Playoff bracket busting has started — which team is next?

Sylena Peterson leads Bonita Vista into Saturday's Open Division quarterfinal playoff game against visiting La Costa Canyon. Photo by Phillip Brents

San Diego Section winter sports championships in boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls wrestling and girls water polo are all up for grabs and the takers appear to be many, including South County teams.

But the No. 1 seeds should be wary.

The 16th-seeded Pt. Loma Pointers turned in the first and perhaps one of the biggest upsets to jump-start this year’s playoffs when they bounced top-seeded Bonita Vista from the top perch in the Division II boys basketball bracket with a stunning 58-57 win in Tuesday’s opening round.

The Barons had finished regular season play 20-8 with a runner-up finish to Open Division-qualified Mater Dei Catholic in the Mesa League standings while the Pointers had finished 12-13, 3-5 in last place in the Eastern League standings.

It was a memorable win if you’re a Pointers fan. If you were a Barons fan, well … the season ended much too soon.

The hosts played catch-up throughout the second half, trailing 49-28 at one point in the fourth quarter before falling just short at the buzzer.

Point Loma (13-13) plays at eighth-seeded Orange Glen (15-14) in Friday’s quarterfinals. A potential matchup with another Mesa League team could happen should the Pointers get past the Patriots and fourth-seeded Otay Ranch (19-10) win Friday’s quarterfinal matchup against fifth-seeded University City (18-8).

Otay Ranch topped 13th-seeded Serra, 78-73, in Tuesday’s opening round as the host Mustangs snapped a 58-58 tie with three minutes to play.

University City topped 12th-seeded Lincoln, 61-57, with a late rush on Tuesday.

Bonita Vista was among three higher-seeded teams in the division to fall in Tuesday’s opening round, so anything can happen.

Also gone from the bracket are third-seeded Army Navy (upset 51-47 by 14th-seeded Canyon Crest Academy) and sixth-seeded Oceanside (upset 52-43 by 11th-seeded Scripps Ranch).

Semifinal games in the division are scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 26. The Division II championship game is scheduled Feb. 28 at San Marcos High School.

Melo Sanchez remains the driving force behind the success of this year’s Mater Dei Catholic High School boys basketball team. Photo by Phillip Brents

Open Division
Four Metro Conference teams earned the right to pair up against other elite eight teams in this year’s Open Division playoffs — Mater Dei Catholic in both boys and girls basketball, Bonita Vista in girls basketball and Eastlake in girls soccer.

The three basketball teams tip off the playoffs with quarterfinal games this weekend.

Bonita Vista (20-8, 10-0 in Mesa League) received the No. 4 seed in the girls basketball bracket and will host fifth-seeded La Costa Canyon (22-5) Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.

It’s a rematch of a Dec. 28 tournament game won 60-58 by the Lady Barons.

The winner advances to the semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 26, against Saturday’s quarterfinal winner between top-seeded La Jolla Country Day (27-1) and eighth-seeded Mater Dei Catholic (18-8).

La Jolla Country Day, ranked No. 1 in the nation, defeated Bonita Vista, 69-40, in a non-league game on Feb. 3.

It could be an epic rematch but Bonita Vista must first get past its quarterfinal foe to do so.

The Open Division girls final is scheduled Feb. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at UC San Diego.

The Lady Barons are led in the scoring column by junior Julia Cosalan (15.3 ppg), junior transfer Sylena Peterson (13.8 ppg) and freshman Madison Canon (10.3 ppg).

Other teams in the division include second-seeded Westview (26-2), third-seeded Cathedral Catholic (17-10), sixth-seeded Bishop’s (17-9) and seventh-seeded Christian (18-10).

Mater Dei Catholic, which finished runner-up to Bonita Vista in the Mesa League standings with an 8-2 league record, is led in the scoring column by junior Kayanna Spriggs (15.3 ppg) and senior Marissa Sanchez (13.1 ppg).

The action gets started Friday, however, when seventh-seeded Mater Dei Catholic (22-5, 9-1 in Mesa League) plays at second-seeded St. Augustine (23-5) at 7 p.m. in the boys quarterfinals.

