Two high school basketball teams whose strength is balance will square off tonight in a Southern California Division IV regional semifinal when Santa Clara and St. Monica meet at Ventura College. Tip-off is at 7:30.
Both teams enjoyed first-round blowouts Tuesday. Santa Clara (26-4) cruised past overmatched San Diego Clairemont, 76-44, and St. Monica (19-8) easily handled Lindsay, 73-52.
St. Monica Coach Leo Klemm said that any one of seven players is capable of carrying the Mariners. On Tuesday, 6-foot sophomore guard Alex Davis scored 23 points and senior guard Keith Walk-Green added 17 points and nine rebounds.
St. Monica's team is shorter than Santa Clara's. The Mariners' tallest starter is 6-2 center Marshawn Hogans, the team's leading rebounder, and two other starters are under 6-foot.
"We're not real tall," Klemm said. "But we're quick and aggressive."
In contrast, Santa Clara features three 6-4 players--juniors Chris Cole, Isaiah Mustafa and Stevie Amar. Cole and three-point specialist Art Barron each scored 15 points Tuesday. Amar had 13 rebounds and Mustafa nine.
As is the case with St. Monica, all five starters play a role offensively.
Santa Clara, which is attempting to become the first boys' team to win three consecutive state titles, has won 20 playoff games in a row.