Basketball season is winding down quickly, and the Los Angeles City Section remains well represented in the CIF State Tournament with five teams still alive. Unfortunately, the best case scenario for the Southern Regional Finals is four making it through, as we will have a City-on-City victim on Tuesday evening.
Here’s my take on the Open Division games.
With everyone talking upset, Coach Steve Baik and the Lions aren’t satisfied with knocking off the top seeded Mater Dei Monarchs. Etiwanda isn’t going to make it easy on the visitors, as the Eagles prevented us a fourth meeting between Fairfax and Westchester, arguably the greatest rivalry in Southern California High School sports.
Each side has plenty of information and tape on the other to put forth a game-plan, as they have five common opponents. Both sides outlasted Long beach Poly and Taft, while dropping contests to the Bishop Montgomery Knights. Etiwanda lost to Mater Dei, who Fairfax squeaked by to get to this stage. Fairfax went 1-2 against Westchester, who the Eagles beat in their lone match-up.
Not wanting his sensational senior campaign to end, somehow unsigned Jamal Hartwell will do everything he can to lead the Lions into the Regional Championship, and two wins away from state glory. To do so, the Lions will need to hand Etiwanda their first home loss of the season. A task that will not be very easy. Fairfax also upped Etiwanda 58-50 in the Regional Semi’s in 2015.
Prediction: Fairfax keeps on rolling with a 64-60 margin.
If you missed the Southern Section Semi-Finals clash of these two titans, do yourself a favor and watch the highlights on YouTube thanks to BallerVisions. The Trailblazers ended the Knights 41 game winning streak, and handed them their lone blemish on the year. All that after the two sides went down to the wire at Cerritos College in early January, with the Knights missing three key players.
Both sides beat Cantwell-Sacred Heart and Fairfax as their common opposition.
A game that will have no shortage of star power, as the Trailblazers feature Kenyon Martin Jr., Scotty Pippen Jr., Duane Washington (Derrick Fisher’s nephew) and Cassius Stanley.
Bishop Montgomery has their fair share of star players, led by California’s Gatorade player of the year, David Singleton III, Fletcher Tynen, Gianni Hunt, Josh Vasquez and Oscar Lopez. However, the Knights are a well oiled machine that play for the front of their jerseys.
Prediction: A capacity crowd that may break fire code is sure to head to Calabasas High School, and they will be in for a treat. I like the Knights to break the 1-1 deadlock on the year with a nail biting 71-65 victory.