Last fall, Full-Time Hoops introduced you to six freshmen who together comprise one of the most talented group of young talent the region has ever seen.
While one has yet to play an official high school game, the other five have more than lived up to expectations.
One helped lead his team to the biggest turnaround story in the county. Another teamed with three other freshman to lead a renaissance of a downtrodden program. Another averaged nearly a double double a game on a team that exceeded expectations.
Another tore a rim off of a basket. No, he really did.
One freshman, however, captured the attention of the national basketball scene with his coming-out party at one of the nation’s most prestigious high school basketball tournaments.
For this, Chula Vista Mater Dei PG Jaylen Hands has moved to No. 2 on the Full-Time Hoops 2017 prospect rankings.
We can’t, in good conscience, put him ahead of De’Andre Ayton, the versatile forward who many consider the top prospect in the country, as he waits his turn at the surreptitious Balboa Prep. We expect to see him during the summer.
But Hands has surpassed everyone’s expectations and showed added dimensions to his game that warrant the bump in his rankings.
We will expand the rankings to 10 after the first live period event in the Spring.
1. DeAndre Ayton 6’10” 200 PF Balboa Prep- Ayton has not played publicly since the summer club season, but has reportedly been working out religiously under the tutelage of former Hoover coach Ollie Goulston and others associated with Force Athletics, the basketball team affiliated with Balboa Prep. What we do know is that Ayton is a once-in-a-generation prospect as far as San Diego is concerned, a blend of athleticism, length, versatility and upside that few have witnessed in these parts.
2. Jaylen Hands- 6’ 160 PG Mater Dei- Hands is in the midst of a stellar freshman campaign with the region’s No. 2 ranked Crusaders. He became a household name after the Under Amour Holiday Classic when he scored 24 points against La Costa Canyon in the American Division Championship game in front of scouts and college coaches. USC and the University of San Diego were the first to offer. Hands possesses terrific length and good size at the lead guard position, and his scoring and passing instincts are off the charts. What has really made a difference this season from previous viewings is the stark increase in his athleticism, both vertically and laterally, which allows him to get by the first defender and finish through contact on the way to the rim. He will need to continue to add strength to his wiry frame, but you have to consider him as one of the top point guards in the country in his class.
3. Brandon McCoy- 6’9” 205 PF Morse- The Chicago native has had a solid year for the Tigers, who currently are in the Division 1 quarterfinals. McCoy has blossomed into one of the top defensive centers on the West Coast for his class, a true rim protector and a physical rebounder. McCoy has excellent length and an athletic frame and will only continue to improve his game on the offensive end, which still is a work in progress. He has difficulty negotiating traffic in the post and has a limited post repertoire, though it has improved since the beginning of the season.
4. Richard Polanco - 6’8” 215 F Army-Navy- The Dominican native had a solid year for the Warriors, who bowed out of the CIF Playoffs via first round upset. Polanco is a big, long four man whose game is better suited for the wing in college. He is still quite raw in his approach to the offensive (handle needs work, situational IQ shaky) and defensive ends, but his versatility and raw talent are palpable.
5. Robby Robinson- 6’8” 195 F Kearny - The 14-year-old Komet freshman has helped vault the moribund program from a 7-win season last year to a 22-2 season and a current berth in the Division 3 quarterfinals. Robinson is a highly skilled and efficient four man who is equally adept with his back to the basket as he is facing the basket. His touch on his shot is feathery and accurate out to 20 feet, and his confidence has improved as the season has progressed. Defensively, he does an excellent job using his length to protect the rim and is a great individual defender in the post to boot. Aside from Hands, no player has made more improvement at this stage, and like Hands, he is young and still growing. He will need to get stronger, especially in the upper body, but that will come with time and his natural development.
6. Michael Diaz- 6’1” 180 PG Orange Glen- No player is more polarizing in the 2017 class than Diaz, an explosive athletic freak who can both wow you and frustrate you with his play. Vertically, he is the most explosive player in the class, and he has, as we have mentioned before, Russell Westbrook-like potential at the point. He is a flashy ball handler and passer, though his overall passing IQ still needs development. Defensively, he is a lockdown defender whose quick feet and active hands cause trouble for opposing ball handlers. Moving forward, Diaz will need to continue to develop his feel for the lead guard position, as well playing under control on both offense and defense, as he sometimes has a tendency to try to do to much, resulting in turnovers and foul trouble.
