The City Section first-round Open Division playoff game on Saturday night between defending Division I champion El Camino Real (19-7) and Narbonne (22-7) matches two teams with successful young coaches.
Joe Wyatt guided the Conquistadores to their title last season in his first season as coach. Anthony Hilliard has rapidly built Narbonne into a Marine League power after moving over from Gardena following the 2013 season when he won a Division II championship.
Both teams have eyes on toppling No. 1-seeded Fairfax, and the winner on Saturday will probably get the chance on Feb. 28.
Narbonne has been gaining momentum after the arrival of several football players who needed to get into shape. Jamal Hicks and Alex Akingbulu have done just that.
"The football players have been working hard," Hilliard said. "No excuses."
Point guard Shane Carney has been solid, and sophomore Psalm Maduakor, the younger brother of last season's star, Reverend Maduakor, has been coming on fast.
El Camino Real doesn't have much size, but when the Conquistadores play tough defense, they can beat anybody. And Saturday's game figures to be a low-scoring, defensive grind, with perhaps a final shot deciding it.