Point guard Elliot Redkey has been a difference maker on this year’s Bishop Diego girls basketball team. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

Elliot Redkey filled a role that was sorely needed on the Bishop Diego girls basketball team.

The Cardinals finally had true point guard. 

A terrific ball handler with court savvy and a leader on the court, Redkey has been a key ingredient to Bishop’s run to the CIF-SS 5A championship game. The second-seeded Cardinals will play No. 1 Ganesha for the title on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Colony High in Ontario.

Bishop’s boys basketball team will follow in the 5AA title game against Arrowhead Christian at 4 p.m. at the same venue.

Bishop Diego girls basketball coach Jeff Burich expressed how important Redkey has been to his team during Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

“What can I say? She’s the best ball handler I think I’ve ever coached,” he said of this week’s Athlete of the Week. “I’ve been spoiled for 14 years. I’ve loved all my point guards starting with Amanda (Herrera) and then going to Greer (Shull) and having Jordan Lily. 

“We go a year or two without one and then one is back at Bishop and it’s just unbelievable.”

Burich loves it that Redkey is a basketball junkie. She studies film of an opponent and hates it when her group loses in drills and scrimmages in practice.

“It’s just great to have someone on the court that when we’re trying to make adjustments I can ask her, ‘Well, what do you think? You’re the one that’s out there, you’re the one that sees it from a different angle. I’m just on the sideline here. And this is my only perspective.’

“And she’s got an opinion, and she’ll let me know what she thinks, so that’s always a good thing. We don’t always have to go with it but it’s appreciative to hear and I’m just so lucky to have her as a point guard. The development that she’s made over the last couple years has been phenomenal.”

Ashlyn Oxton-Madrigal also has been integral to the team’s success. She was especially impactful in a comeback win at Woodcrest Christian in the quarterfinals and in the 42-36 semifinal victory over Santa Ana Calvary Chapel.

“That game she had on Wednesday at Woodcrest Christian, we played terrible for the first three quarters,” said Burich. “We couldn’t make anything and we’re down 12 points. Right before the end of the third quarter, she gets this rebound and just kind of throws it straight up in the air and it drops down. It made it a 10-point game, but it was a huge thing because then we have the ball to start the fourth quarter and then we cut it down to eight.”

The Cardinals outscored Woodcrest Christian 22-7 in the fourth quarter and won the game, 39-34.

“And she never came out of the game,” Burich noted of Oxton-Madrigal. “She goes into the game with about five minutes left in the third and just goes the whole time. I’m telling my mom on the way back I just couldn’t take her out of the game. She just has that kind of an impact.”

Oxton-Madrigal came off the bench in the semifinal against Calvary Chapel, grabbed offensive rebounds, got fouled and made some key free throws in the second half.

In the final, Oxton-Madrigal and the Cardinals will have to contend with Ganesha’s 6-foot-3 Heavenly Greer, who was a nominee for the McDonald’ All-American game and is ranked the No. 23 prep recruit for her position in the country by ESPN. She plays on the wing.

Burich is confident his Cardinals (23-8) can get it done on the defensive end.

“I really like our chances,” he said.

On the Bishop Diego boys team, sophomore Kai Morphy and junior Matthew Cunningham have been instrumental in the Cardinals’ run to the 5AA final.

“I really think we wouldn’t be in the championship on Saturday without these guys,” assistant coach Jayson Williams said. “Just their work ethic is amazing.”

Morphy scored 18 points and made clutch free throws down the stretch in a quarterfinal win over second-seeded Estancia. Cunningham had 18 points in the semifinal victory Vistamar.

“There were big moments when we needed big shots and we could count on these guys,” said Williams. “I wasn’t nervous once they let (the shot) go because I’ve seen the repetition after repetition (in practice) and they do the same thing in the big moments.”

Westmont Basketball

The women’s team will celebrate its lone senior, Maud Ranger, in Thursday’s Senior Night game against San Diego Christian. A victory will clinch the regular season Golden State Athletic Conference title for the Warriors (23-3, 15-1) and allow them to host the GSAC Tournament at Murchison Gym, March 5-7.

“So this is huge,” said coach Kirsten Moore. “We would love to have the community support. The men have already clinched to host the conference tournament.  We really hope we can have a great turnout from this community of supporters in our conference tournaments up at Westmont.”

