LEUCADIA — The San Dieguito High School basketball team, the shortest team in the Palomar League, has steadily gained respect this season, even when it's not winning.
Friday night, No. 5-ranked Mount Carmel defeated No. 7 San Dieguito, 43-35, but Mount Carmel Coach John Marincovich said he was impressed with the Mustangs.
"At the beginning of the year, every coach in the league said, 'Pick San Dieguito last,' " Marincovich said. "(Now) I'd pick them to be right where they are."
Mount Carmel (4-1, 13-3) and San Dieguito (4-1, 10-6) are tied for second behind Torrey Pines in the Palomar League. Last week, San Dieguito upset Torrey Pines, 45-44.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for San Dieguito, with only one player returning from last season and a new coach, Brian Daly.
Friday night, Mount Carmel built a 16-8 first-quarter lead.
The only returning player, 5-foot 10-inch guard Paul Chan, scored all of San Dieguito's points in the opening period but failed to score again.
"Our defense got them to take the outside shot," Marincovich said. "And (while) I thought the defense was aggressive, somehow Chan kept getting the shot."
San Dieguito, which never led, cut the deficit to 30-29 but could not overcome a stalling Mount Carmel offense late in the period.
Mount Carmel's Mike Wasserburger led all scorers with 12 points. Chan and Shawn Caster each had eight for San Dieguito.
PALOMAR LEAGUE Fallbrook 68, Orange Glen 57--Mike West scored 19 points and Elideo Escobedo added 15 to lead Fallbrook at home. Leading 28-20 at the half, Fallbrook (2-3, 8-11) outscored Orange Glen (0-5, 4-15) in the third period, 20-7. Wayne Ortega paced Orange Glen with 14 points.
Torrey Pines 68, Poway 56--Torrey Pines used its superior height to dominate inside for the victory. Courtie Miller scored 24 points to lead Torrey Pines (5-1, 15-4). Dave Delaney paced Poway (1-4, 8-7) with 17 points.
AVOCADO LEAGUE El Camino 63, Ramona 53--Edmond Johnson scored 21 points to lead El Camino at Ramona. Lee Cobb and David Hill each scored 14 for El Camino (4-1, 14-3). Chad Nelson paced Ramona (2-3, 9-7) with 17 points.
Oceanside 62, Escondido 42--Junior Siau scored 18 and Darrell Noble and Sai Niu added 12 to lead Oceanside (5-0, 11-6). Escondido fell to 2-2 and 5-8.
San Marcos 72, San Pasqual 51--Matt Barrick scored 19 points and Mike Francis added 12 at San Marcos. The game was tied, 18-18, in the second quarter but San Marcos (3-3, 11-8) used dominant offensive rebounding to break open the game. San Pasqual (0-5, 2-13) was led by Roberto Salas' 21 points and Kevin Vannest's 16.
CITY EASTERN LEAGUE
Patrick Henry 49, Serra 40--Terrence Hamilton scored 16 points to lead Patrick Henry at Serra. Patrick Henry jumped out to a 17-10 first-quarter lead and Serra never got closer than six points after that. David Hawke added 12 points for Patrick Henry (2-1, 9-6). Todd Knight led Serra (0-3, 2-14) with 16.
Mira Mesa 47, Point Loma 43--Dave Lee scored 15 points and Mike Icher and Tal Miller added 10 to lead Mira Mesa (2-1, 14-3). Jeff Johnson's 22 points led Point Loma (0-3, 7-11).
CITY WESTERN LEAGUE
Clairemont 47, La Jolla 46--Jason Deal hit both ends of a one-and-one with eight seconds remaining to give Clairemont the win at La Jolla. Deal led all scorers with 19 points and Vic Baer added 12 for Clairemont (2-1, 12-4). Sean Rodgers paced La Jolla (2-1, 11-5) with 12 points.
Kearny 58, Mission Bay 47--John Williamson scored 16 points and Randy Robinson added 13 as Kearny improved to 3-0 (14-3 overall) at Mission Bay. Ernest Johnsson led Mission Bay (0-3, 5-8) with 18 points.
USDHS 64, University City 42--James Wilson scored 15 points and had 16 rebounds to lead University of San Diego High (2-1, 5-10). Matt Seidlinger led USDHS with 23 points. Durell Sims paced University City (0-3, 4-7) with 14 points.
Mount Miguel 58, El Capitan 45--Anthony Rivera scored 18 points and Chris Penman added 14 to lead Mount Miguel (6-3, 8-7) to the win at home. Haywood Mathis added 10 points for Mount Miguel, which opened a 36-28 halftime lead. Eric Lozoya scored 12 points to lead El Capitan, which fell to 3-6, 7-8.
Granite Hills 69, Monte Vista 67--Hollis Quentin scored 22 points, including a layup with three seconds remaining to carry Granite Hills (4-5, 5-10) to the surprise victory at Monte Vista. Jon Tenny added 17 points and Shawn Ruff had 13 for Granite Hills. Monte Vista (7-2, 10-4) was paced by James Gotell, who had 16 points and Wayne Hallman, who had 15.
Briefly--Valhalla 58, Santana 55; Helix 45, El Cajon Valley 42.
Bonita Vista 60, Chula Vista 54--Randy Burk scored 24 points and Steve Macauley added 15 to lead Bonita Vista (5-1, 8-7) to the win at Chula Vista. Bonita Vista outrebounded Chula Vista, 23-11, and hung on to a slim fourth-quarter lead by hitting free throws. Burk, 12 for 12 from the line in the game, made eight free throws in the fourth quarter. Chula Vista (3-3, 11-8) was led by Richard Hancock's 19 points.
Castle Park 107, Mar Vista 82--Castle Park set a school record for points in the victory at home. Vince Bucca scored 31 points and Javier Nunez and John Stanton each had 17 for Castle Park (6-0, 13-4). Todd Habel led Mar Vista (1-4, 4-13).
Montgomery 60, Hilltop 56--John Guebara scored 16 points and Arnold Embuido and Kevin Crawford added 11 points apiece to lead Montgomery (3-4, 4-8) past Hilltop (3-4, 10-11) at Montgomery. Bryan Brooker scored 19 points to lead Hilltop. Montgomery led, 17-8, after the first quarter and hung on in the fourth quarter by hitting 6 of 10 free throws.
Santana 64, Valhalla 24--Leslie Ellis scored 21 points at Valhalla. Rita Schack added 12 points and 8 steals for Santana (9-0, 13-3). Valhalla dropped to 0-9 in league play.