The San Diego Section's newly adopted open format could provide a Cinderella titlist in March, but she won't be dressed in Mount Miguel's black and red.
Mount Miguel High, loser of 20 games this season, ran into No. 2-seeded Santana and suffered a 68-34 loss in a second-round girls' Division I basketball game at Santana Thursday night.
Santana is 23-1 and has won 13 consecutive games.
The two had met twice before in Grossmont League play, Santana winning, 81-13, and 82-27. But with the everybody-plays format and Mount Miguel's first-round victory against Sweetwater, here they were, together again.
"I have mixed feelings, definitely," said Sue Stinchcomb, the Mount Miguel coach. "I think it's great for the girls to experience being in the playoffs. But, here's a team that went 2-14 in league with the possibility of experiencing another loss. It puts the kids in a tough situation."
Santana forward Leslie Ellis was more definitive.
"I don't think it's right," Ellis said. "We shouldn't have had to play them again. They didn't deserve to be here. They didn't earn it. They could have come in here and beaten us, had they been lucky."
Well, very lucky.
Santana, seeded behind only Point Loma, jumped to a 10-0 lead, led by 23 points at the half and by more than 30 most of the second half.
Shorter and slower Mount Miguel couldn't master Santana's full court press and half court zone. Numbers translation: Mount Miguel (4-21) had 23 turnovers and made 26% of its field goal tries, 14 of which were blocked. This though Santana guard Barbara Bennett, who averaged 19 points the previous two meetings, sat out with a sore knee.
Still, Mount Miguel made a 9-0 run in the second quarter and achieved Stinchcomb's goal: "We definitely earned their respect," she said.
Tracye Parker scored a team-high 12 for Mount Miguel.
As for Santana, the 6-foot Ellis was her usual dominant self, scoring 28, blocking 6 shots and making 7 steals. Sophomore Rebecca Aase had 15 points and 6-3 Shawna Hartshorn blocked eight shots.
Santana next plays Poway, a 58-51 winner against Mira Mesa, Saturday at Santana.