Astaire and Rogers didn't dance this often, but--one, two, three, four . . . one, two, three, four--here we go again.
Faith Baptist (26-6) and Campbell Hall (20-10) will meet for the fourth time in two months today at 4:30 p.m. in a Southern regional boys' Division V semifinal at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
The teams met twice in Delphic League play and again last Saturday for the Southern Section Division V-AA championship. Today's victor will play for the Division V state title next weekend at Arco Arena in Sacramento.
"I'm just thankful we have another opportunity to play them," Faith Baptist Coach Stuart Mason said.
In the V-AA final, Faith Baptist was routed, 60-40, in what easily ranks as its worst performance of the season. The Contenders shot 23% from the field and were held to a season low in points, 35 fewer than their average. All five starters entered the game averaging more than 10 points a game.
Campbell Hall, 13-10 in the regular season, has made a huge transformation in the playoffs. The Vikings have outscored their seven postseason opponents by an average margin of 22.9 points. Senior guard Austin McKellar has averaged 16.6 points and junior guard C.J. Thompkins has averaged 15.6.
Campbell Hall has held its playoff opponents to an average of 48.1 points and five teams have been held to 51 points or fewer.
"We always try to hold them under 50," said Thompkins, who scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Vikings to a 69-51 victory over Bel-Air Prep on Thursday. "The defense has been tough and that sets everything else up."
Campbell Hall's transition attack could hit a roadblock today, however.
"I don't anticipate a race game," said Mason, whose team has won 17 of its past 18 games. "If it's a race, we have some runners. I think it will be more deliberate."
Both teams run three-guard offenses. Senior guard Alex (Loafie) Estrada, who like McKellar was a preseason All-State selection in Division V, leads Faith Baptist with a 17.7-point average.
Center-forward Peter Rasmussen scored a team-high 17 points Thursday to lead Faith Baptist past Ribet Academy, 65-53. Estrada, the Delphic League's most valuable player, added 16.
Estrada made three of 18 shots from the field in the V-AA final but predicted after Thursday's victory that "we're gonna win" the Campbell Hall rematch, Act IV.
Who would have guessed it would come to this? Mason, for one.
"I've got to be honest," he said. "We scouted or played every team in the (Division V-AA) top 10 and I've felt all along that the two best teams were Faith Baptist and Campbell Hall."
Or Campbell Hall and Faith Baptist.
All that remains is for the teams to determine which should be listed first.