Vista and Mission Hills headline local playoff games

REGION — The Vista and Mission Hills High School boys basketball teams have competed in two of the most exciting games of the high school basketball season, with the teams splitting the season series 1-1.

So it is only fitting that when CIF San Diego released its open division playoff brackets, the two teams would meet again for a third time.

Vista, which clinched the Avocado East championship with a 26-3 record and a 9-1 league record, earned the No. 3 seed in the eight-team open division bracket, which is composed of the top eight teams in CIF’s Division 1 field as determined by a power rankings formula.

The Panthers face Mission Hills, which earned the No. 6 seed after finishing the regular season with a 20-7 record and an 8-2 league record, a game behind Vista.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Vista High.

“I think everyone is excited for this one, it’s a big time game and both teams are playing at a high level,” Vista Head Coach Anthony Bolton said. “The stakes are much higher in this one.”

Indeed they are: the winner will move one step closer to the San Diego Section’s top playoff championship, and would face the winner of Torrey Pines, the No. 2 seed, and La Jolla Country Day, the No. 7 seed, in a semifinal battle next week.

Vista, Mission Hills, Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon are the North County representatives in the eight-team Open Division field. St. Augustine of San Diego is the No. 1 seed and faces LCC in the first round. Foothills Christian of El Cajon is the No. 4 seed and faces No. 5 Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista.

All of the games are at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The CIF Playoffs includes six divisions, the Open and Divisions 1, 2, 3, 4 and five.

Divisions 1-4 are 16 team brackets and the Division 5 bracket is 12 teams.

The Open Division and Divisions 1, 2, and 3 culminate on March 4 at the University of San Diego. Division 4 plays its championship March 3 at the same gym, while Division 5 plays its championship game on March 2 at San Marcos High School.

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