Bring it on! Twenty-seven East County hoops squads qualify for CIF playoffs


Photo by Phillip Brents Helix Charter’s Jackson Daniels (10) is defended on a lay-in against West Hills.

The San Diego Section basketball playoffs have tipped off with a multitude of East County representation – 14 boys teams and 13 girls teams – to be exact.

The single elimination brackets include 16 seeded teams from Division I through Division V, plus a smattering a play-in games. The Open Division features the top eight teams in the section in both gender fields.

Four rounds of elimination play will be conducted in Division I through Division V leading up to respective divisional championship games.

The Grossmont Valley League co-champion Monte Vista Monarchs (20-5) earned the No. 1 seed among Division IV boys teams while Mount Miguel (19-7) paced East County girls teams with an Open Division playoff berth.

Boys brackets

Monte Vista shared this year’s league championship with the Steele Canyon Cougars as both teams finished 7-1 in league play. Steele Canyon defeated Monte Vista, 52-51, on Feb. 2 to draw even in the standings.

The Cougars (15-10) received the No. 7 seed in the Division III playoffs.

The Monarchs were scheduled to tip off their 2022 playoff odyssey on Wednesday against the 16th-seeded San Pasqual Golden Eagles (6-18) while Steele Canyon was set to host 10th-seeded Point Loma (8-13).

Quarterfinals are scheduled Saturday, Feb.19, followed by semifinals on Feb. 23.

The Grossmont Hills League co-champion Grossmont Foothillers (16-12) received the No. 4 seed among Division III teams. The Foothillers finished 8-2 in league play alongside the Helix Highlanders, who received the No. 10 seed among Division I teams.

The Foothillers were scheduled to host 13th-seeded Maranatha Christian (13-15) in Wednesday’s opening round while the Highlanders (14-13 overall) were scheduled to host seventh-seeded Mater Dei Catholic (15-11).

The top end of the Grossmont Hills League standings was fairly balanced, in fact. Following Grossmont and Helix were Granite Hills and Valhalla, both with 6-4 league records.

Grossmont’s two league losses came against Granite Hills (55-52 on Feb. 1) and Valhalla (56-50 on Feb. 10).

Both of Helix’s league losses were to the Foothillers – 68-55 on Jan. 25 and 60-59 on Feb. 8.

Granite Hills received the No. 6 seed in the Division III bracket while Valhalla received the No. 13 seed in the Division II bracket. The Eagles were scheduled to host 11th-seeded High Tech High San Diego (13-13) in the opening round while the Norsemen were scheduled to play at fourth-seeded Mt. Carmel (19-9).

The El Cajon Valley Braves, despite finishing at the bottom of the Grossmont Valley League standings, received the No. 4 seed among Division V boys teams. The Braves were scheduled to host 13th-seeded Preuss Academy (5-8) in Wednesday’s opening round.

Twelve of the 13 Grossmont Conference teams qualified for the playoffs.

West Hills (12-13 overall) received the No. 14 seed in Division III after finishing 1-9 in Grossmont Hills League play. The Wolf Pack, who were set to open the playoffs at No. 3 Scripps Ranch (18-10), are among four East County teams that received seeds in the divisional bracket, joining Grossmont, Granite Hills and Steele Canyon.

Mount Miguel, the bottom team in the Grossmont Hills League standings, drew a play-in game against O’Farrell Charter on Monday to help finalize the Division III bracket.

The Matadors, braced by 23 points from sophomore Mekhi Sidney, won 74-65 to eliminate the Falcons (7-11).

Mount Miguel had finished 1-9 in league play, 5-21 overall during the regular season.

El Capitan received the No. 11 seed among Division IV teams after finishing regular season play 4-4 in the Grossmont Valley League standings, 10-11 overall. The Vaqueros were scheduled to open postseason play at sixth-seeded Crawford (14-9).

Foothills Christian and Mountain Empire also represented East County in the boys playoff field.

Foothills Christian (2-26 overall) received the No. 15 seed in Division I and was scheduled to tip-off postseason play at No. 2 Carlsbad (17-11). The Knights finished 0-13 in Coastal League play.

