Full-Time Hoops Game of the Week: Torrey Pines vs Cathedral Catholic
The lastest chapter in the Battle of Del Mar Heights Road unfolds some 20 miles away from both campuses.
Torrey Pines and Cathedral Catholic will square off at 7 p.m. Saturday at West Hills High as part of the Jeff Armstrong Memorial Tournament.
Both teams enter the game undefeated. The Falcons (5-0), have wins over Mater Dei Catholic, Bishop's, Patrick Henry, Otay Ranch and Rancho Buena Vista and the Dons (4-0) have wins over San Ysidro, Poway, Orange Glen and Grossmont.
It was the Dons 68-67 win over San Ysidro -- the region's No. 5 preseason team -- that raised the stakes of this game, as the Dons, who were believed to be rebuilding after the graduation of its most winningest quartet. If the Dons get past No. 9 Mission Hills Wednesday night, this game could be for a Top 3 placement in the next rankings.
Where Torrey Pines has the advantage: the front court
The Falcons unquestioned leader is 6-8 Boston University commit Otto Landrum, who has been punishing opponents so far this season, averaging 26.8 points and 11 rebounds per game. The Dons will counter with a center-by-platoon approach, starting with 6-7 senior Boston Bonifay and 6-7 junior post Matthew Schilling. That duo proved effective against San Ysidro's huge front line, and will need to be up to the challenge against Landrum, who is a significantly better paint scorer than the Dons have faced up to this point.
Where Cathedral Catholic has the advantage: whoever Logan Huston isn't guarding
It's no secret that the Dons offensve runs through its two-headed guard-wing duo of Shea Fitzgerald and Jaden Lebel. The junior point guard and senior wing account for more than half of the team's offensive production to start the season. The Falcons will counter with the 6-3 Huston, who is gaining a reputation as one of the region's best perimeter defenders. That still leaves the player he's not guarding against some of the Falcons more inexperienced defenders, including sophomore Dylan Kail, junior Alex Cabulio and junior JJ Bartelloni. Those defenders will have their hands full against the duo.
The X factor for each team:
Cathedral Catholic: Andrew Garcia
Garcia has proven to be a spark plug for the Dons off the bench. He's undersized but tough, plays hard on both ends, and has a knack for making key plays.
Torrey Pines: Zach Jackson
The sophomore transfer from Coronado is averaging 5.4 points per game to start the year, but he's due for a breakout game. The 6-5 wing provides length and perimeter shooting for the Falcons.
When these teams get together, you can always expect a physical battle with lots of coaching adjustments. The Dons hold a 6-5 advantage during the Maxpreps era over their down-the-street rivals, but too much Landrum down the stretch gives the Falcons the key early season win.
Torrey Pines 62, Cathedral Catholic 58