East County Sports

PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Granite Hills, Steele Canyon, Valhalla

Granite Hills in the locker room after its home win over Otay Ranch in the CIF Playoffs on Wednesday.



By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (2-25-16) — RYAN KELLY rolled off a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds to spearhead Granite Hills’ first round San Diego CIF Division III victory over Otay Ranch 55-46 on Wednesday (Feb. 24).

“You can always count on Kelly (a 6-foot-7 junior) for a double-double,” said his coach, RANDY ANDERSON.

Kelly did most of his damage from the free throw line where he netted 8 of 10 opportunities.

Not to be overlooked in Granite Hills’ balanced attack was CAMERON SPITZER who rang up a team best 15 points. He nailed 3 triples and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Anderson was quick to note that there were some new faces that helped in the elimination of the Otay Ranch Mustangs (10-18).

An unsung hero for Granite Hills was DARIEN COSSIO. Usually a dead-eye shooter, Cossio was off the mark on the offensive slide with just 4 points, but slapped the defensive clamps on Otay Ranch’s 5-foot-11 senior guard Oscar Limon.

“Cossio did a great job on their best player,” Anderson noted.

After Otay Ranch jumped in front 8-2, JORDEN ROGERS countered with 7 points for the Eagles.

“We have to credit Rogers because he kept us in the game,” said Anderson, whose Eagles trailed only 14-13 after one quarter.

The pivotal period in the contest was the third when Granite Hills outscored the Mustangs 15-5 to take a 10-point advantage. In the third Spitzer hit three straight treys, and DAVID SETTERBERG scored a final 6 points of the quarter.

Granite Hills protected its lead in the fourth quarter by sinking 12 of 14 free throws.

Overall the Eagles were 16 of 22 from the charity stripe, including Rogers coming off the bench to hit 2 of 2.

Burly JACOB BURTON was a force on the boards, collecting 9 caroms and blocking 2 shots for the Eagles, who will travel to Madison in a quarterfinal joust on Saturday (Feb. 27) at 7 p.m.

Granite Hills:  Cameron Spitzer 15 (2 reb, 3 ast), Ryan Kelly 14 (11 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), David Setterberg 11 (4 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jorden Rogers 9 (4 reb), Darien Cossio 4 (5 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jake Burton 2 (9 reb, 2 ast, 2 blk), Dylan Garcia (1 reb).

 – For the second time in as many meetings, Steele Canyon came up short at Mater Dei in Wednesday’s (Feb. 24) San Diego CIF Division I first round game to knock the Cougars out of the playoffs.

It was a painful defeat for Steele Canyon (10-18), which led by 7 points with 3 minutes left in the contest. The Crusaders slashed their way back to trail by only one point in the final seconds.

“We had a trap on one of their kids in the corner,” said Cougars coach DEREK STEPHENS. “But somehow he managed to throw the ball across the court to Josh Tawhiao (a sophomore) who hit a 3-pointer to put the Crusaders up by 2 with 27 seconds left. That was the only basket that kid made all night.”

Steele Canyon came back to feed GAGE SANDERS, who had already made 5 treys in the contest. But when Sanders dialed long distance this time, he missed the mark.

“As soon as the ball left Sanders’ hands I thought it was in,” said Stephens. “But the ball hit the back of the rim and they got the rebound.”

With 10 seconds remaining, Steele Canyon’s AMIR HARRIS, missed the front end of a one-and-one, even though he was 9-for-11 from the stripe in the game.

After gathering the rebound, the Crusaders were fouled. They made the first free throw but missed the second to extend their lead to 3 points.

When the second shot missed the mark, Steele Canyon’s NICK HODGE grabbed the rebound at half court and the Cougars called time out.

Eventually Hodge took his opponent off the dribble to launch a 3-pointer at the buzzer which would have tied the game, but the shot rimmed out.

One thing that hurt Steele Canyon in the finale was playing without guards THOMAS FISHBURNE and MARCUS WHITE. Fishburne suffered torn ligaments two weeks ago while White is sidelined with a heart condition.

“We played hard but couldn’t quite pull it out,” Stephens said. “I can’t recall how many games we’ve lost by 3 or fewer points.”

Steele Canyon:  Gage Sanders 17, Amir Harris 11, Javon Nutter 7, Tyler Smith 5, Nick Hodge 4.

— Bill Dickens, © East County Sports.com

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Cole Henderson, of Valhalla, lets a shot fly at Mira Mesa on Wednesday night during the San Diego CIF playoffs.

MIRA MESA 63, VALHALLA 57 – A final round of frustration was dealt to the Valhalla Norsemen in Wednesday’s (Feb. 24) first round of the San Diego CIF Division II playoffs at Mira Mesa, as the Marauders prevailed.

“We didn’t take the lead in the game until the fourth quarter,” said Norsemen assistant coach DON ROLLINS.

JOHN MURAD hit a 3 to put Valhalla ahead 51-50 in the middle of the fourth, finished with 11 points.

Mira Mesa extended its advantage to 38-22 by the break.

“Mira Mesa’s David Wheeler made 11 of 16 points in the first quarter,” Rollins recalled. “He hit three 3s in the first quarter.”

Valhalla (15-13) fought back in the second half led by the super charge of COLE HENDERSON who finished with a double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 2 steals and a block.  He scored 14 of the Norsemen’s 17 points in the third quarter.

Overall Henderson was 7-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-9 from long distance. He also dropped in 3 free throws in 4 attempts.

The Norsemen nailed 9 three-pointers, including two by NATHAN YOUSIF who finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Not to be overlooked was the work of MATTHEW SAKO who claimed 8 caroms and dished 2 assists for Valhalla, which suffered a disheartening playoff knockout.

Valhalla:  Cole Henderson 26 (12 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk), John Murad 11 (4 reb, 1 ast), Jordan Ellis 9 (3 reb, 1 ast), Nathan Yousif 8 (6 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl), Matthew Sako 2 (8 reb, 2 ast), Malique Shaw 1 (2 reb), Trey Schimke (3 reb, 1 stl), Kai Komaki (2 reb, 1 stl).

— Bill Dickens, © East County Sports.com

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