When Chula Vista High School’s girls basketball team takes the floor tonight (Friday, Feb. 22) at Poway High School, the Spartans will have something in hand they haven’t had since 1994: a playoff victory.
Behind 11 points, six rebounds and six steals by Sierra Thomas, eight points and eight rebounds by Danielle Menchaca, six points, 11 rebounds and two steals by Anessa Wolfblack and six points by Maria Tinajero, 10th-seeded Chula Vista eliminated the seventh-seeded Otay Ranch Mustangs, 35-28, Tuesday night in a San Diego Section opening round Division I playoff game.
“We came in to prove with hard work that if we played as a team and not individuals that we could win,” Thomas said. “Our motto all season has been that teamwork makes the dream work.”
The South Bay League champion Spartans — the school’s first league championship team in the sport in 19 years — faced an uphill battle at the onset from the higher-seeded Mustangs, fourth-place finishers in the Mesa League.
Otay Ranch bounded out to a 5-0 lead but the scoreboard read 24-14 at halftime in favor of the hosts.
The third quarter featured just six points between the teams — four by Chula Vista and two by the visitors. But the Mustangs came alive in the final quarter, registering 12 points to seven by the Spartans.
Marquisa Emerson dropped in a free throw with 1:48 to play to trim the CV lead to 33-25. A three-point bomb by the visitors with 17 seconds to play produced the final margin of victory: 35-28.
Emerson led Otay Ranch (19-9) with 11 points.
Briana Davis (15.6 points per game) and Isalys Quinones (14.2 ppg) entered the game as the Mustangs’ season scoring leaders.
Wolfblack (13.5 ppg) and Thomas (9.7 ppg), meanwhile, will lead the Spartans (18-8) into the quarterfinals against the second-seeded Titans (21-7). Poway eliminated 15th-seeded Fallbrook, 56-48, in its playoff opener.
Tip-off for tonight’s game is 7 p.m.
In other first-round playoff games on Tuesday:
Eighth-seeded Eastlake (18-10) topped ninth-seeded Torrey Pines (11-17) by a 69-50 score to advance to tonight’s quarterfinal match-up at top-seeded Granite Hills (23-6). Trianna Arreloa led the host Titans with 21 points, followed by teammates Taylor Smalley with 15 points and Sydney Williams-Kee with 12 points. Quinesha Vanhook also contributed 10 rebounds in a winning effort.
Thirteenth-seeded Sweetwater (13-13) ended its season with a 68-32 loss at fourth-seeded Vista (18-11). The Red Devils, who received 12 points from Anastacia Rodriguez, finished second in the South Bay League standings with a 9-3 record.
Third-seeded Olympian (19-10) won a 40-37 thriller from visiting La Jolla (14-16) to advance to tonight’s quarterfinal game against visiting Monte Vista. Kaylah Alexander led the Eagles with 14 points, eight rebounds and six steals while teammate Briah Haskin poured in 12 points.
Olympian finished 6-4 in league play — tied for second place with Bonita Vista. Sixth-seeded Monte Vista (23-6) is coming off a 65-46 first-round win over the visiting Castle Park Trojans (14-8).
The Trojans, who were paced by Danette Juric’s 20 points and Gloria Dukes’ 15 points, finished tied for third with the Montgomery Aztecs in the South Bay League standings with an 8-4 record. The ninth-seeded Aztecs (17-9) fell, 46-27, at eighth-seeded University City (14-10) to suffer playoff elimination.
#2 Patriots post 45-23 playoff win, seek return to title game
The second-seeded Ocean View Christian Academy girls basketball team (18-6) took the first step toward returning to the Division V championship game after defeating 15th-seeded Escondido Adventist (5-13) by a score of 45-23 in Tuesday’s opening round.
The Patriots will host either seventh-seeded San Pasqual Academy or 10th-seeded Julian in tonight’s quarterfinals at 7 p.m.
Ocean View finished 8-0 in Sunset League play to repeat as league champions. Johnson entered Tuesday’s playoff opener averaging 15.4 points per game, a herculean 17.7 rebounds per game and 6.4 assists per game. She posted 20 boards in Tuesday’s win while contributing 10 points. Malia Naputi led the Pats with 13 points.