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Eighth-annual showcase features top local teams and talent

The eighth annual MLK Showcase will make Hoover High the epicenter of San Diego high school basketball on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The six-game showcase on Monday, Jan. 16 features a handful of the top teams and players in the section paired in intriguing matchups.

“When we started it, we wanted to have a feature event for local teams and get some different matchups – matchups that normally people wouldn’t see,” said Hoover head coach Ollie Goulston. “I’m excited about the matchups this year.”

General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students, and doors open at 11 a.m. Hoover has put on the MLK Showcase for the past eight seasons, and is hosting the showcase for the first time in three seasons.

“It’s a really fun, great day of basketball,” Goulston said.

A look at the MLK Showcase matchups (records, rankings, and stats as of Jan. 15)

Girls – Mission Bay (12-4) vs. La Jolla Country Day (16-1) noon

The showcase tips off with a tilt between two of the best girls teams in the section – the Union-Tribune has the Torreys ranked No. 1 and the Buccaneers ranked fourth. Led by USD-bound sisters Maya and Malina Hood, La Jolla Country Day has earned national acclaim this season, currently sitting atop the MaxPreps computer poll. Mission Bay boasts a stellar backcourt of senior Keyahndra Cannon (16.1 ppg) and junior Briteesha Solomon (24.9).

#7 San Ysidro (14-3) vs. Horizon (5-7) 1:30 p.m.

The first boys game of the showcase features a Division I contender and the defending Division V champion. Senior guard Javion Watson (committed to Long Beach State) averages 30.4 points per game to lead a high-flying Cougars team that has section title aspirations. Horizon has struggled this season, but the Panthers already own a win over San Ysidro – a 65-58 victory in the Cougar Classic on Dec. 26.

“San Ysidro has a very good team and Terry Tucker has done a great job building the program,” Goulston said. “They play an exciting brand of basketball.”

Mark Hall Memorial Classic – Morse (15-5) vs. #8 Mount Miguel (15-2) 3 p.m.

The second game of the showcase is the fourth edition of the Mark Hall Memorial Classic, honoring a 2004 Hoover graduate and former Cardinals basketball player who died in a car accident in 2006. Part of the proceeds from the game will be donated to the “Blow the Whistle on Cancer” campaign. The game rekindles a South Bay rivalry between Morse and Mount Miguel, section championship contenders that don’t meet often despite being only 10 miles apart.

“It’s not a matchup that you normally see, but it’s a neighborhood battle,” Goulston said.

#1 La Costa Canyon (17-2) vs. Francis Parker (7-8) 4:30 p.m.

Top-ranked La Costa Canyon takes on small school contender Francis Parker in the third game of the showcase. The Mavericks are the deepest team in the section, anchored by two Division I signees – guard David Travers (Georgia State) and forward Matt Shrigley (San Diego State). Francis Parker is off to a slow but is playing its best basketball of the season, led by UC Santa Barbara-bound senior guard Dalante Dunklin.

#2 Hoover (18-2) vs. #9 El Camino (13-4) 6 p.m.

The featured matchup of the showcase is a rematch of last year’s marquee game – a North-South showdown between Top 10 teams. El Camino beat Hoover last year at Point Loma Nazarene, and the host Cardinals will be out for revenge. Both teams are amongst the most athletic in the section, and this game will be played at a frenetic pace. Standouts include a pair of senior guards – Hoover’s Chris Jones and El Camino’s Dayton Boddie (committed to UC Riverside).

La Jolla Prep (6-12) vs. Simi Valley Stoneridge Prep (15-10) 7:30 p.m.

The showcase nightcap gives a local glimpse of prep school basketball, more prevalent on the East Coast. La Jolla Prep is a basketball-only academy started by Gary Trousdale this past summer that features Division I players Jarion Henry (Oklahoma) and Strahinja Gavrilovic (USC). The two teams in the showcase finale feature as many as 12 Division I prospects.

“It’s a chance for local fans to see what prep school basketball is all about, and see that high-caliber level of basketball,” Goulston said. “Prep schools tend to have more high profile athletes because they can recruit and bring kids in – they’re not restricted to a certain area.”

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Pictured: El Camino guard Dayton Boddie and the Wildcats take on Hoover in marquee game of the MLK Showcase on Jan. 16

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