An eventful prep sports week in SLO County will finish with a bang Friday night when Mission Prep hosts crosstown rival San Luis Obispo in a basketball double-header.
In a special arrangement between the schools, Mission Prep offered to host both the girls and boys games to make it easier for fans to attend both. Typically this season, the girls and boys basketball teams play at opposite schools.
It’s smart move by the schools. Last season, both boys games provided some of the best basketball atmospheres I experienced all season.
In the first game, hosted by Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo transfer Matthew Blaney torched his old school and helped lift the Royals to a 65-51 win. In the sequel at SLO High — a game that featured streakers, students dressed as nuns, a controversial call and a whole lot of trash talking — Mission Prep won again, 73-67, to clinch a share of the PAC 8 title.
Mission Prep (11-8, 3-1 PAC 8) is coming off its first league loss of the season — a surprising defeat on the road at the hands of Righetti. You can bet the Royals will come out with something to prove.
San Luis Obispo (10-9, 2-2 PAC 8) always has a chip on its shoulder when it comes to playing Mission Prep and for good reason. The Royals have won the last seven meetings and have been more successful overall in recent years. The last time San Luis Obispo beat Mission Prep was in 2011.
The game will also feature some of the best players in the PAC 8, including San Luis Obispo senior Seth Moore and Mission Prep junior Kyle Colvin. Expect the girls game to be a battle, too. Both teams are evenly matched this season and 2-2 in league play.
The girls game starts at 5:15 p.m. followed by the boys game at 7 p.m.
Laird Receives State Honor
Mission Prep senior Jennifer Laird, who will take the court for the Royals’ girls basketball team against SLO High, added another honor to her decorated volleyball career this week.
MaxPreps.com named Laird to its Division 4 All-State team for California. Laird was The Tribune's 2016 County Girls Volleyball Player of the Year and led the PAC 8 in total kills and ranked third overall in the CIF-Southern Section in hitting and kill percentage. Laird will play volleyball at St. Mary’s next season.
Area soccer teams have faced quite the challenge lately with the rainy weather leading to some teams playing in different places. Mission Prep’s field is basically unplayable due to standing water, for example, and has forced the Royals to play away from home.
But the rain hasn’t stopped SLO High, especially Grace Park. The senior and Cal Poly commit had back-to-back hat tricks in wins against Righetti and Pioneer Valley. Park now has 15 goals on the season to go along with 11 assists. The Tigers are 11-0-1 on the season and 4-0 in PAC 8 play.
On the boys side, things are getting interesting. SLO High lost its first league game of the season Wednesday in a big way to now first-place Pioneer Valley, 3-0. And Paso Robles shocked this sports reporter with a 2-1 road win over Arroyo Grande.
Maybe it’s time to consider the Bearcats (9-4-1, 2-2 PAC 8) a legitimate contender in the PAC 8 after a fifth place finish last season.
Morro Bay, Atascadero Making Moves
Morro Bay continues to play well in boys basketball. After recent wins over Nipomo and Templeton, the Ocean Gang is 4-1 in Los Padres play and in second place. Cabrillo still sits at the top with a 5-0 league record.