2014-01-24 / Sports
high school boys’ basketball showdown Simi Valley 58, Royal 57
Colliatie beamed with Pioneer pride after making the gamewinning 3-point play to lift the Simi Valley High boys’ basketball team past Royal 58-57 on the road Wednesday night.
“I came back from St. Louis to put this team back on the map,” said Colliatie, who was raised in Simi Valley before moving to Missouri to play for Principia High the past three seasons.
Simi Valley ended a six-game losing streak to Royal while improving to 58-23 all-time against the Highlanders. The Pioneers previously defeated the Highlanders on Feb. 11, 2010.
“Royal has had the advantage recently, but we have the history,” Simi Valley senior guard Kyle Miller said. “We wanted to improve on our series record lead.”
Joe Cool calmly knocked down the game-winning free throw. The Highlanders missed a half-court heave—and mayhem quickly ensued.
The Maroon Mob, Simi Valley’s student section, rushed the Highlanders’ court to congratulate Colliatie and the Pioneers.
“This is the biggest win of my high school career,” senior point guard and captain Shawn Sidhu said. “We finally got one (against Royal). Last year was disappointing, but we’re on the rise now.”
The Pioneers (10-9 overall, 3-4 in the Marmonte) play Westlake at 7:30 tonight at home.
Royal (10-11, 2-5) has played with a chip on its shoulder this season.
“Everyone doubted us,” Highlanders senior guard Aaron Haney said. “We lost some great seniors. They did a lot for the program.
“We’re not the most talented team, but we play with heart. I’m devastated about the loss, but we’ll bounce back and make a push for the playoffs.”
The undersized Highlanders gave the Pioneers fits with their athleticism and aggressive moves to the basket.
“Aaron did a great job on Colliatie,” Royal point guard Sebastian Gahito said. “Joe can play. Aaron took him out the game at times and we were able to build a lead.”
Nick Brandon’s crisp passes and Austin Arnoldini’s clutch 3-pointers helped the Highlanders build an eight-point lead with five minutes remaining in the game. Simi Valley, however, closed the game with authority.
Royal didn’t have revenge on its mind after the grueling loss.
“We’re worried about Newbury Park,” Haney said. “This loss is over. We want to regroup and make the playoffs.”
Royal plays host to Newbury Park at 7:30 tonight.
The Highlanders and Pioneers play again Thurs., Feb. 13 at Simi Valley in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Colliatie took a moment to reflect on the win and his time with Simi Valley.
“I’m so happy to be back,” Colliatie said. “This rivalry is amazing. I’ve never played in a crazy atmosphere like this.
“The Marmonte League is tough. Every night you face a different type of weapon.”