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CIF winter sports playoffs to draw best out of South County elite student-athletes Phillip Brents | Tue, Feb 21 2012 12:54 AM

The San Diego Section winter sports playoffs are in full swing this week and next week as the road to state championships in wrestling, boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer (Southern California regionals) takes its winding — and often unexpected — turns.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect:

Metro Conference mat men claimed four individual weight class championships at last Saturday’s San Diego Section divisional finals as qualifying began for this weekend’s two-day San Diego Masters state qualifying tournament at Otay Ranch High School.

South County wrestlers had the most success at the Division III tournament at Mt. Miguel High School with five finalists and two individual champions.

Hilltop had three finalists and one champion at the Division II finals at Westview High School while Otay Ranch (one champion) and San Ysidro (one runner-up) each sent one wrestler to the championship round at the Division I tournament at Poway High School.

The Metro Conference scored respect with 10 finalists between the four divisional tournaments and 44 Masters qualifiers. (The Grossmont Conference had seven individual champions, 14 finalists and 48 Masters qualifiers.)

See Friday’s print edition of The Star-News for details of who won and who will compete at this weekend’s Masters tournament.

The top three place-winners at San Diego Masters qualify for the state championship tournament March 3-4 in Bakersfield.

The Masters brackets feature 24 wrestlers in each weight class. Action starts Friday at 10 a.m. and resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m., with finals are scheduled at 5 p.m.

A staggering 22 South County prep basketball teams — 11 boys teams and 11 girls teams — will take the hardwood this week in post-season play.

First-round action for boys teams will tip-off Tuesday at 7 p.m. and continue with quarterfinal-round action on Friday, Feb. 24, at the site of the higher-seeded team.

Four teams will compete in Tuesday’s Division I openers: South Bay League co-champion San Ysidro (23-5) as the No. 3 seed, Mesa League champion Eastlake (18-9) as the No. 6 seed, South Bay League co-champion Sweetwater as the No. 12 seed and Otay Ranch (16-10) as the No. 16 seed.

Both San Ysidro and Eastlake will have home games. San Ysidro will host No. 14 Rancho Bernardo (12-16) while Eastlake will host No. 11 Rancho Buena Vista (11-17).

Eastlake completed a 10-0 run through Mesa League play by defeating visiting Bonita Vista last Thursday, 64-42, behind 19 points from Adrian Tabula and 16 points from Ivan Sinclair.

Meanwhile, Sweetwater forced a tie for the South Bay League championship with a do-or-die 91-86 victory at San Ysidro, also last Thursday. Four Red Devils scored in double figures: Johnny Gonzalez (32 points), Spencer Mattox (21), Junior Bautista (15) and C.J. Cadua (13).

Javion Watson keyed San Ysidro with 33 points while Ronald Stewart (18), Christian Paris (15) and Fernando Ahumada (10) also scored in double digits. Watson is averaging 27.3 points this season.

Sweetwater, however, will play a road game at fifth-seeded Vista (22-7) for its reward while Otay Ranch, the runner-up team in the Mesa League, will play at top-seeded El Camino (21-7).

A San Ysidro-Eastlake quarterfinal match-up is set up for Friday at 7 p.m. should both league champions win their opening-round games.

Torrey Pines (18-10) is seeded No. 2 in Division I.

Olympian (18-9) and Montgomery (18-10) drew the eighth and ninth seeds, respectively in the Division III playoffs and will tip off against one another in Tuesday’s opening round. Olympian, which finished third in the Mesa League standings, will host the Aztecs, the third-place finisher in the South Bay League.

The winner of Tuesday’s Olympian-Montgomery game likely will advance to meet top-seeded Cathedral Catholic (24-3) in Friday’s quarterfinals. Grossmont Valley League runner-up Mt. Miguel (22-6) grabbed the No. 2 seed in the Division III boys bracket.

Mater Dei Catholic (9-17) and High Tech Chula Vista (10-14) both received assignments in the Division IV playoffs. No. 8 Mater Dei will host ninth-seeded Guajome Park (16-9) while HTCV will play at sixth-seeded Christian (16-7) in Tuesday’s opening round.

Francis Parker (15-11) is seeded No. 1 in the division while Army-Navy Academy (21-6) is seeded No. 2.

Three local teams are represented in the Division V playoff field: No. 6 San Diego Academy (16-5), No. 7 Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy (17-6) and No. 13 Ocean View Christian Academy (9-9).

SDA will host No. 11 Vista Calvary Christian while CV Calvary Christian will host No. 10 Pacific Ridge (8-14) in first-round games on Tuesday. OVCA will play at No. 4 Tri-City Christian (18-80.

