2017-18 Week 10: Contenders Await Playoff Seeds

The dog days of the season will suddenly become the stretch run Saturday, when pairings, fueled by the ratings system associated with Max Preps, will be announced by the San Diego Section.

Foothills Christian appears to have a lock on the regular-season Top 10 ratings, which will be announced next week.

The Knights, with St. Augustine transfer Taeshon Cherry averaging 22.6 points and 11.7 rebounds, will be shooting for the local top seed and, down the road, a berth in the state Open Division playoffs.

Foothills, No. 1 in San Diego, followed by Torrey Pines and Mission Bay, remained No. 9 and Mission Bay 12th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports rankings.  Torrey Pines finally got into the mix at No. 20.

La Jolla Country Day is 16th in Cal-Hi’s Girls ratings.  Mount Miguel and Mission Hills are on the bubble.

I vote for Torrey Pines every week as No. 1.  The Falcons are hamstrung by a 69-68 loss to St. Augustine and 74-73 defeat to Brighton of Salt Lake City, Utah, in their Christmas tournament.

Torrey Pines coach John Olive, in his 21st season of repeated success, missed both of the losses with a bout of the flu.  Olive’s club continues to dominate the Avocado League.

The Falcons beat Sage Creek, 65-40, on Valentine’s Day and have won their last 52 league games.  They finish the regular season Friday night against La Costa Canyon, a 69-50 loser to the Falcons in the first round.


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1958-59: Potentially Outstanding Season Falls Short

Forfeits, ineligibles, and nuptials.

Three words that sum up a season filled with hot shooting, high scores, and dramatic finishes but ended with flat, early exits for San Diego schools in their next-to-last year in the Southern Section playoffs.

–San Diego High, 24-2 on the floor, was 8-18 legislatively after forfeiting 16 victories because of an overage starting player.   CIF Southern Section rules state that an athlete cannot turn 19 years of age before Sept. 1 of his senior year.  Forward Otha Phillips, a strong defender who had scored 140 points in 18 games, passed his 19th birthday in May.

The Cavers in a happier momwent, celebrating 62-49 Kiwanis Tournament championship over Beverly Hills. Otterstad was surrounded by (from left): Richard Flanery, Otha Phillips, Willie Bolton, Arthur (Hambone) Williams, and Ezell Singleton.

The CIF had lowered the eligibility rule from age 20 to 19 in 1939.

–There was no forfeit, but Hoover lost starting forward Ron Crosby for several games during the season because of classroom grades (and starting center Harry Stadnyk for several games from a knee injury). St. Augustine lost three Eastern League games because of ineligible Sal Villanueva. Other players throughout the area were sidelined after unsuccessful stints with the books.

–Sweetwater’s Wayne Sevier, a three-sport star, quarterback of the Red Devils’ football team, and a starting forward for coach Wells Gorman’s basketball squad, was declared ineligible because he had gotten married and had to leave school.

The Cavers-dominated all-City team, led by player of the year Arthur (Hambone)Williams (top). Others (clockwise from second row), Richard Flanery, San Diego; Ezell Singleton, San Diego, Bill Cravens, Mission Bay, and Wayne Britt, Hoover.

–Lincoln was sidetracked when the question of reserve forward T.R. Lowery’s age surfaced two days before a first-round playoff.


This was one of the most egregious of all the bookkeeping and clerical errors that had short-circuited teams over the years.  It robbed the Cavemen of a chance to compete in the playoffs in a season in which coach Dick Otterstad’s club had taken its place among the best in school history and had performed at a higher level than expected.

Cavers officials quickly owned up.

Vice-principal Bill Bailey was seen walking through a deserted parking lot south of the            Spreckles Building on Tuesday morning Jan. 27, 1959, heading toward the Union-Tribune building at 919 Second Avenue.

A bystander spotted Bailey and wondered why the VP of the high school would be visiting the newspaper office at this time of day on a school day.  Bailey soon demonstrated why, delivering the news to Evening Tribune high school beat writer Paul Cour.

“The ineligibility was brought to our attention by another school,” Bailey told Cour, declining to name the informant.  Bailey said failure to note Phillips’ ineligibility “was an oversight on our part.”

Principal Lawrence Carr apologized for the error in a statement released that morning and said Phillips’ “correct age has been listed on our eligibility sheets sent by us during the season to all of our opponents.”

No one noticed for 18 games.

Bailey said an eligibility report is filed with each school before a game is played.  Each report lists a player’s birthdate, birthplace, and academic standing, according to Bailey.

Phillips, a senior competing for the first year, did not realize that he was too old to compete, said Carr.


Otterstad was stunned and became ill when the word came down.  He excused himself from a coaches’ planning meeting at school and retreated to the men’s room.

The coach and his bosses appealed to CIF commissioner Ken Fagans, hoping San Diego could be a candidate for the playoffs as an at-large team.

