Los Angeles Preps: Rhon Mitchell

LA North and LA South: Division III semifinal No. 1 La Canada vs. Inglewood

March, 11, 2011
CIF State Division III boys basketball playoffs

No. 1 La Canada (29-3) vs. Inglewood (26-7), Saturday, 7 p.m. at La Canada High School

The La Canada boys' basketball team has been making a habit of winning close games in the playoffs. The Spartans won the Southern Section Divison 3AA championship by three points over Price.

They won their second-round game in the CIF State Division III playoffs by one point over Crespi on Thursday night.

La Canada coach Tom Hofman said he’s finally finding a bit of a comfort zone with the way his kids have been playing.

“They looked real good in practice,” Hofman said. “We’ve had so many close games, I’m getting used to them. I have a lot of confidence in the kids.”

Inglewood is coming off a close second-round win of its own. The Sentinels beat fourth-seeded Price, 56-55, on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the Southern California Regional.

“I expect a good game,” Hofman said. “They’re a good shooting team. We’re going to have to work on contesting their shots.”

Here are the five keys to the game for La Canada:

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LA North and LA South: Havard-Westlake 47, Inglewood 45

March, 5, 2011
ANAHEIM -- Looking at the final box score, Julius Bilbrew didn't shoot particularly well during Saturday's Southern Section championship game. However, each and every time the Inglewood High boys' basketball team needed a big play, the senior guard managed to find a way to deliver.

Interestingly enough, when the Sentinels needed him the most in the Division 3A final against North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, things did not go according to plan. It was not Bilbrew's fault either, Inglewood could not get the ball into the hands of its playmaker.

Trailing by a basket with less than two minutes left on the fourth quarter clock, the Wolverines focused their efforts on stopping Bilbrew. The strategy worked too, Inglewood struggled down the stretch and Harvard-Westlake ended up prevailing with a 47-45 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“We wanted to get Julius the ball, he's one of our top scorers, but they made things difficult on us,'' Sentinels coach Pat Roy said. “We went into desperation mode and had to take whatever we could get at one point. It was a tough way to lose and no one likes losing.''

Give the top-seeded Wolverines (27-4) some credit, they relied on their strength throughout, which is size. Damiene Cain and Zena Edosomwan, both of whom are 6-foot-7, combined for 23 points, 26 rebounds and five blocks against third-seeded Ingelwood (24-7).

Rest assured, Cain and Edosomwan were focused on Bilbrew in the waning moments, there was no way the tandem was going to let the sharp-shooter beat them.

“I was going to block anything and everything,'' Cain said.

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