San Diego Section Roundup

The San Diego Section begins its own version of the Final Four this week...only it's a Final Forty since that's how many boys and girls teams combined were left contesting the five divisional crowns. The goal of every player and coach left competing is a trip to the state's capital and a game on the same court where Jason Kidd single-handedly brought home the state championship.

Division I Boys

The only surprise in this division is Rancho Bernardo and Georgia-bound Mohamed Abukar losing to Southwest (17-12) in the first round, 65-61. Southwest continued the run on the road in the quarterfinals by outscoring Mt. Carmel 28-17 in the second half and coming away with a 49-39 win. The reward was a semifinal match-up against El Camino (28-2). The Wildcats pounded Bonita Vista 84-40 in the first round, then hit the century mark in a high scoring affair against La Costa Canyon. Mikel Watson tossed in 35 points and Gyno Pomare had 17 points and 21 rebounds as El Camino moved into the semis with a 100-83 decision.

In the lower bracket Torrey Pines (24-5) has moved through to the semis by virtue of a 69-48 win over Morse and a 63-55 decision against Fallbrook. If Torrey is to have a chance to win a title, Josh Kramer must step up his play and Avi Fogel will have to remain hot. Against Morse, Fogel had 19 second half points to finish with 21 and against Fallbrook he had an exceptional game and finished with 29.

San Diego (23-4) was the Falcons' opponent in the semis. On Wednesday, San Diego's fast paced game took its toll on Poway. The Titans actually led 46-45 at the end of three before the Cavers exploded for 28 fourth quarter points to win handily 73-55. As they have done all season, 6-4 junior Chauncey Wiseman led the barrage and finished with a game high 23 points while fellow junior, 5-11 Anthony Palmer, had 22. On Saturday, Cavers coach Dennis Kane brought a leprechaun to ride his shoulder and got the monkey off his back. In a game that was nip and tuck for almost the entire 32 minutes, San Diego scored the game's final six points against Carlsbad after the Lancers' two top players fouled out in the final 2:36 of the contest. Still it took an unbelievable one-armed rebound and tip-in by 6'5" senior Brandon Glenn with 46.9 seconds, one of two free throws by Glenn at 19.8 remaining...and some talking to the leprechaun by Kane as San Diego's defense would not allow Carlsbad to get a good look for a possible game tying "3" as time expired.

Division I Girls

The top two seeds, El Camino and San Diego, would appear on a collision course and could possibly set up an El Camino-San Diego boys and girls section finals.

El Camino roughed up Southwest on Tuesday 74-37 as 6-2 junior Nikki Oakland had 16 points and 22 rebounds. Then on Friday, Oakland threw down 18 points as the Wildcats easily handled West Hills 64-42.

Meanwhile San Diego (23-5) swarmed all over Calexico Tuesday in winning 107-37, as Charde Houston sizzled the nets for 53 points while pulling down 12 rebounds to go with six steals. Friday against La Costa Canyon it was much of the same as Houston had 39 points and freshman dead-eye Elise Paty buried eight three-pointers for her 24 points as the Cavers clubbed the Mavericks 103-52.

El Camino draws an always tough Rancho Bernardo (22-6) squad while San Diego is matched against Poway (19-9) in the semis this Friday at Mira Mesa.

Division II Boys

All four of the seeded teams made it through to the semifinals to be held on Wednesday at Torrey Pines. No. 1 Helix (22-6) will face No. 4 Serra (18-8) while No. 3 Scripps Ranch (17-10) takes on No. 2 Escondido (19-8). This will be a division we will cover in more depth for the finals.

Division II Girls

Defending champion Santana is out after falling on the road to Serra (21-5) on Friday 54-41, but it is not really an upset as Serra was the No. 4 seed and has been playing well all year. The win gives the Conquistadors the right to face No. 1 seed El Capitan (20-7), which won its game against Grossmont 80-60 after a first round bye. In the lower bracket, No. 2 seed Mt. Miguel (25-3) rolled past Patrick Henry 65-50 to set up a semifinal contest with Orange Glen (23-6), a 58-39 winner over Scripps Ranch.

