Cougars, Barons end season with SoCal regional championships

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The San Yisdro High School boys basketball team banded together to win the Division IV-AA Southern California regional championship. Courtesy photo

The San Ysidro Cougars proved there was life after Mikey Williams, and in a big way.

Williams, who transferred to a school in North Carolina after the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down youth sports in California, was the celebrity factor in the Cougars’ drive to win the 2019 San Diego Section Division III championship.

He averaged 29.9 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game — and did it all with a flair uncharacteristic of a high school freshman.

San Ysidro advanced as far as two rounds in the Division IV Southern California regional playoffs in its quest to win a state championship. But the team’s final 25-9 record spoke volumes for its on-court success and off-court appeal.

And future.

Fast forward 15 months and the Cougars are champions again, and in somewhat surprising fashion.

After finishing 7-3 in third place in the Mesa League standings, San Ysidro earned the No. 6 seed in the Division I playoffs (after moving up two divisions from the 2020 playoffs). The Cougars defeated 11th-seeded Foothills Christian, 100-63, in the opening round on June 1 to advance to the quarterfinal round against third-seeded Mission Bay on June 4.

Mission Bay won a tight 78-76 contest to advance to the semifinals against seventh-seeded La Costa Canyon, which sank the Buccaneers by a score of 76-65 on June 8 to advance to meet top-seeded Mater Dei Catholic in the championship game on June 12 at Montgomery High School.

Mater Dei Catholic won the Division I championship by a 51-49 score to earn the No. 3 seed in the ensuing Southern California regional playoffs.

The Crusaders tacked on three more wins to capture the Division II-A regional championship with a 67-50 win over fifth -seeded Fresno Central on June 19.

But somehow San Ysidro’s season was not over following the loss to Mission Bay in the section quarterfinals.

Traditionally the division champion and division runner-up from the San Diego Section finals qualify to compete in the regional playoffs, usually along with teams from the section’s elite Open Division playoffs.

But this year, the Division I regional bracket included four qualifiers from the San Diego Section. The Cougars ranked fifth in line to qualify.

But not all teams elected to compete in the regional playoffs, which were the end of the line for Southern California teams with the cancellation of the state championship event.

However, many seniors with college scholarships in hand elected to forgo further competition, forcing teams to withdraw from the regionals.

Cathedral Catholic finished runner-up in the section’s Open Division championship game but opted out. So did Mission Bay.

That left an opening for the Cougars, who were still practicing in advance of participating in a club tournament in Arizona.

San Ysidro coach Terry Tucker jumped at the opportunity and the rest is history, as they say.

The Cougars received the No. 6 seed in the Division IV-AA playoffs and set out to have some fun.

San Ysidro knocked off third-seeded Arcadia, 87-74, in the quarterfinals on June 15, then defeated second-seeded Chatsworth, 60-55, in the semifinals on June 17.

The Cougars (23-7) completed their journey by topping fourth-seeded Temecula Linfield Christian, 73-71, in the final on June 19. San Ysidro trailed the Lions (25-3) by as much as 20 points in the game before engineering a heroic comeback.

Arcadia, Chatsworth and Linfield Christian were all section champions, making the accomplishment that more impressive.

Junior Martin Flores, who led the section in scoring with 25.5 points per game and earned berths on the All-Mesa League First Team and all-section second team, poured in 24 points in the championship game while junior Sebastion Medina (19.2 ppg, All-Mesa League Second Team) dropped in 21 points. Juniors Miguel Figueroa (18 ppg) and Luis Rodriguez (14.5 ppg) added 14 and 12 points, respectively, by also scoring in double digits.

“We played in the playoffs with only eight kids and zero seniors,” Tucker said. “It was a very talented and unselfish team with zero ego that played hard every night.”

Figueroa poured in 29 points in the playoff win over Foothills Christian while Flores jammed in 26 points. Medina dropped in 21 points.

Figueroa landed five three-point bombs while Medina led the team with 12 assists, 11 rebounds and six steals.

Flores had 24 points in the playoff loss to Mission Bay while Medina had 20 points. Rodriguez (16 points) and Figueroa (13 points) also scored in double digits. Figueroa finished the game with four treys.

The Bonita Vista High School boys basketball team celevbrates its Division III-A Southern California regional championship. Courtesy photo

Barons follow bouncing ball to Division III-A title

Bonita Vista finished as the runner-up in this year’s Mesa League standings and the Barons’ season appeared over following an 81-55 semifinal loss to Mater Dei Catholic in the section playoffs.

But the regionals came calling and rewarded Bonita Vista with the No. 2 seed in the Division III-A playoffs.

The Barons (17-7) said thank you and proceeded to clean up the field.

Bonita Vista hosted all three rounds in its gym, defeating seventh-seeded Citrus Valley, 66-52, in the quarterfinals before handing sixth-seeded Francis Parker a 94-77 defeat in the semifinals.

The Barons topped fifth-seeded Los Angeles Shalhevet, 77-71, in the final.

Bonita Vista athletic director Tyler Arciaga said BVHS head coach Don Dumas and his team “did a great job persevering through this off-season and all the uncertainty.”

“We had great senior leadership by D.M. Sanders, Morris Stokes, D.J. Holmes and D.J. Sanders that paved the way to this great run at the end of the season,” Arciaga said. “Kudos to all the coaches and players for putting BVHS basketball on the map and ending up ranked in the top 25 in the state.”

 

Cougars, Barons end season with SoCal regional championships