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Monday, February 14, 2011
Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

By Dan Arritt

The regular season came to an end last week and the second season begins Wednesday with first-round playoff games in most divisions. Upland and Fontana Summit are among the Inland Empire teams that built momentum heading into the playoffs, Eastvale Roosevelt and Ontario Colony seem to be heading in the opposite direction.

1. Corona Centennial, 23-3 (1) – The Huskies scored early and often in a 65-45 victory Thursday against Eastvale Roosevelt, giving them the outright Big VIII League title. Michael Caffey returned from an ankle injury to score 21 points, Gelaun Wheelwright had 20 and Dominique Dunning 16 for Centennial, which is seeded third in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Temecula Great Oak in a first-round game at Centennial, 7 p.m.

2. Etiwanda, 25-2 (2) – Etiwanda wrapped up the regular season with one-sided wins against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos and Alta Loma, then learned it was seeded fourth in the Division 1AA playoffs. The Eagles paid the price for two late-season losses and dropped a couple spots in the seeding order. That means they’ll have to go through top-seeded Long Beach Poly to reach the finals, instead of second-seeded Mater Dei. Next up: Wednesday vs. Long Beach Wilson in a first-round game at Etiwanda, 7 p.m.

3. Murrieta Valley, 23-3 (3) – The Nighthawks ended a perfect run through Southwestern League play with double-digit wins at Vista Murrieta and Temecula Chaparral. MurrietaValley, which won the Division 2AA title last season against Compton, now steps up two levels for the playoffs. The Nighthawks are seeded fifth in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Corona in a first-round game at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

4. Rialto Eisenhower, 17-7 (4) – The Eagles blew out Fontana and Yucaipa last week to finish unbeaten in Citrus Belt League play for the second consecutive year. After the Eagles went 7-6 in December, they found their groove down the stretch, even getting payback against Los Angeles Fairfax for an earlier loss. Eisenhower, the Division 2A champion the last two seasons, enters the Division 1AA playoffs seeded seventh. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chaparral in a first-round game at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.

5. Elsinore, 23-4 (5) – The Tigers employed their full-court press to perfection last week in one-sided victories against Romoland Heritage and Menifee Paloma Valley. They finished undefeated in Sunbelt League play and are seeded second in the Division 2A playoffs, their highest seeding in school history. Elsinore advanced to the Division 3AA semifinals last season, eventually losing to Santa Ana Foothill, which is seeded third in same half of bracket. Next up: Wednesday vs. Westminster in a first-round game at Elsinore, 7 p.m.

6. Summit, 21-6 (7) – The SkyHawks served notice entering the Division 2AA playoffs that they’re a team to be reckoned with, blowing out Fontana Kaiser, 92-30, then beating Riverside Patriot, 70-31, denying the Warriors a share of the Sunkist League title. Summit was seeded sixth in its division but don’t be surprised if the SkyHawks blow through to the semifinals Next up: Wednesday vs. La Quinta in a first-round game at Summit, 7 p.m.

7. Upland, 18-9 (9) – The Highlanders got back on track at just the right time, winning their final four games to finish tied for second in the Baseline League. Upland beat Rancho Cucamonga by three points on Tuesday, then came back Thursday and exacted revenge on Glendora with a 49-40 victory. Upland is seeded 11th in Division 1AA but should give sixth-seeded Pasadena a nice run in the second round. Next up: Wednesday vs. Santa Monica in a first-round game at Upland, 7 p.m.

8. Roosevelt, 18-6 (6) – The Mustangs seemed to take a step back in the final week of the regular season, slipping past Riverside King by two points and then failing to show up on time in a 20-point loss to visiting Centennial, ending their chances of sharing the Big VIII League title. The game was expected to be closer after Roosevelt lost to the Huskies by three points on Jan. 20 at Centennial. The Mustangs are seeded 10th in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday at Perris in a first-round game, 7 p.m.

9. Colony, 18-9 (8) – The Titans certainly didn’t enter the postseason on a high note, losing last Monday to Montclair to end their 60-game Mt. Baldy League winning streak, then sneaking past Ontario, 65-64, on Wednesday in the regular season finale. Colony will enter the Division 2AA playoffs seeded 10th but are probably more comparable to a No. 7 or 8. Next up: Wednesday vs. Paloma Valley in a first-round game at Colony, 7 p.m.

10. San Bernardino, 18-8 (10) – Defense didn’t take a back seat in San Bernardino’s final regular season game, it never got out of the trunk. The Cardinals defeated San Bernardino Arroyo Valley, 120-90, the most combined points scored in an I.E. game since San Bernardino Cajon and Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World combined for 213 in 1998. San Bernardino, which won the San Andreas League title for the first time since 1993, is seeded sixth in Division 2A. Next up: Wednesday vs. Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in a first-round game at San Bernardino, 7 p.m.

Dropped out: None.

Just missed: Palm Springs, Victorville Victor Valley, Victorville Silverado, Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Los Osos, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, Redlands East Valley, Montclair, Chino Hills Ayala.