2017 Watch List (from previous rankings):
Jake Gilliam 6’7” 210 C Torrey Pines- Very young 2017 prospect is big and skilled in the paint. Sometimes lacks balance in the paint, which is a result of his overall lack of strength, which should improve as he grows into his frame.
Reed Farley- 6’3” 170 G/F La Jolla- Athletic wing type can shoot it from the perimeter and can hammer it home in transition, needs to improve his ball handling in the halfcourt set.
Khamron Wells- 6’4 G/F Balboa Prep- The powerful wing type is a great rebounder and finishes plays at the rim with authority.
Kale Baldado- 6’4” 180 SF Serra- Rangy wing type is a bouncy athlete who does a lot of things well, but nothing particularly masterful. Great motor for a young prospect, Baldado is always around the ball, especially on the offensive boards.
Colin Bailey- 6’5” 175 F Torrey Pines- Standout volleyball player is a really good athlete and a great rebounder and finisher at the rim.
Cliff Kidd- 6’2” 170 G/F Mater Dei Catholic- Stocky wing has a knack of getting to the rim and scoring through contact. Solid rebounder, especially on the offensive glass, and shoots it well from mid range, especially on the pull up.
Braxton Burmeister- 5’11” 165 G La Jolla Country Day- Lot of the traits of his brother, Sage Burmeister, who is now a dual-sport athlete at Idaho State. Scorer has a better feel for the game than older brother at the same stage.
JJ Overton- 6’1” 150 G Rancho Bernardo- Wiry combo guard can hit the mid-range shot and is a potent slasher who is best in transition.
Brandon Keyes- 5’9” 180 G Mater Dei Catholic- The bowling ball of a point guard prospect can put defenders on his hip and score through contact. Perimeter shooting needs to improve.
Josiah Esselstrom- 5’8” 140 PG La Jolla Country Day- Undersized point guard is a wizard with the ball and a solid perimeter shooter. Lot of Max Heller (2011 Torrey Pines PG) in his game.
Marcus Perry- 6’1” 165 G/F La Jolla Country Day- Smooth shooting and slashing wing is one dose of confidence away from being a really solid player. Will be an immediate contributor for Torreys.
Ed Fenzi- 5’9” 160 PG Army Navy- Heady, strong and quick point guard has the unenviable task of replacing Devin Watson, who transferred to El Camino.
Justin Woodley- 5’11” 170 G/F Bishop’s- Dual-sport standout for Knights is a stocky wing type who can shoot it well to boot. Bishop’s has high expectations for Woodley.
Noah DiNapoli- 6’0” 160 PG St. Augustine- Fundamentally sound PG has nice size for a lead guard and great feel for the game. He makes everyone around him better due to his unselfishness.
Devin Walker, 6’3 175 F Mission Bay - Intriguing forward who is blessed with a great frame (long arms, nice shoulders) that is still not mature. Good athlete and high IQ or a player his age, and a good athlete to boot. The rangy forward has a lot of upside.
Otto Taylor- 5’11” 145 G St. Augustine- Doesn’t pass the eye test, but Taylor is a smooth perimeter shooter who has decent length plays hard on both ends.
Sean Panado- 5’9” 145 PG St. Augustine - The quick, flashy point guard is a dynamic ball handler who can make the home-run play, especially in transition.
Jack Peterson- 6’1” 170 SG St. Augustine- The third of three brothers to play for the Saints, Peterson appears to be the furthest along at the same point. Really fluid shooter and scores well in transition.
JT Cox- 6’3” 180 F St. Augustine- Undersized forward has a knack for scoring in the paint. Part of a very deep Saints 2017 class.
Cameron Henry- 5’10” 150 G Vista- Wiry shooting guard is undersized for a college two, but has a great stroke from the perimeter and is decent at creating his own shot.
Brandon Edwards - 6’4” 180 F San Ysidro- The unpolished forward is oozing with athletic potential. Already a solid rebounder and versatile defender.
Anthony Anderson- 5’3” 120 PG Vista- Tiny point guard is an exciting player to watch, handles it at a high level, and can shoot the ball pretty well from the perimeter.
Deven Diaz- 5’11” 160 G Orange Glen- Fraternal twin of Michael Diaz, Deven has decent length, athleticism and shooting ability. Smoother in his approach to the game than his brother, but not as explosive.
