Sunday, February 13, 2011
Inland Empire: Boys' basketball playoff preview
By Dan Arritt
The Southern Section boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released Sunday and Inland Empire teams were seeded high in several divisions. Here’s a rundown:
Etiwanda lost two games in the final two weeks of the season, causing the Eagles to fall a couple spots in the seeding order. Instead of entering the postseason seeded No. 2, the Eagles are No. 4, one behind Corona Centennial, who they beat back in December. MurrietaValley is seeded fifth, Rialto Eisenhower is seventh and Eastvale Roosevelt is 10th. Murrieta Valley won the Division 2AA title last season and Eisenhower won in Division 2A.
RedlandsEast Valley is seeded fifth after finishing second to Eisenhower in the Citrus Belt League. The Wildcats open Wednesday against visiting Dana Hills, and Pepperdine-bound center Paulin Mpawe should have a strong game against the undersized Dolphins. Victorville Silverado was seeded sixth and received a first-round bye because the Hawks were champions of the Desert Sky League.
Sixth-seeded Fontana Summit certainly fits the bill of a dark horse in this division. The SkyHawks are playing their best basketball of the season, carrying an 11-game winning streak into the postseason. They played Riverside Patriot on Thursday in a game that would determine the Sunkist League title and posted an impressive 70-31 victory. Other teams to watch are eighth-seeded Victorville Victor Valley and 10th-seeded Ontario Colony.
Elsinore was seeded second after running away withthe Sunbelt League title. The Tigers enter the postseason on a nine-game winning streak and open the playoffs against visiting Westminster, which advanced with an 8-18 record. San Bernardino, which won its first league title since 1993, is seeded sixth and Chino Hills Ayala is 10th.
Second-seeded Palm Springs posted an impressive 22-1 record during the regular season, its only loss coming by two points against Palos Verdes Peninsula, the top-seeded team in Division 2A.
Palm Desert, which finished runner up to Palm Springs in the Desert Valley League, is the highest-seeded I.E. team in this division at No. 7. The Aztecs face an interesting first-round match up against visiting Lakewood Artesia, once one of the elite programs in Southern California but now just fourth-place team from the Suburban League.