Loyola’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright was off and running in the first round of the playoffs. Loyola played a tough regular season to prepare themselves for one of the toughest playoff brackets in the nation. They play Long Beach Poly in one of the best quarterfinal match ups in the state. Photo by Jason Lewis
Jonathan Brown helped Fairfax get past Dorsey with ease. Last year Dorsey knocked Fairfax out of the playoffs, but it was a different story this year. However, it was not a different story for Fairfax’s season, as they lost again in the quarterfinals, this time to Palisades. Fairfax will host University on Tuesday for the 5th spot in the State playoff tournament. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
It is getting down to the best of the best in high school basketball, as the semifinals of the playoffs are coming up. The City Section semifinals are this Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and the Southern Section will play tonight (Friday), and Tuesday, with the championship games at the the Anaheim Convention Center.
In the Southern Section, the 32 team Division 1AA might be the toughest bracket in the nation.
“This is as good as any tournament in the country,” Loyola head coach Jamal Adams said. “You have (Long Beach) Poly, Mater Dei, Etiwanda, Corona Centennial and us. All of us have been ranked nationally at some point this year. Three of us are ranked right now.”
The only way to make it through a bracket like this is to play a tough regular season schedule to prepare for one tough team after another. It prepares the young players to not only handle adversity, but to motivate them to play against the very best.
“That’s one of the reasons why we played a very tough schedule,” Adams said. “We play in the best bracket in Southern California. So we’re well prepared. Our guys expect to be in a battle every night. Our team has played good teams, we’ve played multiple styles. We’ve played in different tournament where you get multiple styles of refereeing. I always tell our guys that we’re trying to use the regular season to build muscle memory. So that when we get into a tough spot in the playoffs we can refer back to a difficult spot, and say that we over came this. And at Loyola, we always play anybody anywhere.”
Loyola’s regular season schedule, which included games against highly ranked St. John Bosco and Etiwanda, eliminated any type of intimidation that a team may experience when playing against a highly ranked team.
“They love it,” Adams said. “Our guys struggle when there aren’t people in the gym. We want to play in front of people with big opportunities and with big situations, so that we don’t have bright light syndrome. I don’t think we’ve played in front of a non capacity crowd in league play.”
Loyola will host Long Beach Poly tonight (Friday) in a mega match up for a chance to make it to the semifinals at the Anaheim convention center. Inglewood will host Mater Dei, who is highly ranked in the nation, tonight.
The Southern Section will play their boys and girls quarterfinals this Friday, and semifinals next Tuesday, February 26, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Southern Section championship games will be held February 27-March 2 at the Anaheim Convention Center and Mater Dei High School.
The City Section Division I semifinals for boys and girls will be played at Cal State Dominguez Hills this Saturday, February 23. The girls will play at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the boys will play at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
There have been no surprises in the boy’s bracket, as No. 1 Westchester will play No. 4 Palisades at 8 p.m., and No. 2 El Camino Real will play No. 3 Crenshaw. Westchester and El Camino Real have been on a collision course for most of the season, but Crenshaw and Palisades will be tough match ups.
In the girl’s bracket, No. 1 Narbonne is seeking their second consecutive championship, but some familiar foes are looking to knock them off. They will play No. 4 El Camino Real, who made it to the semifinals last year before losing the Fairfax.
No. 2 Carson defeated Narbonne for the City title two years ago, but they were upset by No. 7 University in the quarter finals. University will play No. 3 Fairfax, who gave Narbonne a run for their money last year in the City Finals, at 4 p.m.
It will be a great day at CSUDH on Saturday with those four City Section games being played.