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TONIGHT: CIF State Basketball Previews

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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:56 am | Updated: 1:13 am, Tue Mar 18, 2014.

Two local teams are just one win away from playing for a Southern Regional plaque...

CIF State Girls Basketball Open Division Southern Regional Semifinal

Poly vs. Mater Dei

Site: Mater Dei High School, 6 p.m.

Records: Poly 23-3, Mater Dei 26-2

If this were a football game, you wouldn’t be able to avoid the hype. But as it stands, this might be the most underrated playoff game of the day. The Jackrabbits are playing their best basketball of the season and they’re going to visit a Monarchs team that Poly head coach Carl Buggs is very impressed with after already losing to them once.

“They’re a very complete team, they can beat you a lot of ways,” said Buggs. “But we’ve got to stop Katie Lou Samuelson first, we can’t let her get going.”

The 6-foot-3 junior was named Gatorade State Player of the Year last week. When Mater Dei beat Poly in December at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona, Samuelson scored 15 points in the first half and the Monarchs held off the Jackrabbits, 45-38.

However, that was a different Poly team. After a rash of transfers and injuries, the Jackrabbits are finally getting back-to-back games with the full compliment of talent Buggs knew he would have this year. Poly looked like a true contender on Saturday when it dominated San Diego Section Champion Bishop’s, 70-26. The Jackrabbits forced eight turnovers in the first eight minutes, and Lajahna Drummer scored nine points with five offensive rebounds. Drummer finished with 14 points and 10 boards. “We wanted to make a statement tonight,” she said.

“Trust,” said Buggs when asked what this team is gaining with more time on the floor together. “That’s what takes the longest time to develop, but it’s coming along.”

CIF State Boys Basketball Division 2 Southern Regional Semifinal

Compton vs. Colony

Site: Compton High, 7 p.m.

Records: Compton 24-7, Colony 30-4

How strange can these state playoffs get after the introduction of the Open Division? How about Compton hosting this regional semifinal with as many losses in the last three weeks as Colony has in 2014. The Comanches, champions of the CIF Southern Section 2AA bracket, are riding a 12-game winning streak and won their two state playoff games by more than 20 points.

Senior Anthony Ballestero and juniors Nick Anderson and Chandler Dignam are all averaging over 10 points per game as Ball leads all scorers with 14.5 points per game. Anderson is also averaging 8.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game.