Posted On: 10/4/18 11:40 PM
San Marcos, Ca. — The San Diego High School Showcase directed by the Gamepoint travel program trio of Charlie Mercado, Anthony Bolton (Vista High coach) and Ryan Smith (Fallbrook High coach), featured many of San Diego’s top high school programs and a couple major players from the CIF’s Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section.
The two-day event was highlighted by a match-up of two potential powers this season in Temecula Rancho Christian and Los Angeles Fairfax, a game the Eagles won, 45-42, behind the efforts of USC-commit Isaiah Mobley and his younger brother, Evan Mobley, who is the top-ranked player nationally in the 2020 class.
One of the benefits of this particular fall league was that it gave us the ability to see the teams south of San Clemente on the 5 freeway up-close and personal. Here are five takeaways from last Saturday’s action.
Rancho Christian’s guard play will dictate how deep their playoff run will be
Everybody knows what the Eagles bring to the table with Evan and Isaiah Mobley, two of the best players in the country regardless of class. But as Rancho Christian advances deeper into the playoffs, and the competition gets better and preparation more stringent, Ray Barefield’s squad will need someone not named Mobley to step up. The Eagles have a handful of guards who could fill that role in juniors Dominick Harris, Jordan Montgomery, and Bryson Stephens along with sophomores Luke Turner and Jaden Byers.
Fairfax is undersized, but is playing faster than most can handle
At 6-feet-6, senior Daylen Williams is Fairfax’s tallest player on the roster, but it’s 6-foot-4 small forward Robert McRae who guards opposing big men and does all of the dirty work in the paint. Aside from those two, Steve Baik’s Lions are a mixture of fast, long, athletic and talented guards capable of applying relentless full-court pressure, forcing turnover after turnover and turning those mistakes into easy buckets. Can Fairfax keep up that pace all season long? They’re young and spry, so they should be fine.
Torrey Pines will be okay, but are missing a primary ball handler and playmaker
The loss of Finn Sullivan to graduation was a huge blow dealt to one of San Diego’s premier high school programs. Torrey Pines struggled offensively in both of its games Saturday, first in a loss to an athletic Balboa Prep team and second to a loaded Rancho Christian side. The Falcons were without talented big man Travis Snider, but they’re going to have to find someone in the backcourt to initiate offense, likely one of the Pope twins, Michael or Bryce.
Addition of Beon Riley fortifies Cathedral Catholic’s starting five
As if the Dons needed any more talented young players in their starting lineup, enter Mater Dei Catholic transfer Beon Riley, a physical and versatile 6-foot-4 wing who plays with a high motor. Riley, a junior, joins the talented sophomore quartet of Obinna Anyanwu, Thomas Notarainni, Alex Wade and Dillon Wilhite, bringing a solid perimeter defensive presence and a guy who can rebound and push the break.
Vista has plenty of firepower left despite the loss of two key seniors
I was intrigued to see how the Panthers looked after losing two four-year program staples to graduation. It was odd not seeing Taurus Samuels (Dartmouth) and Isaiah Morris (Cal State Dominguez Hills) bringing their “finesse and fire” combination to the floor, but seniors Makiah Morris and Jordan Hilstock are plenty capable of picking up where they left off. Morris is evolving into quite the perimeter scoring threat, while Hilstock remains one of the most compelling two-way prospects in San Diego.