The Nation’s Top Teams Collide in the CIF-SS Open Division Semis


7:00pm – Sierra Canyon vs. Bishop Montgomery

Frank Says: This is a rematch of a 2016 SS Open semifinal won by Sierra Canyon, 78-69, at Simi Valley High. Nine of the players who started in that contest are scheduled to do so in this one. The one “newcomer” is the guy that will likely have the most impact on the outcome: Sierra Canyon junior Marvin Bagley III, a 6-foot-9, left-handed package of immense innate athleticism and basketball skills. But the most “complete” player on the floor – and, perhaps, Bagley’s top challenger for Southern Section Player of the Year – is the Knight’s Ethan Thompson, whose leadership and shot-making ability is the reason Bishop Montgomery was able to go on the road and edge Santa Margarita Tuesday night in Orange County.


This Season: 27-1/Gold Coast League champion

Coach: Ty Nichols

Vs. The Field: 6-0 (Beat Heritage Christian, 97-91, OT; Damien, 95-81; 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.


This Season: 25-2/Del Rey League champion

Coach: Doug Mitchell

Vs. The Field: 2-0 (Beat Oak Park, 83-68; Santa Margarita, 57-54)

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


8:30pm – Chino Hills vs. Mater Dei

Frank Says: The Monarchs will attempt to become the first Mater Dei coach to lose three games in a row to the same program since Gary McKnight made his debut as the program’s head coach in the fall of 1982. The Lonzo Ball-led Huskies blistered the Monarchs (102-54) in a Southern Section Open semifinal a year ago. Then, even with Lonzo Ball in a UCLA uniform, Chino Hills knocked off Mater Dei once more, 84-73, during the Dec. 20 championship game of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas although sophomore LaMelo Ball (eight of 32) and senior LiAngelo Ball (10 of 23) missed on a combined 37 of 55 field-goal attempts. The big edge the Huskies had in that one came through the bouncy and forceful efforts of senior Elizjah Scott and sophomore Onyeka Okongwu, who combined for 22 points, 26 rebounds and five blocked shots. How much will the presence of 7-2 junior Bol Bol – who has been in a Mater Dei uniform for the past 10 games while averaging 17.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots per game.


This Season: 29-1/Baseline League champion

Coach: Steph Gilling

Vs. The Field: 7-0 (Beat JSerra, 105-74; L.B. Poly twice, 78-75, and 98-74; Roosevelt, 76-68; Mater Dei, 84-73; and Damien twice, 119-84 and 124-102)

Seniors To Watch: LiAngelo Ball (he’ll replace 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.


This Season: 30-1/Trinity League champion

Coach: Gary McKnight

Vs. The Field: 8-1 (Beat Crossroads, 80-41; Roosevelt, 71-55; 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.


Consolation Games

Long Beach Poly vs. Corona Centennial

Frank Says: This a rematch of a second-week-of-the season game won by the Jackrabbits (at Centennial), 63-51. There will be a nifty battle of 6-9 centers in Myles Johnson of Poly vs. Jalen Hill of Centennial.


This Season: 22-7/Moore League champion

Coach: Shelton Diggs

Vs. The Field: 2-5 (Beat Alemany, 66-48 and Centennial, 63-51; lost to Oak Park, 52-43; Redondo, 58-50; Chino Hills twice, 78-75, and 98-74; and Damien, 71-63)

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


This Season: 23-7/Big VIII League runner-up

Coach: Josh Giles

Vs. The Field: 2-7 (beat Alemany, 70-50, and Heritage Christian, 87-70; 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)

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


Roosevelt vs. Oak Park

Frank Says: This is a rematch of a second-round, Pacific Shores Tournament game played on Nov. 22 and won by Roosevelt, 62-50. The Mustangs’ overall advantage in team quickness really impacted that outcome and negated the inside power and skill of 6-8 junior Riley Battin.


This Season: 19-7/Big VIII League champion

Coach: Stephen Singleton

Vs. The Field: 6-4 (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; Santa Margarita, 70-64, and Mater Dei, 71-55)

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


This Season: 22-7/Coastal Canyon League champion

Coach: Aaron Shaw

Vs. The Field: 1-5 (beat L.B. Poly, 52-43 and Esperanza, 66-55; 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.


Santa Margarita vs. Redondo Union

Frank Says: This is the third of the rematches on the Open consolation side, as Santa Margarita cruised in a consolation game of the Pacific Shores Tournament, 83-57, at Redondo the day after Thanksgiving. The Eagles’ vastly superior size was something the Sea Hawks were never able to cope with in that one.


This Season: 21-7/Trinity League runner-up

Coach: Jeff Reinert

Vs. The Field: 5-4 (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, and Bishop Montgomery, 57-54)

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


This Season: 24-5/Bay League champion

Coach: Victor Martin

Vs. The Field: 2-2 (Beat L.B. Poly, 58-50, and Crossroads, 63-61; lost to Santa Margarita, 83-57, and Roosevelt, 81-70)

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


JSerra vs. Damien

Frank Says: JSerra bounced back from its loss to Chino Hills with the Tuesday night upset of Alemany. It will need strong efforts from 6-9 Joel Mensah and 6-6 Sebastian Much to upset a Damien team that has only lost to three of the four Open championship semifinalists this season.


This Season: 18-10/Trinity League fourth

Coach: Zach Brogdon

Record vs. Open field: 2-4 (Beat Santa Margarita, 78-76 OT, and Alemany, 61-59; 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.


This Season: 26-4/Baseline League runner-up

Coach: Mike LeDuc

Vs. The Field: 3-4 (Beat Centennial, 78-69; L.B. Poly, 71-63; Roosevelt, 62-61; Lost to Mater Dei, 82-63; Chino Hills twice, 119-84 and 124-102, and Sierra Canyon, 95-81)

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

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