Boys’ basketball: 5 burning questions
Answer: Yes. The Wildcats played a difficult schedule in an effort to be better prepared for this stage of the season. Victories in 23 of 24 games indicates this team, led by Justin Cook, is ready to take the next step. They were awared the second seed and it appears as if third-seeded Cathedral City and top-seeded Serrano of Phelan are the only teams standing in the way of that elusive championship. 5. Which underrated player from the area has the opportunity to make a name for himself in the playoffs, perhaps attract the interest of a potential Division I college program? Answer: Knight of Palmdale’s Hassan Stephens. The 6-foot-5 senior wing averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for Hawks during the regular season, but showed the ability to take over games at times despite the modest numbers. He’s not being heavily recruited at this stage. In fact, only a couple of local junior colleges have expressed interest thus far. All that could change, though, especially if Stephens is productive throughout the Div. II-A playoffs. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Keep in mind, it’s not as if there are inferior programs in the 32-team field. In fact, Price of Los Angeles and La Canada are very good. The Vikings, however, are much better. Jrue and Justin Holiday, Robert Ford and company are in a class of their own. Don’t be surprised to see Campbell Hall make a run at the Div. IV state title. 3. Which area team is poised to play the role of Cinderella and make an unexpected run in the postseason? Answer: Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Sure, the Knights are competing against the best of the best in Southern Section Div. I-AA, where powerhouses Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Artesia of Lakewod, Compton and Compton Dominguez reside. But Notre Dame has some talented individuals, led by Pierce Brooks and Mike Stanton. This group can pull off an upset or two before a possible semifinal meeting with Artesia. 4. Despite playing in relative obscurity in recent years, tiny Renassaince Academy of La Canada Flintridge advanced to consecutive Southern Section Div. V-A championship games. The Wildcats made the jump and moved up to Div. III-A this season as a result of their success. Can they manage to finally win the big game, in a much tougher division, no less? 2. Is there any team in the Southern Section capable of stopping Campbell Hall of North Hollywood from claiming the Div. III-AA title? Answer: Nope. No way. No how. No chance. 1. How has the dynamic changed in the City Section Championship playoffs since Taft of Woodland Hills was ruled ineligible for postseason play after using two ineligible players during the regular season? Answer: Things aren’t much different. Larry Drew and the Toreadors were expected to make some noise, possibly advancing to the semifinals before running into top-seeded Fairfax or second-seeded Westchester. Poly of Sun Valley and Sylmar could still open some eyes, but ultimately Fairfax and standout Chace Stanback, bound for UCLA, figure to be too tough, and champions in the end.