Boys basketball: Crusaders top Mustangs for 3-0 Mesa League start
In a battle of teams off to 2-0 starts in Mesa League play, host Mater Dei Catholic got the better of Otay Ranch in posting a 71-48 victory on Wednesday. MDC’s Spencer Vering led all scorers with 16 points, followed by teammates Lorenzo Eribez (14 points) and Iman Chatman-Dixon (13 points). Nikko Peranada keyed Otay Ranch (8-11 overall, 2-1 in league) with 13 points.
The Crusaders, who built a 22-3 first quarter lead, improved to 15-5 overall. “It’s awesome to start league 3-0,” Vering said. “We just played hard, played our game and played with composure.”
No. 9-ranked San Ysidro improved to 6-0 in South Bay League play, 16-6 overall, following Wednesday’s 104-46 victory against visiting Castle Park (6-10, 0-6). The Cougars, who dropped a 71-62 overtime game to No. 3 El Camino as part of Monday’s MLK Showcase at Hoover High School, received 22 points from Keeko Sinegal, 21 points from Orlando Quinones and 20 points from John Crowder. Ronald Steward led SYHS with 19 points in Monday’s high profile non-league clash.
Raiders remain perfect in South Bay League play
The Southwest Raiders defeated the host Sweetwater Red Devils, 2-1, on Tuesday to extend their unbeaten streak to nine games (eight victories, one tie) and, in the process, advance their South Bay League record to 6-0. The Raiders improved to 9-3-1 overall. Gabe Alamillo and Jose Duran scored goals in each half to offset a first-half marker by SuHi’s Julio Roman. The ball took its usual odd bounces on the Red Devils’ infamously bumpy field. Sweetwater dropped to 2-3-1 in league play, 3-9-2 overall.
Southwest kicked off the season 1-3 but has gone undefeated since recording a 2-0 non-league win against visiting Lincoln on Dec. 14. The Raiders topped the visiting Montgomery Aztecs, 2-0, in a South Bay League game played Jan. 17. Rafael Espinoza and Hector Silahua each scored goals while Rene Venegas was credited with the shutout. All are juniors.
Southwest, which advanced as far as last year’s San Diego Section Division III semifinals, will play a key match this coming Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Chula Vista High School. The Spartans improved to 14-2-2 (5-1 in league play) following Tuesday’s 3-0 victory against visiting Montgomery (8-5-2, 3-2-1).
Titans top Mustangs for 3-0 Mesa League kick-start
Gillian Stargensky scored off a pass from Becca Torres with seven minutes to play to cap a 1-0 win over the Otay Ranch Mustangs on Tuesday and lift the visiting Eastlake Titans to their third consecutive Mesa League shutout victory. The game-winning play started on a steal by Ridley Gatlin, who also received an assist. The Titans, who improved to 8-1-4 overall, took 12 shots in the match. EHS goalkeeper Jojo McCaskill made four saves to record the shutout, the team’s 12th this season. McCaskill had allowed one goal in 681 minutes of play to go with 50 saves.
The Titans defeated Mater Dei Catholic, 3-0, on Jan. 17 after shading Bonita Vista, 1-0, in the teams’ league opener on Jan. 15. Otay Ranch dropped to 0-2-1 in league play, 2-8-5 overall.
State-ranked Mustang mat man takes fifth in elite field
Otay Ranch’s Tommy Espinoza placed fifth at 113 pounds at last weekend’s Temecula Valley Battle for the Belt tournament. Espinoza, the weight bracket’s seventh seed, defeated Shasta’s Matt Smull, the fifth seed, by a 3-1 decision. Espinoza entered the 75-team tournament ranked sixth in the state.
Espinoza won his opening three matches in the two-day tournament (Jan. 18-19) to advance to the quarterfinals. The Mustang mat man finished 6-2 overall. His only losses were to the wrestlers who finished third and fourth in the division: Green Valley’s Sean Cannon (seeded second) and Vacaville’s Peralta Gionn (seeded fourth). Espinoza may move up in the state rankings after defeating Smull, who had been ranked fifth entering the Temecula Valley tournament.
Clovis won the team title with 228.5 points ahead of runner-up Bethlehem Catholic (226 points) and third place Poway (220.5 points). Poway 145-pounder Victor Lopez was named the tournament’s Champion of Champions with three pins, one major decision and one decision. Poway finished with seven medalists — the most of any San Diego Section team entered. Besides Lopez, Titan teammate Ralphy Tovar won the 132-pound title.