Gabe Macias 6’2” 160 F Orange Glen- Crafty forward is slowly rounding back into form after a really bad knee injury. Nice shooter from the midrange, and extremely long. When he regains his athleticism, he will be a late bloomer to watch.
Trevor Owens- 5’10” 140 G Orange Glen - The fourth freshman expected to contribute right away for the Patriots, Owens is a solid spot-up shooter who possesses decent quickness off the dribble.
AJ Neel- 5’10” 150 PG Olympian- Really heady and quick lead guard might be one of the more underrated freshmen in San Diego. Could contribute - or start - immediately for the South Bay school.
Ryan Michaels; 6’0” 180 SG- Canyon Crest- Smooth shooting guard can play point in a pinch, just needs to add better lateral quickness on both offense and defense.
Cameron Wager: 6’1” 190 F- Mission Hills- Undersized four has played in the post for much of his young career, so he faces a learning curve as he transitions to the wing. Strong upper body and long arms, Wager’s future will be determined on how quickly he can make the transition.
Drew Mead- 6’3” 170 SG La Costa Canyon- Physically mature guard prospect is an excellent shooter and a decent slasher. Will be interesting to see how he progresses physically in the coming years.
Quincy Ferebee- 5’6” 140 PG Serra - Waterbug of a lead guard is really quick off the dribble, a skilled passer and a solid shooter from deep. He will be a solid contributor in coming years.
Jazeen Dutra- 5’8” 140 PG Mater Dei Catholic- Another undersized lead guard who has nice quickness and a good basketball IQ.
Jacob Schneider- 6’4, 190 F Torrey Pines- Schneider has good size on the wing and is a capable shooter, but needs to improve his quickness and athleticism.
Jaylin White- 5’5” 130 PG Morse - White might be one of the best on-ball defenders I’ve seen. His instincts and footwork are impeccable, and he plays much bigger than his slight frame due to his low, wide stance and long arms.
Malik Parsons- 5’8” 140 PG Lincoln- Creative guard has a tendency to overdribble at times, but his handles are very nifty and he’s got good scoring instincts.
Derek Sit, 5’7” 145 PG Poway- True point guard is an excellent passer and an improving perimeter shooter. Might play varsity later in the year for the improved Titans.
Blake Seits, 5’9” PG Ramona- Sharpshooting guard posted solid numbers as a varsity starter
Cade Shackleford, 6’2” 160 G Torrey Pines- Shackleford is a talented guard who has great size and is very skilled, albeit injury prone. Will be interesting to see his progression in John Olive’s system.
Cullen Bedingfield- 5’9” 160 G Bishop’s- One of the top shooters in the class. Bedingfield has a quick release and excellent rotation on his shot.
Colton McLaughlin- 6’3” 180 PF Westview- Undersized forward is the quintessential “junkyard dog” who hustles for loose balls, rebounds and defends. Emerging low-post game.
Jalen Simmons- 6’4” 180 F- The long and athletic forward is raw, but he has a ton of upside. Brother of SDSU football commit Jabril Clewis.
Charles Dudley- 6’4” 210 F Santa Fe Christian- Son of NBA player Chris Dudley, the younger one is an emerging post man who looks like he’s yet to hit his growth spurt. When he does, could be special.
Rafael Felix - 6’2” 180 G High Tech CV- Tucked away at the small magnet school is a kid with big talent and a tremendous shot.
There is a funny, unspoken secret among the coaches and teams that are participating in San Diego’s inaugural division, which pits the eight most successful programs in the region over the past five years.
Almost all of them wanted to be on the same side of the bracket as top seeded Saint Augustine.
Seems a bit odd that you would have teams jockeying to be on the same side of a bracket of a team that has only lost two games all year, and none to San Diego opponents.
But there is a feeling among the open division rivals that the Saints are vulnerable.
They aren’t the biggest team. Nor are they the most athletic. Sure, they have San Diego State signee Trey Kell, but beyond that, no one really scares you from a physical standpoint.
The Saints are set out to prove all of their foes wrong.
The question is, can they? What team can rise to the challenge of beating a team that has defeated every foe it has faced in the region? Is there a dark horse team that can emerge and surprise the favorites?
Who wins the CIF Open Division?
Let’s take a look at the teams:
Record: 26-2 (11-0 Western League)
Key wins: La Verne Damien, Seattle Bishop O’Dea, La Costa Canyon, Torrey Pines
Bad losses: None. Two losses are to CIF Open Division teams Chino Hills and Mayfair.
