Murad, Arnold honored by San Diego Hall of Champions as prep stars of the month

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El Cajon Valley High School soccer player Matios Murad, who led the Braves to a Southern California boys soccer championship, and Helix High School basketball player Jaylen Arnold, who helped lead the Highlanders to a runner-up finish in the Division IV state championship game, topped the high school honorees in the San Diego Hall of Champions’ monthly Stars of the Month for March.

El Cajon Valley High School soccer player Matios Murad, who led the Braves to a Southern California boys soccer championship, and Helix High School basketball player Jaylen Arnold, who helped lead the Highlanders to a runner-up finish in the Division IV state championship game, topped the high school honorees in the San Diego Hall of Champions’ monthly Stars of the Month for March.

Murad provided the spark all season long for his team by scoring a school record 32 goals to lead the Braves to their first regional and San Diego Section championships. 

Top-seeded El Cajon Valley defeated 10th-seeded O’Farrell, 2-0, on March 3 to capture the Division V section championship; the sixth-seeded Braves went on to post a 4-2 win over fifth-seeded Santa Clara on March 11 to claim the SoCal Division V title.

El Cajon Valley finished the season with an overall 22-6-1 record, including an 8-2 record in Grossmont Valley League play.

Boys’ basketball

When reigning Grossmont Hills League champion Helix needed big plays down the stretch to its runner-up finish in the state championship tournament, it was Arnold who provided an inside presence either by driving to the basket or on the boards. 

He scored 24 points to lead the second-seeded Scotties to a 56-53 victory against third-seeded Carson in the Southern California semifinals on March 14 and poured in 18 points in an 80-69 victory against Reedley Emmanuel in the regional championship game on March 18.

Arnold had 12 points in a 59-46 loss to Northern California region champion Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the Division IV state championship game on March 25.

Helix junior boys basketball player Miles Norris was among the San Diego Hall of Champions prep Stars of the Month for February after averaging 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots per game in leading the Highlanders to the Division II semifinals.

Helix finished its star-studded season 31-6 after posting an 8-0 record in league play.

Shining star

The San Diego Hall of Champions’ Amateur Stars of the Month for March selections were highlighted by Foothills Christian alumnus T.J. Leaf, now playing men’s basketball at UCLA.

The 6-foot-10 post player for the Bruins capped off his freshman season in style by scoring 53 points and collecting 20 rebounds in three NCAA playoff games. 

Leaf scored 23 points against Kent State in the opener and averaged 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on the season. 

He declared for the NBA draft at the end of the month.

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