For the second year in a row, the Cajon girls basketball team was selected to play in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs.
And for the second year in a row, the Cowgirls bowed out early.
But there are several differences this time around.
A small difference is that last season Cajon went 1-2 in the CIF-SS playoffs and this year went 0-2. Unlike last year, any team in the CIF-SS Open Division is guaranteed a spot at state. “It’s nice knowing we’ve got at least one game at state,” Cajon coach Mark Lehman said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Last year, Cajon went to Division I for state and won its first two games before falling to Ventura in overtime. This year, by losing its first two CIF-SS Open Division games, Cajon will be placed in Division II for state.
“I think we should be No. 1 (in Division II),” Lehman said. “At least No. 2. If not, (that’s) disrespect.”
Cajon, which was seeded seventh in CIF-SS Open Division, could be battling with Santa Ana Mater Dei for that No. 1 seed in the Division II Southern Regional. Mater Dei, which also lost its first two Open Division games, was seeded sixth in the CIF-SS playoffs.
Cajon, which was eliminated on Wednesday, won’t play again until March 9. CIF-SS Open Division teams that are eliminated early are permitted a scrimmage against another team before the state playoffs start, but the Cowgirls aren’t planning on that.
“I have a basketball class, and we’ll scrimmage against the boys, which would be better preparation than scrimmaging against girls,” Lehman said.
Cajon, which has five senior starters, doesn’t want to see its season end early.
“This group has never lost three games in a row, and they’re not willing to do that now,” he said.
As in previous years, Cajon will host the San Bernardino County vs. Riverside County all-star basketball games. This year the games are on April 8, with the girls game at 6 p.m. and the boys game at 7:30 p.m.
Coaches who have not already nominated seniors for the game should do so immediately. For girls nominees, e-mail Mark.Lehman@sbcusd.com and for boys nominees, email email@example.com.
Yucaipa hopes to challenge Cajon in Citrus Belt League girls basketball and the Thunderbirds are off to a solid 8-2 start this season. They’ve done it without their best player, senior guard Courtney Coleman.
Coleman tore her anterior cruciate ligament in a travel ball game in June, and was cleared to rejoin the team on Monday. Today, Yucaipa faces Cajon in the Thunderbirds’ first league game.
“We’ll see how she does,” Yucaipa coach Jeremy Hoch said. “She’s not going to be in shape. Hopefully, she’s able to create her own shot, but that will be tough against the twins (Tyla and Tyra Turner).”
Coleman, a second-team all-Sun player and Yucaipa’s leading scorer last year, had hoped to return a few weeks ago, but didn’t get clearance until Monday.
“I wish we’d have a couple of more weeks (to get her ready for Cajon) but we’re happy to have her back,” Hoch said.
I am going to the game tonight, and although I don’t give Yucaipa much of a chance to win, I am curious to see if the Thunderbirds can keep it to be a closer game than it was last year, when Cajon blew out Yucaipa by at least 30 points each time. Yucaipa went on to finish third in the league.
- Isaiah Davis, Carter – Fresno State
- Brett Vansant, Redlands East Valley – Western Kentucky
- Reggie Lawson, Victor Valley – Arizona State
- Kayla Washington, Cajon – Washington State
- Pamala Baber, Carter – Texas-El Paso
- Marissa Jauregui, Grand Terrace – UC Davis
- Danielle Rico, Grand Terrace – Eastern Michigan
- Jocelyn Betancourt, Grand Terrace – Cal St. Bakersfield
- Melanie Olmos, Grand Terrace – Oklahoma
- Riley Plogger, Redlands East Valley – Utah State
- Stephanie Ruelas, Redlands East Valley – Concordia
- Mallory Cross, Yucaipa – Texas-El Paso
- Kayla Martin, Yucaipa – Kansas Wesleyan
- Kelly Martinez, Yucaipa – Utah
Zoe Richard, Citrus Valley – Cal State Fullerton
Olivia Olvera, Citrus Valley – La Sierra
- Emily Longfellow, Redlands East Valley -University of Houston
Melissa Pepper, Redlands – West Virginia
Nicole Proctor, Redlands – UC Santa Barbara
- Janell Walley, Yucaipa – Boise State
- Alisha Edwards, Redlands HS – UCLA
Cajon’s Kayla Washington
Cajon High senior basketball player Kayla Washington wanted to make her verbal commitment before the season began, but she was waiting for what she felt was the right offer.