If there was an opening in the 32-team playoff bracket, a very slim possibility, Fagans said he would give the Cavers consideration.

Five weeks later, after several telephone calls between Caver officials and the CIF, the San Diego plea was denied by the Southern Section’s executive committee.


Stadnyk (25) and Crosby (23) were lost to Cardinals not long after battling Willie Bolton (left) and San Diego.

Otterstad said that he called the vice-principal of the school that reported the Philips glitch and, while expressing disappointment, held no rancor toward the rival.

The Cavers’ coach also revealed that he had been approached by Compton coach Bill Armstrong, whose Tarbabes would be the Cardinals’ opponent in the second round of the playoffs.

Armstrong wanted Otterstad to impart any knowledge acquired in San Diego’s two victories over the Redbirds.

“I told him that Hoover was in our league and that I wouldn’t do that,” Otterstad revealed to Jerry Magee of The San Diego Union.


City League coaches, though profiting from the Cavers’ malfeasance, sympathized.

“It’s an unfortunate thing for the boy himself and others on the squad,” said Lincoln’s Don Smith.  “We’re interested in the best team representing our league in the playoffs.”

Smith went on to say that coaches would be more attentive to “checking the eligibility lists in the future.”   A month later the Lincoln mentor was forced to deal with the possibility of T.R. Lowery’s being too old.

Lincoln scrambled and found proof that Lowery was clear to play, but the Hornets, the hottest team in the City in the last month other than San Diego, never hit their stride in a 50-48 loss to Compton Centennial on the Hoover floor.

“That’s not the way we like to win games,” said Hoover’s Charlie Hampton.  “What a tough break for Dick…his ball club wasn’t expected to do much this year, but it came along and now this happens.”

Hilbert Crosthwaite of Point Loma noted that “last year Dick had another (tough break) when Chula Vista knocked his great ball club out of the playoffs.”

Mission Bay’s Paul Beck said, “I sure hate to see this happen but we’re back in the race and will be trying all the way.”


San Diego’s Arthur (Hambone) Williams didn’t score in a 63-44 victory over Santa Monica, then had 24 in a 57-51, semifinals win over Lincoln and 28 (including 10 consecutive free throws) in the championship-game, 62-49 triumph over Beverly Hills.  The Cavers became the first team to win the title three times.

Steve (11) and Toby (22) Thurlow led Escondido’s emergence

Only three outside clubs, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, entered the 12th annual tournament, composed of two, 16-team brackets, Unlimited and Limited.  Escondido was in the Unlimited Division the first time and new schools University and Clairemont made their first appearances in the Limited Division.

San Diego’s victory signaled that the Cavers, despite losing their two highest scorers, Artist Gilbert and Edward Lee Johnson, from the 23-3 team of 1957-58, had reloaded instead of rebuilding.  Hambone Williams, one of the County’s all-time great players, would go on to a career in the NBA with the San Diego Rockets and Boston Celtics.


Hoover, led by southpaw Wayne Britt’s 23 points,  connected on 17 of 22 field goal attempts in the first half to lead, 37-18, and was 30×49 for 61 per cent for the game in an 80-64 win over a Mira Costa team that was 9-0,  a tournament favorite, and shot well enough, 25×53, 47 per cent, to win most games.

Mustangs coach Dean Sempert was so frustrated that, according to witnesses, encouraged his team to get tough with the lean, physically unimposing Cardinals. Hoover coach Charlie Hampton walked to the Mustangs’ bench in the second half and wondered when Sempert was going to “quit the roughhouse play.”

Hoover was knocked out in the semifinal round by Beverly Hills, 66-64, as the Normans qualified for the finals for the fourth time in five years.


Bill Foley. whose jump shot mirrored that of St. Augustine’s 1956-58 star Tom Shaules, hit key basket to keep Chula Vista in game wiith Sweetwater.

Chula Vista, a regular at this post-Christmas event, defeated Newhall Hart, 39-37, for the championship after building a 19-5 first-quarter lead.  The Spartans also topped Chino, 58-45, Placentia Valencia, 64-17, and Ontario Chaffey, 56-52.

Escondido opened with a 61-37 victory over Desert as Steve Thurlow had 11 field goals and 22 points and brother Toby had 11 free throws and 21 points.  The Cougars also topped Upland, 67-50, but lost to Hart in the semifinals, 64-59, and to Chaffey, 80-69, in the third-place game.

Mar Vista was beaten by Buena Park, 42-40, in the consolation finals.


San Dieguito, which defeated Mar Vista, 36-30, for the Kiwanis Limited title, was beaten by host Banning, 34-29, in the finals of the Riverside county school’s tournament.  The Mustangs got to the finals by eliminating San Jacinto, 46-30, and Palm Springs, 47-41.


