REGION — North County basketball will again have an excellent opportunity to hoist basketball championships in each of the six divisions up for grabs in the CIF Playoffs — including the crown jewel, the Open Division championship.
Four of the eight teams that comprise the Open Division field hail from The Coast News coverage area — Torrey Pines, Vista, San Marcos, and for the first time in the school’s history, Santa Fe Christian.
The tiny parochial school in Solana Beach has won the last two CIF Division 1 titles, the next bracket below the open division.
But a strong regular season, capped off with wins over Foothills Christian, Poway, La Jolla Country Day, Francis Parker and Salpointe Catholic of Arizona — one of the state’s top teams — finds the Eagles in uncharted territory as a program.
And that’s fine, members of the program said.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to compete against the county’s top teams,” sophomore guard Trevan Martin said. “We feel like we earned this opportunity.”
The No. 4 seed Eagles will face No. 5 seed Vista on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Santa Fe Christian.
That same night, the No. 3 seed Falcons of Torrey Pines will face No. 6 Poway at Torrey Pines.
San Marcos, the eighth seed, will travel to Cuyamaca College to face top-seeded Foothills Christian.
St. Augustine will host Mission Bay in the 2-7 matchup to round out the Open Division field.
In Division 1, Cathedral Catholic earns the top seed of the 16-team bracket that features six teams from the coverage area — No. 5 seed El Camino, No. 7 seed La Costa Canyon, No. No. 13 seed Orange Glen, No. 14 seed Mission Hills and No. 16 seed Canyon Crest Academy are the others.
Rancho Buena Vista, which finished in second place in the Avocado East League behind Vista, headlines the Division 2 field in the top seed.
Carlsbad, the No. 3 seed, is also expected to compete for the D2 title, which includes coverage area teams Escondido (No. 7 seed), Army Navy Academy (No. 9 seed) and Oceanside (No. 13 seed).
Sage Creek (No. 7 seed), Tri-City Christian (No. 8 seed) San Dieguito Academy (No. 11 seed) comprise the local teams in the Division 3 field. In Division 4, Mission Vista is the top-seeded local team as the No. 3 seed. No. 6 Pacific Ridge and No. 12 Escondido Charter are the other schools.
In Division 5, the smallest of the divisions, No. 2 High Tech High North County, No. 4 Del Lago Academy, No. 5 the Cambridge School and No. 8 San Pasqual represent the region.
Division 1-5 begin with first round games at 7 p.m. Feb. 13, followed by quarterfinals and semifinals on Feb. 16 and Feb. 19
The Division 3 through 5 finals will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21, but at different locations- Division 5 at Montgomery, Division 4 at Serra and Division 3 at Mira Mesa, respectively.
The Division 1 finals will be held 8 p.m. Feb. 22 at RIMAC arena on the campus of UC San Diego. Division 2 and the Open Division will be held on Saturday at the same venue, at 2 p.m. and 7:30, respectively.
by Aaron Burgin