On Sunday, she got it. And on Monday night, she made the commitment, giving a verbal commitment to Washington State.
“When I talked to them, their style of play, was just perfect for me,” she said. “Their coaching staff, I felt real comfortable with.”
Washington, a 6-foot forward who was The Sun’s Player of the Year last year after averaging 28.1 points and 16.1 rebounds per game for the Cowgirls, said the leading candidate until last weekend was Grand Canyon University, a school that recently became Division I.
She said one of the things she liked about Washington State is that they see her as a combination small forward/power forward while other schools wanted her to be a guard.
“They (Washington State) liked the way I play. Most wanted to change me into a guard,” she said. “And they (Washington State) told me they didn’t have a player like me on their team.”
Washington said her father told her that Cajon’s team during last weekend’s West Coast Premier Fall Showcase tournament at Chaffey College might be a good chance to get an offer. He was right, and Washington State offered her a scholarship after seeing her play for the first time.
“I was definitely discouraged (by the number of offers),” she said. “I felt like it was my last shot.”
Washington isn’t concerned that she’s leaving Southern California., and is in fact glad to leave the area, but at the same time, stay on the west coast.
“My family can still make some of the games, and 14 of the games are on TV,” she said.
Washington said she wants “to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in and keep working on my guard game.”
Washington, who said she had other offers that included Long Beach State, Weber State, Eastern Washington, George Washington, Seattle, Arkansas and Kansas State, plans to make a trip to Washington State in October and sign her National Letter of Intent during the early signing period in November.
KAISER 48, APPLE VALLEY 42>> If anybody left Malloy Stadium on the Kaiser High School campus early, they missed a furious fourth quarter that saw the host Cats hold on and score a 48-42 win over Apple Valley after building a 21-point margin in the fourth quarter. The Cats (3-1) also had a 48-27 advantage in the fourth before Apple Valley (2-3) got back in the game on the strength of a pair of 33-yard runs by Tristian Mcnatt. One set up a fourth-down score by T.J. Lewis and Mcnatt scored his fourth TD of the night after the Sun Devils recovered an onsides kick.Mcnatt, who finished with 147 yards in nine carries, also caught a two-point conversion pass from Mossy Bell to make it exciting with 2:42 left. But the Cats killed the clock, thanks to a 11-yard carry by Tyler Allgeier for a first down with 131 left. He and Joshua Johnson were the big offensive keys for Kaiser as Johnson scored three times and rushed for 194 on 25 carries on the night late in the third quarter.
The Citrus Valley girls tennis team defeated Cajon, 15-3, in nonconference play on Thursday.
Nikki Hernandez and Lela Aviles won all three sets in doubles play against the Cowgirls, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.
Members of the Blackhawks team were nervous about how the match would play out after suffering losses to the Cowgirls last year.
“We lost to them last year but both of the matches were really close,” Aviles said. “I know they have a good coach and they are generally a consistently decent team, so I was nervous to see how (the match) was going to work out.”
Aviles also stated that both teams had lost key players from last season but the Blackhawks have had players such as junior Chandler Tillman step up.
Tillman, who is the No. 1 singles player for the Blackhawks, won all three of her sets against the Cowgirls, 6-0, 6-0, 6-2.
“She has definitely helped our team a lot because we lost Maddie Daniels who was our number one singles player last year,” Aviles added.
For the 13th year in a row, Cajon’s girls basketball won the Cal State San Bernardino Tournament. The tournament was last weekend and Cajon defeated Riverside Poly 80-20, South El Monte 64-35, Serrano 65-35 and Hillcrest 56-21 to win the tournament. Included on the team are 3 returning all-county players: Player of the Year Kayla Washington as well as first-team players Tyra and Tyla Turner. Returning players Dezarae Embry, Jada Johnson and Haylee Saurette along with newcomers Deja McBath, Haylee Howard-Radde and Adriana Teque were part of the team.