Helix had a short stay in Ventura County, bowing to the host Fillmore Flashes, 43-37, and to Santa Paula, 57-50.


“Chula Vista shaded Sweetwater, 41-38, in Chula Vista Recreation Center last night in a double-overtime Metro League basketball game that had more false finishes than a Pearl White* movie.

“A medium-range jump shot by Fred Olmsted with 1:01 remaining settled it before a turnaway crowd of some 1,600.  Officials said at least that many more were turned away after the doors were locked an hour and a half before tipoff.”

Fred Olmsted, shooting against El Cajon Valley, scored winning points in memorable game versus Sweetwater.

Jerry Magee of The San Diego Union wrote those words in describing one of the most exciting games ever played south of the San Diego city limits.

Olmsted supplied the winning points, but a reserve guard who did not score a point saved the Spartans from certain defeat.

Sweetwater led, 38-36, with four seconds left in the first overtime and had possession of the ball at midcourt, but “whippet-fast” Billy Ellis stole the inbounded ball and fired a perfect pass to Phil Lind, who scored the tying points from under the Sweetwater basket.

Chula Vista had taken a 34-32 lead on Bill Foley’s jump shot with a little more than a minute to play in the fourth quarter, but the Red Devils’ George Spicer forced the overtime when he drained a long jumper from behind the foul circle.

Olmsted, whose free throw with one second to play delivered a 51-50 victory over Mount Miguel in another league game, was on the floor because starter Richard Baumann, an all-Metro guard in 1957-58, was out for the season with an injury sustained in a wood shop class.

Magee wrote that the second half was played to the “accompaniment of near pandemonium.”

Perhaps because of the din inside the municipal facility, the Spartans attempted only seven second-half field goals and made five. They were 17×31, 55 per cent for a game. Sweetwater, led by Milton Horton’s 15 points, made 16×45 for 36 per cent.

(*Pearl White was a silent films actress and starred in “The Perils of Pauline”).

Halterman hooked opponents with his favorite shot.


Grossmont coach Locke Olson declared his 6-foot, 5-inch center and hook shot specialist Jerry Halterman “the best college prospect in the area.”

Halterman scored 33 points in a 51-41 loss to Hoover, 33 in a double-overtime, 53-51 defeat by Sweetwater, 35 against the Cardinals in a 66-57 Kiwanis Tournament setback, and 35 in another game against Chula Vista.  Halterman was the County’s leading scorer with  587 points in 23 games and averaged 25.5.

Southern Prep League statistics were not available, but Army-Navy Coach Richard Gronquist reported that star Jack McAboy averaged 21.5 points.


Lincoln had lost five out of six to Hoover, including by scores of 51-50, 48-47 in overtime, and 42-41 (after leading by 11 points at the start of the fourth quarter), and 53-50, this season.  The latter was for third place in the Kiwanis.

The Hornets took out their frustration in the second round of City Prep League play, running the minus-two-starters Hoover off its home court, shooting 59 per cent and winning, 69-47.

The victory, combined with San Diego’s forfeits, allowed Lincoln to tie the Cardinals, each with a 13-3 record, and claim a tie for their first title.  Lincoln, however, couldn’t get past San Diego, losing twice with leads late in the fourth quarter,

Unsung, young (just turned 17) senior Forrest (Big Child) Glitherow, a nonletterman transfer from Mission Bay, scored 21 points and had 18 rebounds and Lincoln led the Cavers, 57-49 with 4:30 remaining.  San Diego scored 12 of the last 13 points and blanked the Hornets for the last 3:48 and won, 61-58.

The rematch, an all-time thriller on the Cavers’ floor,  saw Lincoln, shooting 56 per cent, take a 70-69 on Russ Cravens’ basket and free throw with 1:29 remaining.

Hornet Pete Colonelli missed a medium-range jumper with 30 seconds left.  As Colonelli shot, San Diego’s Hambone Williams, who scored 24 points, sneaked behind the Hornets, took a half-court pass and scored for a 71-70 victory.

After the game, Williams suggested that writer Paul Cour “Tell ‘em Hambone did it!”

The headless Hornet is Kern Carson, looking to throw outlet pass while being guarded by Hoover’s Mike Duensing in Lincoln’s 69-47 victory.


The Highlanders must have been in the twilight zone, coincidentally a television show of the same name that was making its network debut in 1959.  First guard Wally Hartwell and then center Don Weist attempted field goals…at the Chula Vista basket.

Weist’s shot, during a scramble under the backboard, went in.  The wrong-way hoop didn’t have an effect on the game.  Chula Vista won, 47-37.


Had Coach Dick Otterstad not emptied his bench and played everyone, San Diego High might have scored 125 points against hapless Crawford.  Instead the Hilltoppers set a school-record point total in a 96-37 win that was shared by 10 players.

