East County Sports

ROUNDUP: East teams fizzle in openers

Helix senior AMARI GREEN drives to the basket on Tuesday night. / photo by Ramon Scott



By Ramon Scott



LA MESA – After one look at the Cathedral Catholic Dons in the warmup line, the Helix Highlanders nearly went from favorites to underdogs in their San Diego CIF Division 1 playoff opener on Tuesday night.

The eighth-seeded Highlanders never lost the heart or the fire to compete against the impressive ninth-seeded visitors, but couldn’t get any rim-rolling, backboard-bouncing shots to fall in a bizarre fourth-quarter stretch that saw Helix score just five points and allowed the Dons to send the game to overtime.

That’s when Cathedral Catholic 6-foot-3 freshman THOMAS NOTARAINNI hit a beautiful three-pointer that sent the momentum the way of the rival’s side the rest of the way as Helix’s shooting woes continued and the Dons eventually advanced past the Scotties, 63-59.

Helix senior JAYLEN HINSON scored 23 points and had four assists and six rebounds for Helix and hit a late three in overtime with just eight seconds left to make it a three-point game, though the Highlanders were forced to foul.

Hinson sparkled offensively, making eight-of-14 field goal attempts.

Helix led 18-16 after one quarter, but extended the lead to 24-26 at halftime.

The Highlanders led just 45-43 after three quarters.

JAVON DAVIS had a key basket that drew a foul as Helix tried maintaining its lead in the second half. Davis added seven boards.

Hinson hit a running shot in the lane to put Helix up 50-48 with 28.2 seconds to play.

Senior AMARI GREEN added 12 points for the Highlanders.

Notarainni finished with 27 points, including 19 after halftime and four more points on free throws in OT. He had six rebounds and four assists.

Cathedral Catholic’s other super-impressive freshman OBINNA ANYANWU added 18 points, including a pair of free throws to tie the game in the final 20 seconds. He dominated with 16 rebounds.

The Dons’ Alex Wade, another first-year student, also was sharp from three early.

Helix sophomore MAURICE HOLMES knocked down a pair of threes in the contest.

Helix senior CARSON BAKER, who had a three-pointer during the Highlanders’ second-quarter surge to the lead, fouled out late in the contest.

Baker shared a hug at the end of the bench with Helix coaching great JOHN SINGER after walking off the home court.


EASTLAKE 74, STEELE CANYON 67 – The visiting Titans, the No. 11 seed, stormed out of the gate in the third quarter with a 10-0 run to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 14-point edge after three on the way to upsetting the sixth-seeded Cougars in the Division 2 playoffs.

Steele Canyon awoke midway through the fourth and put together a big run that definitely had the outcome in doubt.

The Cougars went on a 16-4 run to make it a four-point game, 65-61.

GAGE SANDERS led the way with 20 points for Steele Canyon in a strong performance.

Senior THOMAS FISHBURNE finished up with 16 in his final Cougar playoff appearance.

The Cougars’ KOBE SANDERS added 13 points.

GRANT CHILDS came home with 12 for the Cougs.


OCEANSIDE 83, WEST HILLS 61 – The Wolf Pack was on-point early, busting out to a 21-19 lead after one period in a first-round Division II playoff game on the road.

Oceanside led 35-31 at halftime and took a 12-point lead into the fourth.

West Hills senior guard CAM BARRY was sent to line 15 times where he canned 14 free throws en route to a team-high 23 points.

Junior MICHAEL TOTAH came up big in the scoring department with 16 points for West Hills. He also had three assists.

Oceanside (16-12) was led the by the 15-point performances of Philip Johnson and Donovan Laie, while Kameron Beacham added 14, and the Pirates got 12 from by Emmanuel Grandison and Dru Morgan.

The Wolf Pack of West Hills High finished 15-11.

The Pirates will be on the road when they take on the Patriots of Christian High School on Friday, February 23rd.


El Capitan moves the ball against EAA on Tuesday night.

ESCONDIDO ADVENTIST ACADEMY 54, EL CAPITAN 47 – The San Diego CIF Division 4 playoff opening-round game was tied 22-all at halftime, but the Hawks pulled away to earn the win and move on.

JAKOB LOPEZ had an awesome night for El Capitan in his final game as a senior, scoring a season-high 23 points, including a pair of three-pointers.

Lopez had 10 points at halftime.

Escondido Adventist led just 39-35 at the end of three quarters.

Senior KEVIN VON YOKES added eight points for El Capitan.

The Vaqueros were just 3-for-12 from the foul line.


ORANGE GLEN 74, GROSSMONT 58 – AUSTIN ODOM scored 21 points for Grossmont, which trailed by just one point moments into the second half at 34-33 in the opening game of the Division 1 playoffs in Escondido.

The Patriots would extend the lead to 56-48 at the end of three quarters.

MYKI MORELAND 13 points for the Foothillers, while DAISEAN CRAWFORD 12 points for the Hillers.

The Patriots of Orange Glen improve their record at 17-12 behind the 21-point effort of Andres Tovar, 16 from Damien Miller, 14 by Adam Nieves and 13 coming from Angel Nieves.


GUAJOME PARK 53, EL CAJON VALLEY 48 – REY-EL HILL had 18 points for the Braves in a CIF Division IV playoff game, but the Frogs behind the 16-point performance by Ty Ballard, defeated visiting El Cajon Valley.

The Braves got out to a 17-15 lead after one quarter, the still only trailed by three at halftime.

El Cajon Valley had a five-point lead with five minutes to play in the fourth quarter but was outscored 13-5 in the final stanza.

GPA put together a 12-1 run to change the game dramatically.

El Cajon Valley ends its season at 12-13.

Guajome Park (19-5) got 13 points from Michael Simmons and 11 from Cristian Garrett.

The Frogs will take on the third-seeded Monarchs, of Monte Vista, in Spring Valley on Friday, February 23rd.
UNIVERSITY CITY 61, RANCHO BUENA VISTA 51 – The Centurions held the No. 15 seeded Longhorns to four points in the third quarter before the Longhorns tried to rally with a comeback, outscoring UC 24-17 in the fourth.
UC was led by its bench play, including Ben Bruce who put up 13 points.
The Centurions’ Clay Brooks also put up four treys for 12 points.
The game was put out of reach after Granfors, a junior, hit two free throws to make it a 9-point game.
Then after UC called timeout, Cole Doolittle stole the inbounds pass to seal the game.
Patrick McLachlan poured in 14 of his game-leading 20 points in the fourth quarter for the ‘Horns, while RBV also got 10 points from Jamaul Bell.
Next up for UC is Brawley on Friday at 7 pm.


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