Sunset League champion Foothills Christian (16-11) received the No. 1 seed in the Division V boys field while The Rock Academy (15-9) is seeded No. 2.

First-round action for girls teams tips off Wednesday at 7 p.m., with winning teams advancing to quarterfinal-round play on Saturday.

Eastlake (25-3) and Sweetwater (17-8) will each host games in Wednesday’s opening round of the Division I playoffs. No. 7 Eastlake, which finished second in the Mesa League standings, will host No. 10 Torrey Pines (13-14) while South Bay League champion Sweetwater will host No. 9 El Camino (14-11).

Eastlake takes a four-game winning streak into its opening playoff game after squeezing out a 35-34 come-from-behind victory against Bonita Vista last Thursday. Darrian Castillio paced the winners with 14 points, including the game-winning basket.

Sweetwater also carries a four-game winning streak into its playoff opener. The Red Devils closed out regular season play last Thursday with a 53-39 victory against San Ysidro. Candice Akaigbe led SuHi with 27 points.

Bonita Vista (15-12) qualified for the Division II playoffs as the No. 8 seed and will host ninth-seeded Ramona (13-13) in Wednesday’s opening round.

Olympian (14-12), Castle Park (10-10) and Montgomery (10-15) each received opening round assignments in the Division III field. Olympian is seeded sixth and will host No. 11 Imperial (18-9) while No. 14 Castle Park will play at third-seeded Our Lady of Peace Academy (18-11) and No. 15 Montgomery will play at second-seeded Mt. Miguel (22-5).

Mesa League champion Mater Dei Catholic (20-5) received the No. 3 seed in the Division IV playoff bracket and drew a first-round bye. The Crusaders will host Wednesday’s first-round winner between No. 6 Francis Parker (7-17) and The Preuss School (3-11).

The Bishop’s School (17-8) is seeded second in the division while La Jolla Country Day (25-1) is seeded No. 1 in the division. LJCD is ranked No. 1 in the nation in one prep poll.

Cardedra Evans leads MDC with a 14.4 season scoring average, followed by teammates Kandiss Barber (12.9), Alexandria Young (12.0) and Brittani Lusain (11.0).

The Crusaders closed out league play last Thursday with an 83-40 victory against Otay Ranch as Evans poured in 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

Mater Dei is currently working on a 13-game winning streak.

The Division V playoff field is chock full of South County entrants, with Ocean View (19-2) seeded No. 1, Chula Vista Calvary Christian (14-8) seeded No. 8, Lutheran (10-10) seeded No. 10 and San Diego Academy (6-12) seeded No. 15.

Ocean View will host No. 16 Escondido Adventist (6-14) in Wednesday’s opening round while Calvary Christian will host No. 9 Julian (8-11). Lutheran will play at No. 7 Liberty (13-2) while SDA will play at No. 2 TCC (18-6).

Ocean View finished as this year’s Sunset League champions with a 10-0 record while CCA and Lutheran tied for second place with 7-3 league records and SDA placed fourth in the league standings at 4-6.

Sabrina Johnson paced OVCA past SDA, 46-14, in last Thursday’s league finale with 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Semifinals follow on Feb. 28 (boys) and Feb. 29 (girls).

Championship games will be played at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion. Finals in Division V and Division II are scheduled for Friday, March 2, while finals in Division IV, Division III and Division I will take place on Saturday, March 3.

Metro Conference soccer teams appear to have received their due respect at last Saturday’s seeding meeting.

Mesa League champion Hilltop (18-2-3) received the No. 1 seed in the Division II boys field while South Bay League champion Southwest (14-3-2) received the No. 2 seed in the Division III boys field, Mater Dei Catholic (14-5-1) received the No. 2 seed in the Division IV boys field, Mesa League champion Eastlake (13-3-2) received the No. 3 seed in the Division I girls field and Mesa League runner-up Bonita Vista (18-4-3) received the No. 3 seed in the Division II girls field.

All those teams receive byes to the quarterfinals. Boys teams will play on Friday while girls teams will play on Saturday.

Hilltop will host either eighth-seeded Valhalla (7-7-6) or ninth-seeded Southwest El Centro (12-8-2) Friday at 5 p.m.

Southwest will host either No. 7 Santana (12-9-2) or No. 10 Olympian (11-9-1) Friday at 7 p.m. at Montgomery High School.

Mater Dei Catholic will host either No. 7 Bishop’s (8-6-3) or No. 10 Crawford (6-3-3) Friday at 4:45 p.m.

