When the Mission Prep boys basketball team lost three games in a row in the middle of the league season, it looked as if the three-time PAC 8 champions would never make it four in a row.
At least from the outside.
Inside the gym, head coach Terrence Harris saw something different, specifically on a Saturday, a day after a 59-50 loss to Arroyo Grande, the Royals’ third loss in a row.
“After that AG loss when we came into practice, guys were still focused and determined. I knew that we weren’t just going to pack it in,” Harris said.
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Mission Prep went on to win five games in a row, most of them blowouts, including wins over first-place SLO High and St. Joseph. Meanwhile SLO High lost its last three games in a row, and with a win in its final game of the regular season Friday against Paso Robles, Mission Prep made the comeback complete, winning a share of the PAC 8 title with SLO High.
“We definitely feel like we are playing some of our best ball of the season,” Harris said. “But we are aware that competition is going to be really tough moving forward, and that’s a challenge that I think the guys are up for.”
Part of the reason for the turnaround was the supporting cast around senior star Kyle Colvin, who regularly scores 30 points per game. Senior point guard Parker Jones scored 36 points in the Friday win over Paso Robles, and senior shooting guard Ander Villacana scored 19 points twice during the winning streak.
“We all know Colvin is amazing, but it’s a team game,” Harris said. “I have been proud about the way the guys have stepped up. It has been different guys, and that’s what we expected coming into this season.”
Mission Prep (16-9, 10-4 PAC 8) will look to get it’s offense rolling Wednesday when it hosts St. Bernard in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A playoffs.
▪ Despite losing its past three games, SLO High (21-7, 10-4 PAC 8) won its first league title since 2009. Now the Tigers will compete in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs, a division with less talent then the Tigers typically see playing in the PAC 8. The Tigers open the first round with a home game Wednesday against Alhambra (16-11, 4-6 league).
▪ Arroyo Grande (16-10, 9-5 PAC 8) missed its chance to become co-PAC 8 champs with SLO High and Mission Prep when it lost 67-62 on Friday to seventh-place Atascadero. The Eagles will look to rebound from the loss in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoffs on the road against Cabrillo (17-5, 14-0 Los Padres), which ran the table in its league led by standout guard LeAndrew Knight.
▪ Division 5A playoffs: Shandon (13-5, 8-2 CVL) gets a first-round bye and will host the winner of the game between Westmark and St. Monica Academy in the second round Friday.
Girls basketball playoffs
It was relatively anticlimactic end the the girls basketball regular season in both the PAC 8 and the Los Padres League. Righetti (23-1, 14-0 PAC 8) and Cabrillo (22-2, 14-0 LPL) both cruised to undefeated league seasons in the PAC 8 and LPL, respectively. Arroyo Grande and Templeton finished as runner-ups in the PAC 8 and LPL, respectively.
Arroyo Grande (18-7, 12-2 PAC 8) lost its only two games of the league season to Righetti, and the Eagles were rewarded with a home game to open the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA playoffs. They will take on Notre Dame Academy (7-15) on Thursday.
▪ Templeton (17-6, 11-3 LPL) will host La Mirada in the Division 4A playoffs Thursday.
▪ Mission Prep (17-7, 9-5 PAC 8) will go on the road in the Division 3A playoffs to play Garden Grove (15-11) on Thursday.
▪ Nipomo (13-13, 8-6 LPL) will travel to play Foothill Technology in the 4AA playoffs.
▪ Coast Union (13-7, 10-0 CVL) got a first-round bye in 5AAA playoffs after winning the league title and will host either Buckley or Santa Clara on Saturday in the second round.
SLO High (19-1, 13-1 PAC 8) capped an impression regular season with a 3-0 win over St. Joesph and a third league title in a row. The Tigers start the postseason with a home game Thursday in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs at home against Agoura (8-6-4).
▪ Atascadero (18-4-1, 11-3 PAC 8) won its last six games to finish in second place in the PAC 8. The Greyhounds will open the first round of the Division 3 playoffs Thursday against La Serna (12-5-5).
▪ Paso Robles (14-6-3, 9-4-1 PAC 8) plays Windward (11-3-3) in a Division 4 wild-card game Tuesday.
▪ Arroyo Grande (9-7-4, 8-6-0 PAC 8) plays Redlands in a wild-card game in the Division 3 playoffs Tuesday.
A.G. girls water polo wins 15th straight league title
Arroyo Grande (16-8, 7-0 PAC 8) captured another PAC 8 title with a 9-4 win over Righetti on Thursday. It was the 15th straight league title for Arroyo Grande. The Eagles will host Santa Monica on Thursday in the Division 2 playoffs at 5 p.m.
▪ Atascadero (18-8, 6-2 PAC 8) will host Santa Ynez at Arroyo Grande High School on Wednesday in the first round of the Division 5 playoffs.
▪ Nipomo (13-7, 7-2 LPL) will go on the road to play Buroughs in the first round of the Division 6 playoffs on Tuesday.