The Crusaders are led by juniors Melo Sanchez (20.0 ppg), Dexter Stratton (12.1 ppg) and Kailon King (10.3 ppg). Six-foot-nine junior Christian Ubochi leads the reigning Mesa League champions with a 7.8 rebounding average.

Eastlake’s Alexia Santos boots the ball out of danger. Photo by Phillip Brents

Mesa League champion Eastlake received the No. 5 seed in the girls soccer bracket and drew a quarterfinal assignment at fourth-seeded La Costa Canyon (9-5-5) on Wednesday. The South County visitors won, 3-1, on goals by Tori Inumerable, Olivia Sekimoto and Brooklyn Daley.

The Lady Titans (19-5-1) will duel at top-seeded Cathedral Catholic (20-2-3) in Tuesday’s upcoming division semifinals.

The championship game is scheduled Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. at Mission Bay High School.

Cathedral Catholic (19-2-3) received the No. 1 seed in the division while Carlsbad (17-4-1) received the No. 2 seed. Cathedral entered the playoffs ranked seventh in the state.

Open Division teams are seeded into the state regional playoffs.

One programming note: Mater Dei Catholic received top seeds in both the Division II girls and Division IV boys soccer playoffs.

The Lady Crusaders will be bidding to complete an undefeated season after pulling up with a magical 16-0-1 record to end regular season play. Mater Dei Catholic will host eighth-seeded Escondido Charter (13-3-3) in Saturday’s quarterfinals at 5 p.m.

The Lady Crusaders have out-scored opponents 72-9 in 17 matches this season and enter Saturday’s palyoff match riding the momentum of a 15-game winning streak.

Escondido Charter enters the match with momentum after defeating ninth-seeded Bonita Vista, 2-1, in Wednesday’s opening round.

Bonita Vista ended its season with an 11-5-3 record as the runner-up team in the Mesa League (8-3-1 league record).

Mater Dei Catholic topped the South Bay League standings with a 10-0 league record and eight shutouts.

Saturday’s winner advances to the division semifinals on Wednesday. The championship game is scheduled Feb. 29 at 4:30 p.m. at Hilltop High School.

The Mater Dei Catholic boys team carries a 15-3-1 overall record into Friday’s quarterfinal match against ninth-seeded Vincent Memorial (11-8-1) after finishing runner-up to Hilltop in the South Bay League standings with a 7-3-0 record. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Vincent Memorial advanced to meet the Crusaders after recording a 2-1 upset win over eighth-seeded Santa Fe Christian in Tuesday’s opening round.

The Division IV championship game is scheduled Feb. 29 at 1 p.m. at Hilltop High School.

Sweetwater’s Daniel Bernal (21) knocks the ball away from Hilltop’s Gael Ruiz in the teams’ Feb. 7 South Bay League match. Photo by Phillip Brents

Getting their kicks
Four Metro Conference soccer teams earned byes to this weekend’s CIF quarterfinals.

South Bay League champion Hilltop (19-4-4 overall, 7-2-1 in league) is seeded fourth in the Division III boys bracket will host 12th-seeded Monte Vista (16-6-3) on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Lancers appeared in control of first place in the league standings until suffering a 3-2 loss at Sweetwater on Feb. 7. The visiting Lancers led, 1-0, on a first-half goal by senior scoring machine Gael Ruiz before the Red Devils countered with three second-half goals to post the comeback victory that brought them within striking distance of first place with two league games remaining.

Hilltop bounced back with a 3-0 win over visiting Chula Vista in its next match on Feb. 10 while Sweetwater routed visiting Olympian, 7-0, to remain in hot pursuit of the Lancers.

Hilltop closed out regular season play with a 2-2 draw at Olympian on Feb. 12 to finish while Sweetwater saw its championship hopes dashed with a 1-0 loss at Mater Dei Catholic, which moved ahead of the National City school to claim second place.

League championships in the Metro Conference are now determined by winning percentage. The Lancers finished league play with a .750 winning percentage while Mater Dei Catholic, braced by a season-ending four-game winning streak, finished with a .700 winning percentage. The Red Devils finished third with a .650 winning percentage in what turned out to be a three-team sprint for the league title.

Ruiz tops Hilltop with 22 goals in 17 games while adding 10 assists. Senior Marcus Calderon ranks second in team scoring with nine goals and four assists.

