Before the Thursday night regular season finale against Templeton, Cabrillo honored four-year varsity letterman LeAndrew Knight and his 1,755 career points.
After the boys basketball game, Knight added 29 more points to that astonishing total and the Conquistadores ended their evening with this scene: Players and coaches cutting down the net after beating the Eagles 68-44 and securing another 14-0 Los Padres League mark.
Knight was showered with thunderous cheers as he was honored with the Cabrillo senior class – with loud praise bouncing off of the CHS gym walls. Knight was given a custom made black, white and sparkling gold basketball that honored his four years of accolades. He was also given a special Cabrillo No. 22 jersey before the contest.
From there, Knight and the Conqs (17-5 overall) were all business – flustering the Eagles with their full court pressure defense and the Conqs’ senior leader scoring 11 of those 29 points in the first quarter.
Knight not only attacked the Eagles with his 3-point shooting in front of his friends and family members in attendance, but also scored four points off of his left hand, as Knight normally finishes his baskets with his right.
His head coach C.J. Simmons rode a wave of emotions from honoring his cousin Knight and the rest of his senior class, to being the last guy to cut down the net.
“It’s overwhelming,” Simmons said. “It’s been awesome to see these kids blossom. For me, it’s now 28 in a row and it is great knowing we’re leaving on top.”
In regards to handing the four-year varsity letterman Knight the specialized basketball, Simmons admitted he had a sleepless night when thinking about his young cousin’s journey.
“It was very emotional. I was thinking about all night last night,” Simmons said. “To watch LeAndrew transform every year and dedicate himself to our craft and his craft, it wasn’t an easy road for LeAndrew. To see him succeed and excel, it means the world to me.”
Simmons added that Knight’s new total of 1,784 is the most from a CHS boys basketball player in nearly 15 years. While Knight sparked Cabrillo early on, it was newcomer Austin Olsen who helped put the game out of reach.
The former Righetti Warrior Olsen, who said he had never played on a league champion before this season, scored 12 points in the third quarter as he doubled as a 3-point marksman to the Conquistador getting the second chance baskets underneath the hoop.
Olsen was among the 15 players and coaches who got a chance to climb the ladder and cut a piece of the net in honor of securing the flawless league record.
“It felt really good. It’s my first time experiencing that. It’s an amazing feeling to be out here,” Olsen said, who had 19 points.
Eddy Little and Nico Marquez helped seal the rout with their shooting in the fourth quarter. Blake Beecher emerged as a rebounding force for CHS.
Cabrillo has assured itself of a home playoff game once Sunday’s CIF Southern Section playoff seedings for Division 3A are announced. Last year’s team reached the third round of the postseason before falling at home to Sante Fe Springs St. Paul 61-60.
After the net came down, CHS players and coaches gathered for team photos from the parents of the players and then jumped around in joy in front of a video camera in celebration of the LPL title.
As for Knight, he was reflective of his four-year odyssey from freshman basketball player to one of the top scorers of all time in a CHS uniform.
“Decided to come here in the eighth grade for the next four years to play basketball – it was a good decision, I think,” Knight said. “To be blessed with this jersey and the basketball, it means a lot.”
Cabrillo 62, Templeton 52
The Conquistadores struggled with the home team Eagles throughout the night before solidifying their 14-0 LPL season.
Erin Jenkins scored 26 points to lead the way. Alyssa Stewart added 16 points. Alyssa McCune finished with nine. Jenkins also added five steals.
Cabrillo (22-2 overall) overcame a 19-14 first-quarter deficit to pull away for the win. CHS head coach Jared McCune said by phone that the Conquistadores will likely be the No. 3 seed once playoff seedings are announced on Sunday. McCune said Lancaster and Culver City are currently slotted at No. 1 and No. 2 in the Division 3AA bracket, respectively.
Lompoc 63, Santa Ynez 42
The Braves broke a tie at halftime as head coach Claudia Terrones said “we buckled down and played great defense, plus got our shots up.”
Danielle Morgan led LHS with 22 points and added eight rebounds with seven assists. Mya Mendoza added 21 points with eight rebounds and also dished out seven assists. Bella Robles finished with 10 points and Kayla Taylor hauled down 11 rebounds in the win.
Lompoc finishes the regular season 15-9 overall and 10-4 in the LPL – good enough for the third place spot in the league standings. Like the Cabrillo teams, Lompoc will await where it will go on Sunday in the Division 2A playoffs.
Lompoc 0, Santa Ynez 0
The Braves, having already secured the LPL title by points on Tuesday, played to a tie on senior night at Huyck Stadium.
Lompoc (14-5-4, 12-1-1 in the LPL) will now await the CIF-SS D4 pairings for the boys soccer playoffs on Sunday. Santa Ynez (13-6-4, 10-3-2 in the LPL) will see where it lands in Division 3 come Sunday.
Girls Water Polo
Cabrillo 9, Santa Ynez 2
It's the sweet 16 for Cabrillo, as the Conquistadores captured their 16th straight LPL title on Thursday.
Gretchen Von Protz, Mary Rhodes and Nicole Zarinan each had two goals versus the Pirates. Head coach Scott Larson, though, said he was most pleased with the play of the defense.
"It was quite an accomplishment to shut down Santa Ynez's offense and keep them from to only a single goal in each half," Larson said by email.
Cabrillo is now preparing for the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs, which announced seedings on Saturday.