LONG BEACH — The Temecula Valley Golden Bears edged past Cabrillo High School in a thrilling 78-73 victory on Tuesday night, securing their place in the semifinals of the Division 4A CIF Southern Section (CIF-SS) boys’ basketball playoffs.

The home playoff loss for Long Beach’s Cabrillo was filled with edge-of-the-seat moments, but Temecula Valley’s win underlines their formidable presence in the league and highlights their appetite for success as they carry forward the Southwestern League’s banner into the next round.

The Golden Bears are now poised to confront Estancia of Costa Mesa in a game that promises to be a showcase of commitment and basketball prowess. The semifinal clash, set for Friday, February 16 at 7 pm, will attract a host of fans and observers, all eager to witness another chapter of the Golden Bears’ inspiring journey.

What makes this progression to the semifinals particularly notable is the fierce competition the Golden Bears faced — not only from Cabrillo but within their own league. The Southwestern League, synonymous with quality basketball, saw two of its strong contenders, Murrieta Valley, and Great Oak, fall in decisive quarterfinal games.

Temecula Valley coaches, James Profit (Head Coach), and Eric Willis (Assistant Coach; seated), send calls out to their Golden Bears players in a recent playoff game. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

Murrieta Valley was taken out in heartbreaking fashion by Long Beach Poly in Division 2A, and Great Oak was overcome by Thousand Oaks in Division 2AA, highlighting the intensity of the postseason scramble. Furthermore, Orange Vista, representing Division 4AA, found their ambitions curtailed by Diamond Ranch, concluding their run with a 61-44 defeat.

The path to the CIF State playoffs is laden with challenges, but for Temecula Valley, their triumph against Cabrillo has solidified their position as the leader of their own destiny. With their eyes steadfastly set on the state playoffs in two weeks, they still have two Southern Section games to get through in order to be the last team standing.

For the Golden Bears, the semifinal bout with Estancia is more than a game — it is an opportunity to forge ahead in their quest for excellence. The Golden Bears continue to find the kind of authenticity and energetic endeavor that resonates with fans and speaks to the heart of what makes CIF-SS playoffs an unforgettable experience.

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JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.