East County Sports

Foothillers, Matadors are Grossmont League choices



By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (1-15-16)


  1. GROSSMONT (14-3) – The defending league champion Foothillers are on the verge of cracking the Top 10 with 6-foot-10 UC Irvine-bound TOMMY RUTHERFORD in the middle. No question Rutherford is going to have a banner season, but the key to the Foothillers’ surge will center around the supporting cast led by guard JEREMIAH APPLETON and perimeter shooting of forwards HUNTER GAINES and MATT MURRAY. Six-foot-4 forward MARQUISE PURNELL will help Rutherford in the paint.
  2. WEST HILLS (13-3) – The Wolf Pack, which has overcome a deep challenge of non-league foes, may be able to knock the Foothillers off the top rung. BRYCE PARSONS anchors a deep West Hills roster and CAMERON BARRY is a bona fide 3-point shooter.
  3. VALHALLA (12-5) – The Norsemen might be the biggest surprise in the Grossmont Hills as they won 12 of 17 outings. The senior laden team is guided by COLE HENDERSON, NATHAN YOUSIF and JOHN MURAD. When the light’s on and the Norsemen huddle, they can beat anybody.
  4. STEELE CANYON (9-8) – Depth is the primary quality of coach DEREK STEPHENS’ Cougars. This is another team that, once it’s in gear, victory is certainly within their grasp. Speedy MARCUS WHITE, hustling THOMAS FISHBURNE guide the team’s fortunes.
  5. HELIX (10-7) – Predicted to finish last in the Grossmont Hills League race is not even on the books in the past for the Helix Highlanders. The Highlanders have played musical chairs in an attempt to piece together a positive lineup. Of course, with JOHN SINGER at the helm, look for Helix to make a late season charge.


  1. MOUNT MIGUEL (9-6) – Bottom line here is if the Matadors can score enough points to dribble to the Grossmont Valley League championship. They’ll have to look to DARIAN NORWOOD, a 6-foot-4 junior is averaging 21.9 points per game to lead the Matadors. TAJ TUCKER is a solid sidekick.
  2. GRANITE HILLS (7-8) – The Eagles, who have won 6 of their last 9 games, hope to have enough momentum to challenge Mount Miguel for the league championship. Given the roster, they have a legitimate chance to overthrow the Matadors. DAVID SETTERBERG and CAMERON SPITZER present the Eagles with the long-ball threat, while RYAN KELLY, DARIEN COSSIO and JACOB BURTON dominate the paint.
  3. SANTANA (8-7) – The Sultans aren’t sure which way they’re going to go. They could challenge for the title or fall to the bottom. This is a team with not a lot of size but they can shoot the ball. FRANKIE GUTIERREZ’s sure-handed marksmanship could lift the Sultans a notch or two.
  4. MONTE VISTA (6-12) – The inconsistent Monarchs could be the surprise team of the league. Despite the lack of depth, the Monarchs can count on TRE OWENS, BO RANKINS, SHAI STEVENSON and DEONDRE McHAYLE to make a surprise run at the title.
  5. EL CAPITAN (6-10) – The Vaqueros have a major scorer in KADE KYGAR who should rank among the East County’s top 3-point shooters. DONALD IRWIN is also a 3-point threat. But the bottom line is the Vaqueros don’t have quite enough firepower to challenge for the league title.
  6. EL CAJON VALLEY (2-12) – The Braves have one of the tallest competitors in 6-foot-7, 220-pound RONNE READUS, who tossed in 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in his latest outing. He’s almost a lock for double-doubles. However, unless the Braves can muster up other outside scoring in AHMAD SULYMAN and GREG JONES, it’s gonna be a long season.


  1. KEARNY (2-0, 15-2) – The Komets are a quick-moving team, which is an excellent passing group, losing only to El Camino and La Jolla Country Day. Takoda Browne is one of the finest athletes in the county, and basketball is just one of his sports for Kearny.
  2. CHRISTIAN (3-0, 12-5) – Six-foot-4 senior TRAVIS BALLARD, who is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds per game, is the ringleader for the Patriots. KYLE STOWERS has been a hard-nosed point guard for the Patriots.
  3. MADISON (1-1, 9-7) – Jace Rivera leads the Warhawks with an average of 15.0 points and 10 rebounds per game.
  4. CORONADO (0-1, 7-6) – The Islanders are hoping to pull off an upset but so far haven’t been able to get out of the gate as yet.
  5. CRAWFORD (1-2, 6-8) – Former Santana coach JEFF BICKFORD guides the Colts with hopes of bringing the team into contention.
  6. POINT LOMA (1-2, 5-7) – Six-foot-5 senior KHAMRON WELLS is the focal point for the Pointers.
  7. CLAIREMONT (0-2, 1-16) – It’s gonna be a long season for the Chieftains.

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