Championship Saturday

It’s not March, but bragging rights are at stake in the final day of tourney play around sunny Southern California.  It’s been a great two weeks of basketball, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come in 2018.  They’re still a few studs and studmuffins sitting out because of transfer rules, so it’s too close to call, in terms of who’ll be crowed king (or queen) of the throne or how well we can truly evaluate teams at this point.

It shouldn’t take long for Cassius Stanley, the #2 player in the nation for 2019 seen here against Mater Dei, to get back into the swing of things and figure it out for Sierra Canyon(CA), once he returns Jan 1, 2018. Image taken during the 2017 Rolling Hills Prep Fall Classic. (PopScout)

Going into the second half of the season, when transfers become eligible, it’s going to be interesting, seeing just how quick teams can gel and whether or not team chemistry, player rotation, and overall play will (or will not) be affected.  Coaches will have to find minutes somewhere for players who are about to become eligible, so we’ll see just how slippery the slope gets for Coaches who may find themselves already struggling issuing playing time.

A look at a few Tournament Championship games today.

Windward vs Harvard Westlake(Girls)
Redondo Union Tourney 5pm

Harvard Westlake Guard Jayda Ruffus Milner(14) attempts to block a shot from Serra guard #21 Alexis Tucker during a semifinal matchup at the Redondo Union Battle @ The Beach Tourney (PopScout).

Harvard Westlake vs Windward School –  Part 2.  Windward won in overtime 68-67 November 22, 2017 in what was one of the best opening games ever.  PopScout was on hand to see what makes Windward tick.  They have three solid pieces in Charisma Osborne, Kaiyah Corona, and Head Coach Vanessa Nygaard.  With that trio in place, look for Windward to win another Open Division and State Title.  But back to the game tonight.  Charisma Osborne is as special as they come.


She reminds me of my mom.  Whenever hear teammates need help out there on the court,  you can always depend on her, as she exhibits unconditional love for her players –  during crunch time and when it counts you feel me. We don’t like to throw the words special around too often but this young lady is truly a blessing to watch out there on the court.  With that being said, I’m putting all my chips on Charisma Osborne and Windward to go 2-0 against a stout Harvard Westlake team to bring home the ‘Ship.  The Twin powers of Jayla and Jayda will definitely have a few words to say about that –  looking to bring their A game to the table to put an end to Windwards’ early season success.  We just haven’t seen anyone play like Charisma, so we have to roll with this young lady as long as she has the ball in her hands.

The Pick:  Windward

Oak Park vs Pasadena(Boys)
Redondo Union Tourney 5pm


It’s going down family at the 2017 Maranatha Rose City Classic hosted by Coach Tucker and The Maranatha Minutemen.  Oak Park – which should via for a State title in March, takes on Pasadena – who should also via for a State title in March.  Oak Park has Boss Hog 6’10 PF Riley Battin – Utah Commit.  Pasadena boasts Boss Hog 6’5 W Bryce Hamilton – UNLV commit.  Both play the game at a high level and don’t be surprised if you see them both at the next level – and we do mean the NBA.

Bryce reminds us of a young Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies.  The lefty is crafty, smooth, and takes no prisoners.  Although he shares the back court duties with his running mate Darius Brown II, look for this young man to blossom into a legitimate PG when it’s all said and done. (PopScout)


We like to refer to Oak Park’s Riley Battin as Mr. Postman Hey, hey wait a minute Mr. Postman.  This young man is a technician on the block.  It’s just a joy to watch, as we truly don’t see too many bigs in So. California that are playing with their backs to the basket – and doing it so effectively.  Riley stretches the defense as well, draining the wet ball from mid range to the arc.  Likes to sit on the defensive end and accepts the challenge, which is a blessing to sore eyes to see players focus their attention on other aspects of their game besides step backs, crossovers, etc.

Look for intangibles – and intangible players – to play a key role in who comes out victorious tonight. Pasadena gets the nod in this category. (PopScout)

Anxious to see how well Battin fares against stiffer competition tonight against Pasadena, who have a few intangible players of their own, that push the throttle, allow Pasadena to run and gun while destroying teams with unanswered scoring runs. Pasadena coach Tony Brooks and his coaching staff does a great job of getting the most out of their players –  getting them to buy into his philosophy.


This one is close to call and it might come down to how much that 6 man plays a role…  the crowd. We forgot about the Slajchert Brothers from Oak Park, who will have their hands full checking Pasdena PG Darius Brown II but bring their own skill-sets to the table – skilled crafty guards who execute their coaches plan to perfection.   Pasadena will have to contend with oak park big man Ezekiel Richards who has stepped his game up from last season – lab work indeed.

The Pick:  Pasadena

Trevor Ariza – Westchester Tip Off Tourney
Westchester vs Bishop Montgomery
730p Westchester High


Battle of the big boys.  Westchester vs Bishop Montgomery will come down to whether or not Westchester can handle the stifling defense of Bishop Montgomery .  Westchester has a slew of guards, each capable of showing up and showing out, to make this a close contest.  The Comets also have a few big-body low post players, looking to eat at all costs. Bishop Montgomery is without PG Gianni Hunt due to injury but it appears that players have stepped up to fill in any gaps.  Next man up you fell me.  The joint will be jumping tonight at 730pm for the ‘Ship and to gauge the barometer as to which teams  will challenge in March for City, SS, and State titles.

The Pick:  Bishop Montgomery

Come out and support your team and scream as loud as you can – your player might need you in crunch time.  Every little counts when you’re Chasing that ‘Ship.


Elevate Yo’ Game

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