On the previous play, Matey had drawn a gasp from the crowd when he whipped a no-look pass to the wide-open Ason. Instead of resulting in an easy basket, the layup rimmed out and the senior forward drew a foul when he went back up with the resulting rebound.
Whenever Matey attacked the basket in ninth-ranked Eleanor Roosevelt’s resounding 88-64 win over the Tigers, his team seemed to find a way to produce a positive play. The 6-foot guard set a school record with 15 assists and added nine points and four rebounds while checking Duval’s top scorer, Michael Cunningham, in a memorable all-around performance.
“In the offseason, I work really hard to get in shape for situations like this,” Matey said. “I might have to check the best player on the other team, but at the same time, I’ve still got to run the offense, be a great point guard and lead my team to victory.”
When the teams met on Dec. 11, Eleanor Roosevelt (15-1, 11-1) needed a three-pointer by senior Trevor Evans at the buzzer to secure a 59-58 victory. This time, the Raiders took the lead for good late in the second quarter and pulled away from DuVal (13-3, 9-3) behind a flurry of baskets created by Matey.
Early on, Matey, a transfer who attended McNamara and North County last year, made his mark on defense, working hard to deny Cunningham the ball and force contested shots. The DuVal guard finished with 15 points, but he did most of his scoring in the second half after the Raiders had opened up a double-digit lead.
Matey “doesn’t let fatigue bother him,” Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Brendan O’Connell said. “He’s a mentally tough kid.”
On the other end, Matey showed the ability to get into the lane at will. Often, those drives collapsed the defense and created openings for others. The team set a season high for points with help from Malachi Alexander (19 points, 14 rebounds) and knocked down nine three-pointers. During one stretch in the final quarter, he assisted on four straight Eleanor Roosevelt field goals.
After the game, Matey’s teammates cheered in the visitors’ locker room when O’Connell announced that the guard had secured a place in the school record book.
“It means a lot to me, but it means a lot to my teammates, as well,” Matey said of the assist record. “They were the ones finishing the plays for me. They were out here doing the work, too.”