East County Sports

Eagles barnstorm to second place finish


EastCountySports.com staff report

SANTEE – Granite Hills’ JOHN YAKOU and MCKAY ROBERTS combined for 42 points as the Eagles stomped on host Santana’s floor, 67-51, in the Grossmont Valley League final on Friday night, wrapping up a second-place finish for a club that started the campaign 2-10.

“It was a good felling,” Yakou said of the Eagles’ third road win in GVL play. “We needed the win so badly so we can get momentum and start going on a roll and go hard in the playoffs.”

The Eagles look the role of spoiler when they face a rematch against San Diego High in the opening round of the San Diego CIF Division III playoffs on Wednesday at 7.

The Cavers defeated the Eagles, 65-42, in a game played at El Capitan High back on Dec. 15.

In the win over the Sultans, HUNTER PIKE and CALEB ERICKSON combined for 24 rebounds. Erickson had four blocked shots.

The Eagles trailed by three at halftime.

“John Yakou had a great game,” Granite Hills coach DAN DUFFY said. “Caleb Erickson was great on the boards. The guys came out playing much better in the second half.”

Santana had beaten the Eagles in two previous meetings this season, including in El Cajon on Jan. 25.

“They’ve been beating us all season,” Yakou said “In the second half, we just came with that energy to crash their Senior Night. It just took us time to mesh and we have finally come together at the right time.”

The Cavers have an exceptional club and earned the No. 4 seed, although the Eagles appear to be playing at higher level over the second half of the season than their No. 13 position would suggest.

“The whole season we knew what we were capable of,” Yakou said. “Everyone is finally starting to play to their potential. Hopefully, we can make a run in CIF.”

Granite Hills (11-15, 6-4 Grossmont Valley League) comes into Wednesday’s game having won nine of its last 14 games, including a victory over a Valhalla team, which has just three losses this season.

“We play hard and we got better and better as the year went on,” Duffy said. “I’m very proud considering our 2-10 start. These guys have come a long way.”

Santana, meanwhile, earned a spot in the Division III playoffs and will travel to face top-seeded Sweetwater on Wednesday at 7.

The Sultans finished tied for third place in the GVL with El Capitan.

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