San Marcos, Ca. — There were two things that stood out during my time watching Saturday’s games at the San Diego High School Showcase: First, the teams in the area were really going at each other despite it being fall league. Secondly, a lot of the squads looked season-ready from the standpoints of intensity and conditioning.
The fine folks involved in running the Gamepoint club basketball program — Charlie Mercado, Vista head coach Anthony Bolton and Fallbrook head coach Ryan Smith — gathered an impressive set of teams from across Southern California, complete with big time matchups, for the two-day event at Corky Smith Gymnasium.
One of the better duels of the day was the final game on court three between Los Angeles City Section power Fairfax and Southern Section Open Division contender Rancho Christian.
Evan Mobley dominated the San Diego High School Showcase with his size and versatility.
The lead changed hands multiple times and came down to the wire as many expected it to, but in the end junior forward Evan Mobley and USC-bound senior Isaiah Mobley were too much, both in size and skill, for Fax to handle as the Eagles took a 45-42 win.
Isaiah Mobley finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Evan added 12 points and 12 boards, while also dishing out the game-winning assist to Dominick Harris for a late-game triple.
UNLV-bound senior Ethan Anderson led the fast-paced Fairfax side with 13 points. Culver City transfer Keith Dinwiddie added 10 and Robert McRae had nine points. 6-foot-3 shooting guard Ronald Mitchell showed why he’s a potential low-major Division I recruit with his shooting ability and defensive versatility.
One of the first games I took in was the youth-laden Cathedral Catholic squad against a well-balanced Temecula Valley team.
TV is led by one of the more underrated junior point guards in all of Southern California in Garrett Schaefer. The rangy 6-foot-3 prospect missed much of the first half with a cut to his chin, but returned to the court in the second half where he proved how important his court vision and passing abilities are to his team.
Schaefer is a table-setter with great feel for the game, but can also score in the paint off the bounce with a crafty layup package. One of Schaefer’s more potent running mate’s is 6-foot-1 senior shooting guard Josh O’Campo, a knockdown 3-point shooter who doesn’t need much time or space to get his shot off.
Raphael Allen is a 6-2 senior off-guard with bouncy and quick leaping ability which helps him finish strong around the cup. Six-foot-2 junior guard Jack Schultz is another solid, high IQ ball handler and decision-maker for coach Kyle Armstrong.
The Dons are paced by a handful of talented sophomores and a solid new addition in 6-4 wing Beon Riley, a transfer from Mater Dei Catholic in Chula Vista.
Make no mistake about it, the offense still runs through 6-foot-7 sophomore Obinna Anyanwu, who makes his living as a face-up jump shooter from the mid-range level. One of the better parts of Anyanwu’s game is his rebounding ability, both in and out of his area, on both ends of the floor.
Cathedral Catholic wants to play fast and Riley provides another dimension to starting transition opportunities with his rebound-push prowess. The junior is a powerful downhill driver and finisher, much like his new teammate Thomas Notarainni. Sophomore point guard Alex Wade and sophomore big man Dillon Wilhite round out the youthful crew.
Meanwhile, on court two, Makiah Morris of Vista scored 29 points to lead the Panthers to a victory over Mater Dei Catholic. Morris scored in every way imaginable and continues to add more layers to his offensive game. Fellow senior Jordan Hilstock made a handful of timely jump shots down the stretch, as well.
San Marcos PG Chris Howell led the Knights to an impressive win over La Jolla Country Day.
The Chris Howell-led San Marcos squad scored a strong fall win over La Jolla Country Day and its stud shooting guard Ryan Langborg. Howell, a 6-6 sophomore point guard, did a nice job of controlling the pace of the game, limiting turnovers and creating opportunities for teammates. Junior wing Elijah Randall and senior shooting guard Will Corbin were the beneficiaries of many of those assists.
Perennial San Diego power Torrey Pines struggled in its two games of the day albeit to two solid opponents, first losing to Balboa Prep and next to Rancho Christian.
Balboa Prep was paced by athletic guard Mojus Mojus, electric scoring guard Malcolm Little, and athletic big man Deshaun Cooper.
Torrey was without talented senior forward Travis Snider, but were certainly missing the presence of last year’s steadying point guard Finn Sullivan, now at the University of San Diego. The twin brother duo of Bryce Pope and Michael Pope showed plenty of flashes of their jump shooting abilities and mid-post game.
Some other notes and thoughts:
San Diego High were missing a handful of key contributors, but 6-2 sophomore shooting guard AJ Burgin put on a strong shooting display in his two efforts.
Fallbrook should win more than the four games it did last season. Head coach Ryan Smith has put in a system that has the Warriors shooting more than 25 3-pointers per game. Pushing the tempo means more scoring and more scoring means more opportunity to win games.
Mater Dei Catholic will probably experience some growing pains this season, but it does have a nice complement of young prospects in sophomore point guard Jessie Campbell, sophomore wing Mauricio Reyes and sophomore guards Melo Sanchez and Nico Meza.
Foothills Christian struggled to take care of the ball against the all-out pressure defense of Fairfax, but Montana-commit Derrick Carter-Hollinger showed his defensive versatility, while junior point guard Yassine Gharram had flashes of his playmaking ability. Sophomore wing Derrien Carter-Hollinger is a young player to monitor. Senior point guard Jaren Nafarette did not play for the Knights.