Arthur (Hambone) Williams led the Cavers with 23 points.  Others contributing were Ezell Singleton (15), Ben Pargo (11), Richard Flanery (10), Ernest (Moe) Watson (10), Alan Zukor (6), Willie Bolton (2), and Jack Henn and Morris Russ, 2 each.


Hoover topped Chula Vista, 56-46, and then was beaten at Compton, 86-47. Compton reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Glendale, 69-46.  Centennial, which beat Lincoln, 50-48, also reached the semifinals, losing to Fullerton, 47-46, and then defeated Compton in the third place game, 46-44.

Fullerton eliminated Sweetwater, 69-49, and lost in the championship to Glendale, 59-49.  Army-Navy of the Southern Prep League lost at Big Bear City Big Bear, 48-42, despite 22 points by Jack McAboy. First-year Clairemont, 6-6 in nonleague play, defeated Mar Vista, 46-39, but lost to Buena Park, 57-34.

Ramna won its first-round game in the 1-A playoffs for smallest schools, defeating Cerritos Valley Christian, 52-39, before losing to Oxnard Santa Cara, which topped Trona, 44-27, for the championship.


Unhappy with the way things were going, someone at Kearny High hung coach Jim Sams in effigy in the school gymnasium…Sams, 20-34 in two seasons, exited at the end of the school year and moved to Crawford…Few teams have shot with such accuracy as Sweetwater, which converted 30 of 43 shots from the field for 70 per cent and made 15 of 17 free throw attempts in a 75-64 win over Escondido…Hoover outscored San Diego, 26-8, from the free throw line but the Cavers had a 58-36 advantage from the field in a 66-62 victory in the first round of City Prep League play…the Cardinals were 26×32 for 81 per cent from the stripe, while San Diego was 8×15 for 53 per cent…the Cavemen repeated, 60-52, in the second round…Lincoln set a school scoring record in a 81-32 victory over La Jolla, breaking the record set earlier in the season in a 71-41 win over Coronado…not to be outdone, Hoover bettered its record in a  89-48 win over St. Augustine…Point Loma, 0-5 in nonleague games and only 10-11 overall, took San Diego to the wire…Otha Phillips’ basket with :15 remaining got the Cavers past the Pointers, 39-38…a basket and free throw by Phillips and Ezell Singleton’s late set shot allowed the Cavers to edge St. Augustine, 51-49, after they trailed, 49-46, with two minutes to play…the Cavers won an earlier meeting with the 10-12 Saints, 69-18…Glendale schools came South in a break from tradition to play San Diego and Hoover…Glendale High defeated San Diego, 63-51, and Hoover, 61-59…Glendale Hoover topped Hoover, 56-53, but lost to San Diego, 51-46…the San Diego schools had made the trip North for years to play various Los Angeles-area schools…the city exercised its annual December dominance over County teams, San Diego defeating Helix, 59-49, and Hoover topping Grossmont, 61-50, at Grossmont…the Cavers nudged Grossmont, 59-46, and Hoover beat Helix, 51-41 the next night…Grossmont lost six Metropolitan League games by a total of 18 points, including two in overtime to Sweetwater, 53-51, and 40-39, and one to Escondido, 64-56…San Diego led Long Beach Poly, 52-45, entering the fourth quarter but lost, 70-60…the Cavers could not complain about being the visiting team and getting the shaft from game officials…host Poly was whistled for 21 fouls, the Cavers 11….

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2017-18 Week 9: No Movement at Top

Static are the San Diego Section ratings.

There was no change this week through the first six places.  La Jolla Country Day moved from eighth to seventh after St. Augustine dropped a 74-56 decision to Chicago Whitney Young. The Saints now are eighth.

Mount Miguel crashed the top 10 with a 22-4 record and an average of 73.6 points a game, the most for the Matadors since the 1967-68 team averaged 85.1.

Meanwhile, No. 2 Torrey Pines picked up a voting point for a total of 113, while No. 1 Foothills Christian remained at 115.  Foothills earned seven first-place votes, Torrey 5.

Foothills may feel the wind of the Falcons’  wings, but the Knights are forcing the race.  They were 10-0 in January as Taeshon Cherry, coming on after a a couple early false starts, averaged 25.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the month.

Torrey Pines wasn’t so bad its ownself, plowing an 8-0 record in January.


West Hills’ Cameron Barry continues to lead California scorers with 693 points in 21 games, a 33.0 average, five points more than Jaime Jacquez of Camarillo, who has a 32.8 average for 21 games.

Barry is 13th in the country.  Qwan Jackson,  a 5-foot, 8-inch sophomore guard at Milwaukee Conservatory of Lifelong Learning is No. 1 with a 45.5 average for 12 games.

Bonita Vista’s Shayla Latone is second in the U.S. with a 37.6 average on 960 points in 25 games and is the state leader. Most impressive, Latone was in Charde Houston territory, setting a section record of 76 points in a 99-26 rout of Hilltop on Jan. 19.

