Playoff season is finally here, and it opened up with a big way on Friday evening. The Open Division is on rest until next Saturday, where games will be played at Venice High School, however, the rest of the brackets continue on Tuesday. All games will be played at the higher seed at 7PM unless otherwise noted. Here are some picks for Division 1:
The Highlanders came in as consensus favorites to win the division, showing thorough dominance in their opening round win over Hamilton, 70-32. A fellow Valley side, Grant is coming off a hard fought victory over the Dorsey Dons and look to defeat the Highlanders for the first time this year, after two December defeats. While beating the same team three times in one season is a tall task, the Highlanders should be favorites once again, though the score will be closer than the first two meetings (69-28, 75-51).
Prediction: Granada Hills takes this by a dozen.
Defending City Division 2 Champions, the Golden Eagles show they belong in Division 1, taking care of Venice, 84-47 while the Pathfinders beat a scrappy Van Nuys side, 56-48, to set up the second round face off. While the two sides didn’t meet during the regular season, they faced five common opponents, with both beating Sylmar and Carson, handily while both lost to Narbonne (King/Drew twice). The Golden Eagles were able to hold off View Park and Crenshaw, which Fremont split against.
Prediction: King/Drew attacks the paint behind Fidelis Okereke en route to a 15-point win.
Both the Wildcats and Cougars won their opening game by double digits, as University held off Carson 56-39 and Crenshaw took care of Cleveland 60-45 on Friday evening. Led by David Cheatom’s 21.7 points a night, the Wildcats are looking to make a deep run in the post-season, needing to beat a tough Crenshaw squad, who has a bit of a chip on their shoulder.
Prediction: Cheatom proves to be too much as the Wildcats sneak by the Cougars by five.
Two teams entering the second round in different fashion, as the Dolphins obliterated South Gate, 60-39 while the Knights needed a 3/4 court buzzer beater by Chris Johnson to leave Sylmar with a two-point victory. The two sides hadn’t met all season, but both beat Providence while the Knights were able to hold off Crossroads, who Palisades lost to.
Prediction: Knights use their momentum to upset the Dolphins by a three-point margin, setting up a semi-finals appearance.