Chasing the ‘Ship: CIF LA City Section Open Division Preview

Open Division- Saturday, March 3, at Cal State Dominguez Hills
Girls, 5 pm  No. 1 Fairfax vs. No. 2 Granada Hills
Boys, 7:30 pm  No. 1 Westchester vs. No. 2 Fairfax

CIF LA City Section Open Division Championship games features four of the top squads, each capable of giving CIF SS teams a run for their money.

Fairfax gave Windward all they could handle during a non-league, 2016-17 game (1-5-17). The Lions look to capture another title today against Granada Hills Charter.  Image by Popscout

Fairfax (26-4, 12-0) vs Granada Hills (26-4, 10-0)

Fairfax has somewhat flew under the radar this season – in terms of media buzz that is.  Word on the street is that The Lady Lions feel as if they should be getting all the media exposure, considering they are the defending champions.  Taking a look at their record, Fairfax has quality wins against El Camino, Carson, Westchester(3), and Bishop Montgomery.  We question the strength of schedule and whether or not the Lady Lions are battle-tested enough to compete on a big stage.  Today’s championship match-up should give us a clear view as to the inner makeup of The Lady Lions.

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Granada Hills Charter on the other hand, we know very well.  Having seen them against Sierra Canyon during the Sierra Canyon Invitational tourney as well as their 2 league victories over rival El Camino Real, we know one thing about their squad:  they come to play.  Head Coach Jared Honig has tapped into the minds of his players and to say they are all on the same page, is an understatement.  These young ladies run their sets, compete, and because of such, are a joy to watch.  Sr. PG Emily Mitchell stands only 5’5 but brings her A game, allowing GHC to become special.  Everyone seems as if they have a role to play in the outcome of the game.  This is critical because many of the teams we see just rely on one or to options, while others somewhat act as robots and just go through the motions.  Not good if you want to compete on a big stage and continue to see success in your program.  GHC and their coaching staff optimizes working with what you have – considering not a lot of recruits migrate to the campus of Granada Hills.

Should be a great match-up between two City Section powers who will be tested next week when CIF SS State playoff pairings jump off.  O Yeah

The Pick:
Granada Hills Charter

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Westchester (29-5, 11-1) vs Fairfax (22-8, 11-1)
These two City Powerhouses are possibly licking their chops in anticipation of Sundays State playoff pairings.  Regardless of the outcome of this city section open division championship game, both teams will advance to the CIF SS State playoffs next week.  With that being said, look for this match-up to be as advertised as the other previous two league meetings were the two split W’s.  Both teams finished tied in league play, both teams headed to San Diego and held their own during the 2017 Torrey Pines Classic, and both teams know each other like the back of their ‘you know what’.

Fairfax Coach Steve Baik looks to capture a CIF LA City Section title tonight against Westchester. Remember when he coached Chino Hills to that magical undefeated season with Lonzo Ball?

Fairfax Coach Steve Baik has relocated from Chino Hills and hasn’t missed a beat.  Keeping the Lions competitive and continuing to play at a high level.  Long time Westchester Coach Ed Azzam is a legend in the City Section.  He’s been doing it since my playing days at the Shaw (1988) and continues to do it well.  Westchester has a host of guards who all bring their own intangibles and skills to the forefront.  they also have a few mid size bigs who like to put in work don low…I think we call it bully ball these days.

Looking forward to a great game against two City Section powers always on top of their ‘A’ game.  Look for the back-court running mates of Jamal Hartwell and Ethan Anderson to have a say so in the outcome of this contest.  Jr. PG Jordan Brinson and his cohorts for the Comets will also be on point, looking to counter the athleticism of Fairfax.  Should be a nail-biter family.

The Pick:

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