Houston, whio starred at San Diego High, waas on national championship teams at Connecticut, and played in the Women’s NBA, scored 71 points in 2002 vs. Caastle Park.


The respected newsletter placed Foothills Christian ninth this week, a step higher than last week, and Mission Bay moved from 13th to 12th.  Torrey Pines and San Marcos remained on the bubble.

Girls’ ratings will be available later.

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Monday, Feb. 5:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (7) 21-5 115 1
2 Torrey Pines (5) 23-2 113 2
3 Mission Bay 21-4 96 3
4 San Marcos 20-2 85 4
5 Vista 19-6 71 5
6 Mater Dei 19-6 62 6
7 La Jolla Country Day 17-7 42 8
8 St. Augustine 13-6 32 7
9 Montgomery 20-4 29 9
10 Mount Miguel 22-4 13 NR

NR–Not ranked.

Others receiving votes: Canyon Crest (15-8, 2 points),  Heix (16-8, 1),  Francis Parker (9-9, 1).

Poll participants:  John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, freelancer; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions;  Adam Paul,  Ramon Scott, EastCountySports.com; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9 FM; Christian Pedersen, S.D. Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin, Fulltime Hoops; Brad Enright, L.A. Court Report.

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2018: Tom Ault, Crawford Basketball Standout

They gave Tom Ault a tremendous sendoff recently at the Rancho Santa Fe First Presbyterian Church. More than 400 persons, including many San Diego State and sports luminaries from the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, were in attendance.

Ault, 72, who passed away recently, helped create a championship legacy at Crawford High.

Ault played basketball and baseball during a dawning era at the school on 55th Street in East San Diego.  He was a starting guard on the 1962-63 basketball squad that posted a 24-6-1 record, sneaked into the San Diego Section playoffs after a rigorous Eastern League campaign, and won the championship.

Larry Blum, who set a County scoring record with 737 points that year, was Ault’s partner in the Colts’ backcourt.

“Tommy played a key role,” said Blum.  “He was the peacemaker, mediator, and really the player/coach between Coach (Jim) Sams and the team.  He was the one who kept everyone else on an even keel with each other and Coach Sams.  He had the basketball IQ before anyone ever used the term.”

Blum was the team’s star player, Ault the glue.

The Colts overcame a midseason struggle and won a league vote for a playoff berth after tying for second place with Hoover.  They advanced through the playoffs and defeated St. Augustine, 64-44, for the championmship.

Crawford’s Tom Ault (22) and Larry Blum (32) look on as teammate Dave (Granddad) Grear and Hoover’s Gilbert Hernandez scramble for loose ball. Tom Nettles (11) is interested observer. Crawford won Kiwanis Tournament championship game, 55-49.

Among those paying their respects were former Chargers Gary Garrison, Doug Wilkerson, Jack Milks, and Mario Mendez, along with ex-Aztecs Leonard Di Santi, Jim White, and Eddie Mendez, Utah footballer Dan Spinazzola, and Ault’s athletic Crawford  classmates Tom Whelan, Mike Bladow, Dave Bruen, Bill Rainey, Ron Fox, Jim Rupe, and Fritz Ziegenduss, among others.

Blum said he and Ault forged a friendship in the seventh grade at Horace Mann Junior High after Blum’s family moved from Washington state to San Diego.

The pair were united in gym class, probably, said Blum, because their names were close alphabetically.

“Our friendship lasted over six decades and to the last day thrived,” said Blum, who went on to play at the University of San Francisco and became a successful Bay Area businessman who still finds time to play pickup basketball weekly at USF.

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1957-58: Shaules Had Records, but Cavers Had Championship

A palpable buzz was heard throughout San Diego gymnasiums this season, hummed to a pitch by a 5-foot, 8-inch sharpshooter with an unorthodox jump shot.

St. Augustine’s Tom Shaules set scoring records and drew huge crowds, but Shaules and his husky teammate, Sammy Owens, were a virtual two-man team and the Saints, while making the scoreboard blink, did not make the playoffs despite a 20-6 record and 11-5 City Prep League standing.

Shaules’ shot had a backward spin upon launch and was copied by other area sharpshooters.

San Diego, Mission Bay, Hoover, and eventually Lincoln, were able to stop the Saints in the fratricidal circuit that embraced nine teams and 16 games.  The league season began before the annual, pre-Christmas Kiwanis Tournament and produced Tuesday afternoon and Friday night dramas seemingly every week in January and February.

Meanwhile, Chula Vista and Sweetwater, blood rivals only four miles apart, separated themselves in the Metropolitan League.  Escondido had to win a playoff with Oceanside to earn the Avocado League’s postseason bid, and Ramona went on a winning streak in the Southern Prep.


