Jake Kyman and Max Agbonkpolo are the rarest of the rare — two standout basketball players who’ve stayed for four years at the same high school, Santa Margarita. Kyman is headed to UCLA; Agbonkpolo to USC. They’ve fought together too hard to go quietly in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
“It’s really cool and amazing,” Kyman said.
“We know how to deal with pressure,” Agbonkpolo said. “Nothing fazes us. We’re been here before.”
Santa Margarita (20-10) moved into the Division 1 quarterfinals with a 70-58 victory over Encino Crespi on Tuesday night. Agbonkpolo scored 22 points, Kendall McHugh had 16 and Kyman scored 15. Selah Robbins was eight for eight on free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off a Crespi team that received 28 points and eight three-point baskets from junior guard Robert Power.
Next up for Santa Margarita is a Thursday game at La Verne Damien, which defeated Hacienda Heights Los Altos 86-72. Malik Thomas scored 30 points and Austin Cook had 27 for Damien. Los Altos’ Jarod Lucas, the Southern Section’s all-time scoring leader, finished with 35 points and 3,356 points in his career.
It’s going to be the battle of private schools in another Division 1 quarterfinal. Studio City Harvard-Westlake received 30 points from Johnny Juzang in an 81-60 win over Redondo and will travel to Brentwood. Brentwood defeated San Juan Capistrano JSerra 63-57. Braelee Albert scored 21 points and Brett Polson had 20.
Windward knocked off Long Beach Poly 57-53. Kijani Wright and Devin Tillis each scored 18 points. Top-seeded Chino Hills defeated Anaheim Canyon 68-51. Onyeka Okongwu and Nick Manor-Hall each scored 26 points. Loyola defeated Pasadena 58-53. CJ Jones and Neil Owens each scored 13 points.
In Open Division pool play, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon is the lone undefeated team in its pool after a 75-72 win over Bellflower St. John Bosco. Cassius Stanley scored 22 points and Scotty Pippen Jr. had 21 points. The Trailblazers will play host to Corona Centennial on Friday night to decide who advances to the championship game Feb. 23 at Cal Baptist. Centennial was beaten by Santa Ana Mater Dei 82-71. Ryan Evans scored 27 points for the Monarchs.
In the other pool, Torrance Bishop Montgomery lost to Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 50-41. Etiwanda was beaten by Temecula Rancho Christian 61-49. That leaves four schools with 1-1 records and all with a chance to reach the final. On Friday, Rancho Verde is at Rancho Christian and Bishop Montgomery is at Etiwanda. Head-to-head competition will end up breaking the two-way tie that will happen at the end of Friday’s games.