CLOCK is TICKING

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The San Diego Section boys and girls basketball playoffs are scheduled to tip off Feb. 15 in a total of six divisions. That doesn’t leave much time remaining for regular season play in a season in which COVID-19 protocols have postponed many games.

The playoffs are beckoning, however.

Eight teams will be admitted to the Open Division playoffs in each gender field while 16 teams will be selected for postseason competition in each gender field for Division I, Division II, Division III and Division IV. Twelve teams will compete in each gender field in Division V.

Playoff pairings will be announced on Feb. 12. Any playin games will take place before the start of elimination bracket play.

The section has already announced championship venues for this year’s finals.

Mira Mesa High School will host the Division V boys and girls championships on Feb. 24 and the Division IV boys and girls championships on Feb. 25. San Marcos High School will host the Division III boys and girls championships on Feb. 24 and Division II boys and girls championships on Feb. 25.

Montgomery High School will host the Division I boys and girls championship games on Feb. 25 and Open Division boys and girls championship games on Feb. 26.

Qualifying for the Southern California regional playoffs will include the following criteria: All eight teams in the Open Division will advance, semifinalists and finalists in Division I will advance, the champion and runner-up in both Division II and Division III will advance and the champion only in Division IV and Division V will advance.

Teams also will need to follow COVID protocols in alignment with current California Department of Public Health Guidelines for Youth Sports.

  • Weekly COVID testing continues to be strongly recommended for student athletes throughout the duration of the playoff schedule.
  • All spectators, coaches and official game personnel are required to wear a mask throughout the duration of the event.
  • Teams needing to isolate or quarantine may be removed from the playoffs based upon adherence to the current schedule of contests.
  • Attendance at each contest is required to remain under 500 spectators in alignment with CDPH “mega” indoor events. To go above 500 spectators, schools/districts would be required to check for vaccination status or negative COVID test (within the previous 72 hours) for all those in attendance.
  • All spectators, game personnel and student athletes not currently participating in the contest are required to wear a face covering throughout the duration of the event.

Now that the rather long list of guideless have been set, it’s time for teams to qualify for postseason play.

That may be easier said than done.

Helix Charter High School boys coach Jason Cavazos said his team has already had two games postponed because of COVID issues and cannot afford many more games to be stricken from the schedule in the battle for this year’s Grossmont Hills League championship.

“We have our backs up against the wall,” Cavazos said in regard to scheduling.

Helix isn’t the only team facing make-up games in a dwindling regular season schedule. Almost everyone has been affected in either losing league or non-league contests.

Postseason promise

A number of East County teams do appear to be in the mix to earn playoff berths, including top-half seeds.

Helix (8-10) entered the week ranked 19th among boys Open Division/Division I teams, meaning the Scotties would likely qualify as the No. 11 team in Division I if the playoffs started today.

Valhalla (9-8) entered the week ranked 17th among Division II boys teams and thus need a strong finish to make the top-16 playoff cut.

Grossmont (11-10) and Granite Hills (13-5) entered the week ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, among Division III boys teams, while Steele Canyon (10- 9) was seventh.

West Hills was ranked ninth among Division III boys teams.

Monte Vista (15-4) is the topranked Division IV boys team while El Capitan (6-9) entered the week ranked 11th among Division IV teams.

El Cajon Valley (10-12) was ranked sixth among Division V boys teams while Mountain Empire (10-4) was ranked 11th.

Grossmont held the early edge in Grossmont Hills League play with a 3-0 league record while Monte Vista was out to a 3-0 start in Grossmont Valley League play.

Mountain Empire is battling for the Pioneer League title with an early 4-league record.

Mount Miguel (12-6) looks to have a good chance to qualify for the Open Division girls playoffs with the current No. 6 Division I ranking while Helix (7-5) was ranked ninth among Division II girls teams entering the week.

Monte Vista (10-12) entered the week ranked fifth among Division III girls teams while Santana (10-7) was ranked 10th, West Hills (7-4) was ranked 11th and Liberty Charter (9-9) was ranked 12th in the same division.

Steele Canyon (10-11) is ranked third among Division IV girls teams, followed by fifthranked Granite Hills (10-8) and seventh-ranked El Cajon Valley (10-9).

Steele Canyon was the early leader in the Grossmont Valley league girls standings with a 3-0 league record, followed by Granite Hills at 2-1.

Senior Khamira Carter leads the Lady Cougars with 12.8 points per game scoring average.

Mount Miguel led the Grossmont Hills League girls standings with an early 2-0 record, followed by Grossmont and Helix both with 1-1 records.

Soaring Eagles

Granite Hills boys’ team improved to 13-5 overall, 2-2 in league play, following last Friday’s 70-57 home court victory against Valhalla. Sophomore Derek Edmond led the Eagles with 28 points while senior Tre Edmond tacked on 16 points.

The younger Edmond sank five of nine three-point attempts.

Sophomore Isaiah Hasten keyed Granite Hills with 16 rebounds, five steals and three blocks.

The Eagles tipped off league play with a 78-50 win at Mount Miguel on Jan. 7. Tre Edmond poured in 34 points in that game while Derek Edmond dropped in 20 points. The Eagles sank 10 treys in the game, including four each by Derek Edmond and Tre Edmond.

Junior Lawond Zangana keyed the visitors with 14 rebounds while Derek Edmond was credited with 10 rebounds. As a team, the Eagles out-rebounded the Matadors 43-18.

Lady Eagles

Granite Hills topped visiting Valhalla, 45-21, last Friday to improve to 10-8 overall, 2-1 in Grossmont Valley League play.

CLOCK is TICKING

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