2013: Saints No. 1 in UT Poll and State Regional Pairings

St. Augustine saved its best best game for last and earned the No. 1 rating in the final UT-San Diego boys’ basketball poll.

The Saints (25-4) raced to a 16-2 lead after the opening tip against Cathedral Catholic in the San Diego Section Division III finals.  They opened the second quarter with another withering burst of 16-2  to take a 33-6 lead and knock out the Dons, 62-36,  before about 3,500 persons at Viejas Arena last Saturday.

Such was the Saints’ exhibition of ball movement, shot selection, and defense that they were awarded the top seed in D-III and a first-round bye in the Southern California playoffs, which begin Wednesday night, March 6.

The biggest winner in the poll other than coach Mike Haupt’s Saints  was coach Ollie Goulston’s Hoover Cardinals (29-5), who moved from sixth to third. Cathedral was the biggest loser, dropping from first to fifth, followed by La Costa Canyon (27-5), beaten by Hoover, 58-50.  The Mavericks dropped from third to sixth.

St. Augustine,  1-3 this season against Cathedral, could meet the Dons again in  the Southern California semifinals.  The Saints would have to win their opening game against the winner of Los Angeles Hamilton (16-14) and Lawndale Leuzinger (22-8).

Cathedral’s road to a rematch with St. Augustine is more daunting.  The Dons (27-4), seeded fifth, must get by Rancho Santa Margarita (16-15), the 12 seed in the first round, and then take on the winner of  dangerous Tustin (29-2) and Huntington Beach Ocean View (24-7), who play in the 4-13 game.

Hoover is young (four starting underclassmen) and has struggled in past Southern California regionals, but the Cardinals showed moxie and toughness in overcoming San Marcos 68-63 in the San Diego Section D-II playoffs and didn’t flinch in the glare of La Costa Canyon’s pedigree, which includes a berth in the 2012 State D-II finals.

Hoover is seeded third in D-II and La Costa Canyon fifth.  The Cardinals are home in the 3-14 game against  Las Flores Tesoro (21-9) of Southern Orange County.  The Mavericks drew Granada Hills Kennedy (27-7)  of the Los Angeles City Section and are the home team in a 5-12 game.

A possible quarterfinals rematch would pair Hoover and San Marcos (26-5), but the Knights must travel to their first-round game against Villa Park (23-7) and are a double-digit seed in a 6-11 contest.

Army-Navy (27-4) will be favored at home in the D-IV 2-15 game against Montebello Cantwell Sacred Heart (20-8).  Horizon is top seed in D-V and draws a first-round bye.

Final UT-San Diego poll.  First place votes in parenthesis.

Place

Team

Record

Points

Last Week

1

St. Augustine (5)

25-4

114

4

2

Army-Navy (5)

27-4

112

2

3

Hoover (3)

29-5

109

5

4

Mission Hills

27-4

98

6

5

Cathedral Catholic

27-4

76

1

5

La Costa Canyon

27-5

74

3

7

El Camino

26-6

40

8

8

San Marcos

26-5

32

7

9

Mater Dei

25-6

23

NR

10

Horizon

17-11

19

NR

Others receiving votes: Torrey Pines (20-10), 6 points; San Ysidro (24-8), 6; Santa Fe Christian (19-10), 2; Foothills Christian (19-14), 2; Lincoln (13-15), 2.

MY CHOICES

As one of 13 selectors, I didn’t always agree with my colleagues.  Actually, I never agreed with them.  But my wife says I’m just a disagreeable type.  So here is my final ballot, with comment.

1–St. Augustine.  Closing fast and capable of  deep run the next couple weeks.

2–Hoover.  Rising program with  brilliant, 75-year history.

3–La Costa Canyon.  Temporary setback?

4–Cathedral Catholic.  They won’t shoot that poorly again.

5–Army-Navy.  I know, I know.  I keep under-rating them.

6–Mission Hills.  Kameron Rooks must dominate for Grizzlies to advance.

7–San Marcos. Solid but not quite special.

8–Mater Dei.  Scrappy and well coached.

9–Lincoln.  Very disappointed in my alma-mater.

10–San Ysidro.  Another well-coached South Bay club.

 

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