Key players: 2014 SG Trey Kell (SDSU signee), 2014 SG Johnny Peterson, 2014 G Dallas Haupt, 2016 PF Martin Tombe, 2016 PG Eric Monroe.
The skinny: The Saints, as mentioned above, are not the most physically imposing team in the Open Division (or for that matter in Division 1 or 2), but they have a potent combination of stingy defense, well-executed offense, top-flight coaching and a superstar in Kell.
How to beat them: The two teams that beat the Saints were able to apply intense ball pressure on the Saints young backcourt, which is led by Monroe and features two freshmen, Otto Taylor and Noah DiNapoli. Monroe is typically very fundamentally sound with the ball, but is coming off of a moderately sprained ankle that sidelined him the last two weeks of the season.
2. El Camino
Record: 26-3 (10-0 Avo West League)
Key Wins: La Costa Canyon (2x) Dana Hills, Maranatha Christian, San Marcos.
Bad losses: Foothills Christian, Poway. Other loss to No. 3 Sweetwater.
Key Players: 2014 PG Devin Watson, 2014 F Chad Morrison, 2014 SG Dakota Orr, 2015 PF Sam Bockman, 2014 F Quen Meadows
The skinny: El Camino comes in as the team that no one in the section wants to face, as they are riding a 19-game winning streak. Watson is a Division 1 talent at the point, and can take over a game with his scoring or passing. Meadows and Bockman are undersized, but athletic leapers who crash the boards and finish with authority. Orr and Morrison are the teams chief perimeter threats.
How to beat them: El Camino’s lone loss with Watson in uniform was to Sweetwater, a team that plays at a breakneck pace and has one of the most formidable full-court presses in the state. No team in the Open plays that way. However, LCC, in its OT loss to the Wildcats, was able to make Watson work for his points and turn him into a volume shooter, while limiting the damage that shooters Orr and Morrison did, until late in the game.
3. La Costa Canyon
Record: 24-5 (8-2 Avo West)
Key Players: 2014 F Fritz Eibel, 2015 PG Tommy McCarthy, 2015 PG Patrick Fisher, 2015 SF Brady Twombly, 2015 PF Travis Fuller, 2015 F Evan Kaplan
Key wins: Winward, Torrey Pines, San Marcos, Poway
Bad losses: Hoover. Other losses to Saints, Mater Dei Catholic, and El Camino (2x)
The skinny: The Mavericks have a ton of skilled and talented players, but the “big win” always seemed to elude them. Part of it is because the team faded down the stretch in big games. The Mavericks led in the fourth quarter in three of its five losses but could never close the door on opponents. Still, their junior foursome of guards Tommy McCarthy and Patrick Fisher and forwards Brady Twombly and Travis Fuller are arguably the best junior foursome in the state. Fritz Eibel is the consummate glue guy and senior leader.
How to beat them: Teams who have beaten the Mavericks have been able to pound the glass against them, as they do not possess an elite rebounder, and wear out the starting five by keeping the game close and requiring Coach Dave Cassaw to log his six-man rotation heavy minutes (junior Evan Kaplan is his most reliable substitute). LCC has faded down the stretch in large part due to fatigue and lack of depth.
4. Torrey Pines
Record: 25-4 (10-0 Palomar League)
Top Players: 2014 PG Zack Wagner, 2014 F Sam Worman, 2015 G Dominic Hovasse, 2015 SG Jack Beach, 2015 G Timmy Saunders, 2015 PF Connor Milmoe, 2016 SG Brandon Cyrus
Key wins: Mission Hills, Sheldon, Faith Baptist, Parker, San Marcos, Cathedral
Bad losses: Price (not the loss, but margin, 16). Other losses to SS Open Division Cantwell Sacred Heart, Saint Augustine and LCC
The Skinny: You know what to expect from a John Olive team: a team that executes to the T on offense, a stingy defense that sometimes throws zone traps your way, and a group that relies on the sum of its parts, not one individual. The Falcons have experience (seniors Worman and Wagner are three year varsity players) and one of the most explosive athletes in the section in Cyrus, who has come into his own over the past few months.
How to beat them: Some will conclude that it is size, because the Falcons have no player taller than 6’5”, but the team nearly beat Cantwell Sacred Heart, which has two players north of 6’9”. What Cantwell lacked was consistent dribble penetration, which would have allowed the team to better exploit the Falcons lack of a true rim protector. Teams who are able to get dribble penetration and dishes for close looks fair better against the Falcons.
