Posted On: 02/19/18 11:28 AM
The 13-team Division 5 playoff field includes some familiar faces, in addition to a very prominent new face on the scene.
Not mentioned in our division preview three months ago, The Cambridge School in Rancho Penasquitos emerged as the top seed in the division largely composed of small schools and larger schools bereft of a strong basketball history.
At 16-1 the Griffins were one of the bigger surprises in the section this season.
But are they capable of winning a section title in their first season of varsity basketball? If not them, then which team?
Here’s a brief look at the CIF San Diego Division 5 playoff field.
The Griffins are led by Judah Luberto, a 6-3 wing averaging nearly a double double per game at 24.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s nearly unguardable at this level, and he’s got help. Fellow senior Josh Kim, juniors Nick Helj, Sam Gingrich and Josh Kapusinski comprise a potent starting lineup. We really don’t know how good this team is, though, because of their pedestrian schedule. The team’s strongest wins victory over league opponents Bayfront Charter and Southern California Yeshiva. It will be interesting to see how the team handles other teams with inferior records against superior competition.
The White Tigers are my personal favorites to win the division. David Vidosic’s crew played the strongest schedule of any D-5 team, and have some quality wins, too: Division 3 teams Pacific Ridge and Valley Center, and D-4 squads High Tech Chula Vista and O’Farrell fell victim to the White Tigers, which also defeated large schools San Pasqual and Clairemont. Led by seniors Josiah Champagne, Timothy Perez and Anthony Cisinsky, Escondido Charter can score inside and out and defend aggressively. That’s a winning formula in Division 5.
Steve Selland, the longtime Southwest coach, is the best coach in San Diego you’ve never heard of, and coaching matters in the postseason. He has some quality pieces to work with, including junior guard Diego Edwards and junior guard Isaac Gonzalez. This strong back court gives Selland’s crew a fighting chance against any team in the bracket, and they could upset some teams along the way.
The Cavaliers of National City have two of the most prolific scorers in the bracket, sophomore Kevin Early and senior Gustavo Saldana. And, as one of the smaller schools in the bracket, the team played one of the tougher schedules – relatively speaking. Coach Kenneth Early’s team has played Monte Vista, El Cajon Valley, Pacific Ridge, Coronado, Santana, Granite Hills and Escondido Adventist in nonleague play. Not many squads in the field have challenged themselves in this way, and it could pay off in the postseason.