The Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs begin for Orange County teams playing in the lower divisions on Wednesday. Here's a look at a few games that are worth watching. All games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Sonora (13-14) at Tustin (20-6), 3AAA: These teams opened the season against each other, and they were separated by only five points headed into the fourth quarter. Tustin won, 52-41, but it's interesting to note that Sonora shut out the Tillers in the third quarter. Could the Raiders channel that third-quarter defensive effort and stun the division? For what it's worth Sonora has the best-named player in the county, Jimmy Golden (16.1 ppg). The Raiders also lost eight games by six points or fewer -- and four by three or fewer, including 52-51 to an Anaheim Canyon team that a few weeks later beat Tustin, 68-40.
Brea Olinda (15-12) at Woodbridge (19-7), 3AAA: Coach Jeff Sink won all kinds of playoff games, including state championships, when he directed the Brea girls' program. This is his first season as coach of the boys, and it will be interesting to see what he can do here in an obvious underdog role. He was well-known for throwing all kinds of tricks at the opposition; can his magic work with boys as well? Woodbridge's three leading scorers are all sophomores, Michael Scarlett (11.7 ppg), Ali Lodin (10.0) and Jason Gregson (9.3).
Santa Margarita (14-13) at La Puente (11-11), 3A: Fourth-seeded Santa Margarita, the fifth-place team from the Trinity League, opens on the road against a third-place team from the Montview League. the Eagles, led by Wolfie Wood, should be dialed in; this is a lose-and-go home situation, and they know that Coach Jerry DeBusk -- in his 20th season -- has already announced this will be his last.
JSerra (16-10) at Laguna Beach (16-10), 4AA: Laguna Beach just won the Orange Coast League title, and what do the Breakers get for their trouble? A Trinity League team. Sure, JSerra is a fourth-place team and comes into the Division 4AA playoffs as an at-large squad, but there's no way this is a typical at-large squad. JSerra lost a third-place playoff game to Orange Lutheran -- one of the favorites in Division 1A -- by four points less than a week ago. Take away two losses to Mater Dei (No. 1 in 1AA), St. John Bosco (No. 2 in 3A), Orange Lutheran (No. 3 in 1A), Mission Viejo (No. 1 in 1A), and a loss to Capistrano Valley (No. 2 in 1A) and you're left with a team that is 16-1 with wins over league champions Tustin, Sunny Hills, Palisades and Ontario Colony.