|Girls – 3-Point Shooting Candidates||Boys – 3-Point Shooting Candidates|
|Isabel Aguirre|| La Jolla Country Day||Jack Beach|| Torrey Pines|
|Nicole Conyers|| Fallbrook||Kane Daniels|| Palo Verde|
|Ali Engelhardt|| Mt. Carmel||JB Deperio|| Mission Vista|
|Kamree Harrison|| Mt. Miguel||Anthony Jensen|| Madison|
|Madison Lombard|| Torrey Pines||Ethan Kuo|| Pacific Ridge|
|Evangeline Morga|| Montgomery||Jack Langborg|| Santa Fe Christian|
|Holly Picard|| Mission Vista||Tommy McCarthy|| La Costa Canyon|
|Taylor Pierce|| La Costa Canyon||Dalton Soffer|| Poway|
|Julia Pihl|| Rancho Buena Vista||Lynard Steward|| San Ysidro|
|Kristine Sellona|| Mater Dei||Brady Twombley|| La Costa Canyon|
Boys – Slam Dunk Candidates
To Be Announced
In both games, the North will be considered the home team and should wear their white uniforms. The South will be considered the away team and should wear their dark uniforms.
Tickets will only be available at the door and will cost $12 for adults/$8 for students. Doors will open at 4:45 p.m.
Ali shows final trick in 2015 East County Sports.com Senior All-Star game
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (3-28-15) — IBRAHIM ALI had one final trick up his sleeve as he closed the door on his high school days on the court, an all-star game MVP. Ali picked up the game honors after his 33 point performance on Friday night (Mar. 27) propelled the East County East team over the West 104-102 in overtime. RICARDO BARAJAS picked up the game MVP honor for the West which was much more balanced on the stat sheet, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds.
In overtime Ali drove the lane and drew a foul with seven seconds to play (not an easy thing to do in an all-star game), then coolly sank both free throws. Steele Canyon's AARON PISIONA was not awarded the same gratitude at the other end of the floor, fighting through a slew of tough contact before a game tying effort fell just short. Pisiona was a consistent staple on the boards throughout the night for the West and a late consideration for game MVP on the West side, finishing with 12 rebounds.
Head Coach MARTY ELLIS of El Cajon Valley captained the East victory and managed one final win out of most of his graduating seniors. Monte Vista’s DEVRON YOUNG dazzled with his quickness and poured home 19 points for the West while DONNELL PAYNE of Mount Miguel and TARIQ TILLMAN of Steele Canyon helped the West maintain the lead for most of the game. Payne scored 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and Tillman scored 17, including the game's first seven points while representing the Cougars. Valhalla's JAKE BASSETTE and JACOB HAMMETT took the floor as members of the same team with their league rival Braves, one of the greatest aspects of the all-star experience. The Norsemen were tough on the boards as usual, but Hammett's three point shooting thrust him into the spotlight.
Hammett and Mount Miguel's NATE GILBERT were the finalists in the three point contest, each draining 13 shots in their opening round performance. In the final showdown Gilbert still continued to drain the long range shot, but Hammett defeated him 12-9 to take the three point championship.
ANTONIO READ was Granite Hills' lone representative in the game and provided some excitement by draining a three in the final thirty seconds which propelled the game into overtime. CAMERON HENDERSON had one of the flashier passes of the night, connecting with Pisiona in the first half on a behind the back no look assist that drew some noise from the crowd, in the end though, it was the East prevailing in the extra period.
East: El Cajon Valley - Ibrahim Ali 33 (11 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), Syon Hicks 12 (4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Brandon Rumley 6 (3 reb, 1 blk), Drake Afaisen 8 (5 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk); Monte Vista - Devron Young 19 (9 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk), Adam Wallace 6 (6 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk); El Capitan - Brian Ballo 6 (8 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk), Ryan Smith (5 reb, 4 blk); Santana - Ryan Bratlien 3 (1 reb), Austin Miller (2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl); Valhalla - Jake Bassette 2 (4 reb, 1 ast), Jacob Hammett 2 (5 reb, 3 blk, 3 stl, 1 ast); Granite Hills - Antonio Read 7 (2 reb, 1 stl, 1 ast).
West: West Hills - Ricardo Barajas 24 (11 reb, 1 stl, 1 ast), Sahil Alami 6 (8 reb), Issa Ghandour 9 (6 reb, 3 stl), Thomas Reaney 2 (3 reb, 1 stl); Steele Canyon - Tariq Tillman 17 (5 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Aaron Pisiona 14 (12 reb, 3 stl, 3 ast); Mount Miguel - Donnell Payne 14 (12 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Nate Gilbert 7 (8 reb, 1 ast); Grossmont - Cameron Henderson 5 (7 reb, 4 ast), Deshan Hillman 5 (5 reb).
Leaf and Rutherford named to All-CIF
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (3-26-15) — East County players chosen to the 2015 All-CIF Boys Basketball team are junior T.J. LEAF of Foothills Christian and junior TOMMY RUTHERFORD of Grossmont High. Both athletes were first team picks.
Leaf and company loaded for another run next year
|For the schools that particpated and furnished|
Stats, final stats are posted in STATS'14-15
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
RANCHO CUCAMONGA (3-14-15) — And so it ended. Foothills Christian, the San Diego Section's top ranked team at season's end, and final East County team remaining in the CIF State playoffs fell 58-55 to Etiwanda on Friday (Mar. 13).
Earlier in the day on Friday, coach BRAD LEAF pointed to one key aspect of the Knight's game that they could not fail at if they wanted to move on in the State's most elite division, "We have to limit them to one shot."
That aspect of the game became the dagger that ended the Knight's season. With 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Foothills Christian leading 55-54, Etiwanda missed, missed and missed again before Pepperdine bound Kameron Edwards scored on a driving layin for the Eagles. Foothills failed to get a shot off in their final possession as Etiwanda managed a steal with three to play. Two free throws sealed the game for Etiwanda.
T.J. LEAF had 22 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two blocks for the Knights but Foothills failed in other areas. The Knights managed just five first quarter points, and while Leaf finished the first half with 13 points, the team as a whole was 2-14 from long range in the first 16 minutes. A few connections in those attempts and the Knight's may well be studying film for a Southern California semifinal showdown with Fairfax next week.
Instead Foothills Christian will put to rest a remarkable season in which they finished ranked #1 in the local media poll and essentially every internet poll used by the CIF sections in their playoff considerations. T.J. Leaf is a possible pick for the San Diego section player of the year, and the Knights were placed in their playoff division out of a need for San Diego to send its best representative to a loaded Open Division at the state level.
NIKKO PARANADA had 14 points in the loss, LUIS SALGADO chipped in six on two three pointers and KALE BALDADO had seven of his own. The Knights simply could not overcome a balanced Etiwanda attack that saw three players finish in double figures scoring and another finish with 9. Jordan Naughton who is heading to the University of Wyoming was held to eight.
Foothills Christian graduates 00 players from its 2014-2015 roster and faces and even more loaded schedule in the coming year so big things will be expected from Leaf, Smith, Salgado, Paranada and the rest of the Knights in their last hurrah.
