We are quickly approaching the final week of Pool Play action in the CIF Southern Section playoffs and Corona Centennial and West Ranch each control its own fate as the Huskies and Wildcats each sit at 2-0 in their respective…
We are quickly approaching the final week of Pool Play action in the CIF Southern Section playoffs and Corona Centennial and West Ranch each control its own fate as the Huskies and Wildcats each sit at 2-0 in their respective pools. There’s still a wrench out there that could possibly be thrown into the mix and St. John Bosco and Bishop Montgomery each hold that wrench in its hands. Below we take a closer look at each of the final two games in Pool A of the Open Division.
(1) Corona Centennial (2-0) vs. (4) Bishop Montgomery (1-1)
As we mentioned in the lead of this piece, Centennial, with a win over Bishop Montgomery, can punch its ticket into the Southern Section Open Division championship game. The Huskies dispatched Sierra Canyon in the first game, then took care of Notre Dame Tuesday to put themselves in the drivers seat of Pool A. Montgomery poses a different style of team than what Centennial has seen thus far. The Knights will look to slow the pace down, limit possessions and try to grind out a win in the 50’s to low 60’s point total.
As long as Bishop is full strength it has the right pieces at the right positions to make Centennial sweat a little bit, especially on the defensive end. The guard and wing combination of Kelcy Phipps, LaQwon Cole,and Will Smith should allow the Knights to switch any hand-off or guard-to-guard ball screen action and has the size, strength and mobility to hold his own against ‘ inside-out scoring ability.
The biggest cause for concern on Montgomery’s side is: can they make enough shots to keep Centennial out of transition offense? It’s a much easier path to win against the Huskies when you force them into half-court offense but allowing them to get flowing in transition is a different story. If the Knights can pull off the road upset it would force a tiebreaker situation to see who is the Pool A representative in the Open Final between them and Centennial.
(5) Notre Dame (1-1) vs. (8) Sierra Canyon (0-2)
Notre Dame is preparing to meet Mission League foe Sierra Canyon for the third time this season but it could be a different looking team on the floor stemming from suspensions as a result of a tussle at the end of the Trailblazers loss to Bishop Montgomery. Having already beaten the Trailblazers twice, on paper, some may think this is a meaningless walk-in-the-park game for the Knights, but familiarity and recency bias don’t always work well together.
It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, let alone three times in a matter of weeks, especially a team as talented as Sierra Canyon but that’s IF, and that’s an all-caps IF, the Trailblazers are full strength. The Notre Dame trio of, and are certainly well-prepared and eager to put another win under their belts but against which Sierra Canyon team will it be facing and how much of the supporting cast will be needed?