The San Diego Section boys basketball top 10 is getting downright crowded with Metro Conference teams. Entering the week, the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders held down the No. 2 position behind top-ranked St. Augustine, followed by the Sweetwater Red Devils at No. 5 and Eastlake Titans at No. 8.
The Titans were the latest South County team to demand recognition after setting a pair of milestones recently.
Eastlake defeated visiting Escondido, 65-52, in a non-league game on Jan. 14 to hand head coach Alex Estrada his 300th career win with the Titans. On Jan. 9, Eastlake topped host Poway in overtime, 64-53, in a Clash of the Titans match-up to secure the program’s 400th victory in school history.
Eastlake’s rich hoops tradition began in 1992 under coach Forest Partch, who recorded collected 102 wins in six varsity seasons, including league titles in 1994 and 1995 during the school’s first two seasons of varsity sports.
The Titans secured their 400th program win in dramatic fashion. Leading the way in the historic win were LeAndre Powell, who scored 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, 6-foot-6 junior Justin Young, who added 14 points, and senior captain Marcos, who Meza dropped in 13 points.
The win over Poway jump-started a key three-game non-conference sweep against Division I opponents. Eastlake defeated visiting Morse, 61-56, on Jan. 11, and capped the run with the key 18-point come-from-behind win over Escondido a week later.
During Estrada's tenure the Titans have won 10 league titles, a San Diego Section division championship in 2001 and a CIF runner-up finish in 2006.
Eastlake (16-4) tipped off its bid for a 13th school league title with a 51-44 setback at Mater Dei Catholic on Wednesday, but host the Crusaders on Feb. 11.
The Crusaders’ win over the Titans on Wednesday was the team’s ninth consecutive. However, the hosts had to rebound from a 10-5 first quarter deficit in order to go up 1-0 in league play.
The Crusaders, who improved to 16-2 overall, led by 18 points entering the fourth quarter after getting their shooting game in gear and executing a solid defensive game-plan. MDC went on a 19-0 scoring run to resurrect its chances of winning the game by taking a 26-10 lead.
However, the Crusaders were forced to hang on after the Titans roared back in the final quarter, trimming the deficit to five points — 46-41 — with just under a minute to play.
Robert Harris led MDC with a team-high 15 points.
Sweetwater recorded a 100-62 non-league win over visiting San Ysidro Friday night to improve to 15-0 on the season. The secret to the Red Devils’ latest victory was no secret — what has become SuHi’s trademark pressure defense.
Spencer Mattox and C.J. Cadua each scored 24 points to ignite the Devils’ offense against the Cougars. Oscar Picazo (19) and Alvin Imperial (14) also scored in double digits to fan the SuHi offensive attack.
Lynard Steward led San Ysidro (7-11) with 20 points before fouling out of the game. He entered the game averaging 28.5 points per game.
Sweetwater previously defeated host Southwest, 116-30, on Wednesday. The Red Devils host Mar Vista in a non-league game next Wednesday (6 p.m. tip-off) and play at Montgomery next Friday. (7 p.m. tip-off).