East County basketball, soccer teams readying for CIF playoffs

Photo by Phillip Brents Valhalla’s George Hinnawi (2) is impeded by Mt. Miguel’s Mekhi Sydney (3) during a holiday tournament game.

The winter sports season has tipped off and that means basketball and soccer for student athletes in East County.

The old adage continues to hold truth: it’s not how one starts, but how one finishes that matters most.

That will be tested soon enough as the San Diego Section playoffs tip off.

Section rankings in both boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer have been released and East County teams are once again well represented on all the lists.

The basketball playoffs are scheduled to tip off Feb. 13 for girls teams and Feb. 14 for boys team. The soccer playoffs overlap.

Boys teams will start the road to championship titles on Feb. 13 and girls teams on Feb. 14.

There are 24 teams in the Division I entry field in both gender fields for basketball. The top eight-ranked teams will be placed in the elite Open Division playoffs, with the next 16-seeded teams contending for the Division I title.

Sixteen teams will be seeded in Division II through Division IV brackets. The Division V and Division V-AA fields will include 12 teams each.

League champions are automatic qualifiers.

UC San Diego’s LionTree Arena will host the Open Division championship games on Feb. 24. Dates for finals in the other divisions have been set but finals sites have yet to be announced.

The Division III, Division IV and Division V-AA championship games in both gender fields are scheduled for Feb. 22 while the Division I, Division II and Division V championship games are scheduled for Feb. 23.

In all, there are seven division championship games.

State playoffs follow the section playoffs. It’s going to be a very busy month of February for local basketball and soccer teams.

The section soccer playoffs also will boast seven competitive divisions.

Championship dates are as follows: Feb. 22 for Division IV, Division V and Division V-AA, Feb. 23 for Division I and Division II and Feb. 24 for the Open Division.

Finals sites have yet to be announced for all divisions.

The Open Division will consist of eight teams while 12 teams will be entered in Division I through Division V-AA.

Rankings game

East County boys basketball teams ranked in the upper end of their respective divisions include No. 6 Christian (14-5) in Division II, No. 4 Monte Vista (15-7) and No. 9 Granite Hills (12-7) in Division III, No. 3 Mt. Miguel (14-7) and No. 5 El Capitan (16-6) in Division IV, No.4 El Cajon Valley (12-10) and No. 9 Mountain Empire (10-6) in Division V.

Other boys teams contending for playoff berths include No. 11 Helix Charter (10-3) in Division II, No. 11 Steele Canyon (10-12) in Division III and No. 16 Santana (8-14) in Division IV.

East County girls basketball teams ranked in the upper end of their respective divisions include No. 8 Grossmont (15-5) in Division I, No. 5 Helix Charter (14-4), No. 6 Steele Canyon (14-7) and No. 8 El Capitan (13-9) in Division II, No. 5 West Hills (14-7) in Division III, No. 2 Valhalla (10-4) in Division IV and No. 6 Foothills Christian (4-7) in Division V-AA.

Other girls teams contending for playoff berths include No. 12 Granite Hills (5-8), No. 13 Christian (7-10) and No. 15 Monte Vista (8-13) in Division II and No. 11 Mountain Empire (4-11) in Division V.

Getting their kicks

East County boys soccer teams ranked in the upper end of their respective divisions include top ranked Monte Vista (14-4-3), No. 5 Helix Charter (9-1-3) and No. 6 Santana (7-5-2) in Division III, No. 6 El Cajon Valley (8-7-2) in Division V and No. 5 Mountain Empire (4-3-0) in Division V-AA.

Other boys teams contending for playoff berths include No. 11 Valhalla (7-6-3) in Division II, No. 8 Grossmont (5-7-2) in Division III, No. 8 Granite Hills (6-9-1) in Division IV and No. 8 Christian (3-6-0) in Division V.

East County girls soccer teams ranked in the upper end of their respective divisions include No. 10 West Hills (12-3-3) in Division I, No. 2 Granite Hills (10-3-4) in Division II, No. 1 El Capitan (12-1-1) and No. 3 Grossmont (12-4-3) in Division III and No. 6 Mt. Miguel (7-7-1) in Division IV.

Other girls teams contending for playoff berths include No. 7 Helix Charter (6-9-0), No. 9 Santana (5-4-2) in Division II and No. 10 Steele Canyon (5-6-3) in Division II, No. 7 Valhalla (7-5-2) and No. 11 Foothills Christian (6-6-3) in Division III, El Cajon Valley (0-11-1) in Division V and No. 6 Liberty Charter (4-9-1) in Division V-AA.

State playoffs

The state basketball playoffs will be chock full of worthy teams.

All eight Open Division teams will advance to the regional state playoffs while the Division I semifinalists and finalists will advance to the regional playoffs.

The champion and runner-up in Division II and Division III will advance beyond the section playoffs while champions in Division IV and Division V will advance.

Soccer teams will vie for regional titles in three rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games) from Feb. 27 to March 2.

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