State Regional Preview: Open Division

High School
Southern California

Posted On: 03/17/18 6:52 PM

A trip to the Open Division State Championship game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento is on the line as Sierra Canyon and Etiwanda face off Saturday night in the SoCal Regional Final at Long Beach State.

This is a match-up of contrasting styles and rosters as the Trailblazers have a star-studded lineup and look to keep things free flowing on the offensive end.

Conversely, the Eagles feature a team of under-recruited players, even their star, Kessler Edwards, a Pepperdine-commit, may have been overlooked by high major programs. Etiwanda looks to grid things out on the defensive end as one of the better lock-up teams in the state.

Here’s a look at what to expect come 7 p.m.

Sierra Canyon

Overall Record: 25-4

League Record: 7-0, Gold  Coast League champions

Projected Starters: G Duane Washington, Jr. (6-3, 175, Sr.); G Scotty Pippen, Jr. (6-0, 160, Jr.); G Cassius Stanley (6-5, 185, Jr.); F K.J. Martin (6-6, 195, Jr.); F Terren Frank (6-7, 195, So.)

Key Reserves: G L Simpson (6-1, 175, Jr.); G William Washington (6-0, 160, Sr.); G Adili Kuerban (6-3, 185, Sr.)

How They Win: Sierra Canyon has been playing some of its best basketball throughout the playoffs which is exactly why its in this situation. The biggest key for the Trailblazers over the last month has been the fact that they’ve come together as a team, are sharing the ball and are trusting one another the majority of the time. That will be a crucial factor against a team as good defensively as Etiwanda is. The Eagles are a straight man-to-man defensive team, but are physical and pick-up baseline to baseline. Look for the turnover count to play a huge role in the final outcome.

Etiwanda

Overall Record: 30-3

League Record: 10-0, Baseline League champions

Projected Starters: G Elijah Harkless (6-3, 175, Sr.); SF Kessler Edwards (6-7, 185, Sr.); G Dylan Gaines (6-3, 175, Sr.); G Krystian Wilson (6-2, 180, Sr.); G Toby Okwuokei (6-0, 170, Sr.)

Key Reserves: G Camren Pierce (5-11, 165, So.); G Matthew Essien (6-2, 175, Sr.); G Xavier Scott (5-11, 165, Sr.); F Legend Stamps (6-8, 210, Jr.); G Jahmai Mashack (6-2, 165, Fr.)

How They Win: Control the pace and don’t have too long of scoring lulls. Sierra Canyon looks to push the tempo as much as possible, while the Eagles look to grind things out in hte half-court setting. The rebounding stat will be a huge factor as the Trailblazers have proven to be a very good offensive rebounding side. There have been stints during the playoffs where Etiwanda struggles to put points on the board for minute-long stretches, and if you do that against Sierra Canyon, they can give themselves plenty of cushion in a hurry.