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Posted On: 02/14/18 8:14 PM
With all eyes zoomed in tightly on the Open Division and Division I playoff field, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the heaping amount of talented teams, and individual players, competing in the “other” CIF-SS divisional playoffs.
Division 2AA for example, has teams like Los Altos, Anaheim Canyon, Mayfair, Capistrano Valley, Cajon, Crossroads and Camarillo, among many others.
As far as individual players go, Jaime Jaquez (Camarillo), Jarod Lucas (Los Altos), Josh Christopher (Mayfair), Shareef O’Neal (Crossroads), Dawson Baker (Capistrano Valley), Jarred Hyder (Cajon) and Sedrick Altman (Colony) all tip first round games Wednesday night.
Here’s a deeper look at the early challengers and dark horses poised to make a run at the 2AA crown.
Colony the Titans have a nice, sparkly 24-5 overall record and ran through Mt. Baldy league foes en route to a 10-0 title. Colony is led by athletic wing Sedrick Altman and smooth scoring guard Mark Burns to go along with a nice freshman duo of Brenton Knapper and Denim Dawson-Jones and senior forward Lorenzo Bright.
Calabasas has tons of perimeter scoring and shooters at its disposal led by Max Cheylov and Kyle Braun. Both Cheylov and Braun can light it up from 3-point range and get hot in a hurry, making it difficult for teams to contain. The Coyotes have won 10 straight games heading into a first-round match-up with Riverside King. Keep an eye on Hercy Miller, one of the top freshmen talents in Southern California.
Crossroads can find itself competing any game as long as Arizona-bound forward Shareef O’Neal is engaged. The senior is a tough cover due to his size, length, athleticism and inside-out skill-set. If O’Neal opens the game in attack mode, and gets into a rhythm, Crossroads has the pieces to make a run. D.J. Houston and Tamir Saban are the other offensive forces for the Roadrunners.
Cathedral has begun to mesh all of its talent into one cohesive unit. Las Vegas area transfers Sedrick Hammond and Orlando Robinson look more and more comfortable as each game unfolds, while juniors Bryce Mitchell and Chris Mitchell provide length and athleticism off the wing that’s tough to cover. The Phantoms are scoring just under 70 points per game on average this season and open with Corona del Mar.
Rancho Cucamonga is a deep, talented and athletic team capable of getting up and down with anyone. The Cougars are led by point guard Darren Williams, junior guard Shanden Knight and senior forward Kelvin Wright, Jr., forming a strong trio on both ends of the floor. Rancho Cucamonga is battle tested, taking on all comers in the Baseline League to the tune of a 3-7 record. But outside league play, the Cougars posted a 16-2 mark.
Brentwood will look to juniors Sam Clareman and Braelee Albert to lead them into the postseason after losing talented juniors Finnley O’Rourke and Eric Olofson, Jr. to injuries. Still, coach Ryan Bailey and his crew do a nice job of running offense, moving the basketball and knocking down outside shots. Brentwood drew a road game against Redlands East Valley in the first round.
The Dark Horses
Aliso Niguel has an underrated and talented squad that, if it can get stops, have a chance to pull off a couple of upsets. Six-foot-8 center Harminder Dhaliwal has an efficient inside-out skill-set with the ability to knock down an open 15-foot jumper. Dylan Dickerson and Lucas Parks are the engines for the Wolverines. Both are high motor guys who get after it on both ends of the floor.
Camarillo is one of those teams no one wants to see because of the fact that it has Jaime Jaquez on its roster. Jaquez is one of the top junior prospects on the west coast and can 40-piece any team on any given night. The Scorpions open on the road at Crossroads and Jaquez will have an impact on both ends of the floor, especially on the glass and in the scoring column.
Northwood is one of the biggest surprise teams in Orange County, climbing to the top of the rankings behind high scoring guard Jacob Huynh and strong two-way player Devin Owens. Coach Tim O’Brien maximizes his roster with the style he has his team playing: uptempo, green lights for shooters and full court pressure defense.