Foothils Christian: T.J. Leaf 22 (15 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk), Nikko Paranada 14 (6 ast, 3 stl), Luis Salgado 6 (1 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl), Kale Baldado 7 (2 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl), Omajae Smith 4 (4 reb, 1 blk), Javier Guerrero 2, Jordan Starr (1 stl).
East County's playoff teams down to one
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (3-12-15) — IBRAHIM ALI, DION DEAN, SYON HICKS, DRAKE AFAISEN, RICKY GARCIA and BRANDON RUMLEY all took the home court at El Cajon Valley one last time on Wednesday (Mar. 11) night. These Braves took the court as members of an elite El Cajon Valley fraternity that in the school's 60 year history, includes them alone.
These were the senior members of the 2014-2015 CIF State qualifiers. Members of the 2014-2015 CIF San Diego Section Division III Champion Braves. ANDRE NIKITA's 2012-2013 team won the first league title in school history, Ali and Rumley were members of that roster as well. KEMMY BURGESS and his 1998-1999 team sit in the San Diego Section CIF record books in a number of categories, but they never brought home a Grossmont crown.
The curtain closed on the 2014-2015 season Wednesday, as El Cajon Valley fell to a much deeper and more battle tested Corona del Mar team 46-33 in the opening round of CIF Division III state tournament play. Oddly enough it was junior RONNE READUS who provided the most impressive stat line for the Braves, pouring in 13 points while grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking five shots and collecting five steals.
Readus will be one of two returning seniors next season. When asked about the future of El Cajon Valley basketball, coach MARTY ELLIS admitted "I haven't even thought about it. Maybe in a little while, maybe in a month but I haven't started to look at that yet. We've got a 6-foot-5 big in the middle, so we know that."
El Cajon Valley looked shaky in the first quarter falling behind 16-6 before starting the second quarter on a 6-0 run and closing the gap to four at the half 22-18. The Braves shot poorly from three point range, connecting on just one Ricky Garcia bank shot in 17 attempts for the game. Thankfully Corona del Mar was 1-11 themselves and the Braves trailed just 27-26 heading to the fourth quarter.
The wheels fell off for the Braves in the fourth, but for six seniors their names are now forever connected with El Cajon Valley legend and lore. These are the six who will be remembered as "the six" who took the Braves to the top for the first time. The first team to make it to the state tournament and the first team to bring home a CIF banner for the Braves.
When asked about the highlight of the season, Ellis stated that "Just every game was a highlight. It's hard with this new system to get the mind set around state playoffs early in the season, but we got here, and we're happy winning CIF. That was never done before so it's something special."
El Cajon Valley: Ronne Readus 13 (13 reb, 5 stl, 5 blk), Ibrahim Ali 7 (5 ast, 4 reb), Syon Hicks 6 (1 reb), Ricky Garcia 3, Brandon Rumley 2 (3 reb), Drake Afaisen 2 (1 stl), Dion Dean (1 ast, 2 reb).
By Bill Dickens
SONORA 101, VALHALLA 76 — The Norsemen had their offense clicking but for some reason misplaced their defense in Wednesday’s (Mar. 11) first round of the Southern California Regionals.
This was downright shoot-out as La Habra Sonora (29-4) nailed 11 threes in 25 attempts while taking a 55-41 halftime lead.
The Norsemen had their own weapons but the tradeoff was lop-sided. While the Raiders were ripping the twine for 3-pointers the Norsemen (22-10) were sinking 23 of 27 chances from the free throw line.
COLE HENDERSON set the scoring pace for Valhalla with 25 points, which included five for six shooting from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
JORDAN ELLIS chipped in with 22 points, including nine of 10 free throws.
The second half was more of the same as Sonora out-raced the Norsemen 46-35 over the final 16 minutes.
This was one of the Norsmen’s most memorable seasons in the last decade or so.
Valhalla: Cole Henderson 25 (2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jordan Ellis 22 (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), John Murad 10 (4 reb, 1 ast), Jacob Hammett 10 (6 reb, 3 ast), Jake Bassette 4 (6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Carson Baker 3 (1 blk), Nathan Yousif 2 (3 reb, 1 ast), Jared Sullivan (1 reb), Matthew Sako (1 reb, 1 ast), Malique Shaw (2 reb).
Leaf finally gets his own ring, shares with the rest of the Knights
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (3-8-15) — When asked how it felt to wrap up the Division II San Diego CIF Championship on Saturday (Mar. 7), Foothills Christian's junior forward T.J. LEAF joked "You know I've already got like seven rings as a ball boy." Leaf was alluding to years spent on the benches of Championship teams led by his father and head coach BRAD LEAF both at Foothills Christian and Steele Canyon.
Many may doubt that Leaf was ever a small child when they see his current 6-foot-11 frame, but he spent many seasons as the smallest kid at the end of the bench, surrounded by championship teams led by his father, and four captained by his older brother TROY LEAF. "It feels great to get my own. After the last two years, it feels great to get it."
|The tip of the CIF-SDS Division II|
Championship. Photo courtesy of Nicole Kallis.
T.J. Leaf and Foothills Christian put on perhaps the most dominant display that the Slim Gym (USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion) saw this weekend, with a wire to wire 83-41 victory over Mira Mesa in the Division II Championship game. Leaf had 33 points on the afternoon, many of those coming on monstrous dunks that had onlookers from several different programs dropping their jaws. The Arizona bound forward chipped in seven assists and five steals just to make things worse for the over matched Marauders who were riding a 15 game winning streak headed into Saturday's massacre at the hands of Foothills Christian.
LUIS SALGADO shot just 3-10 from the three point line on the day for the Knights. Salgado is on pace to set a new section record for career three pointers, and has connected on 50% of those attempts over three seasons. The misses were not Salgado's main impact on the game however. Salgado collected seven rebounds, dished five assists and collected three steals. Two of Salgado's steals and assists led to highlight reel dunks for Leaf. With Salgado on the wing, Mira Mesa was at a loss of what to do with Leaf in the middle while also trying to contain NIKKO PARANADA who ran the point.
Paranada finished with 16 points of his own on 7-12 from the floor and had three of the 15 Foothills steals on the afternoon. The clear mismatch was predicted by many and it appears that the San Diego Section of CIF took note as well. Earlier in the season the Knights were relegated to the Division II playoffs because they had not competed in Division I during the regular season, and were therefore not eligible for the section's Open Division playoffs. SDCIF also stated that teams in Divisions I-V could only compete at the state level in the divisions in which they competed during the regular season (with the exception of Open Division qualifiers), in a letter sent to all coaches and administrators.
At some point Thursday (Mar. 5) during the luncheon for schools competing in the SDCIF Finals, Foothills Christian was informed that they now may be placed in the Open Division at the state level. When approaching Coach Leaf with the quandary he simply stated "We'll play wherever they send us, we just wanna play." Asked if this championship felt any different than his previous seven Leaf remarked "They're all the same. They're all special because they're all different kids. Some kids overlap and then new kids are there the next year and it's as special to them."
