Braves take out seeding disappointment on White Tigers
March 05, 2014The CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting for boys basketball took place February 22 and gave El Cajon Valley High School the sixth seed in the Division IV playoffs. El Cajon coach Marty Ellis was disappointed, and after the Braves' 86-35 home win over Escondido Charter in the first round of the playoffs February 26 Escondido Charter coach Dave Vidosic also concurred that the Braves should have been given a higher seed.
"They're a good team. I think they were kind of criminally underseeded," Vidosic said.
The Braves ended the regular season with a 17-10 record, and their 6-2 Grossmont Valley League mark placed them second behind Monte Vista in the league standings. Escondido Charter, which was seeded eleventh in the Division IV playoffs, finished 9-15 in regular-season contests with a 2-10 Pacific League statistic worth sixth place in the seven-team standings.
Forty seconds into the game Escondido Charter senior Ashawnti Moore hit a three-point shot to give the White Tigers a 3-2 lead. It would be Escondido Charter's only lead of the game, as the Braves scored the next 11 points. El Cajon Valley scored the last three points of the first quarter and the first 18 points of the second period, and a 21-7 margin after the first quarter turned into a 46-19 halftime lead.
"We knew that they were going to at least come out and give their best effort, but from the start of the game we were ready," Ellis said.
"They just had more athleticism than we did and we couldn't handle the defensive pressure of that 1-3-1," Vidosic said.
On two occasions the White Tigers scored four consecutive points, but that was their largest streak of the game. "I thought we played great defense tonight," Ellis said.
El Cajon's advantage after three periods was 69-27, which triggered a running clock for the fourth period due to the lead of at least 40 points.
The game included 23 points from El Cajon junior Abe Ibrahim and 20 points from Braves senior Brandon Brocious.
"This is a huge statement game," Ellis said. "My guys have been on a mission and we're trying to just finish strong. We're trying to win it."
The Braves won the league title last year for the first time in the school's history. El Cajon has never reached the CIF finals, although as a Monte Vista player in 1992 Ellis played in the Division II championship match.
Escondido Charter's misfortunes preceded the game. The uniform of junior Dave Castillo failed to make the trip to El Cajon, and the White Tigers did not have a spare jersey. Senior Ben Barr gave his #13 jersey to Castillo, which meant that Barr couldn't play in what would have been his final high school game. "He's one of the most selfless acts I've seen out of my high school athletes," Vidosic said of Barr.
The other five Escondido Charter seniors - Moore, Dan Castillo, Matthew Thompson, Trent Floyd, and Drew Gates - concluded their high school basketball careers in the El Cajon gym. Floyd led the team with twelve points while Moore scored eleven points.