Monte Vista, which tied for second place in the Grossmont Valley League standings, kicked off the playoffs with a resounding 6-0 win at fifth-seeded Mission Bay in the opening round to fire a warning shot at future opponents.

Castle Park’s Mauro Estolano (9) traps the ball in front of Montgomery’s Ruben Aguiniga in a Jan. 31 Mesa League game at Montgomery High School. Photo by Phillip Brents

Mesa League runner-up Castle Park (9-6-3 overall, 7-2-3 in league) is seeded third in the Division III boys bracket and will host sixth-seeded Grossmont (17-4-4) on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Hilltop-Monte Vista and Castle Park-Grossmont winners advance to Tuesday’s semifinals. The division championship game is scheduled Feb. 29 at 1:30 p.m. at Mission Bay High School.

Castle Park finished in second place in the Mesa League standings with a .708 winning percentage. The Trojans finished with a 22-7 goals-differential in league play, 40-22 overall.

Castle Park held down first place in the league standings midway through the season but finished 2-2 in its final four games to drop from the top. The Trojans lost, 1-0, at Montgomery on Jan. 31, bounced back to defeat visiting Otay Ranch, 2-0, on Feb. 5 but suffered a key 1-0 loss at Southwest on Feb. 7 to put a crimp in their championship hopes.

Castle Park shut out Eastlake, 5-0, on Feb. 12 to enter the playoffs on a winning note. Senior Ivan Garduno led the offensive assault with two goals and three assists while seniors Roberto Parra and Mario Estolano and junior Francisco Fonseca each scored one goal. Sophomore Oswaldo Padilla was credit with three saves in recording the shutout victory.

Grossmont, the second-place finisher in the Grossmont Valley League standings, enters Friday’s elimination match after defeating 11th-seeded Mt. Carmel, 3-1, in Tuesday’s opening round. The Foothillers received two goals from senor Axel Gonzalez and one goal from senior Jackson Endres in the win.

Four of the six South Bay League teams received playoff berths while four of the seven Mesa League teams advanced to postseason play.

Mesa League champion Southwest (12-3-6) received the No. 5 seed in the Division II field and topped 12th-seeded Calexico, 3-2, in Tuesday’s opening round to advance against fourth-seeded San Dieguito Academy (14-8-4) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Saturday’s survivor will advance against either top-seeded West Hills (13-3-7) or eighth-seeded Carlsbad (7-9-6).

The Division II championship game is scheduled Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. at Hilltop High School.

The Raiders, buoyed by a late season rush, finished 7-1-4 in Mesa League play to win this year’s league championship. Photo by Phillip Brents

Southwest came out on top of a fierce three-way race for this year’s league championship with a 7-1-4 record and .750 winning percentage.

The Raiders finished undefeated in their last five league games (4-0-1) to slip into first place.

Southwest played to a scoreless tie against league co-leader Montgomery on Feb. 10 and captured outright possession of first place in the league standing with a 4-0 win over visiting Otay Ranch in its final regular season game on Feb. 12 while Montgomery lost, 4-1, at Bonita Vista.

D.J. Provencher scored three goals. All four BV goals came on free kicks.

Despite finishing with 13 wins on the season, the Barons (13-8-3 overall, 5-6-1 in league) did not qualify for the playoffs.

Montgomery received the No. 11 seed in the boys Division II bracket and defeated sixth-seeded Valhalla, 4-2, in Tuesday’s opening round to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal at third-seeded San Diego (11-5-2).

South Bay League runner-up Sweetwater received the eighth seed in the Division III bracket and defeated ninth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista (6-10-6) by a 5-2 score in Tuesday’s semifinals to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal match at top-seeded Escondido (16-3-5).

The Red Devils carry a 16-5-6 overall record into Friday’s game in North County with a bead on advancing to the division semifinals and a potential rematch with league rival Hilltop.

Junior Alex Gonzalez had scored 12 goals in 20 games to lead Sweetwater in scoring on the pitch.

Sophomore Oswaldo Garcia, junior Roberto Ramirez and senior Samuel Madrigal each scored one goal in the Feb. 7 upset win over league champion Hilltop.

