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March 4, 2013

California state playoffs set

The California Interscholastic Federation state tournament gives teams a second chance at redemption for losses suffered in either the semifinals or championship game of their respective regional divisions.

The Monarchs of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei are one of those teams who get to try and make amends for an unsuspected CIF championship game loss. Five-star, class of 2014 wing Stanley Johnson & Co. lost in the Division IAA title game on Saturday night, 54-51, to Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Etiwanda and four-star junior Jordan McLaughlin.

If Mater Dei can get past Woodland Hills (Calif.) El Camino Real in its Open Division first round matchup, the Monarchs can get a second chance at Etiwanda, and keep that state championship dream alive, just like many other teams looking to keep their high school season afloat.

Southern California Open Division Bracket:

No. 1 Etiwanda (27-3) - With the Division IAA Southern Section title under their belts, the Eagles earned a first round bye in the Open Division, and will play the winner of Mater Dei and El Camino Real on Tuesday, Mar. 12. McLaughlin scored 14 points in Etiwanda's win over Mater Dei on Saturday. Kenny Barnes led the Eagles with 16 points, while Delewis Johnson added 12.

No. 7 El Camino Real (28-3) at No. 2 Mater Dei (30-2) - Johnson's game-tying 3-point attempt fell short on Saturday night, as Mater Dei was upset despite being highly favored over Etiwanda. The 6-foot-7 swingman, along with Butler-bound Elijah Brown and steady-handed point guard Jordan Strawberry will end their careers with one less accolade, but can still find some redemption with a win over El Camino Real on Friday.

El Camino Real is coming off of a 65-59 Los Angeles City Section Division I loss to Westchester. The Conquistadors are led by junior Julian Richardson. The 6-foot-3 forward is averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game. Second in line for El Camino is 6-foot-7 wing Michael Thomas. Thomas, a senior who is headed to Hawaii, has season averages of 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

No. 3 Long Beach (Calif.) Poly (27-3) at No. 6 Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco (24-6) - Bosco throttled West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade, 80-56, Saturday in the Southern Section IIIA championship game. Five-star sophomore [db]Tyler Dorsey[/db] finished with 22 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Dorsey also added six assists and six rebounds for the Braves. Bosco has revenge on its mind heading into this contest as it tries to avenge a 60-54 [db]Issac Hamilton-less loss to Poly at the Nike Extravaganza earlier this season.

The Jackrabbits were defeated in the Division IA semifinals by eventual champion Etiwanda, and will likely take the state tournament as a chance to prove their worth.

USC commit Roschon Prince is the main option for Poly at 20 points per game. The Jackrabbits are a vey well-balanced and explosive team, however, with the likes of Oregon-bound Jordan Bell (13.7 points, 9.3 rebounds per game), and sophomore point guard Ke'Jhan Feagin. If Poly can survive the first two rounds of the state tournament, four-star junior Kameron Chatman will be eligible for a potential regional final game on Mar. 16. Is the much-anticipated Chatman debut in the cards for Poly? They'll have to get through Bosco and either Mater Dei and El Camino to find out.

Southern California Division I Bracket:

No. 11 Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft (16-14) at No. 6 Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola (22-7) - The most recent Arizona commit, class of 2014 point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright will lead Loyola into the state playoffs after the Cubs were ousted, 75-69, by Long Beach Poly in the second round of the Division IAA playoffs. As usual, Jackson-Cartwright will be flanked by sharpshooting senior Trey Mason, 7-foot big man Thomas Welsh and a sophomore with UA ties in Max Hazzard.

Taft is led by Kris Yanku who is committed to Northern Arizona. Yanku is averaging 24.3 points per game this season while pulling down 8.9 rebounds per contest. Six-foot-1 sophomore Darius Henderson pitches in nearly 13 points a game and Usama Zaid rounds out the Toreadors double-digit scorers, averaging 11.7.

Santa Monica (Calif.) is the top seed in this division, and seeing that Loyola has beaten them twice this season, this could be the Cubs' division to lose.

Southern California Division III Bracket:

No. 13 Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View (24-7) at No. 4 Tustin (Calif) (29-2) - Ocean View fell victim to a crushing Division IIIA semifinal loss to St. John Bosco, 89-87, and will be looking to bounce back behind class of 2015 point guard Kendall Small. Small has shown the ability to take over any game he plays in, and judging by Ocean View's 19 of 35 3-point performance against Bosco, it has the ability to shoot the lights out on any given night.

The Seahawks will have to find an answer to the effective front court attack of Tustin. Seniors Deondre Bryant and Nick Hornsby are double-double machines and can attack both in the post and off the dribble. The Tillers are coming off a 49-32 win over Simi Valley (Calif.) Royal in the Division IIIAAA championship game.

No. 14 Compton (Calif.) (20-9) at No. 3 Bakersfield (Calif.) Independence (31-1) - Compton started out the season with high hopes behind two class of 2014 recruits in Isaiah Bailey and Iziahiah Sweeney, but fell on hard times midway through the season. Compton bounced back with a strong second-place finish in the Moore League. Compton fell to eventual IIIAAA champion Tustin in the semifinals. The Tarbabes will need big performances from Bailey and Sweeney, as well as southpaw point guard Kyron Cartwright.

Independence brings an offensive attack that features only one double-digit scorer in junior guard Issac Clark at 13.4 points per game. The Falcons look to keep the score in the low fifties, which will make for an interesting matchup with the fast-paced, helter skelter speed that Compton likes to play at.

No. 12 Chowchilla (Calif.) (21-8) at No. 5 Los Angeles (Calif.) Pacific Hills (24-4) - Four-star junior Namon Wright led Pacific Hills to a Division 4A championship over Los Angeles (Calif.) Brentwood. It looks like that win gave Wright and his squad a pretty good first round draw against Chowchilla. With a win, Pacific Hills will play either Laverne (Calif.) Lutheran or Tollhouse (Calif.) Sierra.

Devin UglandDevin Ugland
GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst

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