The men, who are 25-3, 14-2 in the GSAC and ranked fourth in the NAIA, are hoping to clinch the GSAC regular season outright with a win on Thursday. The Warriors have a two-game lead with two to play.

“When the season began, we were ranked No. 6 in our league, we expected to finish six,” said coach John Moore, who welcomed seven new players to the program.

One of those players, Abram Carrasco, has been really special.

“When we played UCSB, he looked like a Division 1 player. In fact, he is a Division 1 player, but I’m glad he’s not a Division 1 player, because he’s at our place instead. If Brom is not the player of the conference, then that would be a crying shame.”

Dos Pueblos Wrestling

Conner Lee of Dos Pueblos is headed to the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.

Conner Lee of Dos Pueblos is headed to the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.  (Noozhawk file photo)

First-year wrestling coach Kenny Breaux learned right away he had a special athlete in senior Conner Lee.

Lee qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Championships by finishing ninth in the 152-pound weight class at the Southern Section Masters Championships last weekend. He’ll compete at the State Meet this weekend in Bakersfield.

“One thing he did is challenge me before the season started,” said Breaux, a former CIF State Qualifier,  California Community College State Champion at Mt. San Antonio College and a collegiate wrestler and Lindenwood University. “He said, ‘I want to wrestle you’ and I told him, ‘Conner Lee, you don’t want to get beat up, man.’

“But he comes to me and he’s just like a sponge, he wants to soak in all the information in. In the little bits and pieces I showed him, he really mastered  each technique and really honed in on his gifts and talents this season.

“I can’t be more proud of him, man. We’re going to go up to Bakersfield this weekend and try to get him a medal up there.”

San Marcos Girls Water Polo

San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth said he’d never seen one of his teams so distraught after it lost to Foothill in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals last week.

“It was pretty hard,” he said. “Then we had to go back down (to Irvine) to play on Saturday (in a third-place game) and that was real challenge as well.”

The Royals lost to Newport Harbor, but they did get an invitation to the CIF Southern California Championships this weekend in Orange County. Roth will take a team of underclassmen to compete in the eight-team tournament that features the top four Division 1 teams in the Southern Section, the Division 2 champion and the top three teams from the San Diego Section.

“I think when you look back at what we achieved in four years and what this group (of seniors) has done, it’s phenomenal. Everything’s not always going to end as a Cinderella story, so it’s a good teaching moment to always be reminded that it makes the wins more special. And, the process makes you dig back into why do you do what you do every day. I try to preach that to my girls each and every day to make them stronger people for life.”

Roth brought Hannah Meyer, Emma Engmyr and Kate Meyer, Hannah’s younger sister.

On Hannah Meyer, Roth said: “She does a phenomenal job; she’s our central defender and she’s going to USC next year.”

On Engmyr: “She supported the team chemistry and was a kid that when you’re prepping for a CIF semifinal she’s reminding everybody how to do things right so the team can be that much better the next day. She’s a behind the scenes person, has a 4.5 GPA, is a member of our AAPLE Academy and four-year water polo athlete and swimmer for me.”

On Kate Meyer: “She had a nice penalty shot at the game of the game (against Newport Harbor) and played a great offensive and defensive game. She will be one of the key members of our future program.”

San Marcos Girls Swimming

Roth introduced Dori Larbig, a junior breaststroker and an individual medley swimmer and senior 50 freestyler Angie Drake.

On Larbig: “She does a phenomenal job behind the scenes but also academically, and in the pool as well.”

On Drake: “She’s been in the program four years and has served some big, pivotal moments for us. She’s the Channel League champion in the 50 free.”

Santa Barbara High Girls Lacrosse

Elayne Blessing brought Alannah Cetti and Sally Ortiz.

On Cetti: “She has a competitive edge like no athlete I’ve ever seen. She’s a player I can go to if we need anything done.”

On Ortiz: “She’s one of our captains this year, voted on by her teammates, and rightfully so. She is a leader on and off the field. She’s keeping the team on track and pushing them to their limits. She bleeds lacrosse and that’s exactly what I expect from the captain.”

