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CIF winter sports teams still fighting in State playoffs

Isaiah Mobley had 22 points in Rancho Christian’s first round CIF State playoff win. David Canales photo.
With the high school spring sports season in full swing, there is still some comfort knowing that there are some major contenders still competing in the winter sports world. Four local basketball teams (three boys’ teams and one girls’ team) and two girls’ soccer teams made it into the State playoffs. Both of those girls’ soccer teams actually made it to the State Regional Championships for and two boys’ basketball teams still remain in the CIF State basketball playoffs.
Action got underway last week for most of the teams and on the boys’ basketball courts, Rancho Christian, Rancho Verde and Murrieta Mesa all got off to a great start in tournament play. Rancho Verde’s game that was supposed to take place Wednesday, March 7, got moved to Thursday, March 8 where the Mustangs were the No. 12 seed in the Division I bracket and traveled to face Santa Margarita for the opening round at JSerra High School. The Mustangs took out the very tough Eagles team from Santa Margarita 57-54 to advance in the Division 1 playoffs where they had to face another Eagles team in Rancho Christian (29-4).
Rancho Christian defeated Vista High School of San Diego, 72-49 in the first round. Isaiah Mobley led Rancho Christian with 22 points and 18 rebounds. The Eagles then fended off the Rancho Verde Mustangs (22-11) in the second-round of action Saturday, March 10, winning 67-51. Rancho Christian will now face No.1 seed St. John Bosco (24-7) this week in the Regional Semi-Finals.
Murrieta Mesa’s Lamar Wright (32), pictured here earlier this season, has been a key role player on the court during the Rams CIF State playoff run. Time Stood Still Photography.
Murrieta Mesa (25-9), the final boys’ basketball team to represent the area in the State playoffs, also got through the first round of the Division 3 playoffs with a win as they took out a very tough Sante Fe Christian team, 62-53. Seniors Giovanni Sanders and Shamar Wright helped lift the Rams into the second round of the CIF State playoffs with their 14 points each against the Santa Fe Eagles. Crean Lutheran was next location for Murrieta Mesa Saturday, March 10, in their second-round game that played out till the very end where the Rams took the victory 53-50. Murrieta Mesa will now face Bishop Amat (28-6) this week in the Regional Semi-Finals as well.
Heritage’s Lady Patriots (23-8) are the only local girls’ basketball team that moved on to the final portion of the postseason, but they fell to Cathedral’s Sacred Heart in first round action, 68-50.
Paloma Valley’s Miale Jones (6) goes for the ball against Ventura’s Natalie Lansberg (12) in the CIF Division 4 State Regional Girls’ Soccer Championship game Saturday, march 10. Andrez Imaging.
On the girls’ soccer fields, fresh off their CIF Championship wins, Temecula Valley (23-6-2) and Paloma Valley (25-0-3) both had first round State playoff games Wednesday, March 6, and both teams were victorious. The Lady Golden Bears took out Scripps Ranch 3-1 to keep their season going in the Division 2 brackets and Paloma Valley, who remained unbeaten this season, got some good practice in against Matre Dei, defeating the Lady Crusaders 10-0 in Division 4. Temecula Valley then faced Cypress (19-4-3) and Paloma Valley took on Westminster (22-4-3) in the CIF State Regional semifinal games Thursday, March 8, where both teams clinched victories to send them to the Division 2 and Division 4 Finals.
Temecula Valley took out Sunny Hills to claim their first ever Division 2 CIF State Regional Championship and in a stunner Ventura sophomore goalkeeper Kambria Haughton stopped three consecutive Lady Wildcat penalty kicks, lifting the visiting Cougars to the CIF Southern California Division IV championship, 3-1, in a shootout after both clubs played regulation and overtime to a scoreless draw. Paloma Valley ended its season without allowing a regulation goal in 17 consecutive matches.

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