Eastlake (5-11-5) received the No. 10 seed in the Division I boys bracket and upset seventh-seeded Hoover, 2-1, in Tuesday’s opening round to advance to meet second-seeded Poway (10-6-6) in Friday’s quarterfinals. The winner plays the series winner between third-seeded Oceanside (12-4-3) or sixth-seeded Scripps Ranch (6-10-5) in the semifinals.

The Titans finished 3-5-3 in Mesa League play to place fifth among the seven teams. Poway finished in third place in the Palomar League standings

The Division I championship game is Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. at Mission Bay High School.

Despite finishing at the bottom of the South Bay League standings with a 0-8 record and 3-12-2 overall mark, Mar Vista received the No. 6 seed in the Division V boys playoff field. The Mariners made that hold up after eliminating 11th-seeded Palo Verde Valley (4-20) by a 3-1 score in Tuesday’s opening round.

Mar Vista (4-12-2) advances to Friday’s quarterfinals at third-seeded High Tech High North County (6-6-2), with the winner to take on either second-seeded High Tech High San Diego (12-6-4) or seventh-seeded Foothills Christian (16-6).

Foothills eliminated 10th-seeded Bayfront Charter, 6-0, in a first-round match.

Among the South County’s smaller private schools, sixth-seeded Chula Vista Learning Community Charter (8-7-1) edged 11th-seeded West Shores (15-7) in a penalty kick tiebreaker in in a boys Division IV opening round match on Tuesday to advance to play at third-seeded Clairemont (16-3-2) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

The Cobras and Wildcats were tied 3-3 through regulation and overtime before CVLCC recorded the 4-3 shootout win.

All six South Bay League girls teams qualified for the playoffs.

Hilltop finished in second place in the league standings with a 4-3-3 record and received the ninth seed in the Division III playoff field, dropping a 1-0 opening round match on Wednesday at eighth-seeded Otay Ranch, the third-place finisher in the Mesa League standings

Freshman Emma Blancaz scored the game’s lone goal in the 77th minute for Otay Ranch (11-5-3), which advances to meet top-seeded Monte Vista (16-3-1) in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Southwest, the third-place finisher in the league standings, received the No. 2 seed in the Division IV bracket and will host league rival San Ysidro (12-8-4) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Lady Raiders carry a 9-6-1 record into the elimination match after posting a 5-5 league record.

San Ysidro eliminated 10th-seeded Del Lago Academy (10-7-3) by a 3-0 scored in Wednesday’s opening round. The Lady Cougars, who finished 3-4-3 in league play, received goals from Isella Olivera, Blanca Larios and Nichole Garcia while goalkeeper Isis Garcia made three saves to record the goalkeeper shutout.

Sophomore Alessandra Zavala leads San Ysidro with 23 goals this season, followed by Olivera, a senior, with 17 goals.

Sweetwater, the fifth-place finisher in league, received the No. 5 seed in the same Division IV girls bracket and defeated 12th-seeded High Tech High North County, 2-0, in Wednesday’s opening round. Junior Elsa Sarabia scored both goals for the Lady Red Devils (10-9-2), who advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals at fourth-seeded Mountain Empire (17-4).

Sarabia leads SuHi with 13 goals and seven assists, followed by junior Surya Mecino with 12 goals and two assists.

Despite finishing with a 0-7-3 league record and 3-10-4 overall record, Castle Park received the No. 9 seed in the Division IV girls bracket and promptly hung a 2-0 loss on eighth-seeded Hoover (14-12-1) in Wednesday’s opening round. The Lady Trojans trailed, 2-0, at halftime before engineering a dramatic comeback win on the strength of three second-half goals.

Castle Park advances to play at top-seeded Rancho Buena Vista (6-7-4) in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

“What’s interesting is that four of the eight teams left in the bracket are all Metro teams,” Castle Park head coach Victor Vargas said. “That says something about how strong the league was this years.”

Only the top three of the seven Mesa League teams qualified for this year’s playoffs.

Olympian finished 6-5-1 in league play, 9-10-1 overall, while Chula Vista finished 3-5-4 in league play, 7-11-5 overall. Montgomery finished 1-8-3 in league play, 6-12-6 overall, while Mar Vista finished 0-11-1 in league play, 3-18-2 overall.

