Three Escondido-based boys basketball teams were attempting to extend their already successful seasons on Saturday. But instead of being able to continue on, Escondido Charter, Escondido and Orange Glen High Schools saw their hopes come to an abrupt end. And just like that, their campaigns were over and done.
Though their defeats varied in circumstance, the respective outcomes resulted in the same reality. For the White Tigers, Cougars and Patriots the race has been run, with no more tomorrows in the offing. No longer will they face the daily grind of practice or the anticipation of participating in meaningful games. The harsh truth is that things are now finis.
Escondido Charter saw their season end when they fell to host No. 1 seed O’Farrell in Division 5 semifinal action by a count of 60-46. The White Tigers had been on the prowl with a four-game winning streak prior to running into the high-flying Falcons. With the loss, EC concluded its season with a very solid 16-10 overall record.
The No. 4 seed White Tigers had advanced to the semis courtesy of a gratifying 67-57 win over High Tech CV earlier in the week. In that contest, EC got great production upfront with forwards Josh Brown and Michael Litton tallying 20 and 15 points, respectively. Another key contributor was senior guard Seth Brown, who also got aboard the double-figure train with 13.
Meanwhile, the Cougars were also forced to confront a most formidable foe in their Division 1 quarterfinal matchup with the No. 2 seed Kearny High. The host Komets parlayed huge first and second quarters, in which they outscored Escondido by a total of 17 points, into a decisive 82-62 conquest. The Cougars, a rampaging squad that had captured 11 of their previous 12 games, fought an uphill battle from the start and never got much traction against the tough Komets.
Despite the loss to Kearny, Escondido’s 18-10 overall slate was indicative of a splendid campaign that featured a stellar 9-1 finish in the Avocado-East League. The Cougars had advanced earlier in the playoffs by virtue of a 67-53 first-round drubbing of Lincoln High. Big-man deluxe Keegan Cummins tormented the Hornets to the tune of 19 points and eight rebounds while super soph Warren Washington (17), Marcus Hentley (12) and Jacob Moskowitz (11) also had their moments in this impressive road victory.
Finally, we come to Orange Glen (17-12), a team that finished its regular season on a roll by taking down rugged Valley League rivals Valley Center (64- 62) and top dog Ramona (69-64). The Patriots then kept the momentum going in first-round Division 2 playoff action by simply shredding host Scripps Ranch 59-39. The Pats got the jump on the Falcons by seizing an 18-10 first- quarter lead and never were headed.
That set up a quarterfinal confrontation with Rancho Bernardo and the game proved to be a riveting contest right down to the wire. The Patriots were in primo position to secure another huge win, up by a 46-37 margin with just eight minutes left. But buoyed by a suddenly clicking offense and a raucous home crowd, the Broncos outscored the Pats by 10 in the final quarter and eked out a dramatic 57-56 victory. It was the epitome of a heartbreaker for the Pats who narrowly missed out on a coveted semifinal berth. In the deflating defeat, a trio of Pats stood out. Guard and captain Trevor Owens was a force throughout with 18 points. And junior forwards Nikola Kresovich (12) and Gabe Macias (10) were also important factors on the offensive end.
Yes, it was a tough night for the aforementioned teams but that in no way diminishes what was accomplished over the entirety of the season. When given some time and distance away from the disappointment of how things ended, when true perspective can be found, the White Tigers, Cougars and Patriots will realize they performed with distinction. Theirs was a job well done!