The most highly-anticipated high school basketball game of the season is just five (or so) days away.
No. 1 Chino Hills vs. No. 2 Torrance Bishop Montgomery.
The Ball Bros & Co. vs. the Knights’ big four of Ethan Thompson, Jordan Schakel, David Singleton and Gianni Hunt.
“Roll the Ball’s out” (pun intended) Chino Hills coach Steve Baik vs. the drill sergeant-like Doug Mitchell.
It’s all going down Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the James Samson Fairfax State Preview - which has been moved to Cerritos College in Norwalk.
Both squads still have some business to take care of, though, as each have some league games to navigate this week before Saturday's match-up.
So be there or be ...ummm... not very smart because it should be a fantastic game.
Anyways, here’s the updated HoopsByUgland.com SoCal Top 20 rankings:
1. Chino Hills (19-0 / No. 1)
Observation: The Huskies continue to blow through the competition both on the local and national stages. Chino Hills beat High Point (NC) Christian - led by highly-ranked, Kentucky-bound McDonald’s All-American forward Bam Adebayo - at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, MA for the second time this season. The Huskies then beat Upland and La Verne Damien - quite handily, I might add - in Baseline League play to round out last weeks’ competition.
Next up: Chino Hills will be on the road at Etiwanda Tuesday. The Eagles’ grind-it-out, defensive-minded approach usually allows them to make things interesting against any opponent, but the Huskies just seem to be on a different level this season.
2. Torrance Bishop Montgomery (19-0 / No. 2)
Observation: The Knights were played close by Del Rey League foe Playa del Rey St. Bernard, but pulled away for a 13-point win. Bishop then followed that with an absolute drubbing of Los Angeles Cathedral, 99-67.
Next up: The Knights are on the road at Cantwell-Sacred Heart Wednesday and at home Friday against Gardena Serra before the highly-anticipated match-up against Chino Hills at the Fairfax State Preview Saturday.
3. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (16-3 / No. 3)
Observation: The Trailblazers played Montverde (FL) Academy tough for three quarters, but couldn’t put together the full 32 minutes of execution needed to beat a team as talented and well-coached as Montverde. Sierra Canyon didn’t fret on that loss too long, though, as it came back and blasted Gold Coast League adversaries North Hollywood Campbell Hall and Los Angeles Brentwood.
Next up: The Trailblazers will have league games against Lancaster Paraclete and Lancaster McAuliffe on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, before taking on Pasadena Maranatha Saturday at the Fairfax State Preview.
4. El Cajon Foothills Christian (13-3 / No. 5)
Observation: The Knights have cruised to wins in all four of their Coastal League games, doing so with a 33-point average margin of victory.
Next up: Foothills has three more league games this week. The Knights will be at Francis Parker Tuesday, will host Army-Navy Academy Wednesday and will close out the week at Horizon Christian Academy Friday.
5. Santa Ana Mater Dei (18-3 / No. 4)
Observation: The Monarchs were thoroughly out-played by Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, MA. Mater Dei then needed a fourth quarter scoring flurry from Spencer Freedman to beat Bellflower St. John Bosco at home on Friday. Freedman scored 26 in that game - which I covered for the Long Beach Press-Telegram - 17 of those points in the fourth and deciding period.
Next up: The Monarchs will play at Anaheim Servite - which boasts one of the best student cheering sections in the state - on Wednesday.
6. Redondo Union (16-3 / No. 6)
Observation: If “Strength of Schedule” was a thing at the prep hoops level, the Sea Hawks would be up near the top of any team out west. Redondo blew out Palos Verdes Peninsula and Palos Verdes last week in league play.
Next up: The Sea Hawks host Manhattan Beach Mira Costa Tuesday and have their second go-round against Inglewood at home on Friday.
7. Encino Crespi (20-1 / No. 7)
Observation: The Celts just keep on winning. A 20-point Mission League win over then-No. 17 Alemany highlighted Crespi’s week.
