The Arroyo Grande High boys basketball team has come a long way since its 70-45 loss to Righetti on Jan. 4.
Fifteen wins later, the Eagles are a step shy from making history.
With its 51-44 road win over Palm Desert in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA playoffs on Friday night, Arroyo Grande clinched its second-ever trip to the division final with a chance to grab the school’s first division title.
“It’s been a long time since A.G. has played in a CIF championship game,” Arroyo Grande coach Ryan Glanville said. “We’re excited, and I think we have a group that has the ability to come together on the floor offensively and defensively each night.”
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It’s been more than 40 years since the Eagles have had a shot at a championship. Their last trip ended in a heartbreaking 45-41 loss to Wilson of Hacienda Heights in the 1970 Division 2A final.
“I’m just very blessed to be on this team that trusts each other,” said Arroyo Grande guard Matt Willkomm, who had 15 points and five assists. “I am just thankful for our coaches and how much time they put into this.”
Forward Brent VanderVeen scored a team-high 18 points and had 15 rebounds and three blocks.
“It’s amazing, just such a good feeling,” VanderVeen said. “I am so proud of our team. Everyone is supportive.
“It was loud, they had a lot of fans, we had a lot of fans, and it was good game back and forth. In the third quarter, we just started hitting shots.”
They did indeed, scoring 20 points in the third quarter after leading just 18-17 at the half.
And with eight points from Willkomm in the fourth quarter, the Eagles are now heading to next week’s final against No. 2-seeded Pasadena, which beat Beverly Hills 81-67 in the division’s other semifinal matchup.
Pasadena opened the playoffs with a 64-26 win over Magnolia, and defeated Beaumont 68-40 in the second round. The Bulldogs (24-6) then downed Bonita 65-50 to earn a shot against Beverly Hills.
“We have the opportunity to win our first CIF title,” Glanville said. “I would love to be able to do that for our high school and the community.”
St. Bernard 60, Mission Prep 57
The Royals fell in a close battle to the No. 1-seeded Vikings in the Division 5AA semifinals.
After trailing by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, Mission Prep (25-6) trimmed St. Bernard’s lead to three with 10 seconds to play.
However, the Royals missed an opportunity to send the game into overtime after missing two 3-pointers on their last possession.
The Royals’ Zach Allmon led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.
Despite being tied at halftime, St. Bernard outscored Mission Prep 19-9 in the third quarter to take a double-digit lead.
“We played a well-fought game,” said Royals coach Terrance Harris. “We got down by double-digits and came back and really had a chance. I was very proud of this team. They’ve played tremendous all year long.”
WRESTLINGCIF Southern Section Masters Meet
Seven county athletes are still alive in the consolation rounds, including two who squared off in last week’s Northern Division Championships at San Luis Obispo High.
Dolan Mininni, of Morro Bay, who won last week’s bout, will face Paso Robles’ Kevan Garcia at 138 pounds today.
The winner will advance to the state meet, while a loss would force the loser into a four-man playoff, with the last wrestler standing earning a spot in the state meet.
Also remaining in competition for Paso Robles is Colton Madrigal (160 pounds) and Deonte Willis (225), who lost for the first time, 3-2, in the quarterfinals Friday.
Atascadero has three remaining wrestlers. Abe Halterman (132), Matt Ducasse (182) and Andrew Bittle (195) all can advance to the state meet with wins in their opening matches today.
BASEBALLSan Luis Obispo 9, Morro Bay 0
Five different Tigers pitchers combined on a seven-inning shutout in their season-opening victory over the Pirates.
RJ Hassey led San Luis Obispo, going 3 of 3 with two stolen bases and one RBI.
The Tigers rallied for five runs in the second inning to pull away from Morro Bay and clinch the win.
Santa Ynez 7, Arroyo Grande 2
The Eagles (0-1) fell to the Pirates in their season opener.
Arroyo Grande pitcher Gavin Smith gave up seven runs in 2 1⁄3 innings before Kyle Brown closed the last 3 1⁄3 innings without allowing a run and striking out four.
SOFTBALLPaso Robles 12, Morro Bay 4
The Bearcats scored five runs in the first inning against the Pirates and never looked back.
Both Kellie Reynolds and Megan Clark went 4 for 5. Clark also had a double and four RBI, while Reynolds added a double and two RBI for Paso Robles (1-0).
No other information was provided.