Artist Gilbert and Edward Lee Johnson, the team’s leading scorers the year before, and Barry Landon and Eugene Sheridan formed a solid nucleus of veterans.   Football players Ezell Singleton and Bobby Anderson joined after the Southern California finals loss to Downey, and a spindly junior, Arthur (Hambone) Williams, who did not play basketball as a sophomore, became the team’s playmaker and would forge a legendary career that took Williams all the way to the Boston Celtics and an NBA championship. Continue reading

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2017-18 Week 8: Leaders Can Look Down Road

Fast forward about month, to the round of 4 in the San Diego Section Open Division championships.

If the Max Preps’ power ratings hold and the first and second rounds play out as expected, Torrey Pines (20-2) would play Mission Bay (21-4) in one semifinal and Foothills Christian (19-5) would meet San Marcos (18-2) in the other.

Not bad.

The power ratings, as presented by Max Preps, generally are accepted by San Diego Section bosses and will continue to evolve until the playoff seeding meeting in late February.

Mission Bay closed in on its first league championship since the 1988-89 season with a 51-45, Western League victory last night over St. Augustine, No. 6 in Max Preps.

Foothills Christian still holds sway in the weekly Union-Tribune poll (I  have voted each week for Torrey Pines as No. 1). The Knights have five Coast League games left and Torrey Pines has six Avocado League encounters  plus a nonleague contest against Francis Parker.

There are a couple troublesome opponents on the horizon for each, but both figure to strongly close out the regular season.


Foothills Christian rose from 13th to 10th in Cal-Hi Sports’ weekly ratings and Mission Bay went up one position to 13th.  San Marcos and Torrey Pines remain on the bubble.

West Hills’ Cameron Barry (no relation to Rick, Drew, or Brent) has fallen off a little in the last two weeks but still ranks 12th among U.S. scorers.

Barry is averaging 33 a game with 660 points in 20 games. The leader is Tommy Murr of Lindsey Lane Christian in Athens, Alabama, with 1,031 points in 26 games for a 39.7 average.

Barry is the state leader, ahead of Camarillo’s Jaime Jaquez, who is averaging 32.8 with 688 points in 21 games.

Jc Canahuate of Army-Navy is No. 2 in San Diego and 12th in California at 27.9 with 585 points in 21 games.  Torrey Pines’ Bryce Pope (22×509, 23.1) is third in San Diego and 40th in California.

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Monday, Jan. 29:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (7) 19-5 115 1
2 Torrey Pines (5) 20-2 112 2
3 Mission Bay 20-4 96 3
4 San Marcos 18-2 85 5
5 Vista 17-6 67 4
6 Mater Dei 17-6 63 6
7 St. Augustine 12-4 50 7
8 La Jolla Country Day 16-7 21 8
9 Montgomery 17-4 13 9
10 Canyon Crest 14-7 10 NR

Others receiving votes: Santa Fe Christian (12-9, 9 points),  Mount Miguel (19-4, 8), The Bishop’s (13-6, 4), El Camino (13-8, 3),Orange Glen  (14-7, 3 ).

Poll participants:  John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, freelancer; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions;  Adam Paul,  Ramon Scott, EastCountySports.com; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9 FM; Christian Pedersen, S.D. Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin, Fulltime Hoops; Brad Enright, L.A. Court Report.

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2017-18 Week 6: Buck Stops With Bucs

Mission Bay has not been a “brand” name in San Diego Section basketball, but the Buccaneers continue to hold sway in the Union-Tribune weekly poll.  They’re now 15-3 after Tuesday night’s 71-63 victory over Patrick Henry.

The Bucs have beaten so-called brands No. 3 Foothills Christian and No. 8 St. Augustine and lost to No. 5 La Jolla Country Day.

It’s been that kind of year.  A dominant team has not surfaced.

The West Hills Wolfpack don’t travel in the above circles, but Cam Barry, a 6-foot, 1-inch senior guard is developing his own brand.  Barry is the state leader with a 36.6 scoring average through 10 reported games and ranks fifth in the country, according to Max Preps.

Foothills’ ballyhooed Taeshon Cherry  is one of the San Diego Section leaders with a 20.6 average in 10 reported games.  Max Preps did not have any stats for Mission Bay’s catalyst, Rejean (Boogie) Ellis, whom the school listed as 7-foot, 2-inch point guard, along with several other “seven-footers”.

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Monday, Jan. 8:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Mission Bay (8) 14-3 115 3
2 Torrey Pines (3) 14-2 106 1
3 Foothills Christian (1) 12-5 100 3
4 Vista 12-5 83 5
5 La Jolla Country Day 13-4 65 7
6 San Marcos 12-2 64 6
7 Mater Dei 11-5 46 8
8 St. Augustine 7-4 40 4
9 Montgomery 13-3 19 9
10 Canyon Crest 10-5 12 10

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes: Poway (10-5, 7 points), Helix (11-8, 3).

