Harold Abend's San Diego Section Roundup

While most of the emails have been positive with respect to my San Diego Section Girls All Star Teams and the subsequent reserves released last week, we have taken some real heat for our Boys All-Star Team after both the girls and boys teams were posted on the CalHiSports.com web site.

One reader wrote "you have no knowledge of boys basketball in San Diego County"...and "you outta do your homework, because there are 15 guards in San Diego better then Andrew Olson (Rancho Bernardo)." While I respect anyone's opinion who gets out and personally sees the players and the games, I have to think this fellow must be blind...or knows nothing about basketball. I was convinced of this after going to the web site he referred me to and saw Horizon ranked 4th in San Diego and Escondido 5th. I didn't bother to waste my time looking at any more.

The problem with most of these local and even national ranking web sites and services (especially USA Today) is the people doing the rankings rarely see the games or the players. What's worse is when these national rankings (especially USA Today) then ignore what people say who do see the games. It would be nice to see some of these prognosticators actually there. I am....and I'll be at the sections, regionals and state championships.

While it is impossible to be perfect when selecting an all star team, we congratulate the 25 girls and 10 boys who were previously chosen. The following is our Boys Second Team making it 25 girls and 27 boys total:

Boys All Star 2nd Team (in alphabetical order)

Justin Armstrong -- El Camino
Craig Austin -- Carlsbad
Lorenzo Keeler -- Escondido
Anthony Palmer -- San Diego
Chris Petrovic -- San Pasqual
Ryan Read -- Horizon
Keith Spencer -- Eastlake
Enrico Tucker -- USDHS
Chauncey Wiseman -- San Diego
Jake Wohlfiel -- La Jolla


Jared Boswell -- El Capitan
Nick Corso -- Santa Fe Christian
Jeremy Croff -- Rancho Buena Vista
Dwight Gooden -- Bonita Vista
Adam Green -- San Marcos
Marlon Howe -- Fallbrook
Lafayette Lofton -- Brawley

Back to the girls...

When the Kearny Komets came blazing into their own gym last week against the San Diego Cavers (23-3), their full court press and some early hot outside shooting -- coupled with Charde Houston's recording only one field goal in the first quarter -- helped the hosts forge a 24-20 lead at the end of the opening stanza. It was looking as though Kearny might finally beat the Cavers after losing the first two meetings this year between the teams.

Then, what Houston, senior Bobbie Waldon and freshman Elise Paty did to Kearny over the next two quarters was the equivalent of a comet hitting a frozen asteroid the size of Jupiter. Houston began to take control at both ends of the court...and Walden and Paty ignited a 14-0 run in the second quarter that seemed to break the spirit of Kearny.

The first quarter lead melted and turned into a 47-38 halftime deficit. Like a prizefighter seeing blood, Houston not only dismantled the press, but she put on a splendid display of dribbling, driving the lane and dishing to an open Waldon and Paty who buried three-pointer after three-pointer. After three quarters the Cavers had blistered the nets and the pine for an insurmountable 80-56 lead. A 10-2 run to begin the fourth quarter opened the lead to 32 at 90-58 as San Diego coasted home to an impressive 103-76 victory.

"Coach (Marlon Wells) was on me all week, telling me this was my last chance to make a statement as a senior," said Waldon, who certainly did with a team and career high 31 points to go with 11 rebounds.

Paty, whom Wells calls "the newcomer of the year in the San Diego Section," was like a dagger in the hearts of Kearny, burying four three-pointers en route to 14 points.

As for Houston, it's no wonder the 6-2 junior has college coaches salivating. She was everywhere on the court...and was literally a one-woman wrecking crew in recording a triple double (nearly a quadruple-double) with 29 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 8 blocked shots and 6 steals.

Kearny (17-3) was led by Daphne Kennedy with 27. She also had 33 later in the week as the Komets took their frustration out on Mira Mesa with an 88-55 win. It's the three losses to San Diego, however, that blemish their otherwise perfect record. Always upbeat Komet coach Scotty Gilbert took the loss to San Diego in stride. "I'd rather play and lose to a top ranked team like San Diego...I take my hat off to them. This can only help us raise our level of play for the Div III championships."

Anyone who might be writing off the La Jolla Country Day Torres (because superstar Candice Wiggins is injured and on the shelf until next month) better rethink that opinion. With only one rock...and with coach Terri Bamford having a full supply of young women eager to get it in their hands...the injury to Wiggins has created a sense of urgency for others to step up and pick up the loss of her almost 30 points a game scoring average. Sophomore point guard LaToya Cunningham is starting to turn some heads of her own in recent games. Together with junior center Marissa Rivera and sophomores Mercedes Fox-Griffin and Ashley Booker, the Torres coasted this past week in games against Horizon and Francis Parker.

Against Horizon in a 67-22 shellacking on Tuesday, all four were in double figures with Fox-Griffin leading the way with 15 points and nine steals. Booker had 14 points and Rivera recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Cunningham had 10 points, 9 assists and 9 steals.

On Friday, the Torres blew past Francis Parker and the section's third leading scorer, Linda Pace, by using a stifling defense and red hot outside shooting in winning 73-31. Cunningham was phenomenal going 5-for-8 from three-point land and finished with 25 points, 9 steals, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Rivera, who up until last week had never played a game in high school without Wiggins (including two state championships), is starting to really find her inside game. Against Parker she controlled the paint on both ends with 14 points, 18 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 blocked shots. Fox-Griffin turned in another solid performance with 13 points and 7 assists.

"Coach (Terri Bamford) gave me the green light to do what I need to do...and I'm going to go out and do it," said Cunningham, who is climbing the charts of top players in the section in major chunks...and handles the ball as well as any 10th grader I have ever seen.

As for Rivera, she is now in a position as a co-captain of the team to really provide some needed leadership for her younger teammates. "I know I need to dig down deep and reach for something extra with Candice out. I need and want to be a team leader right now."

This week is the big test for Country Day against Kearny. The question is...will they handle the pressure...and be able to stop the high-flying Komets? I think the Wiggins-less Torres are going to do a lot better than many believe.

Next week we will feature some boys games.

Editor's note: Harold Abend is the primary San Diego Section correspondent for CalHiSports.com. He also has served as a media relations assistant for the CIF state office for many years.

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