Foothills Christian is No. 1 in the UT-San Diego poll, but the Knights got there wondering what if.
Foothills is 8-6 and has a “woulda-coulda” lament.
The Knights forfeited two early, blowout victories because of the ubiquitous and dreaded administrative glitch involving player eligibility and they’ve dropped two of their last three following the loss of their star.
Coach Troy Leaf’s team has not been the same since Leaf’s 6-foot, 10-inch son, T.J., went down with a sprained ankle with two minutes remaining in the first round of the Under-Armour tournament at Torrey Pines.
Leaf had scored 22 points with 13 rebounds, and seven assists in the 67-49 victory over Los Angeles Westchester, then was unavailable as the Knights were mauled by Corona Centennial, 73-51, and Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson, 77-47.
With Leaf still out, Foothills then scored an unexpected, 49-47 win over La Costa Canyon.
But the 10-4 and second-ranked Mavericks had some injury problems of their own. They played without 6-8 Travis Fuller, who is averaging 17 points.
Foothills Christian’s other losses were 84-75 to state ninth-ranked Chino Hills and 66-59 to state third-ranked Long Beach Poly.
The El Cajon school will take another shot at a California powerhouse when it meets No. 5 Redondo Beach Redondo Jan. 17 at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
The Knights open Coastal League play this evening at home against 9-5 Santa Fe Christian. Leaf, averaging 28 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, will be welcomed back.
La Costa Canyon has a nonleague game Wednesday night versus Escondido, 7-5.
Late December tournaments and intersectional games shook up the Top 10. Five teams changed positions since the last vote.
UT-San Diego poll #3:
|#||Team (1st place votes)||W-L||Points*||Previous|
|1||Foothills Christian (7)||8-6||101||2|
|2||La Costa Canyon (1)||10-4||94||1|
|3||Torrey Pines (2)||13-2||86||3|
|4||San Marcos (1)||13-1||77||4|
|5||El Camino (1)||11-2||62||5|
*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. NR–Not ranked.
Others receiving votes: Kearny, 9 (9-5); Grossmont (11-2), Escondido (7-5), Cathedral (7-5), 3 each; Vista, 2 (11-4); Mission Hills, 1 (8-4).
Eleven San Diego County sportswriters and broadcasters, and a CIF San Diego Section representative vote each week. The panel includes John Maffei and Kirk Kenney (UT-San Diego), Terry Monahan (UT-San Diego correspondent), Bill Dickens (eastcountysports.com), Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Aaron Burgin (fulltimeshoops.com), Rick Willis (KUSI Chl. 51), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Drew Willis (sdcoastalsports.com).