Poll participants:  John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, freelancer; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions;  Adam Paul,  Ramon Scott, EastCountySports.com; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9 FM; Christian Pedersen, S.D. Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin, Fulltime Hoops; Brad Enright, L.A. Court Report.

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2017-18 Weeks 1-5: It’s Been a Wild Ride

Like the automobiles that are continually jarred by San Diego’s city streets, the supposed top teams in the San Diego Section negotiated a December full of potholes.

Which is the best, as the season enters  league play and the weekend shootouts or the so-called”classics”?

I cast my vote for Torrey Pines, followed by Mission Bay, Foothills Christian, St. Augustine, La Jolla Country Day, Vista, Mater Dei, Montgomery, Santa Fe Christian, and San Marcos.

Don’t press me.  I can’t really explain why.

There were so many surprising results, some in the stunning category. Perhaps it was the grind of the four-day Torrey Pines Holiday Tournament, one of the country’s premier events, or coaches just trying to find the right combinations and still evaluating personnel.

–But Torrey, 10-0 and an early championship favorite, fell behind by 15 points and was beaten in the Falcons’ annual Holiday Classic, 69-68, by St. Augustine, despite the Saints featuring an all-underclass lineup and missing two expected starters who transferred.

–St. Augustine followed its inspired win over Torrey Pines with a 78-52 loss to state-ranked Los Angeles Fairfax, which was beaten by Foothills Christian.

–Mission Bay beat Foothills Christian, 72-56, but lost to La Jolla Country Day, 62-50.

–Foothills Christian not only lost to Mission Bay, but also to 7-7 Westview, 73-71, in overtime and then beat two Los Angeles City Section powers, Westchester, 73-49, and Fairfax, 74-73.

There were at least a dozen other which beat which’s followed by losses to who beat who’s.

Mission Bay (12-3) is Cal-Hi Sports‘ No. 12 team in the state and Foothills is 14th.  Torrey Pines surprisingly was not even at least on the newsletter’s “bubble” .

Union-Tribune Boys’ poll through Tuesday, Jan. 2:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Mission Bay (6) 12-3 109 3
2 Torrey Pines (4) 13-2 100 1
3 Foothills Christian (1) 9-5 95 4
4 St. Augustine (1) 7-2 88 5
5 Vista 10-5 78 2
6 San Marcos 12-2 60 7
7 La Jolla Country Day 11-4 49 8
8 Mater Dei 11-5 46 6
9 Montgomery 11-3 14 NR
10 Canyon Crest 9-5 8 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes: Poway (9-5, 5 points), Rancho Bernardo (6-4, 4), Santa Fe Christian (8-5, 3), Mount Miguel (14-2, 2), Helix (8-6, 1), Westview (8-7, 1).

Poll participants:  John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, freelancer; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions;  Adam Paul,  Ramon Scott, EastCountySports.com; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9 FM; Christian Pedersen, S.D. Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin, Fulltime Hoops; Brad Enright, L.A. Court Report.

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2017 Week 18: Helix 10th; Desert Runner Leads Scorers

A nagging, Week 2 loss to Lancaster Paraclete that Helix appeared to overcome reared up again after the Highlanders were beaten by Folsom, 49-42, in the state 1-AA championship.

Helix, seventh in the state going into the game as selected by Cal-Hi Sports, dropped to a final ranking of 10th.   Helix might have finished eighth or ninth, but the loss to Folsom, combined with Harbor City Narbonne’s stunning, 50-13 win over Paraclete, sealed the Highlanders at 10th.  Narbonne was ninth and Long Beach Poly eighth.

Mission Hills is 12th in Cal-Hi’s final rating and Torrey Pines, which came close in Avocado League battles with Mission Hills, crashed the top 50 at 49th.  San Marcos was 54th and Ramona and Steele Canyon earned honorable mention.


Tyler Saikhon of El Centro Southwest led all San Diego Section scorers with 234 points after finishing second in 2016 with 188.

Saikhon is the third Valley runner to outscore all others, joining Brawley’s Zay Shepard, who had 192 points in 2003 and 276 in ’04, and Imperial’s Royce Freeman, whose three-peat probably never will be surpassed.

Freeman had 240 in 2011, 216 in ’12, and 258 in ’13 before embarking on a collegiate career at Oregon that will likely conclude with his selection in the 2018 NFL draft.

Scoring totals are not always accurate or are incomplete, because they often are impossible to find in newspapers or are unreported.  Max Preps, from which the below totals come, tries to keep score.

