By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor With 7 Pasadena area schools earning their spot in this year’s CIF-SS playoffs, only La Salle will be on the road on Wednesday night. Maranatha, Muir, Flintridge Prep, Blair and Poly will all host first round games, and Pasadena earned a bye, and won’t play until Friday night. Pasadena (20-6) […]
By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor
With 7 Pasadena area schools earning their spot in this year’s CIF-SS playoffs, only La Salle will be on the road on Wednesday night.
Maranatha, Muir, Flintridge Prep, Blair and Poly will all host first round games, and Pasadena earned a bye, and won’t play until Friday night.
Pasadena (20-6) earned a first-round bye in Division 1 play after sweeping Muir last Thursday to earn a 14th consecutive Pacific League championship.
The Bulldogs have also won 14 consecutive games in the regular season and are playing by far their best basketball of the season now that everyone is back and healthy.
Bryce Hamilton was an unconscious 27 of 31 from the field last week, including a 15-of-17 effort at Muir.
Darius Brown II is averaging nearly 15 assists per game over the past three weeks and broke a school record with 19 assists over Burroughs last Tuesday.
Darius Mason is also peaking at the perfect time and has become one of the area’s most versatile players.
New additions of Tavian Percy and Omari Moore have been vital in Pasadena pulling away from the pack over the last month plus of the season.
PHS will host the winner of the Redondo Union-Loyola game on Friday night.
The Cubs (13-12) and the Sea Hawks (18-9) face off Wednesday night at Redondo Union.
Muir (20-7) is coming off a disappointing 27-point loss to Pasadena and with the Pacific League at stake.
But make no mistake about it, the Mustangs are primed and ready for a deep Division 2A run after a solid 12-2 effort in the Pacific League.
Muir has their most wins in at least 15 years and they will host Saugus (20-7) at 7.
The Centurions finished second in the Foothill League behind first-place Hart.
Saugus averages 71 points per game and have won 6 of their last 7 games.
Muir has also won 6 of their last 7 games and have incredible depth behind Hunter Woods, Tasson Aubry, Tiyon Martin, Simaine Stewart and Haleem Jenkins.
La Salle (16-11) finished third in the Camino Real League and the Lancers travel to Mission Viejo to battle Trabuco Hills (20-7) in a CIF Division 2A contest.
The South Coast League co-champs enter the playoffs having lost their final regular season contest and average 60 points per game.
La Salle won 3 of its final four games and enter the postseason scoring 63 points per game.
The Lancers are led offensively by Darius Henderson, Kenneth Franklin and Jason McDonald.
Blair (20-7) was just one-game back of La Canada and finished second in the Rio Hondo League.
The Vikings have won 7 of their final 9 games and they will welcome Elsinore (14-14) at 7.
Since January 10, the Tigers have not won more than one game in a row and are 5-5 over the season’s last month.
Blair had one setback when they allowed last-place Temple City to win on the Vikings own floor, but since then, they’ve gotten back on track.
As always, Dez Washington, Dallas Murray, Favour Ihiaso, Zavior Smith and Chris Bagby will be key if Blair finds itself in the second round of the Division 3A playoffs.
Blair coach Jelani Gardner will have his boys ready on Wednesday and has done a remarkable job in his first year with the Vikings.
Maranatha (12-13) just earned their fourth consecutive Olympic League championship after a solid road victory at Heritage Christian.
The Minutemen finished 7-1 in league and are led by Chris Austin, Xavier Ford and Wes Clarkson.
For being league champions, they sure seemed to get a tough first-round draw.
Maranatha will host Alemany (18-9) in a Division 1 first round match up.
The Warriors finished third in the very tough Mission League and have won five consecutive games entering the postseason.
Alemany averages 70 points per game.
Flintridge Prep (13-11) won 5 of their final 6 games and earned a share of the Prep League championship, so it probably earned them a pretty good draw, right?
The Rebels will host Compton Centennial (13-12) on Wednesday night at 7, and with a win, Prep would take on top-seeded Hillcrest (25-3) on Friday.
Senior and captain Jonathan Le has been clutch for the Rebels all season, but he’s also gotten plenty of contributions from Kevin Ashworth, Zach Kim, Jonathan Au, Nick Davis, AJ Nicassio, Majeed Ismail and the entire roster.
Centennial finished fourth in the Pioneer League and they’ve lost 4 of their past 6 games.
The Apaches have scored 1,503 points this season and they have also allowed 1,503
points through 25 games.
Poly (21-3) enters the postseason having won 6 of their last 7 games.
That included a 45-38 victory over Flintridge Prep last Tuesday to earn their half of the Prep League championship along with the Rebels.
Poly will host Trinity Classical (11-10) and with two wins, the Panthers would face top-seeded Rolling Hills Prep (17-6) in the quarterfinals.
Nick Ricard-Craven and Brandon Szeto have been key in Poly’s claiming its half of their league title.
First Round Playoff Games Wednesday:
Boys Basketball: Alemany at Maranatha at 7
Boys Basketball: La Salle at Trabuco Hills at 7
Boys Basketball: Saugus at Muir at 7
Boys Basketball: Elsinore at Blair
Boys Basketball: Compton Centennial at Flintridge Prep
Boys Basketball: Trinity Classical at Poly at 7
Friday Second Round:
Boys Basketball: Loyola-Redondo winner at Pasadena at 7