Corona Centennial and Harvard-Westlake set for Southern Section title showdown
And then there were two. The Southern Section Open Division championship basketball game on Friday night matches two teams that have been consistently good all season — Corona Centennial (29-1) and Harvard-Westlake (24-2).
Centennial’s exceptional guard duo of Donovan Dent and Jared McClain presents a major challenge to a Harvard-Westlake program that has defeated the Huskies five consecutive times. But that Centennial losing streak is irrelevant because these are new teams and new players. It does show that Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo has a good feel for what the Huskies do.
“I think David is one of, if not the best, coach around,” Centennial coach Josh Giles said. “They are incredibly well prepared and disciplined.”
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Rebibo has equal respect for Centennial, particularly its guard tandem. “They’re a tremendous duo,” he said. “They’ve got great chemistry.”
For Harvard-Westlake to win, Brady Dunlap and Cameron Thrower will need to be productive on offense, as they were in a 63-60 win over Sierra Canyon. And big men Landon Lewis and Jacob Huggins must rebound with the authority they showed against Sierra Canyon.
Centennial has been so good from beginning to end that the Huskies clearly deserve the favorite’s role and will get to play the game in their cozy, loud gym. “It’s going to be popping,” Giles said.
Centennial has four starters back from last season’s Open Division championship game, so they know how to perform under pressure.
Win or lose, both teams will be back in action next week for the Southern California regional playoffs that lead to the state championships March 11-12 in Sacramento. This could be the first of a two-game test in the coming weeks.
With more than 600 wins under his belt, Michael Lynch will retire from coaching high school basketball.
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