No. 2 seed Elliot Christian (29-4) vs. No. 1 St. Francis (28-2), St. Francis High, Watsonviile, 6 p.m.
JUST THE FACTS: Elliot Christian has averaged 79.5 points per game this season. The Eagles have won the Central California Athletic Alliance and Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles. Has won first three NorCal games by an average score of 64.3, and held those opponents to 46.3 points per game. Elliot is riding on a 21-game winning streak.
Elliot is ranked No. 7 in the nation, per MaxPreps, in shooting 3-pointers (353-of-1,049), and 12th in California in making field goals (902-of-2,165).
St. Francis won the Santa Cruz Coast League and Central Coast Section titles. The Sharks have won all 11 home games this season. The Sharks have averaged 73 points in three NorCal games, and held those opponents to 56.3 points. St. Francis is also riding on a 21-game winning streak.
COMMON FOE: Elliot Christian and St. Francis have played Argonaut. The Eagles corralled the Mustangs 83-53 in the section’s D-V title game earlier this month. The Sharks knocked Argonaut out of the NorCal playoffs last week with a 69-62 win.
SCHEDULES: Elliot started its season with a 76-72 win over Jesuit of Carmichael, which plays in the Delta League in the Sacramento area. The Eagles have also produced wins over Marin Catholic of Kentfield, West, Kimball and Antelope of the Sacramento area. One of the Eagles’ losses was to Strake Jesuit of Houston, Texas, at the St. Hope Elite Hoop Classic Tournament in Sacramento in December.
St. Francis has also played two out-of-state opponents, with a 1-1 split; lost to Fordham Prep of Bronx, NY 52-48 and beat Crosspoint of Bremerton, WA 52-44 at the Cactus Jam Tournament in Phoenix, AZ, also in December.
EIGHT IS GREAT: Elliot has eight seniors on its 14-player roster, most of whom were on the 2014-15 Elliot team that played in the section’s D-V title game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. This year’s seniors are guard/forward Onkar Sidhu, guard Jimmy Beltz, point guard Jalen Valverde, guard Nick Figueroa, guard Amari Jacobs, guard Giovanni Bulleri, guard Josiah Spurgeon and forward Spencer Sani.
There are three Eagle juniors in guard Nate Bond, who is one of the team captains with Beltz and Valverde, forward Cody Doell and Josh Alejandre. Rounding out the roster are sophomores Robert Dutcher and Alexander Pinasco, and freshman Zach Vangroningen.
St. Francis also has eight seniors on its 11-player roster. Those seniors are guard Jason Kane, point guard Sandor Rene Rodriguez, forward Riley Scherr, guard Dominic Figueroa, Nicholas Munoz, forward Ivo Lasich, Joseph Kovacs and center Ruben Ibarra. Two of the Sharks’ key players are junior forward Jason Gallo, at 6-foot-5, and Ibarra, at 6’4 and 270-pounds.
SHOWDOWN: Elliot loves to run its high-octane offense that has worn down the bulk of its opponents this season. A lot of it has to do with the guards. Beltz leads the team in scoring at 19.8 points per game, and has made 152-of-420 treys this season. He’s also the school’s first-ever player to score 2,000 points during his four years. Bond follows at 15.5, Valverde 14.8 and Sidhu 10.9.
— Mike Bush