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March 7, 2012

Can Lincoln rebound in the CIF State Division II bracket?

The Favorite

After demolishing competition inside the San Diego Section, La Costa Canyon earned the top seed in the CIF State Division II bracket. We have some reservations about the Mavericks, but you can't argue with two distinct facts: they've won 31 games (and lost only two) to this point in the season, and they have one of the most talented players in the bracket in small forward Matt Shrigley. The 6-foot-6, San Diego State-signee scored 25 points facing a tenacious Lincoln defense in the San Diego Division II title game, including two clutch free throws in overtime that put the game out of reach. He's got a good (but not great) supporting cast, led by point guard David Travers. LCC will by no means cake-walk to the state championship game, but they'd have to be considered the odds-on favorite at this point.

Sleeper

It's never fun to run into a hot team in a single-elimination tournament, but that's exactly the challenge Inglewood's opponents will be facing during the state playoffs. After a ho-hum regular season, the Sentinels turned it on during the Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs, mowing down the competition to capture a CIF title. That's a pretty good showing from a team that wasn't seeded as one of the top 16 teams when those brackets were announced. It will be interesting to see how Inglewood responds now that expectations have been raised: the Sentinels are seeded fifth, and will be favored to heavily compete for a shot at advancing to a Southern California Final Four. With the type of run that Inglewood is on, it would be foolish to put this past the team.

Early Exit

See above for all the details above for why Garfield's first-round opponent will be sending the Bulldogs home early. Simply put, coach Ricardo Rivas' Garfield squad hasn't faced nearly the adversity (or quality competition) that Inglewood has endured this season. That fact alone will pit the Bulldogs in a deep first-round hole. A raucous road crowd on the other side of Los Angeles won't make Garfield's first-round game any easier.

Bracket Buster

Call us crazy, but we're giving Righetti a shot at making a deep postseason run. The Warriors made it all the way to the Southern Section Division 2A title game, where they were soundly trounced by Mayfair. But Righetti played top-seeded La Costa Canyon well twice this season, and has shown the ability to bounce back after tough losses. A possible second-round upset over No. 3 Lincoln would bust everyone's brackets, but we think the Warriors a chance at pulling the upset if they can take care of the ball.

Player to Watch

As talented and athletic as third-seeded San Diego Lincoln is, they struggled mightily offensively against La Costa Canyon in the San Diego Division 2 title game. That pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of junior shooting guard Tyree Robinson, the Hornets most talented offensive player. Robinson can get his own shot whenever he wants it, but he has the tendency to force his own shot when he should pass. Robinson can also fall in love with his jump shot, which doesn't put as much pressure on a defense as hard drives to the basket. Lincoln might be the most talented team on the Southern California side of the bracket, but they won't win anything unless Tyree Robinson plays more efficiently on offense.

Matchup to Watch

No. 3 Lincoln vs. No. 1 La Costa Canyon, Saturday, March 17, 4 p.m.

A rematch of the San Diego Division 2 title game at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Matt Shrigley vs. the Robinson brothers. This would be the marquee matchup in the bracket, and one that the fans should be rooting for.

Prediction

They fell short in their quest for a San Diego title, but it's difficult picking against a team as talented as Lincoln to fail twice in one season. Expect the Hornets to represent Southern California in the CIF State Division 2 title game, where they'll probably face a supremely talented Archbishop Mitty squad.

Send feedback, recruiting updates and story suggestions to kevin@sectionsports.net.


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