Record (18-10, 7-3 Eastern League)
Top players: 2014 PG Shawn Pablo, 2014 PG Miles Nolen-Webb, 2014 SG Damonte Holiday, 2015 F Dominique Whitfield, 2016 G Daevon Bazzo
Key wins: Poway, La Costa Canyon, Taft, Horizon, Morse
Bad losses: Foothills Christian, Mira Mesa, Serra, Salesian
The Skinny: The rockiness of the Cardinals’ campaign has been well documented. A coaching change in the fall, the ineligibility of one of its top returners hamstrung what should have been a banner campaign for the Cardinals. Still, you can’t go wrong with two of the section’s most talented guards in Holiday and Nolen-Webb. Pablo has been a pleasant surprise in his senior year, more than doubling his scoring output from a year ago. Whitfield is a tough-as-nails competitor. Bazzo is a top sophomore guard.
How to beat them: Teams that have beaten Hoover have done in by pounding them on the glass, where the scrappy Cardinals don’t have the size to contain teams with legit rebounding bigs. Additionally, teams that have neutralized either Nolen-Webb or Holiday have thwarted Hoover’s high-octane attack. If both guards are scoring, they often win.
6. Mission Hills
Record: 18-9 (5-3 Avo East League)
Top Players: 2014 SF Tony Stanich, 2014 SG TJ Hanks, 2014 PG Jean Luc Williams, 2014 C Erik Reider, 2015 G/F Connor Kennedy, 2016 SG Vaso Rakovic
Key Wins: Chaparral (CO), Escondido, Trabuco Hills
Bad losses: Cypress Bay (FL), Righetti, Westview
The Skinny: If you are playing the Grizzlies, prepare to leave the game with a few bruises. This is a physical bunch that will pound you in every facet of the game on the defensive end. They bump cutters, they box out hard, they close out shooters. What they lack in an elite scorer they make up for in offensive execution in the halfcourt, which creates open scoring looks for Stanich and Hanks. Williams shows flashes of brilliance at the point, but is inconsistent.
How to beat them: The Grizzlies don’t have anyone who can consistently create their own shot, so forcing guys like Hanks and Stanich to beat you with more than two dribbles is critical. The Grizzlies are prone to long scoring droughts that often prove costly in the games they have lost.
Record: 13-12 (5-7 Western League)
Top Players: 2014 SG Steve Garrett, 2014 C Daniel Melifonwu, 2014 F Tivon Plummer, 2015 PG Micah Porter, 2015 F David Christopher
Key wins: Cathedral Catholic, La Jolla, Helix, University City
Bad losses: Scripps Ranch, Venice, Grossmont
The Skinny: The Hornets started off the year 8-0, and there was talk of the Hornets returning to the glory days of two seasons ago. Then, reality struck and the Hornets managed to win 5 games the rest of the year against 12 losses, including really bad losses to a 7-win Venice team and last-place Scripps Ranch - both at home. This is a team with a ton of physical talent, starting with 6-foot-10 thoroughbred Melifonwu, who has a frame that scouts drool over, but his game is still quite raw. Steve Garrett has been a revelation for the Hornets, however, in his last season, and has played his way into some college interest.
How to beat the them: Force the Hornets to beat you in the halfcourt on offense. The team thrives when it is able to get steals out of its pressure and easy scores. Teams with stingy halfcourt defenses, like Scripps Ranch and University City, cause the Hornets trouble, especially on the road.
Record: 7-20 (4-6 Avo West League)
Top Players: 2014 PF Carston Nyenhuis, 2014 PG Will Smith, 2015 SG Jordan Henry, 2015 SF Nate Johnson, 2015 PF Davin Lemon-Rodriguez
Key Wins: Carlsbad, Mt. Carmel
Bad losses: Fallbrook, La Quinta
The skinny: The team came into the season with a ton of promise, but quickly saw its season derailed when Lemon-Rodriguez was declared academically ineligible for the first half of the year and Smith missed four weeks with a broken hand. The losses during the fifth-toughest schedule in the section piled up, and the confidence flagged. Despite this, the Panthers finished three last-second free throws from a third-place finish in the Avo West.
How to beat them: Speed them up. Vista likes to slow the game down with a plethora of defensive sets. The teams that have had the most success were able to get baskets early in the possessions and in transition, where Vista’s lack of depth allows them to compete.
