Posted On: 02/20/18 2:45 PM
Here’s a look at four elite matchups among CIF Southern Section quarterfinal playoff action Tuesday night.
Seven of these eight teams (other than Chino Hills) were part of the Classic at Damien in December – another illustration as to just how strong the best post-Christmas tournament in the west was.
FYI – other Classic at Damien entrants that are still playing in the Southern Section playoffs are: Etiwanda, Rancho Christian, Santa Margarita and St. John Bosco (Open); Los Altos and Cajon (2AA); Hesperia, San Marcos and Muir (2A); Leuzinger (3AA); Notre Dame-Riverside and Culver City (3A); Rialto and Mark Keppel (4AA) and Rolling Hills Prep (4A).
Birmingham and Taft (Open) are playing in the L.A. City Section while Vista (Open) is in the San Diego Section playoffs.
That’s 25 programs for the mathematics-challenged among you hoops followers.
Back to those SS D-1 quarterfinals:
Long Beach Poly (21-7) at Oak Park (21-6): The hosts’ fourth-tallest starter – 6-foot-4, Dartmouth-bound guard Wes Slajchert – is at least an inch taller than the largest Poly starter.
But the Jackrabbits will counter with solid quickness and skill across their starting lineup (led by sub-six footers in seniors Daryl Polk and Jesse Galloway), albeit not much in the real size or a “real post player”.
Can Poly at least hamper the ability of Utah-bound Riley Battin from dominating things at both ends of the floor?
If not, Battin and his fellow Eagles will be playing in a semifinal Friday night.
Chino Hills (18-11) at Corona Centennial (21-10): It’s a Huskies vs. Huskies, rematch of a Dec. 2 Battle Zone third-place game, hosted and won by Centennial, 86-71.
Each team has a standout from the Compton Magic program, Chino Hills in the west’s top junior, 6-9 Onyeka Okongwu, Centennial in 6-4 sophomore guard Jaylen Clark.
If Okongwu can stay on the floor (meaning if he doesn’t foul out; he stays in the game regardless of fouls 1-to-4) and if Clark and fellow sophomores D.J. Davis and Paris Dawson aren’t knocking in a lot of jump shots, Chino Hills can reverse that December decision and get to a Friday semifinal.
Pasadena (21-6) at La Verne Damien (24-6): There could be a lot of “mano-a-mano”-style of basketball between two terrific left-handed senior guards, UNLV-bound Bryce Hamilton of Pasadena and North Arizona University-bound Cameron Shelton (PICTURED) of the Spartans.
But they will not be the only players to impact the outcome of this one, as the Bulldogs also have two of the southland’s better unsigned players in guard Darius Brown II and forward Tavian Percy.
The Spartans counter with Sacramento State-bound jump shooter-deluxe Elijah McCullough and one of California’s most productive freshmen in Malik Thomas.
Rancho Verde (21-9) at Eastvale Roosevelt (25-3): This is another rematch, in this case of a second-round, Classic at Damien (Gold Division) game won by Roosevelt, 52-50, via a Jared Williams’ layup via an inbound-pass from Kevin Dobson in the closing seconds.
Seniors Brennon Wade (17 points) and Jaishon Forte (18) led Roosevelt and Rancho Verde, respectively.
Rancho Verde played without an injured and very good junior, 6-4 Tory San Antonio, the first time around. But he’s back and at it now.
Another quality junior, football standout Jaxen Turner, scored 23 points in his team’s 60-55 overtime upset win at No. 2 seed Harvard-Westlake Friday night.