Posted On: 03/7/18 2:57 PM
The CIF State playoff brackets were released Sunday afternoon with plenty of intriguing games set across all divisions. Division II, comprised of 32 total teams across the entire state of California, begins Wednesday and here’s a look at each match-up in the Southern Region of that bracket.
1 Brentwood (24-7) vs. 16 Fresno (10-22)
Outlook: Brentwood is coming off of an impressive win over Crossroads in the Southern Section Division 2AA title game and draw one of the most interesting teams in the state playoffs. Fresno has 13 forfeit losses on its schedule this season, but made the Central Section playoffs by finishing third in the Yosemite League, then made a run to the Central Section semifinals as the 10-seed to earn a state playoff bid. The Eagles combination of Braelee Albert, Sam Clareman and Charley Wadler will be too much in the end for Fresno to continue that run.
Prediction: Brentwood over Fresno
8 Muir (23-8) vs. 9 San Marcos (SD) (23-5)
Outlook: Muir has one of the top unsigned seniors in Southern California in 6-foot-5 wing Hunter Woods. Woods is versatile on both ends of the floor and his improved 3-point shooting has opened up the floor for him offensively. San Marcos is home to one of the best freshmen prospects in the state in 6-foot-4 point guard Chris Howell. Howell is of the smooth, high IQ and playmaking variety and his main target of passes is sharpshooting 6-foot-4 guard Kody Clouet. The key to this game could be 6-foot-8 forward Cody Mathis for San Marcos. Muir will be at at size disadvantages, but does have the upper hand in athleticism and speed.
Prediction: Muir over San Marcos
5 Upland (18-13) vs. 12 Crenshaw (24-9)
Outlook: Crenshaw lost both of its Los Angeles City Section Open Division games to Taft (in overtime) and El Camino Real (by five) and hasn’t played in a live game setting in 12 days. The Cougars have a dynamic inside-out duo of Dominique Winbush and 6-foot-6 forward Kevin Ebiriekwe that could cause some problems for Upland. The Highlanders are battle-tested after competing in the tough Baseline League, where they suffered eight of their 13 losses on the season. Upland is deep, tough, physical and tough to beat at home.
Prediction: Upland over Crenshaw
4 St. Augustine (SD) (18-7) vs. 13 Birmingham (12-14)
Outlook: The Saints trajectory was shot down a couple days prior to the beginning of the season when San Diego’s top basketball prospect, Taeshon Cherry, bolted to Foothills Christian. That didn’t leave St. Augustine void of talent, however, as stud sophomore Chibuzo Agbo and classmates Luke Haupt, Tyson McWilliams and Declan Bretz have kept the Saints solid this season. Birmingham has one of the most talented and definitely the highest level senior remaining on recruiting boards across the country in 6-foot-5 guard Devonaire Doutrive. Doutrive has the ability to put a team on his back if he gets hot on the offensive end.
Prediction: St. Augustine over Birmingham
3 Cajon (24-7) vs. 14 Valencia (14-16)
Outlook: The Cowboys will “out-athlete” most teams it plays against with seniors Jeremiah Martin, Deshawn Washington and Cameron Browne to go along with junior Jarred Hyder and sophomore D.J. Jackson, but Valencia is a sneaky good team led by 6-foot-4 point-forward type Dexter Akanno. Cajon no longer has 6-foot-8 forward Darren Jones at its disposal and it will be interesting to see who picks up that slack. Valencia will need to control pace and tempo and keep Cajon off the offensive glass to win this one.
Prediction: Cajon over Valencia
6 San Marcos (Santa Barbara) (26-6) vs. Granada Hills Charter (19-11)
Outlook: San Marcos is a tough team to match-up with and beat mainly due to how well-coached they are. The Royals reverse the basketball on offense more than most teams I’ve seen this season and if the idea is to double-team big Jackson Stormo down low, he proved he can beat a team with the pass over the weekend with a win over Riverside Poly in the Division 2A title game. The Highlanders don’t have much size inside and will have to do whatever they can to speed up San Marcos, which is a very difficult task.
Prediction: San Marcos over Granada Hills Charter
7 Riverside Poly (24-8) vs. 10 La Jolla Country Day (21-10)
Outlook: This game has “shootout” written all over it. Poly and LJCD met earlier this season at the Torrey Pines Holiday classic with the Bears coming away with a 67-63 win. The difference this time could be the health of two key role players — Alex Cho and Ben Daugherty — for the Torreys as per San Diego high school hoops authority and Prep Hoops So-Cal colleague Aaron Burgin. Poly fell to San Marcos in the Division 2A championship Saturday in one of its worst offensive performances of the season. Lamont Butler did his best to make things happen, but the Bears were dismal from 3-point range. A guy who is rarely off from deep is LJCD’s Ryan Langborg, and if he’s on, the Torreys could pull an upset.
Prediction: La Jolla Country Day over Riverside Poly
2 Crossroads (20-9) vs. 15 Selma (21-10)
Outlook: The Roadrunners are hoping to bounce-back from a poor offensive showing in the Division 2AA championship game against Brentwood, a game they lost 48-41. Crossroads shot 27.1 percent in that game, but don’t expect a repeat performance of that in its home gym. Selma brings four double-digit scorers down to Santa Monica, led by senior William Pallesi at 20.2 points per game. This could very well be a high scoring affair.
Prediction: Crossroads over Selma