Rose City Roundball: Friday observations

High School
Southern California

Posted On: 12/2/17 2:47 PM

PASADENA, Ca. – Takeaways after spending an Friday afternoon and evening at Maranatha High for four games of the 16th Round City Roundball Classic:

*Oak Park (64-52 over Altadena Muir) and Pasadena (80-54 over L.A. Loyola) took very different routes to the Saturday night (8 o’clock) championship game.

The Pasadena Bulldogs, playing in the first of the semifinals Friday night, smoked the Cubs from Jump Street behind the pretty-much-unstoppable offensive skills of UNLV-bound Bryce Hamilton, who scored an almost-too-easy 34 points via an assortment of drives and jump shots.

But Oak Park had to claw back from a nine-point deficit, scoring the final 15 points of the third quarter before finally pulling away in the last minute for a winning margin that isn’t indicative of how fiercely contested the game was.

Oak Park got terrific perimeter and post efforts from sophomore guard Clark Slajchert (27 points) and Utah-bound post Riley Battin (21 points/pictured above) to improve to 5-2.

Six-foot-six Hunter Woods, one of the better unsigned seniors in Southern California, paced the Mustangs (who upset Alemany in OT Thursday night) with 26 points.

*Alemany bounced back nicely in the fifth-place semifinal, knocking off the host Minutemen, 65-48.

The strong post presence of 7-foot senior Fred Odhiambo and backcourt play of UC Riverside-bound D.J. McDonald and impressive sophomore Brandon Whitney makes the Warriors a threat to not only defend their Mission League title but also return to the CIF Southern Section’s Open Division playoff bracket in February.

*And, in the other fifth-place semifinal, Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart zipped past San Bernardino Cajon, 78-60, behind UTEP-bound seniors Avery Martinez and Teddy Ochieng and sophomores Jahveon Madearis and Jadon Jones.

Cajon hooks up against Rancho Christian in a Dec. 26 opener in the Platinum Division of the second The Classic at Damien and is likely to have a whole different look than it presented Thursday.

That’s because its two most gifted – and tallest – players in Jeremiah Martin and Darren Jones are expected back on the roster.

Cajon plays a Southern Section championship football game Saturday night against Downey.