By: Derryl Trujillo (Contributing Writer)
Girls Division 2A:
#5 Eisenhower (9-1) at #2 Paloma Valley (12-3) – Thursday 7 p.m.
It’s an all-area final as Eisenhower hits the road for a short trip to Menifee on Thursday afternoon.
One season ago the Eagles fell to Long Beach Wilson in a 3A final at Godinez High School and are looking for finals redemption after knocking off Sonora (No. 1) 78-66 last Saturday night at Rialto Middle School. What makes this appearance so unique is that Rialto Unified was the last area district to give their teams clearance to play this year.
Paloma Valley is looking to finish off back-to-back section titles and will host this final. The Lady Wildcats, after a first-round bye, have won their three games by an average margin of 19 points per game (ppg). They played two straight road games and traveled a combined nearly 500 miles between their quarterfinal and semifinal round games. The Paloma Valley Lady Wildcats are the defending CIF-SS 4AA & CIF-State Southern California Regional Champions.
Wildcats Road to a Final:
Rd. 1 – Bye
Rd. 2 – vs. Villa Park def 54-30
Qtrs – at La Serna def 52-35
Semis – at Westlake def 61-45
Eagles Road to a Final:
Rd. 1- Bye
Rd. 2 – vs. Garden Grove def 75-49
Qtrs – at Chino Hills def 54-47
Semis- vs. Sonora def 78-66
Players to Watch:
Eisenhower: Sa’lah Hemingway (SO) 19.4 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 3.4 APG, 3.2 SPG, 2.7 BPG; Kamaya Middleton (JR) 15.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG; Briana Lizardi (SR) 17.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG.
Paloma Valley: Sydney Woodley (SR) 16.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 5.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG; Mya Pierfax (SR) 15.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG; Trinitee Bradley (SR) 11.3 PPG, 2.5 APG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Girls Division 4A:
Rancho Christian (7-1) at #2 Newport Harbor (17-2) – Wednesday 7 p.m.
Everyone knows about Rancho Christian’s reputation for excellence on the hardwood in boys’ basketball but the Eagle girls have made themselves known too. As a freelance entry games were hard to come by for the Eagles, but they took advantage of their opportunities posting wins over Pacifica Christian/Orange County & Linfield Christian along with a 2-point loss to Murrieta Mesa (Southwestern League champions). After getting through a wildcard game Rancho Christian knocked off three top ten teams as ranked by SCIBCA (Southern California Interscholastic Coaches Association) in #1 Gabrielino, #3 Pilibos, and #8 Northwood.
Boys Division 4A:
#1 Linfield Christian (22-2) at #3 Pilibos (18-3) – Wednesday 7 p.m.
It’s been a decade and a half since the Linfield Christian boys’ basketball team played for a CIF-SS championship. That squad, led by former coach Scott Day, fell to Pacific Hills in a final at Colony High School after a 3rd place finish in the now defunct Big Sky League.
They didn’t have the non-league wins this team has racked up en route to a 22-2 mark under 3rd year head coach and Athletic Director Waheed Mitchell, a former assistant at Chaparral, including two against Southwestern League teams in Temecula Valley and Murrieta Mesa and one against Rancho Christian.
Although they couldn’t get one off Aquinas for that Ambassador League championship the division’s voting SCIBCA coaches still bestowed a #1 seed on the Lions and so far, they have not disappointed. In four playoff contests they have posted a cumulative margin of victory of 108 points (27 per game) with no opponent coming closer than a thirteen-point loss (Chino in a quarterfinal game at home). This will be their first lengthy road trip of the playoffs as a nearly 100-mile trip awaits the Lions on Wednesday night.
Leading the charge are two seniors and a sophomore in Jeremiah Minegar, Donovan Cox, and Mike McNair. Together the trio average 51.5 PPG (74% of Linfield’s scoring). They look to avenge a loss to Banning one year ago in the quarterfinals and bring home the school’s fifth title within a decade.
Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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