Capo Valley's seniors help secure playoff berth


MISSION VIEJO – Capistrano Valley’s boys basketball team has relied a lot on sophomores this season.

But when it’s the final game of the regular season and a playoff berth is at stake, a team needs its seniors to come through.

Wolfgang Schultz provided that senior leadership Thursday in Capistrano Valley’s 56-39 win over Trabuco Hills in a Sea View League game at Capistrano Valley. It was the final regular-season game for both.

Schultz scored six points in the fourth quarter and added three assists, three rebounds and a steal in the quarter. That enabled the Cougars to turn a six-point lead early in the quarter into the 17-point win.

Capistrano Valley and Trabuco Hills tied for second-place in the Sea View League league. They will go to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs that begin Wednesday.

Capistrano Valley, which finished the regular season 19-9 overall and 5-3 in league, will play in CIF-SS Division 2AA. Trabuco Hills (16-11, 5-3) is in Division 1A.

Tesoro won the Sea View League championship. The Titans finished 6-2 in league after beating Laguna Hills on Thursday.

Dawson Baker, one of those Cougars sophomores, scored a game-high 15 points. He was 9 for 9 at the free-throw line, including 4 for 4 in the fourth quarter.

Schultz finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Deniz Kayiran, a senior reserve, had seven rebounds.

Camren Panganiban led Trabuco Hills with nine points.

During a two-minute stretch early in the fourth quarter, Schultz grabbed an offensive rebound and missed the put-back attempt, got that rebound and missed another put-back, then again grabbed his own rebound and scored. He then fed teammate Nick Draper for a basket and then made a jumper from near the top of the key. The sequence gave the Cougars a 42-30 lead with 5:17 remaining.

He later added another basket on a left-handed drive as the Cougars outscored the Mustangs, 20-12, in the fourth quarter.

If Capistrano Valley had lost, the Cougars would have played San Juan Hills on Friday to determine whether Capo Valley or San Juan Hills would get the Sea View League’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth. At-large teams will go to the playoffs, but only if there is room in a division’s 32-team bracket for at-large teams.

Schultz’s reaction to not playing today: “That’s a relief.”

Capistrano Valley coach Brian Mulligan was relieved that seniors like Schultz, Kayiran and Jeremy Taylor delivered in such a crucial game.

“Our team has been a little bit more sophomore-oriented in our big wins this year,” said Mulligan, in his 21st season as the Cougars’ coach. “Not only did Wolfie play great, so did Jeremy Taylor and Kayiran rebounded his tail off. It was great to see those guys be a bigger part of it.”

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