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Classic at Damien championship semifinal fields set

LA VERNE, Ca. – The respective tables have been set for the championship semifinals Thursday during the first-ever Classic at Damien.

The matchups were set with the results of quarterfinals in the Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions Tuesday on the respective campuses of Damien and San Dimas High Schools.

Bracket play will take a one-day hiatus on Wednesday when 12 “cross-bracket” contests will be played in the Athletic (starting at 11:30 a.m.) and Event (tipping at 2 p.m.) centers on the Damien campus.

In the Gold Division, top seed Santa Ana Mater Dei (74-67 over Lake Balboa Birmingham), host Damien (topping Long Beach Poly, 71-63), Eastvale Roosevelt (74-65 against Bellflower St.

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Classic at Damien quarterfinals set

LA VERNE, Ca. – Day II of the first Classic at Damien tips off Tuesday morning, with championship quarterfinals in the Gold and Silver divisions set for the Damien High campus.

For my rundown on Monday’s action, plus preview of Tuesday games, go to where you can also get complete brackets and schedules.

Strong field set as Classic at Damien tips off today

LAVERNE, Ca. – The first-ever Classic at Damien gets underway way on Monday, with the Gold and Silver brackets being contested on the Damien High campus and games in the Bronze Division held at San Dimas High and Life Pacific College.

The Gold (top) bracketed games commence at 10 a.m. when Lake Balboa Birmingham and Oak Park – two of the top programs from the San Fernando Valley region of Southern California – play in the Damien Athletic Center in what should be one of the more compelling matchups of the first day.

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Chino Hills streak 46 after Tark win over Mater Dei

LAS VEGAS – The Chino Hills Huskies pretty much controlled things from the opening tip Tuesday night to extend their two-year winning streak to 46 and bag Platinum Division championship hardware in the process during the finale of the fifth Jerry Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman.

The Huskies never trailed while knocking off previously unbeaten Mater Dei, 84-73, as seniors Gelo Ball (25 points, seven rebounds and four assists) and Eli Scott (eight points and 16 rebounds) shared division co-Most Outstanding Player honors.

The Monarchs (11-1) committed 11 turnovers in the first half but were able to stay within 36-31 at intermission, largely because of the 14-point effort over the first 16 minutes by senior forward Justice Sueing.

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Tark Classic site of Mater Dei-Chino Hills “rematch”

LAS VEGAS – The Chino Hills and Mater Dei high school basketball teams will play a rematch Tuesday night 6:20 in the Platinum Division championship game of the fifth Jerry Tarkanian Memorial Classic at Bishop Gorman High – some 250 miles from where the teams played on Feb. 26 of last season.

And the Monarchs are void of any found memories of that CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinal played at Ayala High in Chino Hills – and won by the Chino Hills Huskies, 102-54, en route to Southern Section and State Open Division titles.

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Clash of hoop titans in Tark Classic semis Monday

LAS VEGAS – Three of the very best teams in California and the perennial Nevada power Bishop Gorman make up the championship semifinals field for the Platinum Division Monday as the fifth Tarkanian Classic continues after taking Sunday off.

Each semifinal game in the event’s top bracket will be played in the Orleans Hotel Arena, with championships in all divisions to be played Tuesday at tournament host Bishop Gorman.

Eastvale Roosevelt, led by a couple of NCAA Division I program signees in guard Jemarl Baker (Cal) and forward Matt Mitchell (Cal State Fullerton), faces defending California State Open Division champion Chino Hills at 4 o’clock, with Santa Ana Mater Dei faces the Bishop Gorman Gaels at 5:30.

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Sierra Canyon picks up Tark Classic “showcase” win

LAS VEGAS – Two nights after knocking off top-ranked Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy on national television in Indiana, Southern California’s top-ranked team was in the Bishop Gorman High gymnasium Saturday night.

And the Trailblazers showed little in the way of “hangover” during their brief stint in Las Vegas while holding off Las Vegas Centennial, 61-52, in a “showcase” contest as part of the fifth Tarkanian Classic.

Earlier in one of the Platinum (top) Division quarterfinals at Bishop Gorman, defending California State Open Division I champion Chino Hills stretched its win streak to 44 with an 87-77 victory over Northern California power Oakland Bishop O’Dowd.

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Chino Hills win streak at 43 after Tark Classic rally

LAS VEGAS –The fifth Tarkanian Classic almost produced a “first” on Friday’s first day of the event’s high school play:

Southern California’s Chino Hills High Huskies were oh-so-close to suffering their first loss since March 27 of 2015 – nearly 21 months – before pulling off a furious rally to knock off Las Vegas Clark, 91-87, in a Platinum (top) Division game at Bishop Gorman High.

How close was “oh-so-close”?

The Huskies, who last lost (in double overtime) when they fell to Danville San Ramon Valley in the 2015 State Division I championship contest in Berkeley, trailed by nine points late in the first half and by 10 a few times deep into the second half.

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La Lumiere, Mater Dei roll to HoopHall West victories

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – There are those who follow such things closely that believe that the La Lumiere School has the most gifted roster in all of high school and prep school basketball.

And, based upon what happened during the final game of the two-day HoopHall West Invitational, those same folks are feeling vindicated about their beliefs.

The LaPorte, IN-based Lakers had no difficulty in improving to 9-0 while subduing a talented but young Houston Westbury Christian squad, 91-44, Saturday night in the Chaparral High gymnasium in the 11th and final game of the event.

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DeAndre Ayton leads team in HoopHall West opener

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The front-court of DeAndre Ayton, Alfred Hollins and Shamiel Stevenson accounted for a collective 50 points and 30 rebounds Friday night.

And that was more than enough as Hillcrest Prep of Phoenix pulled away in the second half for a 73-51 victory over Houston Westbury Christian during the HoopHall West Invitational at Chaparral High.

It was a five-game, eight-hour first day of the event, with action tipping between New York City’s Christ the King and Phoenix St. Mary’s at about 4 o’clock and wrapping up with the Hillcrest Prep-Westbury Christian a few minutes past midnight.

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Meet Frank
Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

To learn more about Frank's scouting services, click here.


“I’ve known Frank since he was a student at Long Beach State and no writer ever worked harder at studying and understanding basketball. When I was coaching I always put more stock into what he said about (high school) players than anyone I knew. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best there is at evaluating the potential of basketball players.”
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame and NCAA Championship Winning Coach

"I have known Frank for 15 years and there is no one outside of those in the Clippers' organization that I trust more than Frank when it comes to player evaluations."
Neil Olshey, Los Angeles Clippers' Vice President of Basketball Operations

“Frank Burlison has always been a proponent of my talent and, even more so, of my potential – far before it was evident to most. Even as a smaller and determined player who was being overlooked by most high-major colleges and national scouting services, Frank always served as a friendly voice who got me into the door to most events to help me prove my talents.”
Russell Westbrook, the No. 4 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA and an all-star guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder

To see what other people in basketball are saying about Frank, click here.