East County Sports

VALLEY PREVIEW: Eagles have challengers

Granite Hills's Ryan Kelly




By Bill Dickens



EL CAJON – The Granite Hills Eagles had some preseason success, including winning its own invitational tournament, but following a couple of losses to East County foes heading into league play, there are certainly some questions surrounding the Grossmont Valley League favorites.

The Eagles have had a credible cast to surround star RYAN KELLY over the last two seasons, but the scoring emergence of CAMERON SPITZER really shores up the ability for Granite to finish on the offensive end.

Perhaps no Eagle epitomizes the team’s all-out effort on both ends of the floor than identical twins MOSES and XSAVIER SMITH.

The duo was burdened by the flu over a couple of games last week as Granite Hills fell to Steele Canyon in the Wolf Pack Shootout final on Saturday, but they will be back and in their element in the scrappy Valley race.

Expect the Eagles to be a championship contender in Division 3, as well.


Santana may be the surprise of the East County so far, but consider that veteran coaches JOHN BOBOF and WADE VICKERY have teamed together this season on the bench, and there’s no doubt as to why the Sultans are performing at a likely optimum level and should be a contender for the title.

NICK BERHALTER is a hard-working force that can also handle the basketball, while ANDREW HITCHCOCK, JOHN BOBOF, JR., and T.C. SIMMONS reflect the veteran leadership in their more disciplined play.

Santana tries to stop a three-game losing skid Friday night in the league home opener against Mount Miguel at 5.

The Matadors are right there in these top three and also can entertain league title aspirations behind star DARIEN NORWOOD.

The Matadors reminded long-time Grossmont Conference fans not to sleep on them this season after knocking off Steele Canyon on Tuesday to finish the preseason at 7-7.

The Matadors’ JAMES ALLEN appears to be a solid co-star, while MARQUISE EDWARDS helps give the team arguably the best set of rebounders in the league.

Monte Vista has a league player of the year contender in DEONDRE MCHAYLE, but may lack the depth of a supporting cast to carry the Monarchs into the top half of the division.

McHayle is a scoring force night-in-and-night-out, while DAVID GARCIA has been a strong in evenly-matched games.

The El Cajon Valley Braves have a strong set of seniors in HASAN ALHASAN, DMIR WITHERSPOON, JEREMIAH DAVIS and GREG JONES, but could muster just three wins in 14 preseason contests.

Meanwhile, El Capitan, under new coach SCOTT PICARD, have yet to register a win, but open the league season at home against Monte Vista on Friday night to try and gauge where the Vaqueros truly belong on the Valley ladder.




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