Previewing the Second Round of the CIF-SS Open Division Playoffs



#1 Sierra Canyon vs. #8 Damien

Frank Says: The Trailblazers have a significant size advantage in the frontcourt, via Marvin Bagley III and Cody Riley. But Coach Mike LeDuc’s Spartans have an exceptional collection of drivers and jump shooters, including exceptional junior Cameron Shelton (29 points vs. Centennial) and tough-minded senior in 6-5 Justin Hemsley. Sierra Canyon needs Remy Martin on the floor for the bulk of the time if it is to win Southern Section and state championships. He fouled out in the fourth quarter in the narrow win against Heritage Christian Friday.


Coach: Ty Nichols

Vs. The Field: 5-0 (Beat Heritage Christian, 97-91, OT; Oak Park, 81-57; Alemany, 79-64; Crossroads twice, 76-46, and 79-66)

Seniors To Watch: Remy Martin (6-1), Arizona State; Terrence McBride (6-4), Cornell; Adam Seiko (6-4), San Diego State; Cody Riley (6-8), UCLA.


Coach: Mike LeDuc

Vs. The Field: 3-3 (Beat Centennial, 78-69; L.B. Poly, 71-63; Roosevelt, 62-61; Lost to Mater Dei, 82-63; and Chino Hills twice, 119-84 and 124-102)

Seniors To Watch: No one signed in November but 6-6 Justin Hemsley could have multiple options in the spring.


#4 Bishop Montgomery vs. #5 Santa Margarita

Frank Says: As befitting a clash between the 4 and 5 seeds, this could prove to be the most competitive and well-played of the championship quarterfinals. The host Eagles have played seven more games against Open competition than have the Knights. The narrow loss at No. 3 seed Mater Dei in the final week of the regular would seem to bode well for Santa Margarita Tuesday night. Both teams are big, skilled, experienced and have rosters overflowing with future college players.


Coach: Doug Mitchell

Vs. The Field: 1-0 (the Knights beat Oak Park Friday night, 83-68)

Seniors To Watch: Jordan Schakel (6-7), San Diego State; Ethan Thompson (6-5), Oregon State.


Coach: Jeff Reinert

Vs. The Field: 5-3 (Beat Esperanza, 67-56; Redondo, 83-57; Oak Park, 72-54; Roosevelt, 70-64 and Centennial, 52-51; lost to JSerra, 78-76 OT; Mater Dei twice, 78-67 and 64-63)

Seniors To Watch: Adrease Jackson (6-8), Dartmouth and Johnny Wang (6-9), Cal State Fullerton.


#3 Mater Dei vs. #6 Roosevelt

Frank Says: The teams took different roads to this game, the Mustangs needing huge 1-2 efforts from Jemarl Baker (31 points) and Matt Mitchell (27) to pull away from visiting Redondo down the stretch Friday night while the Monarchs used a balanced attack to cruise from late in the first quarter on against Crossroads. If the Mustangs are to pull off the upset, they’re going to need scoring from other sources while also finding ways to keep Justice Sueing, point guard Spencer Freedman and 7-foot Bol Bol from being as impressive as they’ve been over the past month or so.


Coach: Gary McKnight

Vs. The Field: 7-1 (Beat Crossroads, 80-41; Centennial, 51-49; Damien, 82-63; JSerra twice, 67-46 and 74-57; Santa Margarita twice, 78-67 and 64-63; lost to Chino Hills, 84-73)

Seniors To Watch: Justice Sueing (6-6), UC Berkeley; Miles Brookins (6-9), La Salle.


Coach: Stephen Singleton

Vs. The Field: 6-3 (Beat Redondo, 81-70; Oak Park, 62-50; Crossroads, 64-51; Centennial three times, 66-64; 81-73 and 71-65; lost to Chino Hills, 76-68; Damien, 62-61, and Santa Margarita, 70-64)

Seniors To Watch: Jemarl Baker (6-4), UC Berkeley and Matt Mitchell (6-6), Cal State Fullerton.


#2 Chino Hills vs. #10 Long Beach Poly

Frank Says: The Jackrabbits scored the only “upset” (at least by seed) of the Friday night first round. History (a Dec. 3 clash between the teams in Corona during the final of a tournament hosted by Centennial), as well as the physical (Poly is tall, strong and skilled across the front-court and quick and clever in the backcourt) figure to give the high-scoring (they’ve surpassed scoring 100 points 16 times) Huskies a significant obstacle to the Galen Center.


