Orange County: Five things from the weekend

February, 22, 2011
2/22/11
4:03
PM PT
1. With less than two seconds remaining, Greg Watson of Sonora took an inbounds pass and made a fall-away jumper to give the Raiders a 53-51 victory over Cypress in the second round of the Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs. Although David Salazar made the pass that led to the game-winning basket, it was Raffi Chalian who may have had the biggest assist of all. With 1.8 seconds left, Watson had taken a pass and scored a layup, but a foul was called immediately, negating the basket that should have been the game-winner. Watson expressed his displeasure, and Chalian pushed Watson well away from the officials; had Watson (11 points) been whistled for a technical foul in the emotional situation, he would have fouled out and he never would have gotten the chance to hit the second shot that won the game. About three minutes earlier, Chalian -- who led Sonora with 19 points -- made a four-point play that gave the Raiders a 51-45 lead. Sonora (23-4) plays at second-seeded Palm Springs (24-1) in the Tuesday quarterfinals.


2. We're probably going to have to call Villa Park and Victor Valley just about even. On Jan. 15, Victor Valley scored a 75-73 victory over the Spartans. In the second round of Division 2AA, Villa Park got its revenge with a 62-59 victory on the road. Josh Talbot, who scored two points in the first game, scored 29 in the rematch. His previous season-high had been 15 points in a 79-77 upset of Anaheim Canyon. Another big performance by Talbot wouldn't hurt in the quarterfinals as Villa Park (23-7) plays host to top-seeded Ventura (26-2).

3. If you were to sum up Mission Viejo (27-1), its season would have to be described as "the year of living dangerously." Since Jan. 1, the second-seeded team in 2AA has played 10 games (out of 14) that have been decided by five points or less -- including its only loss of the season, 51-49 to Tesoro. That includes a 41-39 victory in the first round over Burbank, but it doesn't include the second-round victory over Redondo Union, a 53-45 victory in overtime in which Isaac Neilson had 17 points, 25 rebounds and 12 blocked shots. Next up: Hosting Colony (20-9), which is coming off a 65-63 victory over Placentia Valencia.

4. Villa Park in 2AA and La Habra in 3AA were seeded No. 9 in their divisions yet they are among the last eight teams remaining. However, another team has the distinction of being the lowest-seeded team from Orange County that's still alive. Orangewood Academy in Garden Grove was seeded 11th in 6AA, but advanced with a 48-43 win at Mojave as Steven Morales scored 20 and Logan Bryant 19. There's a reasonable chance the Spartans (19-9) will advance: They play host to No. 14 Wildwood (11-10).

5. Anyone who knew anything about girls' basketball knew that Marc Hill was going to do a good job as coach at Yorba Linda. Hill coached Esperanza in the 1990s when it was annually one of the top 10 teams in the county. Playing its first varsity season, Yorba Linda is 21-4 and still alive in Division 4AA. There are no seniors, and it has only two players shorter than 5-feet-9, and one of them is 5-8. Alexus Atchley, a junior guard averaging 13.7 points, scored 25 in a second-round win over Maranatha. Freshman Courtney Vaccher (6-1) is averaging 13.2 points. Undefeated in the Empire League and seeded fourth in the playoffs, the Mustangs play at No. 5 Rosary (18-9). It's a big test, but win or lose, it has been a ridiculously successful season.

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