San Diego Prep Basketball : Poway, El Camino Earn Top Seeds in CIF Playoffs

Defending champion Poway High School is the top-seeded 3-A boys team in the San Diego County basketball playoff pairings announced Saturday afternoon, after a two-hour meeting of CIF Commissioner Kendall Webb and the Coaches Advisory Committee at the San Diego County Education Department.

In the 2A pairings, El Camino is seeded No. 1, while defending champion Oceanside is seeded sixth.

Opening-round play will be Tuesday and Wednesday. All games start at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals for both divisions will be Friday and Saturday at Mira Mesa and Serra high schools. The championships is set for Feb. 27 at the Sports Arena. The 2-A game starts at 6:30, the 3-A at 8:30.

Here are the 3-A matchups:

Bonita Vista at Poway (Wednesday)--The eighth-seeded Barons, who had a 9-3, 13-8 regular-season record, have a tough assignment. Poway (11-1 in league, 21-1 overall) is a strong, physical club that gets balanced scoring from 6-foot 8-inch center John Colborne (16.6 points per game) and forwards Dominick Johnson (16.5) and Jud Buechler. Guards Gary Anderson and Andy Byrne also are capable offensively. Anderson played particularly well during the second half of the season.

Bonita Vista's 6-9 center David Fulmer led the team with a 16.9 scoring average.

El Capitan at Sweetwater (Wednesday)--This could be the best of the opening-round games, 2-A or 3-A. In the Grossmont League, the Vaqueros (14-2, 18-5) finished second, a game behind Monte Vista. Steve Burroughs led El Capitan with an 18.4 scoring average. The Vaqueros have two physical players on the front line in brothers Brad and Mitch Burton. The brothers will play football for San Diego State this fall.

The Red Devils (12-1, 23-3) had eight 100-point games. The team also set county records by averaging 94 points a game, by winning 20 games straight games for the eighth straight season and by winning their seventh straight Metro League title.

Guard Larry Willson was the county's fourth-best scorer with a 21.0 average. Sweetwater also features swingman Mahlon Williams (18.0, 10.5 rebounds) and 6-6 forward Matt Simmons (16.0, 11.0).

"They're a physical, gigantic team, we're a quick running team," Sweetwater Coach Gary Zarecky said. "El Cap doesn't have a lot of speed. If we can establish our game, it'll be to our advantage."

Morse at Monte Vista (Tuesday)--The Tigers (7-3, 13-6) will have to figure how to stop Monarch forward Demetrius Laffitte (17.9). Morse, led by Paul Bryant, the county's third-leading scorer with a 21.7 average, is a fast, quick team that is ready to fast break with Monte Vista if necessary.

"If they want to run, we're ready for it," said Morse Coach Ron Davis.

Monte Vista (16-0, 22-1) is the third seed. The Monarchs were the only county team to go undefeated in league play.

Vista at Patrick Henry (Tuesday)--Second-seeded Patrick Henry (9-1, 22-1) was the winner when the teams met earlier this season. Panther Coach Larry Ullrich, whose team is 8-4 and 13-10, is concerned about stopping 6-8 forward Howard Wright, who averaged 20.2 points this season.

"I'd like to take a machete and cut him off at the knees," Ullrich joked. "He will be a problem. We don't have anybody near that size."

Vista does have 5-10 guard Ron Howard, who averages 19.7 points per game. Ray Muldrew, 6-3, 0) will probably draw the task of handling Wright. Muldrew averages 11 points per game.

In boys 2-A:

Hilltop at El Camino (Tuesday)--The Lancers were a sub-par 9-16 overall, but 8-5 in the Metro. Being the eighth seed, Hilltop has a shot at the Wildcats (11-1, 21-2), who won their first-ever outright Avocado League title. Swingman Kenny Crawford and center Nate Reed are El Camino's standouts.

Crawford at Mission Bay (Wednesday)--The fifth-seeded Colts (7-3, 11-10) lost their first two City Central games, then reeled off seven straight victories before losing the season finale to Christian. Mark Hayes (15.0) and forward Clif Sullivan (11.0) are the Colts' best scorers.

The Buccaneers (9-1, 17-5) are fourth-seeded and won the first Western League crown for the first time in 22 years. Mission Bay has good size up front in Brent Chandler, Mike Hemmerly and Rob Cheatham, plus an accurate-shooting guard in Rodney Henderson. This could be a fast-paced game with plenty of points.

Oceanside at Hoover (Tuesday)--The third-seeded Cardinals (8-2, 20-4) have offensive threats in forward Sam Aguirre (20.2, the county's eighth-best scorer), guard Keith Williams (19.4, 12th) and forward Ken Matthews (16.3, 23rd).

Guard Tim Prim and forward Junior Seau lead the sixth-seeded Pirates (10-2, 16-6). Oceanside finished second to El Camino in the Avocado League.

"They're not big, but they jump well, board and are very aggressive," said Hoover Coach Harold Mitrovich. "They also do a lot of pressing. It should be interesting."

Kearny at Chula Vista (Wednesday)--Seventh-seeded Kearny (8-2, 17-7) doesn't figure to be an easy mark for the Spartans (12-1, 18-6). Kearny forward Brad Milhoan averages 21.0 points a game, sixth best in San Diego. Center Steve Daley and forward Kevin Archer provide muscle for Kearny, a finesse club.

Guard Edgar Harvey (18.4) paces the attack for the Metro South Bay champion Spartans.

In girls playoffs:

In 2-A, it'll be Clairemont at El Camino, and Southwestern at University on Tuesday. San Marcos is at Lincoln, and Hilltop plays host to Crawford on Wednesday.

In 3-A, Point Loma plays host to Grossmont, and Madison goes to Fallbrook on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it's Mount Carmel at Bonita Vista and Sweetwater at Santana.

All games begin at 7:30 p.m. except for Clairemont-El Camino, which starts at 6 p.m.

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