Foothills received solid play once again from KALE BALDADO who went a perfect 3-3 from the floor and saw sophomore DANIEL HOFFMAN connect on both of his field goals and both free throw attempts for his first seven points of the season. With a running clock going in a championship game and nearly six minutes to play, Hoffman wasted no time getting to the rack and having himself a great finals appearance. Hoffman, like Leaf, is the third offspring in his family to play for the Knights.
Foothills Christian awaits word from the state seeding meeting on Sunday (Mar. 8) to see if they will head to the Open Division with Saint Augustine or if things will get even more interesting when their name is called as one of the section's nominations. Either way the Knights can celebrate their sixth section title in eight years.
Foothills Christian: T.J. Leaf 33 (15 reb, 7 ast, 5 stl, 1 blk), Nikko Paranada 16 (3 ast, 3 stl, 1 reb), Luis Salgado 12 (7 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk), Daniel Hoffman 7 (1 stl), Omajae Smith 6 (4 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Kale Baldado 6 (5 reb, 1 stl, 1 ast), Jordan Starr 3 (5 reb, 1 stl), T.J. Lowery (1 ast), Jordan VanOmmering (1 reb), Connor George (1 reb, 1 ast).
All East County matchup in Division III goes to the Braves
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (3-8-15) — Something was going to give when the El Cajon Valley Braves and Valhalla Norsemen met for the third time on Saturday morning (Mar. 7) with the Division III San Diego CIF title on the line at the University of San Diego. Either Valhalla was going to prove the age old adage that it's tough to beat someone three times in a season, or El Cajon Valley was going to settle any argument that they were the best team in the division for the 2014-2015 season.
Coach MARTY ELLIS and the El Cajon Valley Braves did not disappoint their fan base, alumni and other spectators in attendance. El Cajon Valley defeated Valhalla 61-49 on Saturday, the third win against the Norsemen this season. The Braves are celebrating – the El Cajon Valley countdown for seasons since their last CIF title has reset to 00. This was the first such title for an El Cajon Valley program that has seen a lot of down years in recent decades, but has emerged as a power in the East County since the arrival of Marty Ellis at the helm.
Valhalla wasn't without its moments. JACOB HAMMETT scored 19 points, JORDAN ELLIS had 14 for the Norsemen as well. Valhalla just had trouble putting successful runs together with consistency. El Cajon Valley led 10-5 after one quarter and neither team seemed in rhythm at the time. By the half the Braves were only ahead by four thanks to a late Valhalla three-pointer from Hammett.
As the third quarter began it seemed that Valhalla was finally getting something going but senior guard SYON HICKS refused to allow El Cajon Valley to relinquish their lead. Hicks and Hammett traded driving layups over the first three minutes of the third quarter and a bucket and foul for Valhalla looked to be a momentum boost, but the free throw attempt failed. Valhalla would finish the day 5-14 from the line. The Braves on the other hand, a team not known for their free throw prowess, got to the line time and time again. Hicks connected on 4-4 in the third quarter and finished the third with 12 points. El Cajon Valley maintained an eight point advantage heading to the final frame.
El Cajon Valley played out the game plan that Coach Ellis laid out all season long "We did what we were supposed to do, defense, defense, defense. Couldn't be more proud as we played what we preached." Ellis' plan might not have called for it, but the Braves connected on another 13-14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and senior guard IBRAHIM ALI took center stage to the chants of "MVP" from the El Cajon Valley student section. Ali finished with nine points in the final quarter and 18 for the game.
RONNE READUS collected 16 rebounds for the Braves, as quietly as ever and a Syon HIcks steal and layup with 1:10 to play all but shut the door. Senior COLE HENDERSON was plagued with foul trouble for Valhalla, but still managed to grab 10 rebounds and was emphatic in the early going, blocking seven shots, many of those diverting east points in the paint for the Braves.
In the end, the Norsemen would likely just as soon not see the Braves any more this season, but both teams would probably be more than happy if a fourth go around could become a possibility in the Southern California Regionals that begin next week. Both Valhalla and El Cajon Valley will qualify for the state tournament as no open division teams were eligible to drop to Division III.
After the game Valhalla coach KEITH JACKSON was still happy with his team's season despite the disappointment of Saturday's defeat. "We did something very cool this season and it sucks that there had to be a loser of this game. We just couldn't close the gap on them, but I'm really proud of the guys."
Valhalla: Jacob Hammett 19 (7 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Jordan Ellis 14 (6 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast), Cole Henderson 6 (10 reb, 7 blk, 1 stl), Nathan Yousif 5 (2 reb, 1 ast), John Murad 3 (2 stl, 1 blk), Jake Bassette 2 (4 reb, 3 blk, 1 ast, 1 stl), Matthew Sako (2 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk).
El Cajon Valley: Syon Hicks 21 (4 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl), Ibrahim Ali 18 (4 reb, 1 stl), Ronne Readus 9 (16 reb, 2 blk, 2 stl, 1 ast), Drake Afaisen 8 (2 reb, 1 stl), Brandon Rumley 3 (10 reb, 1 ast), Dion Dean 2.
Vaqueros come up just short in Division IV
By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (3-7-15) — The El Capitan Vaqueros entered the CIF Division IV playoffs as a No. 9 seed and not expected to do much as many took a look at their record and didn’t blink an eye. However the Vaqueros pretty much shunned the experts on their road through the playoffs as they defeated the No. 8 seed Bonita Vista, and in the semi-finals knocked off the No. 1 seed Hilltop. Mind you all of these games took place on the road. So playing in the championship game at Jenny Craig Pavilion wouldn’t matter as it was another road game.
The Vaqueros took on the No. 2 seed Firebirds from Pacific Ridge and gave them one heck of a game as beforehand no one really knew what to expect out of the two teams. The Vaqueros, hoping to pull off one more upset, came up short 58-55. It wasn’t a lack of trying on their part as the game saw seven ties and seven lead changes.
The first quarter the Vaqueros came out on fire as they shot 7-10 from the field to lead 16-12 after the first period which saw both teams go back and forth. In the second period the Firebirds started on a 4-0 run to tie it at 16-16. Pacific Ridge was able to outscore the Vaqueros 19-15 as the score was tied 31-31 at the break. The Vaqueros actually were able to out rebound Pacific Ridge 14-8 but it was the three ball that kept the Firebirds in the game as they shot 6-11. The Vaqueros shot 13-23 from the field while Pacific Ridge shot 12-23. Leading the way for the Vaqueros was KADE KYGAR who tallied 8 points in the first half.
The second half was a whole different story as the Vaqueros came out from the break and made whatever adjustments they deemed necessary. The halftime adjustments worked as both teams went at it and were pretty even the entire third period. The Vaqueros came out on top in the third with an 11-9 advantage to still lead 42-40. The fourth period started and the Vaqueros were able to make use of a streak that started out 4-0 and ultimately would extend it to 10-0 to lead 52-40 which was the largest lead of the game for them.