Name Team Gms TD PAT 2PAT FG Pts
Tyler Saikhon El Centro Southwest 14 38 0 3 0 234
Dorian Richardson Rancho Buena Vista 12 26 0 0 0 156
Kenyon Sims Lincoln 12 24 0 4 0 152
Daniel Esguerra Calvin Christian 8 11 15 47 4 3 151
Jacob Siegfried Granite Hills 13 25 0 0 0 150
Mozes Mooney The Bishop’s 10 22 0 8 0 148
Casey Granfors University City 11 22 0 0 0 132
Marcel Patterson University City 11 22 0 0 0 132
Shevell Sterling Grossmont 11 21 0 0 0 126
Juan Pablo Ruiz Calexico Vincent Memorial 14 21 0 0 0 126
Devon Jones Kearny 12 20 0 1 0 122
Michael Moreno Brawley 10 20 0 0 0 120
Deandre Daniels St. Augustine 9 20 0 0 0 120
Ty Jones Salton City West Shores 8 19 0 1 0 118
Branton Bell Kearny 12 18 0 4 0 116
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2017 Week 17: Cougars Were Steeled in Stretch Run.

Steele Canyon’s winning the State Division 3-A championships was comparative to an NFL team sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card and taking home the Super Bowl trophy.

The Cougars of Coach Scott Longerbone were 4-4 at midseason, got into the San Diego Section playoffs as a No. 7 seed, won 4 games in San Diego, and went on to the state championship with a 44-42 victory over Central Coast champion Half Moon Bay, which had won 14 in a row.

Steele Canyon (12-4) tied La Jolla Country Day’s 2016 state finalist and several others for the most games played by a California high school.

Sixteen games! It’s what they play in the big league.

San Diego Section teams won 2 of 5 state finals in 2016 and 1 of 5 this year.  But the section was more competitive this season, no blowout losses compared to 2016, when The Bishop’s was beaten by Oakdale, 47-0, and Horizon was taken down by Strathmore, 62-22.

The most decisive score differential in 2017 was Calexico Vincent Memorial’s 38-20 loss to San Francisco Galileo.

The most recent CIF state format was adapted in 2015.  San Diego Section teams are 5-8 in that period and 9-13 since state playoffs were reinstated in 2007.

2007 II Oceanside 28-14 *Novato
2008 III Cathedral 37-34 *Stockton St. Mary’s
2009 V Francis Parker 40-44 *Modesto Christian
2010 IV Madison 14-30 *Escalon
2011 II Helix 35-24 *Loomis Del Oro
2012 IV Madison 38-35 *^Marin Catholic
V Santa Fe Christian 7-66 *Modesto Central Catholic
2014 I Oceanside 7-68 *Folsom
III El Capitan 28-35 *^Moraga Campolindo
2015 III-A Rancho Bernardo 35-14 ^*Atherton Sacred Heart
IV-AA Bonita Vista 21-33 **Hanford
V-AA Mater Dei 55-21 **Reedley Immanuel
VI-AA Coronado 6-16 *East Nicolaus
2016 I-AA Cathedral 38-31 *Stockton St. Mary’s
II-AA Madison 21-17 ^*San Jose Valley Christian
III The Bishop’s 0-47 *Oakdale
V-A La Jolla Country Day 17-20 #*Oakland McClymonds
VI-A Horizon 22-62 **Strathmore
2017 I-AA Helix 42-49 *Folsom
III-A Steele Canyon 44-42 ^*Half Moon Bay
IV-AA El Centro Southwest 41-45 ^*Milpitas
VI-A Calexico Vincent Memorial 20-38 *#San Francisco Galileo



*Sac-Joaquin.  *^North Coast. ^*Central Coast. #*Oakland. **Central. *#San Francisco.


The Los Angeles Rams’ Jarrod Goff is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL but five years ago, Goff’s Marin Catholic team from the North Coast Section was  a 38-35 loser to Madison in the state D-IV championship…San Francisco Galileo, conqueror of Calexico Vincent Memorial in VI-A, is the alma-mater of many Italian-American baseball players  of generations past and of  prominent people in business and the arts but probably is best known as the school from which O.J. Simpson graduated and the school that baseball immortal Joe DiMaggio did not attend…DiMaggio never went to high school…San Diego State came hard at the last minute and received a commitment from Helix quarterback Carson Baker, who originally had  chosen California-Davis….Baker completed 19 of 31 passes for three touchdowons and ran for another as Helix battled Folsom throughout before losing, 49-42…Highlanders sophomore Elejon Noa rushed for 1,013 yards in five playoff games…Galileo scored touchdowns on three of its first five snaps in the third quarter after trailing, 14-8, at halftime…Cameron Junger passed for five touchdowsn and rallied El Centro Southwest from a 34-14 deficit early in the third quarter but Milpitas scored the winning touchdown with 2:37 remaining in the game…Steele Canyon withstood a Half Moon Bay rally after the school on Highway 94 led, 34-15, in the third quarter…the championship was a breakthrough for Coach Scott Longerbone’s program…the Cougars had not moved beyond the San Diego Section semifinals in seven previous tries….


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