W.S. Di Piero 9:19 a.m., June 19
Second-annual event features six San Diego-Los Angeles matchups
Southern California high school basketball bragging rights are up for grabs on the hardwood this Saturday in Lincoln Park. Lincoln High School will host the second annual San Diego vs. Los Angeles Hoops Challenge on Jan. 7, a six-game showcase matching top teams in the section against counterparts from the north.
“The idea is to ignite an interest in basketball by bringing teams that are ranked high in the state down to San Diego and show us some good basketball,” said Lincoln head coach Jason Bryant. “We wanted to give some San Diego teams an opportunity to play teams from the Los Angeles area.”
General admission tickets are $10 and courtside seating will also be available. San Diego won each of the three games in last year’s inaugural event, with La Costa Canyon, St. Augustine and Lincoln notching victories.
“We don’t get these kind of games often enough in San Diego, and it is going to be a great day for basketball – good games and good competition,” Bryant said.
A look at of each of the six SD-LA Challenge matchups (records as of Jan. 5):
Horizon (5-6) vs. Compton Centennial (1-10) 1 p.m.
The first matchup of the day features two teams trying to shake slow starts. Horizon is led by the backcourt duo of senior Markel Byrd and junior Darren Carrington (9.0 ppg).
Torrey Pines (8-7) vs. Long Beach Jordan (10-4) 2:30 p.m.
Torrey Pines faces a Long Beach Jordan team fresh off winning the Lynwood Christmas Challenge by an average of 23 points per game. The guard-heavy Panthers have similar size to the Falcons, who are led by senior guards Joe Rahon and Garrett Galvin.
St. Augustine (13-2) vs. Gardena Serra (12-1) 4 p.m.
St. Augustine is off to its best start in eight seasons, and after winning the Holiday Classic Senators Division championship the Saints have the look of a section title contender. Led by junior guard Brynton Lemar, St. Augustine faces a tough task against Gardena Serra. The Cavaliers boast a front line of 6-foot-10 junior Emmanual Ndumanya and 6-foot-6 Daddy Ugbede, along with senior guard Dakarai Tucker.
La Costa Canyon (16-1) vs. La Verne Lutheran (11-4) 5:30 p.m.
Top-ranked La Costa Canyon squares off against two-time defending Division III state champion La Verne Lutheran in the premier matchup of the showcase. The Mavericks are one of the deepest and most talented teams in the section and will be tested by the Trojans, who are led by a pair of seniors headed to the University of Arizona – 6-foot-10 forward Grant Jerrett and 6-foot-3 guard Eric Cooper.
Francis Parker (5-7) vs. Los Angeles Windward (11-5) 7 p.m.
Led by UC Santa Barbara-bound senior guard Dalante Dunklin, Francis Parker doesn’t have a stellar preseason record – but the Lancers still haven’t lost to a San Diego team as part of a stout early schedule. It won’t be easy for Francis Parker against defending Division IV state champion Windward, led by the inside-outside combo of junior point guard Jordan Wilson and senior forward Nicholas Stover. The Wildcats are coming off an impressive showing at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.
Lincoln (6-5) vs. Woodland Hills Taft (10-3) 8:30 p.m.
Led by junior twins Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, Lincoln has labored through a national schedule in the early season and will look to protect its home court in the showcase nightcap. Under first-year head coach and former nine-year NBA veteran Jason Hart, Taft has quickly established itself as a state title contender. The Toreadors’ senior frontcourt of 6-foot-5 Brandon Perry and 6-foot-7 Anthony January (committed to Texas-El Paso) will be a difficult matchup for the Hornets.