East County Sports

PCAC South crown up for grabs

Southwestern and City on Friday. / Ce-Ce Jimenez photo


East County Sports staff report

DOWNTOWN (2-16-2019) – On a rainy evening when Southwestern College had the opportunity to clinch the South Division title of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, suddenly the sky is falling.

The Jaguars thought their primary thorn, being San Diego City College, was removed after defeating the Knights in the first round of conference play in end a 3-year losing streak in PCAC play. However, SDCC bounced back Friday (Feb. 15) to gain a series split following a 75-66 triumph at Harry West Gym.

The result, coupled with Grossmont’s upset of Imperial Valley, leaves all four schools in contention for the division crown in one of the wildest races since 1979, when Grossmont, Mesa and Fullerton all tied for the South Coast Conference crown. Oddly, Mesa is the lone school out of this season’s title contention, yet the Olympians remained poised to upset any of the quartet.

Except for a few moments in the first quarter, San Diego City led the entire contest, thwarting every Southwestern run to get back into the ballgame.

Leading the way was Knights guard Kiley Pope,who answered the call with a career-high 24 points (five better than her previous bes; 10 better than her second-best). Included were 11 points in the fourth quarter, including all seven of City’s final points in the final two minutes.

San Diego City also saw two other players register double-doubles. Breeana Gafare finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Elliott Nixon tallied 15 points and a team-best 13 boards.

Southwestern (14-10 overall, 4-2 PCAC) shot 35.9 percent from the floor. Teammates Maya Robinson (7-12 FGs) and Satera Bates led the Jags with 16 points each.

City (11-14, 3-3 PCAC) also held a slight 54-51 advantage on the boards. Southwestern was also in foul trouble, committing double the fouls (24-to-12).

Tied at 14-14 after the first period, Pope scored 8 points in the second quarter for a 34-29 lead, an advantage they never gave up.

Despite the loss, since IVC also lost, Southwestern maintained a 1-game lead with two contest remaining so if they sweep, they can still obtain an outright crown. But any loss would create chaos to determine the representative to the CCCAA state playoffs.

Grossmont 71, Imperial Valley 61:  At El Cajon, Griffins guard Chiara Mattern, who previous scoring high was 30 points against Southwestern last month, obliterated that mark by pouring home 37 points to prevent the Lady Arabs from gaining a share of the South Division lead.

Mattern, a freshman from Ramona, posted the shooting night of her life. She sank 11-of-17 shots from the field, including 8-of-11 on triples, plus went 7-for-7 at the foul line.

Drew Mendoza collected 9 assists and scored 10 points to keep IVC chasing all contest. Meanwhile, forward Satori Roberson recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Imperial Valley held a 35-31 halftime lead, but the Griffins saw Mattern collect 15 of the team’s 21 points to grab a 52-43 lead, then Mattern added 11 more points in the fourth to allow Grossmont to win going away.

Grossmont (6-17 overall, 4-3 PCAC) must win its final ballgame, hosting Southwestern on Wednesday (Feb. 20) at 5 p.m. to forge at least a co-championship.

Should the Griffins win, Imperial Valley (13-13, 5-4 PCAC) to create a tri-championship by claiming its regular-season finale Friday at San Diego City. If the Knights win (and Grossmont beats SWC), City would also need to defeat Mesa to grab a share of the crown.

PCAC North

Mt. San Jacinto 66, Palomar 63:  At San Marcos, the visiting Eagles survived the Comets’ quest for a co-championship and defend their North Division title.

After Palomar moved to within three points in the final minute, they got the ball back with a chance to tie it. However, MSJC “intentionally” fouled to send Palomar to the foul line. The Comets intentionally missed the foul shot, but the Eagles were able to grab the rebound to prevent any 3-point shot to force overtime.

Palomar held a 43-39 lead through three periods of strong defensive play. However, the offenses opened up over the final 10 minutes, when MSJC guard Britney Neely registered 11 of her 17 points to salvage the division crown and a state playoff berth. The Eagles are the defending CCCAA state champions.

The Eagles (22-6 overall, 6-0 PCAC) also received double-figures scoring from Haylei Janssens (16 points), Sharonda Edwards (11) and Alyssa Walton (10).

The second-place Comets, which has finished first or second for five consecutive seasons, st 16 points from Julie Saelee. Clarissa Taite added 13 points, and Taylor Williams had 10.

Desert at San Bernardino Valley: This contest was canceled (not forfeited) as the host Wolverines program has fallen in shambles.

MiraCosta and Mesa were not scheduled.

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