San Marcos Girls Lacrosse

Coach Paul Ramsey’s team is off to a 1-1 start to the season. The Royals host Santa Barbara on Thursday and then host the first Gold Coast Invitational at San Marcos and Dos Pueblos over the weekend. Twelve teams coming as far as Orange County are entered.

Ramsey introduced Olivia Corrigan and Meiya Sidney.

On both players: “The effort and enthusiam they bring to the program is fantastic. They also are our two captains along with another player. The brains that these girls have on the field for us is amazing. They go from midfield to attack and they’re effective at both situations. If we really needed, we can put them at defense. It’s fantastic to have them in the program as our program grows.”

Santa Barbara High Boys Volleyball

Coach Chad Arneson enters his 16th season at the head coach of the Dons. His team will be test early with matches against Newbury Park and Mira Costa to open the season this week.

Arneson introduced senior setter Henry Haber, middle Kylan O’Connor and outside hitter Riley Roach. They were starters on last year’s team that reached the Division 1 semifinals.

On Haber: “He set Will Rottman (now at Stanford) a lot of balls last year, so he has to be a smarter setter and realize that you’re going to have to spread your offense more wisely. He’s one of our best blockers on the team.”

On Roach: “He’s the glue of our team. He keeps everyone level headed, even myself.”

On O’Connor: “Six-foot-six and we’re counting on him to do some good things for us.”

San Marcos Boys Volleyball

San Marcos volleyball has an experienced group that includes Ryan Feller, Jacob Yinger and Toby Still.

San Marcos volleyball has an experienced group that includes Ryan Feller, Jacob Yinger and Toby Still. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk file photo)

Coach Roger Kuntz said he’s got firepower at every position this season and depth. Kuntz introduced Jacob Yinger, Ryan Feller and Toby Still.

On Yinger: “Jake. was our starting libero for us last year. He does an incredible job for us; his work ethic is second to none and we’re excited about him being the main cog in our wheel.”

On Feller: “Ryan and Toby Still are our best setters and they’re our best outside hitters, so they don’t come off the court. They’re also our leaders. Ryan is coming off a very successful beach season and he’s put in the work to rise to the top.”

On Still: “Toby is a returning All-Channel League outside hitter and setter. These guys have an incredible work ethic and a great engine. We’re very fast on the volleyball court right now.”

Bishop Diego Boys Volleyball

Because of the success of the boys basketball team, coach Dillan Bennett is still waiting to fill out his roster.

“Their continuing special run through the CIF playoffs has allowed us about three meaningful practices so far this year, without four of our better athletes,” he said with a chuckle.

Bennett introduced junior libero Oliver Fowler and junior outside hitter Shea Romero.

On both players: “Not only are they two of our better players and two of our leaders on the court, they know what I expect in the program. They’ve had a lot decision making ability this season so far on who we play, how our practices should go and who should play. I’m really thankful for these two.”

San Marcos Baseball

Coach Jacob Pepper introduced sophomore lefty Chase Hoover, who threw nine innings over the course of two games and struck out 17, walked two, allowed two hits and one run.

On Hoover: “Really impressed with what he was in able to do as a sophomore, and he’s constantly wanting to learn, eager to play and really help the Royals. So, we’re looking forward to seeing more of that, Chase.”

Bishop Diego Baseball

Coach Nick Katzenstein brought hot-hitting Hamilton Finefrock and Jackson Haskell. who have led Bishop to a 4-0 start to the season.

On Finefrock: “Hamilton was a transfer, came to us as a sophomore and has been a leader. His desire to win and compete is like none other and he makes our team that much better in what he does.”

On Haskell: “Jackson has been a starter for four years at Bishop. He’s probably known as a center fielder and has developed into a really good pitcher for us. Then, we’ve decided we need him behind the plate because we lost a really good catcher last year. Jackson has really stuck and really taken to that role and is doing a very good job for us”

Santa Barbara High Baseball

In his second year, coach Steve Schuck said he finally knows his way around the campus and knows where the bathrooms are located. Schuck guided the Dons to the Channel League title in his first season.

He introduced junior Mateo Dovgin and senior Carlos Garcia, saying: “They’re the glue that holds this whole thing together.”

On both players: “They have accepted their role, they have embraced it and, without them ,we’re not who we are. They are the behind-the-scenes guys, they are crucial. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.” 

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.