Orange County boys basketball fans won’t have to wait until the quarterfinals or the semifinals for outstanding matchups in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Wednesday’s first round includes many games that have Orange County teams playing against each other.
The best of the bunch is Santa Margarita at Los Alamitos in a Division 1 game at 7 p.m.
Santa Margarita is No. 5 in the Orange County Top 25 and Los Alamitos is No. 11. It’s unusual that such highly-ranked teams meet in a first-round game.
Santa Margarita (20-8) finished in a tie with JSerra and Orange Lutheran for third in the Trinity League. The Eagles beat Mater Dei this season for the first time since 2005.
Eagles 6-foot-8 senior forward Rockwell Reynolds, who signed with Northern Arizona, was All-Orange County third team last season and a candidate for first team this season. Freshman guard Brayden Kyman (6-6) is a terrific outside shooter, and sophomore Dallas Washington (6-9) adds scoring and rebounding power.
The Griffins (22-6) were co-champs in the Surf League and have several excellent players. Sophomore forward Trent Minter was MVP of the Tustin Classic in December. Sophomore guard Liam Gray scored a team-high 17 points last week in a crucial win over Edison, and sophomore guard Wes Trevino came off the bench to score 15 points against Edison.
Edison (19-9) has a first-round home game Wednesday at 7 p.m. against No. 18 Villa Park (17-10), the third-place team from the Crestview League.
Edison 6-2 junior guard Kaz Hampton often is the team’s leading scorer. In the loss last week to Los Alamitos, senior guard Dylan Hugues and senior forward Tucker Tripp scored 11 points each. Chargers 6-6 junior forward Dane Johnson is a dependable rebounder.
Villa Park 6-7 sophomore guard Dakari Harris looks like a future college player. He scored 17 points with 10 rebounds when the Spartans lost at Canyon two weeks ago. Villa Park 6-foot senior guard Michael Archer is a consistent scorer.
Troy (19-9) is seeded No. 4 in Division 4AA after it finished third in the Freeway League. The Warriors have a challenging first-round game Wednesday night at Garden Grove League champion Santiago (18-10).
The Warriors beat La Habra and Sunny Hills in league play. They are a balanced-scoring group led by senior guard Rayaan Khan’s 13 points a game.
Santiago won the Garden Grove League with an 8-2 record. Senior guard Jacob Buboi is a top candidate for league player of the year. Santiago has another asset: it’s one of the county’s more challenging gyms for a visiting team.
Several O.C. girls basketball teams improved dramatically to reach CIF-SS playoffs
Orange County boys athlete of the week: Collin Haugh, Dana Hills
Final Orange County girls basketball stat leaders: 2022-23 season
Final Orange County boys basketball stat leaders: 2022-23 regular season
Final CIF-SS boys basketball polls 2022-23 season
Other Wednesday first-round games matching two O.C. teams: San Juan Hills at Crean Lutheran in Division 1; Orange Lutheran at Aliso Niguel and Marina at Tesoro, 2AA; Portola at Pacifica Christian, 2A; Laguna Hills at Newport Harbor and Mission Viejo at Western, 3A; Santa Ana at Segerstrom, 4A; and Anaheim Discovery at Loara, 5AA.
All boys basketball playoff games begin at 7 p.m. unless a change of starting time is agreed upon by both teams and approved by the CIF-SS office. Admission to playoff games is $5 for children (5-13 years old) and for students, and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at GoFan.co.