East County Sports

Hillers take two on Century-tying win



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior writer

NATIONAL CITY — The future of high school athletics in traditional public schools is hitting an all-time high with the influx of charter and parochial schools.

The most noted example in East County came in 2015 with the advent of Open Division competition in the CIF San Diego Section, when Foothills Christian boys basketball shocked many by claiming the Open Division championship as the best overall program in San Diego and Imperial counties.

The latest to take a major hit has been public schools in South Bay, where even powerful Eastlake football was swamped by now two-time defending state division champion Mater Dei Catholic this past season, 49-7.

Other rising schools recruiting top student-athletes away include the new Victory Christian (not the original school of the same name based in Carlsbad in the 1970s) in many sports, plus Bayfront Charter (softball) and many others.

A Sweetwater Union High School District school especially suffering from the loss of student-athletes is Castle Park, which saw its girls’ basketball team take an embarrassing hit on Tuesday (Jan. 3).

Grossmont High equaled its best defensive stand this century by limiting the Trojans to just eight points, as the Foothillers romped to a 78-8 victory.

The Hillers were originally concerned when this Sweetwater Tournament game came out It was the second on the day on their tournament schedule. However, following a 47-20 triumph over another South Bay school in Chula Vista, Grossmont is off to a stellar 8-1 start entering Wednesday’s tough assignment against Carlsbad (12-3).

In allowing just single digits in points, Grossmont matched a mark set against Hoover (62-8, 2016-17) and Madison (64-8, 2021-22).

Records from the 20th Century weren’t immediately available.

Against Castle Parker, a trio of Hillers scored in double figures, paced by 16 from senior Kaylee Cole. The others were freshman Marissa Farace (14) and junior Daliayah Blake (10).

Cole also recorded seven assists, more than triple her previous best. Meanwhile, Blake added 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

In addition, Cole, a St. Olaf College commit, was also the scoring leader against Chula Vista in the team’s first ballgame. She tallied 14 points, while junior Kellan Hayden posted 11.


Rancho Buena Vista 41, El Capitan 39

LAKESIDE — El Capitan is one of East County’s few ballclubs with three players scoring in double figures. But when the Vaqueros temporarily lost LillyWilliams to an ankle sprain two weeks ago, the Vaqueros offense remained strong in winning 4-of-5 contests.

The win streak ended Monday when Rancho Buena Vista scored late to take a 41-39 decision at Foster Gymnasium.

The defense of the Longhorns limited El Cap to a season-low 21 percent shooting percentage, including less than 20 percent from beyond the arc.

“It’s not an ideal situation for us, obviously, since Little sprained her ankle,” said vaqueros head coach Dylan Curtis. “But the team is stepping up to fill the void. We have a couple of things to clean up, but we’ll be ready for league play.”

Curtis noted the on- and off-court leadership of Paige Worthem and Madie Peet to replace Williams. Of course, scoring leaders Keira Heinricy and Amaya Tone lead the offense.

El Capitan (13-5 overall) closes the preseason Friday at El Cajon Valley, then open Grossmont Hills League play next Tuesday at home to Monte Vista (9-4).

San Ysidro at Helix, no report

Note: Grossmont, El Cap, and Helix(10-3) own the best overall records among GHL teams, but the preseason favorite remains Mount Miguel(6-4), which plays a regional schedule against many of the top programs in the southwest USA.

The quintet of GHL programs owns a composite mark of 46-17 (.730).

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