Keppel 63, Norwalk 54
Pasadena 79, Ayala 56
La Canada at Campbell Hall
Bishop Amat at St. Francis
La Salle 67, Maranatha 50
Pasadena Poly 54, Crossroads 46
Renaissance Academy at Chadwick
Rio Hondo Prep 62, California Lutheran 46
AGBU 71, Safety Academy 41
LA SALLE AT MARANATHA: Matt Nolan, Josh Anderson and Michael Edwards were virtually unstoppable in leading the Lancers (19-8) to a convincing 75-53 win over Blair in the first-round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A playoffs. Anderson scored with such ease, slashing past defenders and going to the rim with authority. He scored 17 points and Anderson also added 17 on 6-of-9 shooting. If La Salle’s front court plays as efficient as it did against Blair, then you can bet Maranatha (18-10) will have a hard time stopping them, too. The Minutemen recorded an easy 59-38 win over Kern Valley. Both teams met early in summer league, but of course, it’s not summer league anymore. It’s win or go home.
PASADENA AT AYALA: It’s around this time in the CIF-Southern Section boys basketball playoffs when Pasadena High School infamously is known for making an early exit. Sure, it’s only been in the last two years when the Bulldogs have fallen in the second round, but it’s something that will definitely be on their minds when Pasadena (21-6) visits Ayala (17-11) at 7 tonight in Division 2A action. “The second round the last couple of years have been a demon,” Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker said. “Of course you can’t not think about that when you head into this second-round game.” Pasadena is the No. 2 seed and favored to make a finals run. Tucker said anytime a team is one of the top two seeded teams they’re expected to make a deep run. “That’s part of being the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, you’re supposed to make it there (the finals),” Tucker said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. There’s a target on our backs, there’s pressure, but this is why you play the tough schedule that you play early in the season.”
Still fresh in the Bulldogs’ minds, however, are early exits at the hands of Arroyo Valley and Long Beach Poly. But don’t be quick to call it nerves. “Not nerves,” Tucker said. “I would say it’s more like in the back of our mind that’s in our past. I respect Ayala, but we’re no longer talking about Long Beach Poly and Arroyo Valley.”
LA CANADA AT CAMPBELL HALL: When La Caada (22-5) visits Campbell Hall (20-7) in Division 3A, the Spartans will play in front of the smallest crowd for a playoff game.
Campbell Hall’s gym accommodates only 200 fans, which means 100 seats are for La Caada. Those include 40 for parents and family. Fans wishing to attend the game still can do so but will have to watch from a live feed sent to a TV at another building in the school. “I guess fans who don’t want to do that can read the story in the paper,” La Caada coach Tom Hofman said. “It’s going to be a very ridiculous situation.” Nevertheless, the Spartans are still alive thanks to Omar Rady’s heads up play, when with less than 20 seconds stole the ball and converted a layup to give La Caada a 53-52 win over Brea Olinda. Trailing on Rady’s winning play was Kyle Caudill, a 7-foot, 265 pound junior forward who came close to blocking Rady’s winning shot. La Caada was up by four at halftime and had a 9-point lead in the fourth quarter that dissipated after the Spartans went scoreless for six minutes. Brea Olinda had three shot attempts in the final 20 seconds but couldn’t convert.
KEPPEL AT NORWALK: Fourth-seeded Keppel (22-5) visits Norwalk (16-12) in Division 2A, and the host Lancers have a formidable weapon in guard Anthony Holliday, who averages 18 points per game. But the Aztecs quickly are building a reputation of slowing down the big man on the opposite team. In its 58-50 first-round win over West Valley, Keppel held guard Lekeith Kimbrough to only 12 points. He entered the game averaging 30.6 points. “This kid was legit,” Keppel coach Hung Duong said. “We face-guarded him and were able to have other kids help out and we focused on limiting his drive to the basket.” The fourth-seeded Aztecs have another plan for stopping Holiday. “We were fortunate to have film on Norwalk,” Duong said. “We definitely need to stop (Holliday). He’ll be a handful, but we’ll have to make him earn and work for his shots. We can’t make it easy for him.” Keppel has improved drastically since last year’s first-round exit to Summit. It loaded its schedule with the likes of La Caada and Renaissance Academy, a team the Aztecs beat twice this season. Renaissance Academy is the top seed and favored to win the Division 5A crown.