Division III Boys

My sources tell me that No. 2 seed Brawley (22-3) may have the firepower to win what may be the most evenly matched division in the section. On Saturday, the Wildcats entertained high flying Rico Tucker and USDHS. Tucker threw down 31 points, however, Brawley hung on for a 74-71 victory and the right to meet No. 4 seed Steele Canyon (15-13) on Wednesday in the first half of the Division III semifinal doubleheader at Francis Parker. In the other half of the twin bill, No. 1 seed and favorite La Jolla (21-7) takes on St. Augustine (11-12) after outlasting Valley Center 69-63. St Augustine qualified for the semis by upending No. 4 seed Central Union, 85-81.

Division III Girls

As I have said before...I would be very surprised if this does not come down to a match-up of opposites in No. 1 seed Kearny and No. 2 seed Mission Bay. Kearny (20-3) moved past Valley Center 72-57 and met Southwest El Centro (18-10) in one half of the semifinal doubleheader Tuesday at Scripps Ranch. In the lower bracket Mission Bay (19-2) played La Jolla (12-12) after the Buccaneers crushed Our Lady of Peace 62-24 behind Amber Sprague and Amanda Rigo's 19 and 17 points respectively. La Jolla was a 61-37 winner over USDHS.

Division IV Boys

I can see what is on the Horizon...and it looks like another Panther versus Lincoln Hornets slugfest. It was checkmate fairly quickly for the Bishop's Knights last Saturday as the No. 4 state overall ranked Horizon (26-1) squad didn't even allow Bishop's to take a pawn in the first quarter. It was 25-0 at the end of one...and it didn't get better when it was 54-8 at the half. Mercifully, Panther coach Zack Jones carries a deep squad and the underclassmen came in for the second half. Jared Dudley barely broke a sweat for his 24 points and Alan Wiggins dropped in 19 with 13 boards. The Panthers will be feasting on the Islanders of Coronado (20-5), who won in a mild upset of La Jolla Country Day 58-52.

The Hornets will probably get a tough fight from a game Marian squad that advanced by way of a 60-44 drubbing of Francis Parker. For its part, Lincoln (27-2) actually trailed Palo Verde in its quarterfinal game 19-16 at the end of a quarter before finally waking up to win 91-71. Shaun Davis had his usual sparkler with 34 points, but they will need more buzzing against Marian and all the stingers for Horizon. I still want to see someone in this section stop any kind of boys basketball contest, exhibition or game.

Division IV Girls

The word is that Candice Wiggins was going to play in some way, shape or form for the semifinal against Francis Parker. Lincoln was tough against the Torreys in the quarters without Wiggins, but state No. 7 overall ranked La Jolla Country Day (22-4) still has plenty of depth and getting deeper each game. Against the Hornets it was Mercedes Fox-Griffin who led the way with 21 points in a 72-50 victory.

On the bottom half of the bracket, Bishop's played a tough Calipatria team (19-6), which answered critics of its No. 3 seed by downing Coronado and Alexis Castro, in a squeaker 38-37 at home. Bishops (18-5) rolled against Christian 61-33 as Bianna Gonzalez dropped in 17 points.

Wiggins' return, coupled with the maturing factor her absence had on her teammates, should make them strong enough to get to Sacramento. With some of the northern teams looking mortal recently...this could be a three-peat year. To make it there, Country Day must still win a few games. How strong is Candice? We will see soon.

Division V Boys

Top seed Santa Fe Christian (24-6) rolled into the semis with a blowout 98-31 win against West Shores while No. 2 seed Julian (22-4) got by Calvin Christian 86-73. I'm not sure anyone can match the Eagles, but we will have more on this division in the finals.

Division V Girls

Top seed Calvin Christian (13-9) gets No. 4 seed Escondido Adventist (14-7), however, I still feel, based on my sources that the winner will come from the bottom half of the bracket where No. 2 seed Julian (17-7) takes on No. 3 seed Santa Fe Christian (14-12). More on this division in the finals.

Editor's Note: Harold Abend is in his second year as the primary San Diego correspondent for Cal-Hi Sports. Harold is a public relations and marketing consultant in his real career and has aided the CIF state office in public relations for many years.

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