El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Phillip Brents

The 68th Lions Tournament, boasting a record 144 teams in 10 divisions, dominated prep baseball the week of March 26-29. Fourteen East County teams participated in the latest edition.

The prospect of meeting new opponents, especially highly touted teams from far off locales, is a major drawing card for the long-running event.

The finals of this year’s Hilltop High School softball invitational tournament are scheduled April 28 at Chula Vista High School. Three East County teams have already reserved spots, with a fourth pending.

The tournament was originally scheduled to end last weekend.

The 2018 boys volleyball season got a jump-start with the fourth annual National City Host Lions tournament hosted March 2-3 by Sweetwater High School. Thirty-four teams participated this year, including seven East County programs.

Santana, which finished in first place in its pool, received the No. 4 seed in the Gold Division playoffs but was upset in the quarterfinals by fifth-seeded Patrick Henry.

Six East County mat men will make the trek to Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena to compete in this weekend’s boys state wrestling championships after successfully qualifying for the March 2-3 event at last weekend’s San Diego Masters championships at Olympian High School.

The top four place-finishers in each of 14 weight classes at the San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament earned berths in this weekend’s coveted state meet.

•Steele Canyon’s David Lipscomb placed second in his 172-pound weight class.

East County will be well represented on the mat at this weekend’s San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament at Olympian High School following last weekend’s showing at the section divisional tournaments.

Wrestlers from 11 East County schools earned the right to compete at this weekend’s showcase section tournament based on place-finish at last weekend’s divisional tournaments.

Championship venues for this year’s San Diego Section winter sports playoffs have been announced.

The basketball finals will be split between Viejas Arena on the campus of San Diego State University (Open Division, Division I and Division II), San Marcos High School (Division II, Division III and Division IV) and La Costa Canyon High School (Division V).

The soccer finals will be split between Mission Bay High School (Open Division, Division I and Division III) and La Jolla High School (Division II, Division IV and Division V).

The eighth annual San Diego Section girls wrestling championship tournament took place Feb. 9-10 at Sweetwater High School in National City.

When the final whistle had sounded, three East County mat women had punched their ticket to the state championship meet Feb. 23-24 at the Visalia Convention Center.

Granite Hills’s Candee Nunez and Helix’s Destiny Lyng led the charge with section championships at 118 and 139pounds, respectively.

Give them a cheer!

The inaugural San Diego Spirit Championships took place Jan. 20 at Montgomery High School. A total of 32 schools participated in the history-making event. 

East County was represented by seven high schools: Helix, Valhalla, Grossmont, Santana, Steele Canyon, El Capitan and Granite Hills.

History speaks for itself. On Jan. 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree — a 22-year-old forward from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada — became the first black man to play in the National Hockey League when he suited up for the Boston Bruins in a game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Montreal Forum.

The game of hockey has certainly changed over the 60 years since O’Ree made his history-making debut. O’Ree — dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of hockey” — has helped forward that change.

The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl game on Dec. 28 marked not only the 40th anniversary of the event but also marked the game’s first match-up of teams ranked nationally in the top 20 since 2008.

Michigan State University (No. 16) and Washington State University (No. 18) provided the marquee matchup at SDCCU Stadium. 

But it largely proved to be anti-climactic as Michigan State trounced the Cougars 42-17 in front of 47,092 fans.