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Cathedral Catholic advances to Division 1 finals, others still in title hunts

REGION — With a team that starts four sophomores and a junior, Cathedral Catholic was viewed earlier this year as a team that was a year away from a CIF championship.

Flash forward to this week, and the future is now, as the Dons defeated La Jolla Country Day 64-55 to advance to the CIF Division 1 Championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at RIMAC Arena on the campus of UC San Diego.

Thomas Notarainni, a sophomore guard who was honored before the game for eclipsing the 1,000-point barrier earlier this season, scored a game-high 30 points for the Dons, which led by as many as 18 points before closing the game out in the fourth quarter.

Fellow sophomores Obinna Anyanwu (14 points and 16 rebounds), Steve Wade (10 points and 6 assists) and Dillon Wilhite (14 rebounds) contributed to the victory. 

The Dons, which finished second place in the rugged Western League, will face third-seeded Francis Parker in the championship game. The Lancers upset second-seeded Montgomery 58-49 to advance to the finals, the second consecutive year Parker has bounced the Aztecs from the playoffs. 

San Pasqual of Escondido also advanced to a championship Tuesday night, defeating fellow Escondido school Del Lago Academy to clinch a berth in the Division 5 title game against Clairemont. 

That game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Serra High School. 

Torrey Pines and Vista have advanced to the semifinals of the Open Division, whose finalists will be determined Wednesday night. 

The third-seeded falcons face seventh-seeded Mission Bay in one semifinals, while the fifth-seeded Panthers face Foothills Christian, the top seed, at Cuyamaca College. 

The Open Division Championship will be held Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at RIMAC Arena.

Carlsbad and Rancho Buena Vista are still alive for the Division 2 title. The teams are on opposite sides of the bracket. The top-seeded Longhorns face a tough Bishop’s team in the 1-4 semifinal game Wednesday night, while Carlsbad, the third seed, faces the team that has been the surprise of the playoffs. 

Bonita Vista out of Chula Vista entered the playoffs as the 15th seed, but knocked off second-seeded Westview and seventh-seeded Escondido en route to the semifinals. 

Both of those games are at 7 p.m. Wednesday, with the title game being held Saturday at 1 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. 

CIF Championships 

Open Division

Teams TBA, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, RIMAC Arena

Division 1

(1) Cathedral Catholic vs (3) Francis Parker, 8 p.m., RIMAC Arena

Division 2

Teams TBA, 1 p.m. Saturday, RIMAC Arena

Division 3

(2) Valhalla vs (4) San Diego, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Mira Mesa HS

Division 4

(1) Southwest San Diego vs (2) Mt. Carmel, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Serra HS

Division 5

(6) Clairemont vs (8) San Pasqual, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Montgomery HS