Frank Says: Two weeks after pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 70-55 victory over the Monarchs in the CIF Southern Section Open championship game in Anaheim, Coach Doug Mitchell’s Ethan Thompson-led Knights will have to beat Coach Gary McKnight’s team one more time in the Pyramid on the Long Beach State campus to punch their ticket to Sacramento and the State Open title game. Mater Dei, obviously, will have to do a much defensively against Thompson than they did on the evening of March 4. But everything fell apart in the fourth quarter, when they were out-scored, 32-11. Thompson’s post-season effort over six games (wins over Oak Park, Santa Margarita, Sierra Canyon, Mater Dei, Torrey Pines and Chino Hills) has provided more than enough compelling proof for anyone who doubting that he’s the best player in California this season. As if the Knights needed any more motivation: This is the same building in which they were beaten by Lonzo Ball and Chino Hills a year ago for the right to play for the 2016 state title.
This Season: 33-2, Southern Section Open runner-up
Coach: Gary McKnight
Record vs. Top 25: 13-2
Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 2
College-bound seniors: Justice Sueing (Cal) and Miles Brookins (La Salle).
This Season: 29-2, Southern Section Open champion
Coach: Doug Mitchell
Record vs. Top 25: 10-0
Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 1
College-Bound Seniors: Ethan Thompson (Oregon State) and Jordan Schakel (San Diego State)
Frank Says: Can the Roosevelt Mustangs make it 5-zip vs. their Big VIII League rival in the Pyramid? Each team had big obstacles to overcome on Tuesday night to get to a fifth game: Centennial had to beat No. 1 seed Damien (the same Spartans’ club that beat the Huskies in the first round of the CIF SS Open playoffs) on its home court. And Roosevelt had to rally from a 19-point deficit against Woodland Hills Taft. The margin of victory for Roosevelt in its four games with Centennial? Just 4.0 points (66-64 in the third-place game of the Classic at Damien Tournament; 81-73 at Centennial and 71-64 in Big VIII play; and 57-54 at Roosevelt in a consolation semifinal of the CIF SS Open Division.
This Season: 27-9, Southern Section Open Division
Coach: Josh Giles
Record vs. Top 25: 7-8
Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 9
College-Bound Seniors: Center Jalen Hill (UCLA) and injured guard Gio Nelson (UC Davis).
This Season: 24-8, Southern Section Open Division
Coach: Steve Singleton
Record vs. Top 25: 11-7
Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 8
College-Bound Seniors: Forward Matt Mitchell (Cal State Fullerton) and guard Jemarl Baker (Cal).