Mar. 2—With winter seasons that started in mid-November, seven Kern County teams continue to be in action as we enter the first week of March.
For some schools, such as Garces, Bakersfield Christian and Bakersfield High, playing this late in the season has become a regular occurrence. For others, it’s new territory.
The Garces boys soccer team (19-1-1), fresh off its fourth straight Central Section title, are playing in the second round of the SoCal Regional playoffs at home for the fourth straight year, as well.
The No. 2 Rams have advanced to the regional final in two of the last three years. Garces lost at home to Riverside-Norte Vista in the regional D-III semifinal last year, and lost in the final on penalty kicks to Corona-Santiago the year before. In 2019, Garces won the D-V title with a 2-0 win over Pasadena-Marshall.
This year’s D-III opponent, No. 3 Fullerton-Sunny Hills (19-3-4), is coming off of a 4-3 victory over Panorama City-Panorama. The Lancers, the co-champions of the Freeway League, captured the Southern Section D-III championships with a 1-0 victory over Norte Vista last week. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Tobias Field.
The Bakersfield Christian boys basketball team (22-9) is playing in the second round of the state playoffs for the second time in four years. The last time the Eagles made it this far, in 2019, they won the D-IV regional title and advanced to the state championship game. They ultimately were denied an opportunity to play for the title when games were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s No. 5 BCHS squad had a bit of good fortune in advancing past Tuesday’s D-II opener. Senior Erick Chaney sank a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to defeat No. 12 Santa Fe Springs-St. Paul 56-54.
Now the Eagles will host No. 13 Rancho Cucamonga (28-6), the Southern Section Division 3AA champion at 6 p.m. On Thursday. The Cougars defeated Central Section D-II champion Visalia-Mt. Whitney, the No. 4 seed, in Tuesday’s opening round matchup, 61-57. BCHS lost to Mt. Whitney 58-53 on Jan. 17.
The No. 5 Bakersfield High girls basketball team (26-3), who rallied to defeat No. 12 West Hills-Chaminade on Tuesday, will be playing at No. 4 Los Angeles-Windward (20-10) in the second round of the Division I bracket at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Drillers, who have reached the section final in each of the last seven years, has won a state playoff game in three straight years.
Windward, who went 0-3 in the Southern Section Open Division playoffs, defeated Santa Maria-St. Joseph 60-49 on Tuesday. BHS split a pair of meetings this season with the Knights, defeating them 42-40 in the section Open Division semifinals on Feb. 19.
BCHS (20-7-2) and Garces, the area’s two private schools, will be represented in a pair of sports on Thursday. The Eagles, the section Division III girls soccer champions, will travel to play at top-seeded Lakewood-Saint Joseph at 3 p.m. in Thursday’s D-IV regional..
No. 4 Bakersfield Christian defeated No. 5 South Gate 6-0 on Tuesday to advance, while the Jesters (14-2-3) beat No. 8 San Diego-Chula Vista Learning Community Charter 8-0. Saint Joseph won the Southern Section Division IV title with a 1-0 victory over Chatsworth-Sierra Canyon.
The No. 3 Rams boys basketball team continued its playoff run with a 61-39 victory over No. 14 Rancho Cucamonga-United Christian Academy in Tuesday’s D-V regional opener. Garces (14-19) has won five straight and will now host No. 6 Ontario-Chaffey (21-12), a 63-61 winner over No. 11 Oro Grande-Riverside Prep.
The Tigers, who lost to Ojai-Villanova Prep in the Southern Section D-5AA title game, will now travel to meet Garces in a 6 p.m. match-up on Thursday.
The Golden Valley boys basketball and Highland girls basketball teams will also be in action on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs (22-8), the No. 3 seed in Division IV, will play at home against No. 6 Atascadero in a rematch of the Central Section D-III championship game. Golden Valley won that game 87-73.
The No. 9 Scots (17-14), the section D-V champions, will play at top-seeded Tujunga-Verdugo Hills at 6 p.m. Thursday. Highland has won six straight and is coming off of a 51-20 road victory over No. 8 Bermuda Dunes-Desert Christian Academy.