Eastlake will host either No. 6 Grossmont (12-7-3) or No. 11 San Diego (12-7) Saturday while Bonita Vista will host either No. 6 Steele Canyon (14-7-2) or No. 11 Point Loma (9-8-4), also on Saturday in a pair of games with starting times TBA.

Hilltop, last year’s Division II runner-up team, is led by the dynamic duo of Omar Hernandez (22 goals, seven assists) and Jimmy Estrada (10 goals, 22 assists). Estrada, last year’s Division II Player of the Year, has been sidelined by a recent injury but is expected to see post-season action.

Hilltop overwhelmed visiting Bonita Vista, 5-0, last Thursday to close out league play in a rematch of last year’s Division II championship contest. Hernandez finished the game with three goals while teammates Rigoberto Maciel and Steven Jaramillo each scored once. Goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas recorded the shutout win with five saves.

The shutout was the seventh for Zendejas this season.

Southwest enters post-season play riding the momentum of an eight-game winning streak. The Raiders topped Mar Vista, 6-1, last Thursday behind three goals from Francisco Ramirez and single tallies by Marcos Astorga, Carlos Ramirez and Luis Nunez.

Three other South County boys teams also qualified for this week’s CIF playoffs.

Chula Vista (14-3-8) is seeded No. 6 in Division I and will host No. 11 Otay Ranch (11-5-4) in a first-round elimination game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Montgomery High School. The winner advances to meet No. 3 Poway (15-4-7) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

High Tech Chula Vista (11-4-2) is seeded No. 8 in the Division IV field and will host ninth-seeded Holtville (14-6-1) in Tuesday’s opening round at 5 p.m. The winner advances to meet top-seeded Coronado (18-2-1) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Among girls teams, Eastlake is undefeated in its last 11 games (9-0-2). The Titans concluded league play last Thursday with a 5-1 victory at Olympian to finish 8-0-2 atop the Mesa standings.

Bonita Vista, which finished 7-2-1 in league play, closed out regular season play with a 2-0 victory against visiting Hilltop behind goals from Kassy Castillo and Devon Roncoroni.

Four other South County teams join the above-mentioned teams in this week’s CIF girls playoffs.

South Bay League champion San Ysidro (15-6-2) is seeded No. 12 in Division I but will host fifth-seeded Poway (9-7-3) in Wednesday’s opening round. Otay Ranch (10-10-3) is seeded No. 7 in Division I and will host No. 10 Escondido (8-8-4).

Hilltop is seeded ninth in Division II and will play at ninth-seeded Mt. Carmel (11-6-3) in Wednesday’s opening round.

Chula Vista High Tech (18-4-2) is seeded No. 6 in the Division IV field and will host No. 11 High Tech San Diego (13-5-3) in Wednesday’s opening round.

Torrey Pines (15-3-1) is seeded No. 1 in Division I, with Carlsbad (15-4-1) seeded No. 2. Westview (22-1-2) is seeded No. 1 in Division II, with La Costa Canyon (17-3-2) seeded No. 2. 

 Quarterfinal games are scheduled Friday, Feb. 24, for boys teams and Saturday, Feb. 25, for girls teams. Semifinals follow on Feb. 28 (boys) and Feb. 29 (girls).

Championship games are set for Saturday, March 3, at Serra High and Mater Dei Catholic high schools.

Girls water polo

Otay Ranch, seeded seventh in the Division I field, ended its school record season with a 12-6 loss to No. 2 Granite Hills in last Friday’s quarterfinals at La Jolla High School. The Mustangs finished the season 21-5 following a first-round victory against 10th-seeded Escondido.

Sarah Medina led Otay Ranch with three goals, six steals and four ejections earned while Tori Kelly contributed one goal and three steals, Kelsey Eaton had one goal and one steal, Sara Gagarin had three steals and Bri Patricio had 15 goalie saves.

Defending Division II champion Valhalla received the No. 1 seed and defeated Grossmont South League rival Steele Canyon, 12-6, in quarterfinal-round action last Saturday. The win moves the Norsemen (23-7) into Wednesday’s semifinals against fourth-seeded Ramona (15-15), with the winner advancing to Saturday’s Division II championship game at 5 p.m. at LJHS.

Granite Hills (30-2) will be out to join Valhalla in this weekend’s finals. Last Friday’s win over the Mustangs advanced the reigning Grossmont South League champions to Tuesday’s semifinal match-up against third-seeded Grossmont, with the winner qualifying for Saturday’s Division I championship game at 2:30 p.m. at LJHS.

In first round action last Thursday, sixth-seeded El Capitan (22-7) defeated South Bay League champion Mar Vista, 15-5, in a Division III contest. The 11th-seeded Mariners finished the season 8-0 in league play, 14-13 overall.

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