CVLCC (7-3-5) received the No. 12 seed in the Division V girls bracket and dropped a 3-1 shootout decision at fifth-seeded Kearny (13-5-6) in the opening round.

The Lady Cobras finished 6-0-4 to win this season’s Patriot League championship.

San Ysidro freshman Mikey Williams is averaging 31.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game in his first high school varsity season. Photo by Phillip Brents

Free throws
A total of 24 South County basketball teams qualified for the 2019-20 winter sports playoffs – 13 girls teams and 11 boys teams, including the Open Division.

South Bay League champion San Ysidro received the No. 1 seed among Division III boys teams and easily dispatched 16th-seeded Madison (11-18) in Tuesday’s opening round behind 38 points from freshman standout Mikey Williams, 19 points from fellow freshman Jurian Dixon and 14 points from senior Jason Martinez (who led the team with 10 rebounds). Senior Philix Kilbourne contributed seven assists while Williams topped the team with five steals).

The Cougars (21-8) advance to host eighth-seeded Brawley (20-9) in Friday’s quarterfinals, with the winner moving to the semifinals. The championship game is scheduled Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Montgomery High School.

Eastlake, seeded third in the division, defeated 14th-seeded Pacific Ridge, 73-25, behind 20 points from Alex Crawford. The Titans (16-13) host 11th-seeded Mission Vista (16-12) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Hilltop, seeded seventh in the Division IV boys bracket, trounced 10th-seeded Guajome Park Academy, 66-32, in the opening round behind 14 points from senior Lai Zumstein, 13 points from senior Marcus Ruesga and 11 points from sophomore Eric Ruesga. The Lancers (13-16) play at second-seeded O’Farrell Charter (23-4) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Mar Vista, the third-place finisher in the South Bay League standings, received the No. 2 seem among Division V boys teams and will host seventh-seeded High Tech High Chula Vista in Friday’s quarterfinals after the Bruins (12-9) defeated 10th-seeded Ocean View Christian Academy (16-14) by a score of 63-43 in the opening round.

Mar Vista (7-5 in league play) is 18-10 overall.

Otay Ranch, the third-place finisher in the Mesa League standings, received the No. 1 seed in the Division II girls bracket and defeated 16th-seeded University City, 56-39, in Wednesday’s opening round. The Lady Mustangs (22-7) will host ninth-seeded Francis Parker (19-8) in Saturday’s quarterfinals

South Bay League champion Chula Vista (19-10, 11-1 in league) received the No. 10 seed in the Division II girls playoffs and bowed out with a 58-44 loss at seventh-seeded Morse in the opening round.

Ximena Caballero brings the ball down the court for this year’s South Bay league champion Chula Vista Lady Spartans. Photo by Phillip Brents

Division I boys playoffs
(2) Carlsbad 59, (15) Montgomery41

Division II boys playoffs
(16) Point Loma 58, (1) Bonita Vista 57
(8) Orange Glen 63, (9) Olympian 55
(4) Otay Ranch 78, (13) Serra 73

Division III boys playoffs
(1) San Ysidro 93, (16) Madison 60
(3) Eastlake 73, (14) Pacific Ridge 25

Division IV boys playoffs
(4) Monte Vista 67, (13) Chula Vista 55
(7) Hilltop 66, (10) Guajome Park 32

Division V boys playoffs
(7) High Tech High Chula Vista 63, (10) Ocean View Christian Academy 43

Division I girls playoffs
(2) Serra 57, (15) Olympian 38

Division II girls playoffs
(1) Otay Ranch 56, (16) University City 39
(13) San Pasqual 48, (4) Eastlake 34
(7) Morse 58, (10) Chula Vista 44
(5) Mission Vista 71, (12) Montgomery 40

Division III girls playoffs
(5) Mt. Carmel 41, (12) Hilltop 37
(2) Helix 62, (15) Mar Vista 15

Division IV girls playoffs
(4) Castle Park 34, (13) Escondido 30
(6) Oceanside 48, (11) Sweetwater 35

Division V girls playoffs
(5) San Ysidro 55, (12) Victory Christian Academy 22

For updates, visit the website at www.cifsds.og.