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Posted On: 02/14/18 1:25 PM
While the Open Division and Division I playoff brackets are drawing the majority of the attention because of the amount of top-end teams and talent, there’s plenty of the same throughout the rest of the postseason participants.
St. Bernard, once trending toward the Open Division, earned the No. 1 seed in Division 2A and appears to be the odds-on favorites before the playoffs begin Wednesday night with teams like Muir, Hesperia and Riverside Poly following closely behind.
Here are some thoughts on the challengers and dark horses in Division 2A.
Los Osos is led by one of the better in-game adjustment coaches in all of Southern California, Calvin Tang. Tang isn’t afraid of mixing things up offensively or defensively if he believes it will give his team a competitive edge, and he’s usually right. Los Osos’ 3-7 record in Baseline League play doesn’t tell the whole story of how good a team it is. Iysaiah Rojas and Travion Williams are both solid players who get things done on the offensive end.
Trabuco Hills will go as far as Chase Anderson will carry them. The 6-foot-3 senior is averaging 17 points per game on the season and led the Mustangs to 20 wins and a share of the South Coast League championship with Aliso Niguel. Trabuco will need Quentin Watts, Connor Haskell and Zack Mowers to step up big if they are to pull off some upsets.
Cypress has a very good mix of talented offensive players and versatile defensive-minded guys, which led to it winning 22 games and going undefeated in the Empire League. Junior point guard Jared Brown is one of the more crafty offensive players in Orange County, while forward Erik Papke provides an inside-out presence, Michael Hyun is a solid perimeter scorer and Anthony Tello is a potential lockdown defender.
Diamond Ranch is one of the better turnaround stories in the area. The Panthers won 20 games this season just a year removed from a dismal 4-21 finish last year. A coaching change is a big reason for the revitalization and having one of the better pass-first point guards in SoCal in junior Coree Joseph helps. Joseph has the ability to get into the lane and find teammates, but can also put big scoring numbers on the board, as well.
Oaks Christian comes in to the postseason winners of six of its last seven games and has a nice trio of scoring wings in Jordan Jones, Talin Lewis and Jordan Berens. The Lions played a solid schedule throughout this season, including a mid-season win over fellow 2A competitor Cypress, which should have them prepared for some playoff success.
The Dark Horses
Newport Harbor earned a share of its first league championship since 2001 thanks in large part to an effective and efficient offensive scheme. The Sailors share the basketball, take good shots, limit turnovers and beat you with countless backdoor cuts. Junior grid-hooper Sam Barela is emerging as a top player in Orange County and his running mate Dayne Chalmers has an endless motor.
Tesoro presents match-up problems across the board because of it’s massive size advantages. The Titans have 6-foot-8 Noah Honetschlager in the paint and 6-foot-10 Hugo Clarkin backing him up. On the wings, the Triston Broughton and Tyler Broughton run about 6-3 apiece with good length and athleticism. The x-factor’s for Tesoro will be point guard Matt Jones, forward Willy Duggan and sophomore Kaden Garrett.