Mountain Empire (16-5 overall) received the No. 10 seed in Division V. The Red Hawks, who finished 7-1 in Pioneer League play, were scheduled to tip off the playoffs at seventh-seeded Rock Academy (14-6).

The Division V quarterfinals are scheduled Feb. 19, followed by semifinals on Feb. 22 and finals on Feb. 24.

Girls brackets

Mount Miguel tops East County as the only local team to gain admittance into the exclusive Open Division playoffs. The Lady Matadors (19-7) received the No. 4 seed in the eight-team bracket and will meet fifth-seeded El Camino (20-3) in the opening quarterfinal round on Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at Monte Vista High School.

Mount Miguel finished 8-0 in Grossmont Hills League play.

The winner of Friday’s playoff contest will meet the winner between top-seeded La Jolla Country Day and eighth-seeded Westview in Wednesday’s upcoming semifinals.

The championship game is scheduled Feb. 26 at Montgomery High School.

Junior Jennifer Moreno leads the Lady Matadors in season scoring with an 18.3 points-per-game average. On an impressive note, four players on the team finished with double-digit scoring averages.

Junior Ixchel Rojo ranks second at 11.9 ppg, followed by senior Danay Williams-Pope at 10.9 ppg and senior Nataly Bravo at 10.5 ppg.

Williams-Pope tops Mount Miguel with a 6.9 rebounds-per-game average while senior Micaela Luffborough is second with 4.6 rpg.

Rojo is averaging 4.2 assists per game and 4.6 steals per game.

Three East County teams are included in the Division I bracket: Grossmont (14-5) at No. 8. Christian (11-17) at No. 11 and El Capitan (7-21) at No. 15.

First-round play was scheduled to tip off Tuesday, with surviving teams advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals. Semifinals are slated for Feb. 22 and the championship game follows on Feb. 25.

Helix (10-8) will represent East County in the Division II field at the No. 7 seed.

Four East County teams are seeded in the Division III elimination bracket: No. 6 Monte Vista (11-15), No. 7 Santana (17-10), No. 11 Liberty Charter (15-10) and No. 13 West Hills (11-19).

Monte Vista drew the home court assignment against Liberty Charter in Tuesday’s opening round, with the winner advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals. Semifinals are Feb. 22 while the championship game is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Liberty Charter finished as this year’s Summit League champion with a 6-0 record.

Three more East County teams were admitted to the Division IV bracket: Grossmont Valley League champion Steele Canyon (14-13) at No. 3, Granite Hills (15-10) at No. 4 and El Cajon Valley (14-13) at No. 7. All three teams received home court assignments for Tuesday’s opening round.

Quarterfinals are Friday, followed by semifinals on Feb. 22. The championship game is scheduled for Feb. 25.

Valhalla (8-20) is the lone East County team represented in the Division V field as the No. 13 seed, drawing a road assignment at four-seeded Palo Verde Valley in Tuesday’s opening round.

For updated scores, brackets and game times, visit the website at

Boys Basketball Standings

Grossmont Valley League

Monte Vista 7-1, 20-5

Steele Canyon 7-1, 15-10

El Capitan 4-4, 10-11

Santana 2-6, 4-24

El Cajon Valley 0-8, 11-17

Grossmont Hills League

Grossmont 8-2, 16-12

Helix 8-2, 14-13

Granite Hills 6-4, 17-7

Valhalla 6-4, 15-11

West Hills 1-9, 12-13

Mount Miguel 1-9, 5-21

Girls Basketball Standings

Grossmont Hills League

Mount Miguel 8-0, 19-7

Grossmont 5-3, 14-5

Helix 4-3, 10-8

Monte Vista 2-6, 11-15

El Capitan 0-7, 7-21

Grossmont Valley League

Steele Canyon 7-2, 14-13

Santana 7-3, 17-10

Granite Hills 7-3, 15-10

El Cajon Valley 5-5, 14-13

West Hills 3-6, 11-9

Valhalla 0-10, 8-20