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February 22, 2013
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco and Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View have taken vastly different paths this season, but they have ended up in the same spot - the CIF-SS Division IIIA semifinal game.
Bosco and Ocean View will meet Friday at 7 p.m. at St. John Bosco for the coveted spot in the championship game against either Oak Park, Calif., or West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade.
While Bosco has played a national schedule, including wins against Atlanta (GA) Wheeler and Pampano Beach (FL) Blanche Ely, Ocean View has kept its schedule fairly local, venturing as far as the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego, Calif.
Both the Braves and the Seahawks had great success in their respective leagues, but while St. John Bosco went 8-2 in one of the toughest leagues in the state with two losses to Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei., Ocean View went 10-0 in the lackluster Golden West League.
Regardless of how each team arrived to Friday's game, they both have the same goal - win and move on to the championship game.
When the elder Hamilton doesn't have it going, Bosco can look to junior shooting guard, and youngest Hamilton brother, Daniel, for a boost. Daniel a 6-foot-7, four-star prospect is averaging 15 points, seven assists and seven rebounds per game this season.
If all else fails, five-star, class of 2015 point guard Tyler Dorsey is there to pick up the pieces. Dorsey has put together averages of 17 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Braves.
Sure, St. John Bosco has three of the best high school basketball players in the state of California, but the biggest problem the Braves present to Ocean View could be 6-foot-9 center Devin Burleson.
Burleson hasn't put up big numbers this season, but the junior has the potential to have a big game against an undersized Ocean View front line.
The Seahawks start two sophomores, two juniors and one senior - none of whom are over 6-feet-5.
The Seahawks' attack starts and stops with the 6-foot, 170-pound Kendall Small. This will be the biggest test to date for the sophomore, and if he can respond like he has all season, Ocean View should be able to hang tight with the Braves.
Small is an emerging star, and fellow sophomore Tyler Burch has a smooth shooting touch from the outside, but the key to the Seahawks' success on Friday night will rely on contributions from everyone.
Ocean View forward Dillon Reise will have to shut down Burleson, while the lone starting senior, Josh Mishler, will probably be depended on to stop either Daniel or Issac Hamilton.
Ocean View comes into this game lacking no confidence. The Seahawks are a young team that believe that they can beat anybody who stands in their way.
The question remains: Does Ocean View have what it takes to take down a nationally-ranked team with three top recruits.
That question will be answered on Friday night.