Coach: Steph Gilling

Vs. The Field: 6-0 (Beat JSerra, 105-74; L.B. Poly, 78-75; Roosevelt, 76-68; Mater Dei, 84-73; Damien twice, 119-84 and 124-102)

Seniors To Watch: LiAngelo Ball (he’ll replaced current UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball on the Bruins’ roster next season as his older brother will be on an NBA roster a year from now). And 6-5 Elizjah Scott will be getting a whole lot of spectacular dunks for Loyola Marymount in 2017-18.


Coach: Shelton Diggs

Vs. The Field: 2-4 (Beat Alemany, 66-48 and Centennial, 63-51; lost to Oak Park, 52-43; Redondo, 58-50; Chino Hills, 78-75; and Damien, 71-63)

Seniors To Watch: Zafir Williams (6-5), Loyola Marymount.


Consolation Games

#9 Corona Centennial vs. #16 Heritage Christian

Frank Says: If the Huskies are to get to the consolation quarterfinals, they’re going to have to do a better job of stopping Heritage Christian in transition than did Sierra Canyon Friday night, when Juhwan Harris-Dyson and sophomore Jonathan Daniels were terrific in defeat.


Coach: Josh Giles

Vs. The Field: 1-7 (beat Alemany, 70-50; Lost to Roosevelt three times, 66-64; 81-73 and 71-65; L.B. Poly, 63-51; Mater Dei, 51-49; Santa Margarita, 52-51; Damien, 78-69)

Seniors To Watch: Jalen Hill (6-9), UCLA; Gio Nelson (6-4), UC Davis. But Nelson suffered a season-ending knee injury several weeks ago.


Coach: Paul Tait

Vs. The Field: 0-1 (Lost to Sierra Canyon, 97-91, in OT Friday)

Seniors To Watch: Juhwan Harris-Dyson (6-5), signed with UC Berkeley in November.


#12 Esperanza vs. #13 Oak Park

Frank Says: The overall experience against much more Open competition – as well as the presence of 6-8 junior Riley Battin and home-court advantage – would portend an edge for Oak Park in this one. The Aztecs have a potent 1-2 punch in senior Kezie Okpala and junior Brendan Harrick, though. They combined for 46 points in the loss at Santa Margarita.


Coach: Mark Hill

Vs. The Field: 0-1 (Lost to Santa Margarita, 67-56)

Seniors To Watch: Kezie Okpala (6-8), signed with Stanford in November.


Coach: Aaron Shaw

Vs. The Field: 1-5 (beat L.B. Poly, 52-43; lost to Roosevelt, 62-50; Santa Margarita, 71-54; Sierra Canyon, 81-57; Alemany, 71-67 and Bishop Montgomery 83-68)

Seniors To Watch: None but there are three juniors who could sign in November with D-I programs.


#11 Redondo Union vs. #14 Crossroads

Frank Says: Crossroads won’t have nearly the drive to make, nor the size presented by Mater Dei, that it was presented with in Santa Ana Friday night. But it will have to cope with a tremendous collection of guards, led by Loyola Marymount-bound Ryse Williams, who scored 24 points for the Sea Hawks in the loss to Roosevelt.


Coach: Victor Martin

Vs. The Field: 1-2 (Beat L.B. Poly, 58-50; lost to Santa Margarita, 83-57, and Roosevelt, 81-70)

Seniors To Watch: Ryse Williams (6-3), Loyola Marymount.


Coach: Chad Beeten

Vs. The Field: 0-4 (lost to Roosevelt, 64-51; Sierra Canyon twice, 76-46 and 79-66; Mater Dei, 80-41)

Seniors To Watch: Ira Lee (6-8), signed with the University of Arizona


#7 Alemany vs. #15 JSerra

Frank Says: Like the other three consolation games, this affair will test how quickly – and sufficiently – each of these teams is able to recover from their respective Friday night disappointments.


Coach: Tray Meeks

Vs. The Field: 1-3 (Beat Oak Park, 71-67; lost to Sierra Canyon, 79-6; Centennial, 70-50, and L.B. Poly, 66-48)

Seniors To Watch: Brandon Davis (6-2), UC Santa Barbara. Six-five Earnie Sears Jr. will also have several college options in the spring.


Coach: Zach Brogdon

Vs. The Field: 1-4 (Beat Santa Margarita, 78-76 OT; lost to Santa Margarita, 63-52; lost to Mater Dei twice, 67-46 and 74-57; and Chino Hills, 105-74)

Seniors To Watch: Six-six Sebastian Much is Princeton-bound.

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