High School Sports

Going gets tough for local teams in section playoffs

Neither Arroyo Grande High nor Atascadero won the PAC 7 boys basketball title, but they can claim something league champion Righetti can’t. Both are still alive in the CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs.

On Friday, each advanced to the quarterfinals at 7 tonight, when Atascadero will host Inglewood in Division 4AA and Arroyo Grande will visit Foothill of Santa Ana in Division 3AA.

The 11th-seeded Greyhounds (19-8) moved on by rallying from a 41-31 deficit to stun fifth-seeded Cathedral of Los Angeles 56-53. Junior point guard Troy Norris had a game-high 27 points, and in the final minute-and-a-half, individually outscored the Phantoms 10-3. Atascadero was 8 of 17 from 3-point range and held 6-foot-9 Cathedral center Frankie Eteuati, a Cal State Northridge signee, six points below his season average.

Inglewood (19-8), the bracket’s No. 3 seed, has five players averaging between nine and 11.3 points per game.

“They’re going to be very formidable and quick, and they’re not going to take us lightly after seeing we could beat a team of Cathedral’s caliber,” Greyhounds coach Jerry Tamelier said.

Arroyo Grande’s matchup looks perhaps even more daunting, as second-seeded Foothill (26-2) is ranked No. 25 in the state by MaxPreps.com and is led by 6-6 wing Mike Atwater, who is being recruited by Oregon State and Davidson, among others, according to Rivals.com.

In ousting North Torrance 72-64 on the road, the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-7) sank 11 shots from 3-point distance, including six by senior point guard Michael Escobedo, who finished with a game-high 24 points.

Tamelier said both teams were well prepared for playoff atmospheres competing in such a volatile league that often is regionally underrated.

“We play in a very tough conference,” Tamelier said of the PAC 7, which sent all but one of its members to the postseason. “You just can’t take a nap. There really isn’t an easy night.”

SOCCEROn the boys side, Arroyo Grande (18-7-2) will visit Paloma Valley at 3 p.m. in Southern Section Division 5 second-round play. In the Central Section Division 5 semifinals, Mission Prep (21-0) will host Riverdale at 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Mission Prep girls (11-11) will host Fowler at 4 p.m., also in a Central Section Division V semifinal.