Inside O.C. basketball this week (1-29-13)


Revenge week is here.

This could be the best week of the regular season.

Wednesday night there are two great league battles - El Toro against Mission Viejo and Mater Dei vs. St. John Bosco of Bellflower - and the two-day Nike Extravaganza starts Friday at Mater Dei.

What a week. Grab your tickets and your popcorn now.

Welcome to another fun look Inside the O.C. boys basketball scene.

1. Paging Mr. Khamis …

As I already stated, there are two terrific games Wednesday. (By the way, I can’t believe these games are on the same night.) But the big question is: Which game will OCVarsity’s Jonathan Khamis attend? The public wants to know! Where are you going Khamis? Will he go against what’s expected and show up at the Edison-Los Alamitos game that I’m covering? Wait, I’m covering Edison-Los Alamitos?

2. Quick look at Mission Viejo-El Toro

There is one word to describe Mission Viejo’s first South Coast League clash this season with El Toro: frustrating. The Diablos had a couple of chances to win the game but failed, losing to the Chargers, 73-72, on Jan. 11. Even more agonizing for Mission Viejo is that it turned into Shaq/Dwight at the free throw line. Mission Viejo made just 15 of 26 from the free throw line. I expect this game to be an intense, emotional game, but in the end it will probably come down to the basics. Who’s up for it? One more thing: El Toro needs to find a way to keep the Diablos’ Max Redfield out of the paint. He was a beast in the first game (23 points, 13 rebounds).

3. Quick look at Mater Dei-St. John Bosco

Mater Dei won the first meeting between the teams, 79-67, on Jan. 9. If the Monarchs’ Stanley Johnson does what he did in the first game (25 points on 11-of-18 shooting, 21 rebounds, five assists) then this game will not be close. If the Mater Dei defense hampers the Bosco perimeter players again, this game will not be close. There is a lot of pressure on Bosco to try to slow down Mater Dei, and that won’t be easy. Don’t forget that Elijah Brown also scored 25 in the first game. Also in the first game, Chris Nealey and MJ Cage each hit big shots that helped the Monarchs take over the game. I think this game ends the same as the first one. Do you have your ticket yet?

4. The Asylum taking over Mater Dei?

Servite is playing Brethren Christian and 7-5 center Mamadou Ndiaye in one of the Friday games of the Nike Extravaganza. Ndiaye is averaging 24.8 points, 4.8 blocks and 12.8 rebounds a game, but he’s never played in front of The Asylum – those wild and loud Servite fans. The game is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Mater Dei. I’m covering the Saddleback Valley Christian-Santa Margarita game at 5 p.m. I’m going to stick around and see what The Asylum is all about.

5. Insights about Saddleback Valley Christian

The Warriors, coached by Tom Lewis, have already topped 100 points twice this season. They put up 101 points against Orangewood Academy on Jan. 10, and one week later they dropped 110 against Eastside Christian. SVC has won eight consecutive games since losing to El Modena on Dec. 29. Santa Margarita is winless – 0-7 - in the Trinity League. This is going to be an intriguing matchup.

6. The Extravagant Extravaganza

The Nike Extravaganza is a basketball fan’s dream. Two days and nights of hoops - what more can you ask for? The action starts Friday at 2:30 p.m. with the first of six games. Saturday’s action starts at 9 a.m. The Saturday evening session has some serious matchups: Fairfax vs. JSerra, Orange Lutheran vs. Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas; De La Salle of Concord vs. Foothill; Long Beach Poly vs. St. John Bosco; Etiwanda of Rancho Cucamonga vs. Loyola of Los Angeles and - if you’re still standing - Mater Dei vs. Westchester of L.A. at 9 p.m. This is a great way to kick off your Super Bowl weekend.

7. The ultimate game

The one game you can’t see at the Extravaganza: Mater Dei vs. Long Beach Poly. That matchup likely is coming in the CIF-SS finals (Mater Dei is ranked No. 1 in 1AA and Long Beach Poly is ranked second). Though they’re not facing each other, you can expect the Mater Dei coaching staff to have front-row seats to watch the Poly vs. Bosco game, and the Poly coaches will likely grab a seat for the Mater Dei vs. Westchester game.

8. Sunset League update

We’re in for a crazy race for the Sunset League title. Fountain Valley enters the week in first place at 5-1. Huntington Beach, Edison and Los Alamitos are all 4-2. Edison faces Los Alamitos on Wednesday night, and if you haven’t heard, I will be in the building. (Somebody save me a seat.) On Friday, Fountain Valley visits Los Alamitos. The Barons suffered their first loss in league play last week against Huntington Beach, 67-52. With two weeks left in the regular season, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if there is a new team in first place after this week and next.

9. Defense wins championships

Tustin is one of the hottest teams in the county. Since losing to Mater Dei on Dec. 29, the Tillers have won nine consecutive games. They opened the week with a 64-51 victory over Pacifica on Monday. The Tillers are the top-ranked team in the CIF-SS Division 3AAA poll. During their nine-game winning streak, the Tillers are allowing 39.4 points a game. I think that will get the job done, especially with Deondre Bryant (16.1 points) and Nick Hornsby (16.7). Tustin will be host to Cypress on Wednesday night.

10. My top-10 vote

I didn’t know what to do with Servite this week. I had the Friars in the top 10 - and then I took them out. Then I had them back in … before I took them out. What an agonizing morning. Here is my top 10: 1. Mater Dei; 2. El Toro; 3. Mission Viejo; 4. Foothill; 5. Orange Lutheran; 6. JSerra; 7. Villa Park; 8. Tustin; 9. Aliso Niguel; 10. Sunny Hills.

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