LOS ANGELES – The games many not have all been “state (tournament) previews”, per se.
But the eight games played Saturday during the fifth Fairfax State Preview Classic were mostly quite entertaining, if not always featuring teams likely to in the hunt for state titles comes March.
The nightcap was the best of the bunch, with Bellflower St. John Bosco (which will compete in the CIF Southern Section 3A Playoff Division) edging L.A. Loyola (IAA), 67-64, in front a of crowd that tittered on capacity.
Loyola (16-5) was playing without standpoint point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who has been sidelined with a sore right foot for a few weeks.
But the Cubs led by as many as eight points in the second quarter and battled to the final buzzer, even after falling behind by 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Doing the most to keep Coach Jamal Adams’ club within striking distance of the Braves were slick senior shooting guard Trey Mason (six 3s and 28 points) and impressive junior center Thomas Welsh.
But, ultimately, the offense created by the Brothers Hamilton (senior Isaac and junior Daniel, who combined for 31 points) and sophomore Tyler Dorsey (23 points), as well as a defense that made it much more difficult for the Cubs to get quality attempts in the middle quarters, proved the difference.
Each team has a tough league showdown on tap, with St. John Bosco playing at Mater Dei Wednesday night in a Trinity League clash and Loyola visiting first-place Crespi in a Serra clash Friday night.
Each is also in the Mater Dei-host Nike Extravaganza on Saturday, with Loyola taking on another CIF IAA power (Etiwanda) and the Braves facing Long Beach Poly in a tussle for Long Beach-area bragging rights.
In other games on Saturday:
*L.A. Brentwood 51, San Pedro Rolling Hills Prep 50: Sophomore Ountae Campbell, a promising 6-3 wing, hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give his short-handed team the victory.
Brentwood (19-2), coached by former Loyola High and UCLA guard Ryan Bailey, was missing senior post Leland King (he was taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test) and junior guard Tra Holder (ankle injury). Both are expected back in uniform when the Eagles play host to Pacific Hills in an Alpha League clash Monday night.
Impressing for Rolling Hills Prep (14-7) was 6-11 sophomore Jimbo Lull, an excellent student who demonstrated nice progress since I saw him last in the fall league at Redondo High.
*L.A. Price 56, San Diego Parker 32: The Knights (20-3) had too much in the way of quickness and perimeter skill for the Lancers (11-8) to cope with.
Arizona State-bound guard Chance Murray led Price with 14 points while 6-9 junior Evan Fitzer was the only reason things didn’t get absolutely out of hand for Parker.
*Gardena Serra 70, Studio City Harvard-Westlake 55: Wolverines were playing without their best player (junior forward Derrick Newton/ankle injury) and were no match for the Cavaliers, who face a key Del Rey League clash Wednesday night in Torrance against Bishop Montgomery.
Five-eleven junior Ajon Efferson (who spent his freshman year at Woodland Hills Taft and his sophomore campaign at Pasadena) scored 19 points for Serra (17-5) while sophomore guard Alex Copeland topped HW (13-7) with 14.
*L.A. Windward 86, Mission Hills Alemany 72: Easily the most impressive performer to participate in the event on Saturday was 5-7 guard Jordan Wilson.
Wilson, who signed a national letter of intent with the University of Northern Colorado in November, scored 33 points – 21 of them coming by way of his seven shots from behind the arc.
His size may have scared away the recruiters from some other programs but they will regret those misevaluations a few years hence.
Alemany dropped to 14-9 with its third consecutive loss. The Warriors, despite playing so many freshmen and sophomores, will be a difficult “out” in the CIF SS IAA playoffs.
*Compton 57, Santa Monica 54: This result was a mild surprise given that the Vikings (who dropped to 16-5) went into the contest as the top-ranked squad in the CIF SS IA Division.
The Tarbabes (15-7) got 21 point from junior left-handed point guard Kyron Cartwright while Santa Monica was paced by wing Jordan Mathews, who signed with Cal in November.
Compton, which was No. 4 in the 3AAA ratings, plays at Long Beach Poly Monday night (6:30) in a Moore League game. Santa Monica is at home to Inglewood at 7 o’clock Monday night Ocean League tilt.
*Woodland Hills El Camino Real 65, Orange Lutheran 57: The Lancers are members of the Trinity League along with the likes of Mater Dei, St. John Bosco, Santa Margarita, JSerra and Anaheim Servite,
And that explains nicely the reason Conquistadors were not able to divide and conquer the Lancers (16-6), who are led by Penn State-bound Payton Banks and junior guard Brian Beard, a transfer from La Verne Lutheran.
El Camino Real (20-2), a solid favorite to capture an L.A. City Division I title, got 17 points from Hawaii-bound forward Michael Thomas and 17 more from Julian Richardson, the son of former UCLA and NBA point guard Pooh Richardson.
*Torrance Bishop Montgomery 79, San Diego Lincoln 34: The Knights, top-ranked in CIF SS Division 4AA, used all of their bench depth – liberally – after bursting out to a 57-4 advantage at intermission.
Coach Doug Mitchell’s club has a potent 1-2 post punch via seniors Ognjen Miljkovic and Lamond Murray Jr., as well as an exceptional foursome of perimeter performers in Stephen Thompson Jr., Justin Bibbins, Larry Taylor and Niko Flipovich.