Check here for instant analysis, individual highlights and more from CIF Open Division boys games played on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 27. All information gained from Twitter reports.
Modesto Christian 66, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 48
The Crusaders (24-9, No. 17 in state) got rolling in the first half against the out-matched Monarchs (18-9), who were put into the NorCal Open Division even though they didn’t win the CCS Open Division title. Earvin Knox canned a 40-foot bomb at the first quarter buzzer to ignite the home crowd in Modesto. Aaron Murphy also had 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the winners. MC advanced to the regional semifinals where it plays 31-0 and state No. 1 Salesian of Richmond. The Pride had a bye on Wednesday.
De La Salle (Concord) 48, Weston Ranch (Stockton) 42
Even though the Cougars had won 30 games in a row, they were heading into uncharted waters playing this game in Concord. They fell behind 23-10 in the first quarter and by all accounts looked like a fish out of water. For the rest of the game, though, head coach Chris Teevan’s team played better, not enough to beat the battle-hardened Spartans but proving that being in the Open Division was not far-fetched. Thomas Gregorios led De La Salle (29-3, No. 20 in state) with 16 points and made key free throws late in the fourth quarter. Junior Gavin Wilburn had 15 points for Weston Ranch, which ended 31-2 and will drop from its No. 15 state rankings. The Spartans advanced to the next round where they will meet No. 2 seed Sheldon of Sacramento (26-6* & No. 6 in state). The Huskies, like top seed Salesian of Richmond, had a bye on Wednesday.
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 82, Torrey Pines (San Diego) 38
The lesson hopefully learned by the CIF with this game is that just because a section has an Open Division does not mean the winner of that section’s Open Division is actually that strong of a team and perhaps shouldn’t be put in a SoCal Open Division. Yes, that would mean another CIF Southern Section team going in, but in many years that’s just reality. Either that, or give the CIFSS Open Division champion a bye. Leading the Trailblazers (29-3, No. 2 in state) were Cassius Stanley with 19 points, K.J. Martin with 16 and Terren Frank with 11. Torrey Pines ended 25-7.
Westchester (Los Angeles) 74, Rancho Christian (Temecula) 57
The margin of this score and knowing that Rancho Christian just a couple of weeks ago was riding high after a win over Sierra Canyon in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the state matchup that for one week anyway had the Eagles ranked No. 1 in the state is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Comets (24-7, No. 5 in the state) raced out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. Jordan Brinson had 13 points in the first half and some more big plays in the second half. Westchester will now play Sierra Canyon in the regional semifinals. Rancho Christian wrapped it up at 25-6* and will drop from its current No. 4 in the state position.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 68, Bishop Montgomery (Santa Ana) 53
Aidan Prukop had a great week when the Monarchs (28-4, No. 8 in state) beat Corona Centennial and St. John Bosco in their final CIFSS pool play games and stayed hot with 18 points to help them beat the Knights (24-7, No. 7) in a game played at El Camino College. Emerging State Sophomore Player of the Year candidate Devin Askew also had another strong showing for Mater Dei with 23 points and eight assists.
Centennial (Corona) 76, Fairfax (Los Angeles) 75
Jaylen Clark put the Huskies in front with 17.5 seconds left with a lay-up and then it was Dennis Cash with some hands-in-the-face defense on a possible game-winning shot at the buzzer by Fairfax’s Justyn Hunter that decided this one. Fairfax came into the night at 27-1 and was No. 3 in the state, but will end 27-2 and 0-2 vs. Centennial. Head coach Josh Giles’ squad (27-5, No. 9 in state) showed what a fifth team in the SoCal Open Division from the CIF Southern Section can do and that a sixth might be justified next year.