San Diego Section hoops rankings starting to solidify at mid-season

El Capitan’s Micah Odell leads the Vaqueros, ranked second among Division IV teams, with a 23.4 points-pergame scoring average.

Browsing through the San Diego Section basketball rankings, there are a lot of teams – both boys and girls – with outstanding records as we approach the midpoint of the 2022-23 season.

La Jolla Country Day tops the girls section rankings with a dominating 18-2 record while second-ranked Westview is 16- 3. Not far behind are No. 3 Poway at 14-2, No. 4 Bonita Vista at 14-8 and No. 5 Mt. Miguel at 10-6. Teams with top-heavy records are sprinkled deep down the rankings. For instance, San Diego with a 16-1 record is ranked 15th. At 14-6, El Capitan is ranked 22nd while Granite Hills (14-5) is ranked 26th. At 16-4, Steele Canyon is ranked 27th while Helix (13-5) is ranked 29th. A lot of good teams, indeed. The section playoff seedings should be interesting, to say the least On the boys side, it looks to be very competitive down the stretch run with the top seven ranked teams all possessing lopsided win-loss records. St. Augustine continues to hold down the No. 1 section ranking with a 16-3 record with Carlsbad right behind in the No. 2 slot with a 16-4 record. Montgomery entered the week ranked No. 3 with a 15-3 record, followed by Torrey Pines at No.4 with a 13-6 record. San Diego was ranked No. 5 with a 12-6 record while Mission Bay was ranked No. 6 with a 15-5 record and Mater Dei Catholic ranked No. 7 also at 15-5. Again, the section’s depth is somewhat astounding with an 18-2 Lincoln squad ranked No. 15 and a 17-2 West Hills squad ranked 24th. Eastern exposure West Hills entered the week 2-0 in Grossmont Valley League boys play following victories against El Capitan (78-67 on Jan. 10) and Steele Canyon (68- 49 last Friday). The Wolf Pack is ranked No. 2 among Division III teams while the Vaqueros (14-5) are ranked second among Division IV teams behind Clairemont. West Hills finished 12-14 last season, 1-9 in league play, with a first-round exit in the Division III playoffs as the No. 14 seed (55-30 loss to third-ranked Scripps Ranch). This season has been a far cry from 2021-22 thus far. The Wolf Pack returns much of last season’s cast with an extra year of experience, and it’s paying dividends. Add size to that equation and it’s been a deadly combination. Senior forward Zaid Salem is 6-6. junior forward Vince Hillman is 6-5, junior Loni Mesina is 6-3 and senior guard Caden Akins and freshman guard Shawne Owens are both 6-2 to lead the group. The Wolf Pack roster contains seven players at least 6-0 in height. Measuring in at 6-0 are senior power forward Luke Gibson and junior guard Theron Humphries. Senior Jordan Dunlop and sophomore Khalel Sok are both 5-11. Rounding out this year’s cast are junior football player Diego Calderon (5-7) and senior guard Spencer Burke (5-8). Salem is averaging 16.5 points per game. One of the team’s signatures this season is the propensity for slam dunks. The Wolf Pack has also been proficient at shooting from three-point range. The team’s start is believed to be the best in school history. Head coach Tim Barry acknowledged it’s been a total team effort. El Capitan defeated Santana, 72-54, last Friday to pick up its first league win. Senior Jaylin Padilla led the Vaqueros on the court with 23 points and 17 rebounds while senior Micah Odell contributed 17 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, six assists and four blocks. Junior Chance LaChappa collected 11 points and four assists while freshman Jason Wilson had 10 points and three steals. Odell (6-6 but looks taller) tops the Vaqueros with 23.4 points per game while Wilson is next up on the ledger books with 11.4 ppg. Padilla is averaging 9.8 ppg while LaChappa is averaging 8.8 ppg. Padilla leads the team with 11.0 rebounds per game, followed by Odell with 10.9 rpg and LaChappa with 9.9 rpg.


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