By Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
With reigning area player of the year Janelle Kearney returning last week from a knee sprain that sidelined her for nearly a month, the Diamond Ranch High School girls basketball team is finally healthy and poised to make a run at the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A title game after earning a No. 2 seed when the pairings were released on Sunday. All first-round games are on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Panthers (23-2) were seeded behind top-ranked Mater Dei (24-1), and will host Pacific View at-large Adolfo Camarillo (10-16) in the first-round.
Also in 2A, Glendora (19-7) earned a 10-seed and will host Cypress (14-12) while San Antonio at-large Rowland (6-15) is at fourth-seed Laguna Hills (23-3).
Del Rey League co-champ Bishop Amat (20-6) begins pursuit of its fifth section title with a third-seed in the 3AA playoffs, opening at home against Garden Grove at-large Los Amigos (14-8).
Also in 3AA, Arroyo (14-12) is at sixth-seed Sonora (18-8) while Miramonte at-large Los Altos (6-20) has the almost impossible task at second-seed Inglewood (22-5).
Miramonte runner-up Bonita (22-4) was rewarded for competing in a tough league with Diamond Ranch, earning the No. 4 seed in Division 3A.
The Bearcats will host Mission Valley League at-large Gabrielino (9-17) in the first-round.
Also in 3A, Montview champion Sierra Vista (19-5) is seeded eighth and will be home against Marmonte at-large Calabasas (13-13). MVL champion Rosemead (18-4) received the No. 9 seed and will open against familiar Monrovia (11-15).
No. 6 South Hills (18-6) will be at home against Fullerton (10-15), and in other first-round games in 3A, No. 16 Wilson (14-12) will host West Torrance (10-16); Charter Oak (9-17) is at No. 3 Muir (17-7); and El Monte (11-12) is on the road against No. 10 Irvine (18-8).
San Antonio League champion Walnut (22-4) is hoping that success during the December Ayala tournament pays off in the postseason in the Div. 1A playoffs, hosting Big VIII at-large Riverside Poly (13-13), which comes from a tough league where the top four teams all had winning overall records.
Also in 1A, West Covina (18-6) proved it can be dangerous on any given night, being the only other team other than Diamond Ranch to knock off Bonita. But they will have a time time at eighth-seed Rancho Cucamonga (16-9) in the first round.
St. Lucy’s leads a contingent of seven-area teams into the 4AA playoffs.
The Regents (15-9) finished fourth in the Sierra league, but earned the No. 16 seed and will be on the road against Valle Vista league champion Covina (18-8) in the first round.
Northview (17-8) opens at No. 14 Whittier Christian (14-11) and San Dimas (16-10) is at fifth-seed Alemany (19-7).
Also in the first-round of 4AA, Azusa (9-15) is at No. 11 Morningside (14-14) and Gladstone (1-15) faces perhaps the biggest mismatch on opening night at No. 3 Orange Lutheran (21-15), which finished second behind Mater Dei in the Trinity League.
Duarte (17-6) drew a home game against No. 9 seed Chaminade (16-10).