Posted On: 03/13/18 1:10 PM
Irvine, Ca. — Crean Lutheran’s historic season came to a halt Saturday night in the CIF State Division III Southern Regional quarterfinals.
The Saints, who won the school’s first boys basketball Southern Section title just a week prior, fell to Murrieta Mesa, 53-50, at Northwood High.
The Rams advanced to the Division III semifinals behind 19 points and seven rebounds from senior forward Shamar Wright and 11 points and six rebounds from his twin brother Lamar Wright.
Crean Lutheran was paced by sophomore standout Isaiah Johnson who finished with 16 points while battling foul trouble throughout the game. Drew Yezbak added 13 points, including three 3-pointers for the Saints.
The Wright twins could be intriguing prospects after a prep year
Both Shamar and Lamar Wright are planning on taking a prep year once they graduate from Murrieta Mesa, and with solid base skill sets at this point in their young basketball careers, the right development program could help both of them turn into Division I prospects. Shamar is the more perimeter oriented of the two as he has good ball skills and face-up scoring ability. Lamar is more defensive oriented as a shot blocker, rebounder and energy guy, but he did step out and hit a 3-pointer late. Each have nice size (6-7) and length for their positions.
Isaiah Johnson was the game’s best prospect
It’s rare to have a true “sleeper” in the social media scouting era, but Johnson is still flying well under the “national” radar. The 6-foot-6 sophomore continues to build out his game and the most recent improvement is in his ball skills. Johnson broke off a nice crossover at the top of the key early in the game and drove middle for a beastly two-handed dunk. Johnson still scores well around the basket with either hand and seems to get more explosive by the game.
Crean Lutheran has tons of pieces to make a repeat run
Along with Johnson, the Saints roster featured no seniors, and assuming all the underclassmen return next year, look for the Saints to have a similar season to this one. Players like Jake Conerty, Chris Swardstrom, Gum Majak, Maximus Bo and Derek Bagatourian all made huge contributions to the Saints season, and the return of starting point guard Aiden Gilbert, who missed a majority of the season with a broken wrist, is another welcomed addition for Crean.
Josh Beaty has the coaching chops to do well in the Trinity League
As with all coaching searches, rumors form and swirl like wildfire. The latest rumor is regarding the job opening at JSerra and one of the top young coaches in Southern California, Crean’s Josh Beaty. Beaty’s command for the game, ability to make in-game adjustments and draw up effective plays in late-game scenarios makes him a good candidate to compete in the Trinity League, one of the most loaded leagues in the state. There’s nothing to make one believe Beaty is considering throwing his name into the JSerra hat, but if he did, he’d be a solid hire.