With two barriers knocked down and only one left to go, the El Camino High School boys’ basketball team is clicking on all cylinders heading into the Central Coast Section playoffs this week.
“The teams are going to play at their peak, at their best,” El Camino coach Archie Junio said. “Teams like Burlingame, Woodside are only going to make us better in CCS.”
The Colts (23-4) won the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championship by two games and won the PAL Tournament by beating last year’s Bay champion, Burlingame.
“When you see a team on top for a while and you beat them, it gives everybody hope that it could be done,” Junio said. “It gave us a nice sense of happiness.”
El Camino claimed the No. 2 seed and a double bye to the quarterfinals in the CCS Division III playoffs when seedings were announced over the weekend, and now waits to find out which team will be its opponent.
“We’ve got a highly motivated group as it is,” Junio said. “It’s not going to come easy. ... We just try to be humble and remember every dog has his day.”
El Camino has never won a CCS championship or been to a CCS title game. The Colts will face Prospect, Saratoga or Santa Cruz.
El Camino has won 10 straight games and has not lost since Jan. 18.
During the 10-game stretch, the Colts have only twice surrendered more than 50 points.
They have also scored at least 60 points in eight of the 10 games, with much of that production coming from Elijah White and Michael Smith.
“They’re actually executing offensively,” Junio said. “They know they can get their shot without forcing it. ... They’re a little more patient.”
White and Smith have continued to be the catalysts for the Colts, combining to average more than 32 points per game, but would not be nearly as successful without Anthony Knight and Jalen Bitanga.
“They are the ones that help us run the offense,” Junio said.
El Camino is one of 12 PAL teams in the CCS playoffs, with five beginning play today.
One game pits two PAL teams against each other when the Ocean’s South City plays the Bay Division’s Woodside.
Serra (21-5), which was awarded a No. 2 seed in the CCS Division II playoffs, is one of seven West Catholic Athletic League teams to earn a playoff berth.
WHAT: Central Coast Section Division III quarterfinals
WHEN: Saturday, time TBD
WHERE: St. Ignatius
23-4 El Camino’s record this season
10 Consecutive victories El Camino has reeled off
14 Consecutive games El Camino has held its opponent under 56 points