The rest of the game was back and forth and very physical. It looked like the Vaqueros were actually going to pull it out as they led 55-53 with about :20 to go when Pacific Ridge nailed a three pointer to take the 56-55 lead. El Capitan had one more opportunity to score and win the game. They inbounded the ball and brought it up and got the ball to ROBBY CALLAWAY who took the ball and drove but wasn’t able to convert the two footer. The shot rimmed out and that was pretty much all she wrote as the Firebirds got the rebound after the mad scramble, thus forcing the Vaqueros to foul sending Pacific Ridge to the line where they sank both to lead 58-55.
The last second desperation shot by El Capitan fell short and the buzzer sounded, ending what was a magical ride for the Vaqueros.
Leading the way for the Vaqueros were BRYANT IRVIN who netted 20 points which included six treys and ANDY CASAS who put up 12 points. RYAN SMITH finished with eight points, seven assist and seven rebounds.
KADE KYGAR was named the Sportsmanship winner for the Vaqueros.
El Capitan: Bryant Irvin 20 (2 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl), Andy Casas 12 (7 reb, 1 ast), Ryan Smith 8 (7 reb, 7 ast), Kade Kygar 8 (4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Brian Ballo 5 (7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Robby Callaway 2 (2 reb, 1 ast).
Leaf has a monster game to move Foothills to the finals
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (3-4-15) — A year ago most believed that Foothills Christian was a victim of the CIF Power Ranking that failed to take strength of schedule into account. The Knights’ strength of schedule, according to MaxPreps.com, was nearly double that of Sweetwater who gained the No. 1 seed in the Division III section playoffs. Foothills Christian was relegated to No. 4 and forced to play Sweetwater in the semi finals while Kearny saw what was perceived as a much easier Calvin Christian squad on their side of the bracket. After Sweetwater defeated Foothills and Kearny stunned Sweetwater by routing them in the Division III title game, those arguments were put to rest.
This season all three teams jumped to Division II and there has been little doubt who the No. 1 seed would be for most of the season. Foothills Christian has played a schedule unparalleled in the section and it is paying off now. Kearny players provided plenty of bulletin board material via Twitter in the days leading up to Wednesday night's (Mar. 4) semifinal game at Cuyamaca College. Stopping T.J. LEAF and making things difficult for the junior forward were at the center of most of the post.
Leaf may or may not have taken note, but his play Wednesday night led onlookers to believe that he was well aware of the confidence his opponents entered the game with. Leaf exploded for a career high 43 points and added 25 rebounds for good measure. Foothills led by just one point after a quarter, but that lead had ballooned to 19 by halftime and Leaf was already nearing 30 points.
NIKKO PARANADA connected on 12 of 12 free throws for a Foothills team that does not get to the line at high rate on average. Four of those free throws came on Kearny technicals. Both OMAJAE SMITH and LUIS SALGADO had solid performances for the Knights in the 84-44 semifinal win, which actually saw a running clock for the final 2:34 of play. Neither starter had enormous stats, Salgado finishing with seven points and seven rebounds, and Smith finishing with 12 points and four assists. The intangibles of the game were well on display with the duo however. Smith and Salgado have to be guarded. Teams have learned that eliminating Leaf alone is not a recipe for success against the Knights, not eliminating him makes things much, much worse.
KALE BALDALDO also had some important moments for Foothills, while not spreading his name all over the stat sheet. Baldaldo had four deflections, three of which eventually led to poor shots by Kearny after initially looking for easy inside buckets before Baldaldo changed their plans. Kearny settled for long three pointers much of the evening and they never really fell. The Komets connected on three of 15 from above the arc and many of those misses came from several feet behind the line.
The night belonged to T.J. Leaf however, and Leaf is now headed to his first San Diego Section CIF Finals appearance since his freshman campaign. Many wondered what it would be like for the youngest Leaf, growing up and playing in the shadows of his brother TROY LEAF, who set the section record for career points and who was named the All PacWest Player of the Year for Azusa Pacific on Wednesday.
Needless to say, T.J. Leaf has written his own story, and this CIF Finals berth is the most impressive for the Knights in their history. A deep run in the state tournament for the Knights could result in the best finish in school history. All that can wait however, as Foothills first must focus on a Saturday (Mar. 7) date with Mira Mesa at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion at 1:07 p.m. and a shot at a sixth Boys Basketball crown for the school.
Foothills Christian: T.J. Leaf 43 (25 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl), Nikko Paranada 19 (7 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Omajae Smith 12 (4 stl, 4 ast, 2 reb, 1 blk), Luis Salgado 7 (7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), T.J. Lowery 3 (1 reb), Kale Baldado (3 reb, 1 stl), Jordan Starr (2 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk), Jordan VanOmmering (1 ast), Javier Guerrero (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk).
Hicks and Ali team up to get winning basket for Braves
By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (3-4-15) &Mdash; El Cajon Valley coach MARTY ELLIS had to fight for air after his Braves pulled out a 45-44 San Diego CIF Division III victory over visiting Orange Glen Tuesday night (Mar. 3).
Ellis is used to being touted a hero, going back to his playing days. But this night seemed even more special as the crowd surrounded him following the game, hoping just to get a handshake. Good thing Ellis is a big man – he had fans all over him when the final buzzer sounded.
Every Brave in the gym – including the alumni – felt like they were a part of the victory.
The bottom line came in the final 20.6 seconds when SYON HICKS drove the baseline and sank the winning basket on a pass from IBRAHIM ALI. While victory seemed to be in hand, Orange Glen (22-9) scrambled for the inbound pass and drew a foul with 1.5 seconds left.
It was that close as to which team would be playing for the championship. The tension in that moment was palpable.
The chance to tie the game for Orange Glen ricocheted off the rim and the Braves were the semifinal champions with a shot of vying for the SDCIF Division III championship at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday (Mar. 7) versus Grossmont Conference rival Valhalla at 11:07 a.m.
“I saw the clock and knew that I had enough time to get off a good shot,” said Hicks, who finished with 19 points.”
Ali delivered the pass that set up the game-winning score by Hicks. Ali was limited to eight points but chipped in with five assists, six rebounds and two steals.
“I can’t say that I know what it feels like to be a champion because I haven’t been a champion before,” Hicks said.
He’ll get his chance on Saturday.
“The season didn’t begin the way I wanted it to,” he said. “But I finally got to make a major contribution.”
Bottom line: He was the hero in this key encounter.
“When we were down by one point near the end of the game it was “man up,” Ellis said. “The guy with the ball needed to take the shot. And the right guy took that shot.”
El Cajon Valley will make its first appearance in the San Diego Section finals on Saturday.
El Cajon Valley: Syon Hicks 19 (4 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Ibrahim Ali 8 (6 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl), Brandon Rumley 6 (8 reb, 1 ast), Drake Afaisen 5 (1 reb), Ronne Readus 4 (6 reb, 1 ast, 3 blk), Ricky Garcia 3.
VALHALLA 56, RANCHO BERNARDO 53 — Back in 1985 a film came out called “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”
Well, the Thunderdome lives, that’s what the folks at Valhalla High call their gymnasium. On Tuesday (Mar. 3) the Rancho Bernardo Broncos got a taste of what it’s like to play in the Thunderdome as they took on the Valhalla Norseman in the semifinals of the Division III San Diego CIF playoffs. Like in the film the Norsemen’s home was very loud and very energetic as the crowd got their monies worth in what would be deemed by those in attendance as a classic clash.
