Posted On: 03/2/18 3:11 PM
The CIF-SS boys basketball championship games from the Open Division on down to Division 5AAA will be played over the next two days at various sites across Southern California.
Two upstart teams will face of Friday night at Azusa Pacific in the Division 3A title game between Riverside Notre and and Bishop Amat.
The Titans have breezed their way to the title game, rolling Murrieta Mesa, 85-68, in a semifinal win last Friday. The Lancers beat Buena, 54-53, on a last second shot to advance to the 3A title game.
Below is a capsule of storylines to watch for, who to watch and what the keys will be for either side to come away with a victory.
Division 3A Capsule
Riverside Notre Dame
Overall Record: 28-3
League Record: 14-0, Ambassador League champions
Top Players: G Anton Mozga (6-5, 180, Jr.); G/F Anthony Holland (6-5, 205, Jr.); G Dondre Bausley (6-3, 180, Jr.); G Pierce Sterling (6-1, 160, Jr.); G Masol Robbins (5-9, 160, Sr.)
Others to Watch: F Andrew Gosserand (6-6, 175, Sr.); G Julian Davis (5-9, 150, Jr.)
How They Win: This is the biggest game that the young Titans squad has played in to date, but they haven’t shown anything this season to question whether they’ll be locked in or not. Coach Robert Robinson has Notre Dame playing a team brand of basketball that results in everyone sharing the ball and, in turn, a balanced scoring attack. The Titans have four players scoring in double-figures on the season in Holland (18.9), Mozga (14.2), Sterling (14.1) and Bausley (12.4), which has resulted in a 20-game winning streak heading into the championship game. Notre Dame is a long, athletic and versatile squad that can score or defend its way to a win.
Overall Record: 26-5
League Record: 8-2, second in Camino Real League
Top Players: G Ishmael Arellano (6-2, 170, Sr.); G Jonathan Aguirre (5-10, 150, Sr.); G Bailey Lopez (5-11, 155, Sr.); Vittorio Vico (5-9, 150, Sr.); G Damian Moore (6-1, 180, So.)
Others to Watch: F Jimmy Rodriguez (6-3, 180, Jr.); F Hunter Benson (6-2, 185, Sr.)
How They Win: The Lancers play a free-wheeling, uptempo brand of basketball that promotes players taking open opportunities when they are there as evidenced by them having seven players averaging between six and 15.5 points per game. There are few Bishop Amat players who won’t take an open 3-pointer when presented with one, but the Lancers ball movement and player movement does a nice job of making opposing defenses work. Bishop Amat has made 296 3-pointers as a team on 807 attempts from deep and have plenty of guys with deep range and a quick trigger. Still, though, the Lancers will have to overcome huge disadvantages in size and athleticism, but the 3-point shot is the great equalizer.