With finals over at Oregon State and winter looming over here in Corvallis, I decided to take a trip back to my hometown of beautiful San Diego, California to check out some high school basketball. Currently, San Diego hosts none other than five star Duke commit Boogie Ellis from Mission Bay High school, as well as some other talented prep stars. Over the last week, San Diego High Schools took on Southern Section Schools, who is known as the best section in the entire United States. As San Diego High School basketball looks to close to gap between the two sections, here are four games that I was in attendance for:
1) La Jolla Country Day versus Orange Lutheran
Friday’s first game brought an intriguing match-up, with the La Jolla Country Day Torreys matching up with the Orange Lutheran Lancers from Orange, California. Orange Lutheran plays in the Trinity League with none other than Santa Ana Mater Dei and as a result plays a tough schedule year in, year out. Orange Lutheran heralds four star prospect Makur Makur, cousin of Milwaukee Buck’s Thon Maker. Raw, but physically gifted, the Canadian product has a display of athletic dunks, but could work on his finesse and overall game. The Lancers also have 6’8” post man Cade Potter, whom recently committed to Utah State. 6’5” wing Isaiah “Get A Bucket” Pope rounded out the Lancers, whom can get to the basket at will and finish in a copious amount of ways as well as punish you from the perimeter if you leave him too much room. Pope was a part of the Compton Magic last season, as he gained a multitude of experience and currently is “in his bag”. La Jolla Country Day’s Ryan Landborg showed why he is Princeton bound with his leadership skills, ball handling, and knack to score at his every will. Landlord scored 30 points at will to keep La Jolla Country Day in the game, but Orange Lutheran ultimately came up with the victory, as their depth was too much for their San Diego counterparts.
2) Mission Bay versus Rancho Christian
Friday’s marquee match-up had Number 9 in the country Rancho Christian square up against Mission Bay and Duke recruit Boogie Ellis. Scouts and basketball gods alike were in the house, with none other than Compton Magic’s Etop Udo-Ema in the house to check out the Mobley Brothers, who came off a stellar summer with the Magic, winning the Adidas Gauntlet as well as defeating the Nike EYBL Peach Jam champions. Mikey Williams, 8th grade sensation, top player in his class, and LeBron James Jr’s Blue Chips running mate was also in attendance, as he awaits to suit up for San Ysidro High School next year. For the Buccaneers, Boogie Ellis made himself a name last year in the Nike EYBL circuit where he averaged 16 points in the Peach Jam and shot a ridiculous 53 percent from three point land. Rancho Christian, hailing from Temecula, stars the Mobley Twins, top 25 talents in their respective classes, headed to USC to play with their father. Isaiah Mobley, senior, is headed to USC to play for his father, as well as Evan Mobley, who is considered by several publications as the top junior in the country. The night was a struggle of superstars, as Boogie was constantly being double teamed and had an average nigh by his means, putting up 23 points. The Mobley twins had a somewhat lazy start and struggled offensively against 6’7” bulky big man Ronnie Latting. The heroes for Mission Bay were senior guard Jay Norton, who handles the spot light with ease, making multiple tough jumpers, including a three over Isaiah Mobley, putting up a solid 22 points. The game was incredibly back and forth, as the sell-out crowd enjoyed a game of the year type event. However, down the stretch, the Mobley Twins were too much for the Buccaneers, as they ran away with a five point victory, winning 70-65.
3) Mission Bay versus Chino Hills
The following day, Mission Bay had no time to remember losses as they had a date with none other than Chino Hills. With the last Ball graduating last year (Andre Ball, now playing for the Pepperdine Waves), Chino Hills still has the talents of Onyeka Okongwu, USC commit along with other role players. The CIF Division 1 State champs showed why they’re a forced to be reckoned with, as Onyeka paced the Huskies defensively and had a myriad of impressive dunks. Mission Bay’s Boogie Ellis struggled yet again, forcing up a myriad of shots and ultimately could not find this rhythm. Onyeka Okongwu finished with a monstrous game as he paced the Huskies with 20 and 20 and the Bucs just couldn’t recover from the USC commit’s post dominance.
4) Torrey Pines versus Bishop Montgomery
This game showcased the matchup between not only two highly heralded teams in Southern California but two legendary coaches. Coach John Olive for the Torrey Pines Falcons has been there for the last two decades, played in the NBA for the San Diego Clippers and decided to stay in America’s Finest City, taking his basketball talents to the clipboard. John Olive is no stranger to the national high school basketball scene, as Torrey Pines has been the home of the Holiday Classic, showcasing top high school talent such as Stephon Marbury, Demar Derozen, Kyrie Irving, Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, and Jaylen Hands, to name a few. Year in, year out, his Falcons are a contender in the San Diego Section as well as make noise in the Southern California region and no matter his roster, he gets the most out of his players. On the other side, Coach Doug Mitchell has been on the bench for the Knights since 1989, winning the CIF Open Division State Title in 2017 over national powers Mater Dei, Chino Hills, and Sierra Canyon with current Beaver Ethan Thompson, who won the Gatorade National Player of the Year. The Bishop Montgomery Knights currently have Beaver Commit Gianni Hunt, however, he was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. In what was a power struggle the entire game, neither team could grab the momentum, with Michael Pope and Bryce Pope (UCSD commit) struggling offensively for Torrey Pines. However, Montana Commit Josh Vasquez paced the Knights all lead, with his knack for defense, passing, and scoring all over the floor. The Knights ultimately took this battle, capping off an exciting week of Southern California High School basketball.