For the very first time in school history the No. 2 seeded Valhalla Norsemen will be going to the San Diego CIF finals as they beat the No. 3 seeded Rancho Bernardo Broncos. Both teams from the start played a very physical game. Besides the physicality of both teams the crowd, especially the student section showed their spirit and showed why the gym is nicknamed the “Thunderdome.”
Rancho Bernardo took the early lead but riding the wave of the crowd, Valhalla’s JACOB HAMMETT was able to do his thing and pull the game even at 9-9 but that wouldn’t last as the Broncos were able to use their quickness to take the 12-9 lead after the first period.
The second period was no different as both teams went back and forth, both teams pounding each other like a heavyweight boxing match. However it was the Norsemen who were able to take the lead going into the locker room, 23-21.
For the Norsemen it was Hammett who led them with 14 points while COLE HENDERSON grabbed 9 rebounds. The Norsemen were lucky to have the lead as they only shot 7-24 from the field but they survived their shooting woes.
The second half was pretty much the same as the first as both teams tried to establish their game. However it was the Norsemen who struck first via an 8-0 run to take their largest lead at the time 34-25. The Broncos then struck gold of their own as they went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 38-38 with the last basket coming on a buzzer beating 3-pointer.
Rancho Bernardo tried to slow down the Norsemen via the press defense but Valhalla used their quickness and crisp passing to break it.
“We handled the pressure very well. We love to play teams that pressure and play physical,” said Hammett.
Handle they indeed do as the Norsemen pretty much matched score for score with the Broncos.
The final stanza was pure chaos and physical as both teams matched each other score for score pretty much. The crowd played a huge role in helping to carry the home team to victory. They were loud, as they were all throughout the game. The Norsemen led 48-44 with about 4:28 to go in the game.
Back and forth both teams went and the Broncos had a chance to tie it but JORDAN ELLIS was able to steal the ball but instead of laying it up to extend the lead he brought it back out and the Broncos fouled. Ellis calmly went to the line and sank both foul shots to take the 56-53 lead. Rancho Bernardo had one last opportunity to try and tie the game but the last second effort clanked off the rim and Valhalla was able to claim the board after the tussle on the ground.
Once the final buzzer sounded the whole entire Valhalla fan base went into a frenzy and the student section stormed the court.
“I thought our intensity was great and has been since league finished. We showed a lot of resilience,” said Valhalla coach KEITH JACKSON.
All throughout the playoffs the Norsemen showed why they were one of the best teams in the East County and well deserving of the No. 2 seed in the Division III playoffs.
Hammett led all scorers with 25 points. He wasn’t alone in the scoring department as both Ellis and Henderson put up 11 points apiece. In fact it was Henderson who put up a double-double on the evening as besides the 11 points he finished with 12 rebounds. JAKE BASSETTE grabbed 5 boards, which were all key to the victory.
So with the victory the Norsemen once again will take on Grossmont Valley League foe El Cajon Valley which defeated Orange Glen 44-43 in their semifinal. It will be the third time these two teams will have met this season. It will be quite a contest when these teams meet for all the marbles on Saturday (Mar. 7) at the Jenny Craig Pavillion at 11:07 a.m.
Valhalla: Jacob Hammett 25 (2 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk), Cole Henderson 11 (12 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk), Jordan Ellis 11 (3 reb, 2 stl), Jake Bassette 6 (5 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Nathan Yousif 2, Matthew Sako 1 (2 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk), John Murad (2 reb, 1 ast).
— Adam Paul
EL CAPITAN 60, HILLTOP 51 — The El Capitan Vaqueros boys basketball team clipped Hilltop in Tuesday’s (Mar. 3) San Diego CIF Division IV semifinals in Santee, earning the right to advance to the finals on Friday (Mar. 6) against Carlsbad’s Pacific Ridge at 11:07 a.m. at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
ANDY CASAS, who is averaging 22 points per game, led the Vaqueros in scoring with 25 points to go along with 7 rebounds. BRYANT IRWIN added 15 points, all coming on 3-pointers. BRIAN BALLO was big on the board with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Unlike most high school players, KADE KYGAR had the courage to take three charges.
El Capitan: Andy Casas 25 (7 reb, 1 stl), Bryant Irwin 15 (2 reb, 1 stl), Ryan Smith 8 (3 reb), Brian Ballo 6 (10 reb, 1 stl, 2 blk), Kade Kygar 5 (4 reb, 3 stl).
Big Gun Nate and Norseman punch ticket for Semis
By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (2-28-15) — The Valhalla Norsemen were passing out a record number of T-shirts in Friday’s (Feb. 27) Division III San Diego Section 60-34 quarterfinal romp over Christian.
But the Norsemen did more than just pass out shirts – they also whipped the ball up and down the court with excellent precision as they eliminated the Patriots from the playoffs.
In a game that was one-sided from the middle of the second quarter on, the Norsemen (21-7) skated past the Patriots (16-11) with relative ease.
Christian was competitive in the first quarter but was unable to maintain its poise as Valhalla overpowered the Patriots at the game progressed.
NATHAN YOUSIF set the pace for Valhalla with 18 points, hitting 7 of 16 from the floor including a trio of 3s as the Norsemen steadily pulled away.
Big Gun Nate (Yousif) helped lead the charge for the Norsemen’s blowout of the Patriots. “It’s all about confidence,” he said, “and we have to have it every day.”
JORDAN ELLIS concurred, adding 11 points for Valhalla as did JACOB HAMMETT. JOHN MURAD contributed 10 points to the Norsemen’s cause.
TREVOR HOWELL led Christian with 13 points.
Valhalla will host Rancho Bernardo on Tuesday (Mar. 3) at 7 p.m. in a Division III semifinal game.
Valhalla: Nathan Yousif 18 (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Jordan Ellis 11 (3 reb, 2 stl), Jacob Hammett 11 (2 reb, 1 blk), John Murad 10 (1 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Cole Henderson 4 (4 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Matthew Sako 4, Jake Bassette 2 (1 reb, 1 blk), Carson Baker (1 reb).
Christian: Trevor Howell 13 (2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Kyle Stowers 8 (4 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Travis Ballard 8 (6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Johnny Paulson 5 (3 reb), JD Parker (4 reb, 2 ast).
EL CAJON VALLEY (22-6) 68, MONTGOMERY 43 — In front of a packed house at El Cajon Valley High the No. 1 Braves looked to march on in their quest for the Division III CIF title. The Braves were able to check off this accomplishment as they demolished the No. 8 Montgomery Aztecs 68-43 to move on to the semifinals.
It was what the Braves were looking for as they played in front of a packed house but it didn’t start out well as things were slow to develop. For the first few minutes it was only 4-0 in favor of the Braves. However things changed as they went on a 7-0 run and it wasn’t until the 2:28 mark on free throws that the Aztecs scored their first points of the quarter. The Braves went on another run of 8-0 to take the quarter 15-4. RONNE READUS the always reliable big guy in the middle pulled down 14 boards during the quarter to help spur the Braves.
