1. All records are not created equal, and if you doubt that, you need look no further than Corona del Mar. The Sea Kings have lost seven times this season, but over the weekend beat Upland, 80-67, as Marcus Bradley scored 33 and Danny Cheek 25—58 of the team’s total. That’s a huge swing from a game earlier this season: Upland beat the Sea Kings, 79-63 on Dec. 2, and two days later Upland came within five points of undefeated Mission Viejo, 59-54. CdM’s other losses haven’t been to slouches: No. 15 Loyola, Tesoro, No. 1 Long Beach Poly, No. 7 Westchester, Taft and No. 8 Anaheim Canyon. Had Corona del Mar (14-7) opted for an easier tournament, those losses to Poly, Westchester and Taft might have been victories instead and the Sea Kings could be 17-4—but they might not have improved enough to create a 29-point swing against Upland.
2. In the Trinity League, the bloom is off the impending showdown between Mater Dei (18-2) and Orange Lutheran (16-5). Mater Dei was ranked No. 3 in the ESPNLA rankings, Orange Lutheran was ranked No. 6 last week -- but lost to St. John Bosco, 68-65. Given that Lutheran has already beaten Mater Dei this season, that means the showdown on Friday between teams with 4-1 league records will likely determine the outright champion. In other words, no shared championship. Despite Lutheran's loss -- the Lancers have not lost to an Orange County opponent -- what’s the likelihood of there being an empty seat that night at Mater Dei’s Meruelo Athletic Center? Of course, Bosco can still make it interesting: The Braves (17-5, 2-3)play at Mater Dei on Wednesday the league leaders square off. Wouldn't that be something if the Monarchs got caught looking ahead?
3. Is there any team in Orange County that lives more on the edge than Huntington Beach? The Oilers (16-6, 4-1) share the lead in the Sunset League with Edison (20-1). So far, Huntington Beach is the only team to beat the Chargers. Seven of Huntington Beach’s last 10 games have been decided by five points or less. Four of those were two- or one-point games. Four of those games that have been decided by five or less came in league play, and six came in succession: Huntington Beach beat Bellingham (Wash.) Squalicum, 50-46; beat Kent (Wash.) Kentridge, 57-54; lost to Mission Viejo, 52-50; beat Los Alamitos, 41-39; beat Edison, 39-37; and lost to Fountain Valley, 50-49. On Friday, the Oilers beat Marina, 62-57. They play host to Los Alamitos (15-7, 3-2) on Friday, then have a showdown with Edison on Feb. 2.
4. Going into the weekend—and with nothing that should shake things up—Orange County continues to dominate the Top 10 in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings. Led by Justine Hartman Brea Olinda is No. 1, Mater Dei is No. 3, Troy is No. 5 and Edison is No. 7. With the exception of No. 4 Stockton St. Mary’s, the other teams in the top seven are from the Southern Section: No. 2 Long Beach Poly and No. 6 Cajon. Brea, Poly, Mater Dei and Cajon will be in the same Division I-AA playoffs. Troy and Edison are in Division I-A. Provided one of those teams goes undefeated the rest of the year, the Southern Section is guaranteed having the national champion—they are ranked 1-2-3 by ESPN Rise.
5. There was a distinct Us vs. Them flavor Saturday at Santa Margarita, where the girls’ basketball program hosted the OC/SD Shootout pitting Orange County Schools against those from San Diego. Although county teams usually do very well against the San Diego teams in the playoffs, San Diego took three of the five games. Oceanside El Camino beat the host school, 54-52, and in the other games, Orange Lutheran beat The Bishop’s School 58-45; La Costa Canyon beat Woodbridge 36-35; Sonora beat Our Lady of Peace 49-35, and San Diego Cathedral defeated Mission Viejo 61-25,