Basketball in the spring season was a hard adjustment for many players and coaches, especially if you were a multisport athlete or even a coach for that matter, but coming off a year of the unexpected, most felt the same…at least they got to play. The Southwestern League basketball season came to an end this past week and Great Oak (8-2) needed a win over Temecula Valley (5-5) to secure their share of the 2021 league title. In the city next door, Murrieta Valley (8-2) went into the night garnishing the same record as both were looking to be the outright top team.
With about a hundred fans spread throughout the Wolfpack Den (home court), Great Oak jumped out to a 13-point lead early in the first quarter, but Temecula Valley fought back to keep the game tight, even taking the lead midway through the second quarter. At the half, the score was 38-32 in favor of Great Oak, who were also celebrating their senior night.
As the third quarter got underway, Temecula Valley struck first but the Wolfpack answered back with a 13-point run to put the game out of reach for the visiting Golden Bears, who could not catch up over the final two quarters. Damien Adame led all scorers with 30 points for the Wolfpack, who won their second straight Southwestern League title with the 73-48 victory.
Murrieta Valley did go on to beat Chaparral 69-53 in their final game of the regular season, tying the standings at 8-2 with Great Oak. Because the Nighthawks’ two league losses came at the hands of Great Oak, the Wolfpack celebrated the night as Southwestern League champions.
The CIF Southern Section playoffs begin Wednesday, May 26. Great Oak will be home at 7 p.m. to take on Rancho Christian in the Division 1 bracket. The Wolfpack fell to the Eagles earlier in the season 63-57. In other postseason playoff games, Murrieta Valley will be home to take on Portola that same night in the Division 2A bracket, and Temecula Valley will travel to take on Compton High School in the Division 2AA bracket. Bracket play can be followed by visiting www.cifss.org.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.