East County basketball programs prove prominence

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East County was well represented in the final showdown of CIF basketball. Mount Miguel High School, Spring Valley, and Christian High School, El Cajon, sent both their boys and girls teams to the championship games.

Mount Miguel’s girls (No. 2) brought home the Open Division championship with a gut-wrenching 50-49 win against Mission Hills (No. 4).

East County was well represented in the final showdown of CIF basketball. Mount Miguel High School, Spring Valley, and Christian High School, El Cajon, sent both their boys and girls teams to the championship games.

Mount Miguel’s girls (No. 2) brought home the Open Division championship with a gut-wrenching 50-49 win against Mission Hills (No. 4).

The Matador boys (No. 1) also won a close game, sealing the Division III title over Carlsbad (No. 6), 79-76. Mount Miguel plays on the road against Rolling Hills Prep this week in their quest for the State title.

Mount Miguel’s basketball program is used to success, but in just one season the Christian High Patriots, under ex-Horizon head coach Vickie Carrington, made a dream come true on Saturday evening at Knights’ arena, San Marcos High School. After defeating the El Capitan Vaqueros, 57-27 on Thursday evening at home to qualify for the Division III championship round, the Patriots (No. 2) took on top-seeded Escondido Adventist Academy. The decisive 67-49 victory gave Christian bragging rights for their first San Diego Section CIF title in 23 years.

Freshman Kristin Williams hit eight three point field goals and her partner in crime on the court all season, sophomore Simone James, added 19 points to the lead.

“We played with a lot of energy, however treated it like just another game, however the pressure of winning CIF, got to a lot of my teammates, including me,” said freshman Kristin Williams. “We wanted to win for God, our teammates and school.”

Several of the successful 3-point field goals were also timely, which put CHS up 12-11 in the first quarter of play, however Escondido Adventist went up 26-19.

The scoring on both sides became stagnated, whether shots were missed, blocked, or just great defense. Finally, James tossed in a pair to put the Patriots back in front, 27-26, and again, as she has all season, late in the first half to put them up 33-28.

 Christian ladies kicked it into high gear in the second half and never looked back, they looked determined and destined for greatness.

As an added bonus sophomore Hanna Richardson also tagged on eight points, gathering her first few via the 3-point field goal early first quarter. 

“I’m just so proud of my girls,” said head coach Vickie Carrington.

The Lady Patriots will march into state playoffs with a home game.

Although both Christian High School boys and girls basketball made an appearance in the championship game, the boys were less successful. Their venture against the Francis Parker Lancers (No. 9) ended in a 69-52 loss.

CHS standout Nashom Carter scored 21 points. It was not enough to keep the Lancers at bay. Francis Parker went up by 11, and would lead for the remainder of the contest.

Head coach Davion Famber said, given his team’s lack of experience, he should have geared them up better for the caliber of the match.

“I take full responsibility for how we played this evening,” said Famber. “We didn’t look as if winning was the number one goal, we started much too slow. We were late on close-outs, we gave Parker’s shooters too many wide open looks, and did a poor job on preparing a young team for a championship of this magnitude.” 

Despite the disappointment of a loss in the final round, Famber said he is grateful his team had the opportunity to play.

“All but one [of my players] have ever been out of the first round of the playoffs, let alone a championship,” said Famber. “It was great for my guys to see what a championship is like.

Until this weekend, the Patriots had not been to a CIF title game in 18 years.

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