Remember earlier this year I did a blog post (that then inspired a story in an unnamed San Diego newspaper) about all of the parity that existed in San Diego basketball this year?
It all comes to roost in Division 1.
Without equivocation, this is the toughest of the divisions to call.
No top seed is safe. Everyone is vulnerable.
The contrasts in styles from team to team is more stark than Breaking Bad and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.
So who wins it? The hell if I know…but I will try to give as educated of a guess as I can.
The favorite: I just spent the past few seconds telling you that Division 1 is about as crazy as a pack of Backstreet Boys fans, and you want me to pick a favorite? To be fair, let’s just say that Eastlake, which claimed the No. 1 seed nearly two weeks ago, is the early favorite. But I say that with great hesitation.
Top 4 seeds: 1. Eastlake, 2. Mission Bay, 3. San Marcos, 4. Poway
Upset alert: Ironically, the two teams on upset alert hail from the same league: Grossmont and Helix. Both the Foothillers and Titans must have cringed when the brackets were released and they learned they would face teams that had beaten them already this year. No. 11 seed Westview was cruising against Helix before Christian Bell led a spirited comeback, which fell short and Westview won by 7. University City, the 10 seed, handled Grossmont 50-40, and the Centurions have the size and length to bother Tommy Rutherford just enough to do it again.
Lowest seed likely to advance: Westview, in contrast, must have been drooling when it saw its draw. They have beaten 6 seed Helix and curb-stomped San Marcos during the Knights’ midseason swoon. San Marcos is a different team now that Ben Perez is fully recovered from some midseason knicks, but Westview definitely is a threat on that side of the bracket.
Have to also mention Morse in this section, because at the 12 seed, they have elite size and rebounding, and a point guard who is an absolute lockdown defender, all things that become more important come playoff time. Cathedral has to travel to Morse as a result of the Tigers winning the Eastern League, and a second round matchup against Poway is also winnable.
Second round intrigue: Two potential second round games could be very interesting for the top seeds. Mission Bay could face a University City team that just throttled the Bucs in the second-to-last game of the season. Of course, the Bucs will have the game in their beehive of a gym, where they beat the Centurions earlier in the year. But the 2 seed could be in trouble. Additionally, look for Escondido (if it can get past a Carlsbad team that beat it earlier this year) to look to avenge one of the most epic meltdowns I’ve ever heard of in high school hoops against Eastlake. Escondido was leading 26-5 in the January game. The Titans outscored the Cougars 60-26 the rest of the way en route to a 65-52 win. So which was the fluke? Escondido’s fast start or Eastlake’s big finish? We shall see.
Final four teams: Mission Bay, San Marcos, Poway, Eastlake.
After all the vexation, I am still picking the top four seeds? Why? Because when of second round matchup advantages. Poway is tough to beat at home when they face teams that shoot well from deep, and neither Cathedral or Morse are known for their prolific perimeter shooting. Eastlake would get the Escondido-Carlsbad winner in their gym, where they are tough, and Mission Bay is a totally different team in the Kane Dome. Westview beat San Marcos at Westview in a game where Ben Perez wasn’t 100 percent and the Knights were short their starting point guard. In the end, I think all four teams are vulnerable, but will do just enough to get into the semis.
Who wins Division 1: Earlier in the season I predicted that the winner would likely come out of the triumvirate of Eastlake, San Marcos and Mission Bay. While the prediction looked shaky when both the Knights and Bucs went through some spells of bad basketball, all three enter with a chance to advance to the finals. Mission Bay has the one trump card over San Marcos - they would host the Knights in a potential semifinal. Poway and Eastlake battled to overtime, where they held Poway scoreless, but that was without a healthy Dalton Soffer, who missed most of the game - and all of the fourth quarter and overtime, with the flu. Still, you have to give Eastlake the edge when they play the semis at their place, but I will go with San Marcos over Mission Bay in the semifinals, setting up an entertaining 1-3 matchup in the finals. There, it comes down to whether San Marcos can do enough to keep Justin Young and LeAndre Powell off the boards, and whether Eastlake will be able to defend two of the most creative scorers in the section. Ultimately, I picked San Marcos way back in the beginning of the season to win Division 1, and I will stick with that prediction. It will be an entertaining playoffs, and I’m probably wrong, but I’m big enough to stick my neck out there. Knights in a close one at the Slim Gym.