Next up: The Celts are at La Canada St. Francis Monday and host Studio City Harvard-Westlake Wednesday.
8. La Verne Damien (19-2 / No. 9)
Observation: Damien followed the best recipe to rise in the rankings despite losing a game: Lose to No. 1 Chino Hills. Before the 92-65 speed bump against the Huskies, Colorado-bound shooting guard Bryce Peters put up 44 points in a win over Etiwanda.
Next up: Damien plays Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos Tuesday.
9. Corona Centennial (14-6 / No. 10)
Observation: The Huskies have Ike Anigbogu back and are rolling once again. Cen10 won all three of its games last week with ease.
Next up: Centennial is at Norco Wednesday and at home against Riverside King Friday.
10. Santa Monica (17-2 / No. 11)
Observation: The Vikings are perfect in Ocean League play are getting contributions from others besides USC-bound shooting guard Jonah Mathews. Sophomore wing Rip Economou and junior forward Daniel Schreier are both playing well.
Next up: SaMo is at El Segundo in a league game Wednesday and at home against Hawthorne Friday before playing Gardena Serra Saturday in the Fairfax State Preview.
11. Chino Hills Ayala (18-2 / No. 12)
Observation: The Bulldogs have yet to be challenged in league play, but earned a solid nonleague win over Hemet Tahquitz last week.
Next up: Ayala is on the road at La Verne Bonita Tuesday.
12. Los Angeles Westchester (16-5 / No. 19)
Observation: The Comets made the biggest jump in the updated rankings after a huge rivalry win over then-No. 8 L.A. Fairfax. Keith Fisher had 17 points and eight rebounds in the road victory.
Next up: Westchester is at Venice Wednesday in a Western League game.
13. Los Angeles Fairfax (18-3 / No. 8)
Observation: The Lions loss to rival Westchester caused them to fall five spots.
Next up: Fairfax hosts Palisades Monday and takes on L.A. Windward later in the week at the Fairfax State Preview.
14. San Diego St. Augustine (15-4 / No. 13)
Observation: The Saints bounced-back after a 3-point loss to rival Cathedral Catholic with big Western League wins over La Jolla and Scripps Ranch.
Next up: St. Augustine is at Mission Bay Tuesday.
15. Los Alamitos (17-3 / No. 14)
Observation: The Griffins had a close call against Huntington Beach in a Sunset League game last week, but pulled out the 64-63 win.
Next up: Los Al hosts Marina Wednesday and is at Edison Friday in what should be a heated rematch.
16. Orange Lutheran (16-4 / No. 16)
Observation: Lancers’ point guard Joe Riley hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to down Santa Margarita in a Trinity League game on Friday.
Next up: OLu hosts St. John Bosco Wednesday.
17. Harbor City Narbonne (14-5 / No. 18)
Observation: The Gauchos have yet to be challenged in Marine League action, but that might change this week.
Next up: Narbonne is on the road at L.A. Washington Prep Wednesday.
18. San Diego Cathedral Catholic (11-4 / No. 23)
Observation: The Dons proved their win over St. Augustine was no fluke, following it up with another nice victory over Mission Bay. Junior center Brandon McCoy is averaging 21 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game on the season.
Next up: Cathedral Catholic is at Lincoln Tuesday.
19. Eastvale Roosevelt (15-5 / No. 20)
Observation: The Mustangs have won 11 straight since suffering a 68-67 loss to Etiwanda back on Dec. 5.
Next up: Roosevelt will take a break from Big VIII League play to take on Sun Valley Village Christian on the road Tuesday.
20. Santa Margarita (13-7 / No. 15)
Observation: The Eagles split their two Trinity League games last week, defeating Servite and losing on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to No. 16 Orange Lutheran.
Next up: Santa Margarita is at San Juan Capistrano JSerra Wednesday.
21-25: 21. Inglewood (14-6); 22. Woodland Hills Taft (19-4); No. 23 Cantwell-Sacred Heart (14-7); 24. Mission Hills Alemany (15-6); 25. Etiwanda (15-5)