El Cajon Valley put the pressure defensively on the Aztecs as they were able to hold them scoreless for the final :45 of the first period and the first 3 minutes of the second. During the scoring drought for the Aztecs the Braves went on a 10-0 run. The Aztecs didn’t score in the quarter until 3:40 left. But by the time Montgomery was able to put any points on the board it was too late and the Braves were able to outscore the Aztecs 17-8 to lead 32-12 at the break.
It could have been a lot worse for the Aztecs but El Cajon Valley only shot 12-38 from the field and 3-7 from behind the arc.
The third period was more of the same as the Braves stifled the Aztecs offensively, holding them to 9 points for the quarter. At the end of the third the Braves had their largest lead at 55-21. The final stanza was more of the same but this time Montgomery was actually able to take the period 22-13 but it wasn’t enough as the final buzzer sounded and the fans went crazy and cheered the Braves as they walked off the court to huddle up afterwards.
For the Braves, BRANDON RUMLEY really spurred them on as he picked up the offensive slack, scoring 14 points and corralling 16 boards. SYON HICKS also had a big hand as he turned in 18 points, dished out 8 assists and grabbed 8 rebounds. Their tenacity really turned the offensive gears on for the Braves.
Readus finished the game with an amazing stat line of a triple double consisting of 10 points, 30 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Readus closed in on the Grossmont Conference record with his carom totals. The Grossmont Conference record is held by BILL WALTON with 34 in 1969 vs. Granite Hills.
“We really had a good practice the other day and it showed during the game, also Rumley really came through tonight,” said El Cajon Valley coach MARTY ELLIS.
The Braves really showed why they are top seed in the Division III playoffs with their pressure defense and also players besides the top guys stepping up. With the victory they return to what Coach Ellis described as “The Scene of the Crime” referring to the semis where the Braves made it to last year and lost a close game to Tri-City Christian 62-60.
This year however it will be completely different as El Cajon Valley will host No. 4 Orange Glen, which defeated No. 5 Calvin Christian 62-47 for the right to go to the ship also known as the championship game.
These two teams are somewhat familiar with each other as they already played early on in the season with Orange Glen winning 61-51. The big difference this time is the Braves will have players who didn’t play in that contest. So if you are looking for something to do on Tuesday (Mar. 3) at 7 p.m., it is recommended getting to El Cajon Valley early as it will be a full house as the Braves are a must see and one of the hottest tickets in the East County.
El Cajon: Syon Hicks 18 (8 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl), Brandon Rumley 14 (16 reb), Ronne Readus 10 (30 reb,10 blk,1 ast,), Richard Garcia 9 (1 ast, 1 stl), Ibrahim Ali 8 (7 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk), Drake Afasien 6 (2 reb, 1 ast, 4 stl), Ahmad Sulyman 3.
— Adam Paul
FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 74, BISHOP’S 52 — Foothills Christian has taken eight trips to the post season. After Friday's (Feb. 27) 74-52 victory over Bishop's in the quarterfinal round of the Division II playoffs, Foothills Christian has still never lost in the first two rounds of San Diego CIF play. Foothills Christian has, however, been missing from the championship podium for the last two seasons.
Two years would be a dream to some, but the Knights took seven straight trips to the finals from 2007-2013, winning five titles before the rearranging of divisions saw the Knights fall to Sweetwater in the Division III semifinals last season. Sweetwater was previously in Division I, dropping two divisions while Foothills Christian jumped two divisions from V to III.
The Knights looked poised in collectively dismissing their Coastal League foes from this year's tournament on Friday (Feb. 27). Bishop's and Foothills Christian combined for 20 three pointers on the night, but even an 11-9 advantage in that category rarely saw Bishop's challenging Foothills in any significant stretch of the quarterfinal match-up at Cuyamaca College.
LUIS SALGADO nailed five of six from long range which brings his current playoff total to 12 of 16 over two games. NIKKO PARANADA had 19 points for the Knights and really sealed the game when he floated two tear drops in the lane midway through the third quarter.
With Paranada, one of the shortest players on the court, hitting shots in the paint, Bishop's was left with few defensive options while trying to contain T.J. LEAF, who finished with 22 points, and more importantly six assists. Leaf's ball movement has been an unsung catalyst for the Foothills Christian offense for much of the season and the last two games in particular.
Foothills Christian moves on to face Kearny next Wednesday (Mar. 4) in the Division II semifinals. The winner will face the winner of Mira Mesa and La Jolla Country Day who will astoundingly host a semifinal game as a No.15 seed due to a rules violation which caused Mira Mesa to forfeit their ability to host any home playoff games. A large crowd is expected as Kearny and Foothills Christian will be the only boys’ game on slate Wednesday night.
Foothills Christian: T.J. Leaf 22 (8 reb, 6 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl), Nikko Paranada 19 (4 reb, 2 stl), Luis Salgado 19 (3 reb, 2 ast), Omajae Smith 6 (5 ast, 2 reb, 1 stl), Jordan Starr 4 (4 reb, 1 ast), Kale Baldado 2 (1 reb, 1 blk), T.J. Lowery 2 (2 reb), Javier Guerrero (2 ast, 1 reb, 1 stl), Daniel Hoffman (2 reb), Jordan VanOmmering (1 ast).
LJCD 64, WEST HILLS 62 (OT) — Host West Hills battled to the finish in Friday’s (Feb. 28) Division II quarterfinal game with La Jolla Country Day, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the brass ring.
“It was a tough loss,” said West Hills assistant coach LUCAS ARMSTRONG. “Only one team can win and they scored the final bucket. The 2nd and 3rd quarter killed us.
We made a strong charge in the 4th quarter. We were down 15 with 2:30 to go and tied it up with about 50 seconds left.
“It was a great season for our kids. All of the coaches are extremely proud of what the kids achieved.”
RICARCO BARAJAS led the Wolf Pack with 19 points, while THOMAS REANEY rolled a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. BRYCE PARSONS added 14 points.
West Hills: Ricardo Barajas 19 (3 reb, 1 ast), Thomas Reaney 16 (12 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk), Bryce Parsons 14 (7 reb, 6 ast, 1 stl), Chris Moyer 6 (6 reb, 3 blk), Marco Ovies 5 (1 reb, 3 ast), Issa Ghandour 2 (3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Kyle Ruiz (2 reb, 1 ast), Cameron Barry (1 stl).
EL CAPITAN 58, BONITA VISTA 55 — No. 9 seeded dark horse El Capitan continues to surprise the playoff field, upsetting No. 1 ranked Bonita Vista 58-55 in Friday’s (Feb. 27) Division IV San Diego Section quarterfinal playoff game.
El Capitan will travel south the Hilltop to face the Lancers in Tuesday’s (Mar. 3) semifinal game.
El Capitan: No scoring/stats reported.
