Brethren Christian has all but cruised to victory during the first three weeks of the Academy League boys' basketball season, but with five wins under their belt, the Warriors face their most formidable test yet when they play host to St. Margaret's Thursday.
The Tartans and Warriors tip off at 8 p.m. at Ocean View as the first half of the AL race comes to a close for the Warriors.
BC enters the game ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division 5AA. St. Margaret's is the No. 11 team in Division 4A.
"St. Margaret's has a big frontline and will have the size advantage on our team," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "They are also well-coached and play solid defense. We will try to use our quickness and ball pressure to control tempo."
BC ran its league record to 5-0 and overall mark to 17-2 Friday by easily handling visiting Downey Calvary Chapel, 70-31. The Warriors rolled despite not having starting point guard Brandon Bryson (back injury) for the game. Junior guard Andrew Hall filled in for Bryson and scored six points to go with six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Sophomore forward Cameron Griffin was the game's high scorer with 18 points. Senior forward Patrick Poss had 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals and "played a great game," Bahnsen said.
"It was a good team win with everyone contributing," Bahnsen said. "It gives us something positive to work off of heading into a tough game against St. Margaret's which will be a big game in determining the league title."
Griffin leads BC in scoring and rebounding per game with 18.5 and 8.6 averages, respectively, heading into Thursday's showdown with St. Margaret's. Senior guard Caleb Keller averages 14 points, junior forward Guy Demazeliere averages 7.3 rebounds, and Bryson leads in assists (7.8) and steals (5.2) per game.
Bahnsen said Bryson will return to the BC lineup Thursday.
Players to watch for St. Margaret's (15-3) include 6-foot-4 junior wing Brent Cahill, 6-7 junior center Matt Nicholas, and 6-6 freshman wing Sebastian Much. The trio combined for 49 points, with 24 going to Cahill, Tuesday as the Tartans went to 6-0 in league by pulling away to a 71-53 win over Crean Lutheran.
The Warriors and St. Margaret's play a rematch at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Margaret's.
Following Thursday's game against St. Margaret's, BC, which is seeking its sixth consecutive Academy League title, comes right back to the court at Ocean View Friday to play host to Whitney to start the second round of league play.
•Ocean View will take part once again in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High. The Seahawks face Servite at 3 p.m. Friday. The event, in its 10th year, features 14 games through Saturday. The Ocean View-Servite game is the opening matchup of the weekend.
Ocean View (10-11 overall) first played at the Extravaganza during the 1997-98 season.
Servite is ranked ninth in CIF Southern Section Division 3AA.
"They get after it, and are one of the better defensive teams in the county," Ocean View Coach Tim Walsh said of the Friars. "Since they play in the Trinity League, people don't realize how good they are.
"The game will be a great challenge for us, and we are looking forward to it."
Ocean View ran its Golden West League record to 5-1 Monday by routing visiting Santa Ana, 67-33. Senior guard Angel Nieves had 16 points and four assists, junior forward Zarek Osborne 16 points and eight rebounds, and the Seahawks came up with 19 offensive rebounds against the Saints.
In a previous league game Friday, Ocean View won, 59-41, at Orange. Nieves knocked down four three-points shots and finished with 12 points, Osborne scored 10 points and senior guard Alex Merdjanian had 11 points and seven assists for the Seahawks who were playing their third road game in five days.
"I was really happy with the way we bounced back after the Westminster game," Walsh said of the win at Orange. "We were focused from the start, and were able to jump on them early. It was our third game of a challenging week, and we were happy to get a lot of guys in."
In a Jan. 19 game that determined the leader in the Golden West League, Ocean View fell, 57-42, at Westminster. Nieves led the Seahawks with 11 points.
Ocean View hosted league foe Loara in a key game Wednesday. The score wasn't available at press time. The Seahawks' next league test is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Segerstrom.
•Edison took a defensive battle from visiting Huntington Beach Friday to earn its third Sunset League victory, 46-46.
Junior guard Brae Ivey had 11 points for the Chargers who are ranked seventh in CIF Southern Section Division 1A and improved to 3-1 in league and 16-4 overall.
"We struggled offensively due to the good defense of Huntington Beach but were able to score some baskets when we needed them," Edison Coach Rich Boyce said.
Senior guard Mason Luna topped Huntington (1-3 league) with nine points, senior forward Ryan Chocek had eight points, and senior guard Ryan Morrissey six points.
"I thought we played a great defensive game, we just had those scoring droughts that have plagued us this year," Huntington Coach Fabian Luna said. "We played hard and I was proud of our effort."
•Marina won its second Sunset League game Friday by sinking Fountain Valley, 84-57. Sophomore wing Buzz Stafford had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Vikings who improved to 2-2 in league and 8-12 overall. Other Vikings in double figures included junior guard Daniel Neff, who hit three three-point shots and scored 18 points to go with seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Braden Meyers with 15 points.
Marina entered the week tied with Newport Harbor for third place in the Sunset League standings. The teams played Wednesday but that score, as well as scores from other Sunset games between Fountain Valley-Edison and Los Alamitos-Huntington Beach, wasn't available at press time.
Sophomore forward Chris Meyer scored 12 points for Fountain Valley which slipped to 0-4 in league.
"We are getting better every day, learning how to prepare correctly for our opponents, and making great adjustments on the fly," Marina Coach Nick Racklin said. "Team chemistry is great and we are still in hopes of a league title."
Los Alamitos (4-0 league) retained sole possession of first place in the Sunset League Friday by winning, 66-45, over visiting Newport Harbor (2-2 league).
In Sunset League games at 7 p.m. Friday, Marina plays host to Edison, Fountain Valley travels to Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach plays host to Newport Harbor.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Boys' Basketball: Edison (No. 7, Division 1A); Brethren Christian (No. 3, Division 5AA).