Calexico High School sophomore Aidan Carrasco goes up for a shot over a Southwest defender during their Imperial Valley League game on May 10. The Bulldogs begin CIF-San Diego Section Division III playoffs on Tuesday, June 1, in El Cajon against Granite Hills High. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

BOYS BASKETBALL: Bulldogs Get Opportunity to Repeat

In 2020, the Calexico High School boys basketball team had a magical run through the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV playoffs, culminating with a 70-57 victory in the championship game over El Capitan High of Lakeside.

Just when things weren’t looking good for the Bulldogs in 2021, they have been given a berth in the Division III tournament that gets started on Tuesday, June 1. Due to COVID restrictions, Calexico had not played a game or practiced since a May 10 victory over Southwest High of El Centro.

At that point the Bulldogs were 3-0 and had defeated Vincent Memorial, Central Union and Southwest. That was good enough to earn them a ticket to the playoff tournament as the No. 12 seed in the Division III playoffs.

“We knew it was a long shot if we would get in or not, and luckily we did,” said Hugo Estrada, Calexico’s head coach.

Having not played a game in more than 20 days, the Bulldogs will be traveling to El Cajon to take on fifth-seeded Granite Hills at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 1.

“Last year we just took it one game at a time, and that’s going to be our same approach this year as well,” Estrada said. “We are going to play as hard as we can on every possession and try to make up for the rust we are going to have with maximum effort.”

If the Bulldogs get past Granite Hills, they will face the winner of West Hills-Hoover in the quarterfinals set for Friday, June 4.

Holtville High School senior Jonathan Heraz skies for a rebound during a nonleague game against Palo Verde Valley High of Blythe in Holtville on Friday, May 28. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

Holtville Seeded Third in D-IV

Holtville High’s boys team finished 7-1 in the Imperial Valley League and were co-champs along with Central Union High. Since the Spartans defeated the Vikings in the head-to-head league game, the Spartans were awarded the league’s top spot for playoffs.

Nevertheless, Holtville’s record earned it a third seed in the Division IV playoffs and the Vikings will host 14th-seeded El Cajon Valley at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 1.

The Vikings finished the season with a 61-54 home win over Southwest High of El Centro on Monday, May 24, and a 52-45 home win over Palo Verde Valley High of Blythe on Friday, May 28.

If Holtville gets past El Cajon Valley on Tuesday, it will get a home game in the quarterfinals on Friday, June 4, against the winner of the Southwest-Escondido Charter first-round matchup.

Vincent Memorial to Host First Round

The Scots didn’t finish the season with the best record (2-10 overall, 2-6 in IVL) but it was enough to earn them a Division V home game on Tuesday, June 1.

Eighth-seeded Vincent Memorial will host ninth-seeded The Cambridge School of San Diego at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Scots’ campus in Calexico.

Vincent Memorial had a busy final week of the regular season with five games. The Scots dropped a 98-55 home game to San Ysidro on Monday, May 24, followed by a 56-41 home loss to Southwest of El Centro on Tuesday, May 25, a 56-53 road win at Calipatria on Wednesday, May 26, a 46-38 home loss to Imperial on Thursday, May 26, and a 69-21 road loss at Central on Friday, May 28.

If Vincent Memorial beats The Cambridge School on June 1, the Scots will travel to Lemon Grove to take on top-seeded Liberty Charter in the quarterfinals on Friday, June 4.

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