Foothills cruises to second round
By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (2-25-15) — Patrick Henry was at the center of what many basketball pundits around San Diego deemed a controversial vote when CIF playoff seeding was announced this past Saturday (Feb. 21). The Patriots were in a dead tie with Oceanside in the power rankings. Oceanside owned a slightly better league, overall, division and common opponent record than Patrick Henry. Oceanside also had one of the county's most explosive scorers in senior guard Will Christmas. Still the Patriots were awarded the #16 seed in the Division II payoffs, their gift, a date with #1 Foothills Christian.
Foothills Christian only made Oceanside's argument stronger on Wednesday night (Feb. 25) by dismantling Patrick Henry from beginning to end in a 77-37 romp at Cuyamaca College.
Foothills Christian limited Patrick Henry to 10 field goals on the evening. The Knights, not known for racking up huge block totals, sent 13 Patriot shots back to their senders, six of those coming by way of freshman guard JORDAN STARR who also tallied three assist, two steals and three rebounds for Foothills.
Junior guard LUIS SALGADO was on point from above the arc and Patrick Henry had no answer while trying to contain T.J. LEAF in the paint. Salgado connected on seven of 10 three pointers for the game and finished with 23 points overall. OMAJAE SMITH and NIKKO PARANADA had solid outings as well with 17 and eight points respectively. Paranada was tasked with maintaining order in the fourth quarter when both Leaf and Salgado exited the blowout with nearly seven minutes to play. Jordan Starr then fouled out and Omajae Smith was given the rest of the night off as well while DANIEL HOFFMAN took some time at the point.
Junior CONNOR GEORGE connected on a three late for the Knights, his first points of the season and the final points of the night for Foothills. Foothills Christian moves on to meet The Bishop's School for the third time this season on Friday February 27. The Quarter Final game will give Foothills Christian another chance to avenge the only team in the San Diego section to defeat the Knights this season while T.J. Leaf was sidelined with an injury. Foothills Christian defeated Bishop's 75-39 when the teams last met on February 6, with a healthy Leaf.
Foothills Christian: T.J. Leaf 24 (11 reb, 6 ast, 5 blk, 1 stl), Luis Salgado 23 (3 ast, 3 stl, 2 reb), Omajae Smith 17 (4 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast, 1 blk), Nikko Paranada 8 (5 ast, 4 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl), Connor George 3 (2 reb) Jordan Starr 2 (6 blk, 5 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl), Jordan VanOmmering (3 reb, 3 ast), Daniel Hoffman (1 reb, 1 ast) Kale Baldado (1 reb, 1 ast), T.J. Lowery (2 reb).
Slow Start Simply a Speed Bump for Braves
© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON (2-25-15) — Things started well for visiting Olympian on Tuesday night (Feb. 24). Sophomore guard Joe Liang hit his first two three point attempts, junior Jerome Hoover was 3-4 from the floor with six points and the Eagles had host El Cajon Valley on the ropes in the No. 1 vs. No. 16 match-up in Division III, leading 17-15 in the Braves home gym.
Slowly, almost methodically, the Braves got moving. "Sometimes it takes us awhile to get going, and I know our free throws were bad tonight," related coach MARTY ELLIS after the game. Ellis' honest assessment of his team's woes from the free-throw line were reminiscent of any good coach, the things that stick out are not always the highlights and statistical positives.
Senior guard IBRAHIM ALI was solid once again with 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals. DION DEAN racked up 17 points and three rebounds. Six of Dean's points came in the first quarter, when El Cajon Valley was looking for someone to take over.
Meanwhile, quietly, meticulously and almost unnoticed, junior RONNE READUS was taking over the entire game for the Braves. Readus would finish the night with a monster line of 14 points, 22 rebounds and 8 blocks, but the impact of those numbers on the game was even more impressive. For one 5:27 stretch in the 3rd quarter, Readus collected 6 consecutive rebounds, four on the defensive end and two on the offensive end.
In that stretch senior teammate BRANDON RUMLEY was the only other player on either team to record a single rebound. Readus also blocked two shots out of bounds during the stretch and El Cajon's lead blossomed from 29-24 to 49-32. During the fourth quarter, Olympian saw another 3:59 stretch without a single point and more than six consecutive minutes without a field goal. Readus collected five rebounds and three blocks during that stretch as well.
"Its just consistency, if he (Ronne Readus) can give us 10 and 15 or 10 and 20, come on man. A guy that big in the middle, we can win a lot of games if he's consistent," remarked Ellis after the Braves closed out the visiting Eagles 71-40.
Ellis excited the home crowd when freshman ALI ALNIKELI was entered into the game with a few minutes to play. Alnikeli received the loudest cheers of the night when he connected on a free throw, but didn't stop there. Alnikeli also racked up a steal and layup before the final buzzer, finishing with three points.
El Cajon Valley earned a date with a tricky Montgomery team who has some streaky shooters in juniors Alex Torres and Kalib Pedro. Torres has landed nearly 120 three point field goals on the season. The Braves will host the Aztecs Friday night (Feb. 27) at home.
El Cajon Valley: Ibrahim Ali 20 (6 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl, 1 blk), Dion Dean 17 (3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk), Ronne Readus 14 (22 reb, 8 blk, 1 ast, 1 stl), Syon Hicks 9 (4 stl, 3 reb, 2 ast,), Brandon Rumley 6 (5 reb, 1 stl), Ali Alnikeli 3 (1 reb, 1 stl), Drake Afaisen 2 (2 Reb), Ricky Garcia (1 reb, 1 stl).
WEST HILLS 60, OTAY RANCH 52 – West Hills battled Otay Ranch to a 1-point advantage by half time of Tuesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego Section Division II playoff game, and moved the score to 43-41 by the end of the third quarter.
The Wolf Pack went on a 17-11 run in the fourth quarter to creep ahead to stay for the victory.
“We didn’t play our best but we live to play another day,” said Wolf Pack assistant coach LUCAS ARMSTRONG. “It was a great team effort, we had good games from multiple players.
“BRYCE PARSONS led us with 20 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
MARCO OVIES had 13 points to go with six assists. THOMAS REANEY had a quiet night with eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. RICARDO BARAJAS had 12 points.”
“We did a good job as a team of keeping Otay Ranch’s best player in check,” Armstrong continued. “We forced him to take some tough shots in the fourth quarter.”
West Hills: Bryce Parsons 20 (7 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk), Marco Ovies 13 (6 ast, 1 stl), Ricardo Barajas 12 (4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Thomas Reaney 8 (12 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 4 blk), Austin Alderson 5 (7 reb, 3 ast), Chris Moyer 2 (1 reb, 2 ast), Kyle Ruiz (1 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk), Issa Ghandour (2 reb), Marquell Cool (1 reb), Miguel Nava (1 blk).
VALHALLA (20-7) 76, POINT LOMA 42 – In first round of Division III CIF playoffs the 15th seeded Pointers of Point Loma traveled to Valhalla Tuesday (Feb. 24) to take on the second seeded Norsemen. Valhalla who is considered a perennial favorite to go deep in the playoffs took care of business 76-42 in a game that was never really in doubt.
In the first quarter it was all Valhalla as they were able to break the press defense of the Pointers and take full advantage from the get go. Valhalla went on a 17-0 streak to lead 22-5 with under 2:00. They were able to put the knockout punch for the quarter by finishing on a 20-4 run and led 25-9.
