei used its height to completely dominate, taking a 60-18 lead into the break.

Still, the Chargers’ best offense of the night came in transition, especially in the second half.

In the final 16 minutes, Dos Pueblos scored 26 of its 44 points, which included five three-pointers.

Four of those deep hits came after DP was able to move quickly in transition and find the open hand.

“I was happy with the couple adjustments we made, and them understanding the speed and the length of that team,” Zamora said. “We saw the difference when we would sprint down the court in transition and get wide open shots.

“There’s nothing you can do with size like that down low, but we know that if we see teams that have that size, if we can run on them, it could make a difference.”

Junior guard Matthew Zamora had a great run in the third, scoring eight points in that frame alone, knocking down 2 of his 3 looks from deep.

Zamora said he was also happy his team did not “back down from the challenge” throughout the entirety of the contest.

“We weren’t intimidated. I know there was a lot of butterflies starting a freshman, a sophomore, but they overcame that,” Zamora said.

Zamora led the Chargers in scoring with 12 while Stock contributed his 11. Dos Pueblos was also down senior forward Grant Hughes, who had a huge playoff run last year and hopes to contribute more this season.

Zamora said he was also excited to see freshman Coulter Jay look good in his first action in a varsity uniform.

“He played at times like a freshman, which I expected, but he’s really cognitive, he understands the game and he asked a lot of questions. He’s not intimidated by the moment and going forward, I expect that he’s going to do some good things,” Zamora said.

Mater Dei was led in scoring by senior forward Zack Davidson who poured in 22 points, followed by freshman forward Che Brogan who dropped in 13 points.

Brannon Martinsen (12), Blake Davidson (12) and Scotty Belnap (10) also finished the night scoring in double figures for the Monarchs.

Dos Pueblos will take on St. John Bosco on Dec. 3.