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Posted On: 02/7/18 1:12 PM
Tuesday night’s Sunset League contest between Marina and Newport Harbor started off as one that most expected to only determine league pecking order.
Edison sat atop the standings at 7-1 and was on the road at fifth place Fountain Valley, a game believed to be a shoe-in for the Chargers.
But because Edison fell in an upset to the Barons, Newport Harbor’s 58-44 win over Marina catapulted the Sailors into a first-place tie with the Chargers with one game remaining for both sides.
Newport Harbor is one of the surprise teams in Orange County, currently boasting a 20-6 record, and trending up as the playoffs near.
Here are the “Ten Best” categories from last night in Huntington Beach.
Best All-Around Performance: Sam Barela, Newport Harbor
Barela, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard, had a solid stat-line, finishing with 14 points, four assists and four rebounds, but most importantly, he controlled the pace of the game and put the tempo in the Sailors’ favor. Barela never gets too high or too low and has his hands in a little bit of everything on the court.
Best Prospect: Jakob Alamudun, Marina
The Vikings junior has been a walking double-double this season and Tuesday was no different. The 6-foot-5 forward led all scorers and rebounders with 20 and 10, respectively, and showcased his versatile inside-out offensive repertoire. Alamudun has to do a lot in order for Marina to be successful and he handles that pressure well.
Best Scoring Performance: Brad Siegel, Newport Harbor
Siegel led the Sailors with 17 points, including 11 in a dominant fourth quarter effort that saw Newport pull away from the Vikings. Siegel drained a 3-pointer, slashed to the basket off the ball and finished in the paint and also made his way to the free throw line.
Best Shot Blocker: Dean Keeler, Marina
Keeler is one of the more intriguing big man prospects in SoCal due to his 6-foot-9 frame, length, fluid athleticism and soft hands. The junior is really starting to come around on the defensive end with heightened instincts as a shot blocker and contester to go along with improved reaction time with his initial jump off the floor.
Best Passer: Peter Serour, Marina
Serour ranks top ten in Orange County in assists, dishing out 6.1 per game on average, and Tuesday didn’t stray much from that number. I had Serour at five dimes for the game and one of the biggest weapons he brings to the floor is his ability to be patient on baseline out of bounds plays. Serour has the five count in his head, stays calm and makes the best decision as the play forms.
Best Perimeter Defender: Peter Serour, Marina
We’ll go with Serour again for the best defender category as he did the best he could in matching up against Barela. He held the Newport Harbor junior to two points after halftime, often times denying him the ball the full length of the floor.
Best Paint Finisher: Zack Swies, Newport Harbor
Swies is one of those throwback undersized type of forwards who just seems to always get things done in the paint. He doesn’t operate much outside of 10 feet, but he does a nice job of finding open space, cutting hard to it, and using his strength to finish through contact.
Best Basketball IQ: Sam Barela, Newport Harbor
Barela hardly turns the basketball over, doesn’t force any action within the confines of the shot clock and does a nice job of deferring to his teammates when he knows he’s being face-guarded. Barela always seems to make the correct basketball decision, gets off the ball and sets screens, runs the Sailors’ offense to a T and utilizes the advance pass.
Best Motor: Julian Babish, Marina
Babish is one of those guys you dread playing against because he goes all-out when he’s on the floor. The 6-foot-2 senior forward thrives in the trenches, diving for loose balls to gain an extra possession or crashing the offensive glass to give his team a second-chance opportunity.
Jack of all Trades: Dayne Chalmers, Newport Harbor
Chalmers scored 14 points for the Sailors but his impact is felt much deeper than just putting points on the board. The 6-foot-4 junior is an old-school type of player with a nice combination of strength and athleticism that allows him to be an effective paint finisher. Chalmers is versatile defender, as well, and can guard multiple positions and switch out or hedge and recover on high ball-screen action.