The second quarter was pretty much the same. The Pointers were able to put up some points but it wasn’t enough as the Norsemen took the second quarter 18-16 to take the 43-25 lead into the break. For the half the Norseman shot 13-25 from the field including 6-7 from behind the arc.
The second half saw Point Loma make a defensive adjustment by switching to man but it made no difference as the Norsemen were able to hit shots and lead by 21 early on. They built their largest lead at the time of 53-29 with 1:46 to play in the third. In the end Valhalla led 60-31.
The assassins of the evening for the Norsemen were JACOB HAMMETT and Henderson who both netted 22 points apiece. Hammett was perfect on the night from behind the arc, going 5-5 and Henderson nailed 3 of his own. Other contributors for the Norsemen included JORDAN ELLIS who chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds. JOHN MURAD had a good night as well despite being injured the last couple weeks, putting up eight points and nine rebounds and JAKE BASSETTE netted nine points and pulled in seven boards.
“It was an overall team effort and they came out from the get go and played with passion. It was definitely one of the best games played since early January and it was one we needed,” said Valhalla coach KEITH JACKSON.
It most definitely was a complete team effort as coach Jackson was able to empty his bench in the fourth period which saw the student section who had been rowdy the whole night cheer on the new guys. Valhalla was able to control 16-11 and lead in every period.
With the victory the Norsemen will now march on and take on the Patriots of Christian High, who went down to Central Union and pulled out the victory 48-46.
Valhalla: Jacob Hammett 22 (4 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk), Cole Henderson 22 (8 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jordan Ellis 10 (5 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Jake Bassette 9 (7 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), John Murad 7 (9 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Nathan Yousif 4 (1 reb, 3 ast), Matthew Sako 2 (1 reb, 3 ast), Carson Baker ( 3 reb), Christian White (1 stl), Malique Shaw (1 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk)
— Adam Paul
SANTA FE CHRISTIAN 52, GROSSMONT 45 – Santa Fe Christian brought a long-ranger to counter Grossmont’s 6-foot-10 center TOMMY RUTHERFORD in Tuesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego Section Division I first round playoff contest.
Jack Langborg nailed 8 three-pointers in the first half of the game (out of 9 attempts), but was limited to just two buckets and two free throws in the second half after Grossmont made some defensive adjustments at halftime.
Grossmont was able to draw within 3 points of the Eagles late in the game but could get no closer, even though Rutherford was a force inside for the Foothillers. He was double- and triple-teamed all night, but still managed to post up 30 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
Grossmont: Tommy Rutherford 30 (11 reb, 6 blk), Jacob Denson 6 (4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Cameron Henderson 5, Jeremiah Appleton 4 (2 reb, 2 ast), Hunter Gaines 2 (4 reb).
POWAY 70, HELIX 49 – The Poway Titans led only 18-15 after the first quarter of Tuesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego Section Division I playoff contest, but increased their lead to 36-27 by halftime.
The third quarter was no better as the Titans led 56-33 and went on to claim the victory outright.
LUKE HOLLOWAY led Helix in scoring with 11 points. The rest of the Highlanders turned in balanced scoring but it wasn’t enough to overcome Poway’s efforts.
Helix: Luke Holloway 11 (6 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Malik Tambwe 8 (4 reb, 2 stl), Qrizjiah Mobley 7 (6 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Eisaiah Blair 6 (6 reb, 2 blk), Marvin Roberts 5 (2 reb, 1 stl), Jaylin Arnold 5 (5 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Jumar Wynn 3 (4 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk), Gary Linson 2 (8 reb), Justin Flisher 2 (2 reb, 3 ast), Marcus Norris (2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jordan Velasco (2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), DaJuan Roberts (1 reb, 1 stl).
CORONADO 73, MONTE VISTA 50 – Coronado jumped out to a 20-10 lead over Monte Vista in Tuesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego Section Division III playoff contest in the first quarter.
The Monarchs were able to close the gap a little in the second quarter, scoring 10 points to the Islanders’ 13, but the third and fourth quarters were all Coronado.
SHAI STEVENSON led the Monarchs with 14 points. DEVRON YOUNG scored11 points and was 5 of 7 on free throw shooting, while TRE OWENS added 11 points. Freshman DIONDRE McHAYLE grabbed a team high 10 rebounds for Monte Vista.
Monte Vista: Devron Young 15, Shai Stevenson 14, Tre Owens 11, Terry Bone 6, Diondre McHayle 2, Adam Wallace 2.
RANCHO BERNARDO 73, GRANITE HILLS 31 – Rancho Bernardo jumped out to a 16-9 first quarter lead in Tuesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego Section Division III first round playoff game, and Granite Hills was never able to close the gap. The halftime score was 40-13 and it only got worse.
“They were athletic and we just turned the ball over too much,” said Eagles coach RANDY ANDERSON. “We didn’t get back on defense in transition.”
ANTONIO READ led Granite Hills with 11 points.
Granite Hills: Antonio Read 11 (2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Frankie Lucatuorto 6 (5 reb), David Setterberg 4 (2 reb, 3 blk), Ryan Kelly 2 (2 reb, 1 blk), Cameron Spitzer 2 (2 reb, 1 ast), Michael Ledezma 2 (3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, Noor Noory 2, Erin Swinson (1 ast).
PACIFIC RIDGE 45, SANTANA 34 – In first round action of the Division IV playoffs the 15th seeded Santana Sultans traveled to Carlsbad to take on the second seeded Pacific Ridge Firebird.
Unfortunately another East County team bit the dust as the Firebird got the victory 45-34 to move on and take on Mission Vista on Friday evening (Feb. 27. The Firebird took the first quarter via a 16-6 advantage but the Sultans attempted to make the comeback in the first half by limiting the Firebird to six second quarter points but Pacific Ridge still led 22-17 at the break.
The second half was pretty much even starting with the third period as Pacific Ridge took it 15-13. The final stanza was low scoring as both teams failed to score double-digits. Despite coming into the game as big underdogs the Sultans were able to push Pacific Ridge to the limit and despite the scoreboard outcome should be vastly improved next year.
Leading the way for the Sultans was RYAN BRATLIEN who netted 10 points.
Santana: Ryan Bratlien 10 (5 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Mitchell Miller 6 (6 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Frankie Gutierrez 4 (5 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl), Trent Baugh 4 (1 reb, 1 blk), Anthony Romero 3 (3 reb), Sage Hicks 3 (2 reb, 3 ast), Anthony Romero 3 (3 reb), Austin Miller 2 (1 reb, 1 stl), Nathan Ball 2 (4 reb), Daulton Barry (3 reb, 1 ast)
— Adam Paul
EL CAPITAN 69, MAR VISTA 46 – No report was received for this Division IV San Diego Section playoff contest.
LA JOLLA COUNTRY DAY 48, STEELE CANYON 46 (OT) – No report was received for this Division II San Diego Section playoff contest.
CHRISTIAN 48, CENTRAL UNION 46 – No report was received for this Division III San Diego Section playoff contest.
For previous 2014-15 coverage, click here.