Column: Harvard-Westlake wins, will meet Sierra Canyon in an A-list state regional semifinal
Get ready for the TMZ game of the year in high school basketball, where the potential for celebrity sightings in the world of entertainment and sports might produce a social media meltdown.
Yes, the much dreamed-about basketball meeting between Studio City Harvard-Westlake and Chatsworth Sierra Canyon is Saturday night at 7 at Pepperdine. Besides the parking lot being filled with Teslas, Corvettes and Porsches, this will be old school vs. new school in terms of private school bragging rights.
The matchup was set on Wednesday when Harvard-Westlake won its playoff opener in the Southern California Open Division regional by defeating Corona Centennial 63-55. Poor Centennial. The Huskies lost five games all season but three of them were to Harvard-Westlake.
“Beating a great team three times is difficult,” Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo said. “They fight you for 32 minutes and in our case 96 minutes. They gave us all we could handle.”
Clutch three by Cameron Thrower of Harvard-Westlake. pic.twitter.com/1tteIJK9Ux— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) March 5, 2020
Cameron Thrower was the hero for the Wolverines (25-6). Rebibo called timeout with 46.1 seconds left and his team clinging to a two-point lead. He set up a play for Thrower, who buried a three-point shot. The Wolverines went on a 9-0 surge in the fourth quarter to wipe out a three-point deficit.
Brase Dottin led Harvard-Westlake with 22 points. Mason Hooks added 19 points. Centennial received 16 points from Donovan Dent and 15 from Paris Dawson.
The big problem for Centennial was having to deal with the 6-foot-10 Hooks.
“They’re a great team,” Hooks said. “We had a lull in the middle of the game and locked in down at the end.”
Now comes a test between Harvard-Westlake’s size and desire to get the ball inside vs. Sierra Canyon’s athleticism and desire to fast break.
“They’re talented,” Hooks said. “We’re going to get a good game plan, lock in on defense and play our style.”
The two schools haven’t been eager to schedule a game but have been competing for bragging rights in the San Fernando Valley. Harvard-Westlake has a long list of A-list alumni from actors Mark Harmon and Jake Gyllenhaal to mayor Eric Garcetti. Sierra Canyon is the new school seeking attention with Kendall Jenner and the children of Will Smith and Jamie Foxx having attended the school.
Sierra Canyon has only recently become a sports powerhouse. Marvin Bagley III got the Trailblazers rolling, and he’s been followed by the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. This year, the Trailblazers produced their first two McDonald’s All-Americans in Brandon Boston and Ziaire Williams.
The other semifinal on Saturday will have Etiwanda playing at Santa Ana Mater Dei. Etiwanda defeated Temecula Rancho Christian 67-61. Jahmai Mashack scored 19 points for Etiwanda.
There were some huge Open Division girls’ playoff games on Wednesday. Los Angeles Windward overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Sierra Canyon 66-59. Freshman Juju Watkins scored 22 points. Maya Stokes and McKayla Williams made clutch free throws in the final seconds. Williams scored 15 points and Stokes 14. Ashley Chevalier scored 25 points in her final game for Sierra Canyon.
Windward advances to Saturday’s semifinals and will play host to Long Beach Poly, which eliminated Southern Section Open Division champion Mater Dei 55-50. Etiwanda won its opener over Corona Centennial 65-59.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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