Previewing the First Round of the CIF-LAC Open Division Playoffs

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#1 Birmingham vs. #8 Dorsey (Rescheduled)

Frank Says: Now only is Birmingham unbeaten against L.A. City Open competition but it also won four of its five games against Southern Section Open foes (losing only to Mater Dei in the second round of the Classic at Damien in December). This is one of the best five teams in California and if the Patriots play to the max of their consider abilities they should be celebrating on the Cal State Dominguez gymnasium floor on the night of March 4.

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This Season: 15-16, Coliseum League champion

Coach: Kevin Gibson

Vs. The Field: 0-2 (Lost to Washington, 74-71 and 79-68)

Seniors To Watch: Johnathan Staggers (6-1) is expected to sign with a D-I program in the spring after playing four seasons for the Dons.

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This Season: 24-3, West Valley League champion

Coach: Nicholas Halic

Vs. The Field: 7-0 (beat Taft three times, 87-61; 97-90 OT and 116-81; El Camino Real three times, 88-73 and 86-73; Narbonne, 69-67 and Westchester, 84-74)

Seniors To Watch: Devante Doutrive and Deschon Winston, all-City as juniors, are expected to sign in the spring with D-I programs.

 

#4 Narbonne vs. #5 Taft (Rescheduled)

Frank Says: If the guard play is a push, then 6-8 junior Antwan January could be the force that Narbonne doesn’t have an answer for.

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This Season: 22-9, West Valley League runner-up

Coach: Derrick Taylor

Vs. The Field: 3-4 (beat El Camino Real twice, 51-44 and 77-60; Washington, 68-63; lost to Narbonne, 61-58 OT; lost to Birmingham three times, 87-61; 97-90 OT and 116-81)

Seniors To Watch: Junior point guard Kihei Clark will fit that description next fall.

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This Season: 23-6, Marine League co-champion

Coach: Anthony Hilliard

Vs. The Field: 3-4 (won three of four with Washington; lost to Birmingham, 69-67, in Pac Shores semifinal; lost to Taft, 61-58 OT; Fairfax 57-56)

Seniors To Watch: Six-three Psalm Maduakor almost assuredly will sign with a program in the spring.

 

#3 Westchester vs. #6 Washington

Frank Says: Don’t pay too much attention to Washington’s earlier non-league loss to the Comets. The Generals closed quickly to share their league title with Narbonne.

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This Season: 19-9, Marine League co-champion

Coach: Jovante King

Vs. The Field: 3-5 (beat Dorsey twice; lost three of four with Narbonne; lost to Westchester, 71-53; beat El Camino Real, 51-40)

Seniors To Watch: Six-six Brandon Unaka could be a spring target of some college programs.

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This Season: 22-8, Western League runner-up

Coach: Ed Azzam

Vs. The Field: 1-3 (beat Washington, 71-53; lost to Birmingham, 84-74; lost twice to Fairfax, 60-57 and 56-53)

Seniors To Watch: Six-five Luis Rodriguez is a strong candidate to sign with someone in the spring or summer after a sensational 2016-17 campaign.

 

#2 Fairfax vs. #7 El Camino Real

Frank Says: The Lions haven’t missed a step at all in Year 1 of the coaching regime of Steve Baik, with exceptionally strong sophomore and junior class, led by guards in those classes, Ethan Anderson and Jamal Hartwell.

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This Season: 19-12, West Valley League runner-up

Coach: Joe Wyatt

Vs. The Field: 0-5 (lost to Birmingham twice, 86-73 and 88-73; Taft, 51-44 and 71-60 and Washington, 51-40)

Seniors To Watch: Troy Biglow will be evaluated by college coaches in the spring as well as the rest of this season.

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This Season: 24-3, Western League champion

Coach: Steve Baik

Vs. The Field: 3-0 (beat Narbonne, 57-56; beat Westchester twice, 60-57 and 56-53)

Seniors To Watch: All of the Lions’ best college prospects are underclassmen.

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