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PREVIEW: Woodcreek reaches State Championship game at Golden 1 Center

T-Wolves take on Bishop Montgomery Knights tonight at 8 p.m.
By: Steven Wilson,
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CIF STATE PLAYOFFS:

Boys Basketball - Open Division

3/10 - No. 1 Woodcreek - 68, No. 8 Capital Christian - 66

3/14 - No. 1 Woodcreek - 51, No. 4 De La Salle - 46

3/18 - No. 1 Woodcreek - 66 vs. No. 2 Sheldon - 59

3/25 - No. 1 Woodcreek, vs. No. 1 Bishop Montgomery, 8 p.m.

          Open Division state finals @ Golden 1 Center,

          Sacramento

          Buy tickets online at www.cifstate.org or

          ticketmaster.com

One game. 

One opportunity. 

One more chance to make history. 

After claiming their second NorCal title in school history last weekend, and first Open Division championship, Woodcreek’s boys basketball team now has the chance to bring home the school’s first ever state title — in any sport. 

The Timberwolves, who have already set a school record with a 32-2 record, will take No. 1 seed and CIF State Open Division SoCal champion Bishop Montgomery in the state finals today, Mar. 25 at 8 p.m. inside the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence and now we’re headed home,” junior Jordan Brown stated. “We need to rally up and really bring the energy (for this) game.”

Brown has visited the Golden 1 Center before, but never played a game on the pro court. That will change this week as he approaches his next opportunity to showcase his versatile repertoire and possibly add a state title to his resume. 

“I can’t wait,” he exclaimed.

 

LAST TIME OUT

One possession separated Woodcreek and Sheldon two weeks ago in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title game in Stockton. But in the rematch, one quarter decided the outcome.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the third period, Woodcreek’s boys basketball team closed the deficit in the fourth quarter of the CIF Northern California Regional finals Saturday night in Santa Clara. 

Thanks to four three-point plays down the stretch, a key 3-pointer from Tyrell Roberts and a handful of clutch free throws, the top-seeded Timberwolves clawed back into the lead and held on for a 66-59 victory over the No. 2 seeded Huskies. 

“Coming back like that, beating them twice, and this time beating them by more and proving a point, that’s amazing,” Roberts explained. “It’s just awesome.”

The five-point victory gives the Timberwolves their second NorCal title in school history, but first championship in the ultra-competitive Open Division, and first since 2003.

But the win wouldn’t have been possible without an MVP effort from Woodcreek’s 6-foot-11 national recruit Jordan Brown, who had a team-high 31 points. 

Despite being the focal point of Sheldon’s defensive scheme all night, Brown was able to convert 63-percent (14-22) of his shot attempts and snag 17 rebounds, including seven second-chance opportunities on the offensive end.

After the game, the big man was on cloud nine. 

“I probably won’t sleep after this one,” Brown admitted with a big smile. “It’s just an amazing feeling. It’s a true blessing.”

 

KEYS TO A WOODCREEK WIN

In order to emerge victorious, the Timberwolves will need a few things to go their way tonight against Bishop Montgomery. 

  • Perimeter Defense: Tonight’s game will be dependent on Woodcreek’s ability to guard Bishop Montgomery’s attack. Montgomery’s star, Oregon State-bound senior Ethan Thompson is part of a four-headed guard-heavy attack. The Timberwolves will need to stay in front of their man, regardless if they play man defense or zone, and keep those penetrating guards away from Jordan Brown so he doesn’t get in foul trouble.
  • Ignore the Rankings: Bishop Montgomery owns the No. 4 ranking in the nation this week, according to MaxPreps. The team from Torrence has four postseason wins this season over teams that were ranked in the Top 10 nationally at the time of their game. Although Woodcreek cracked the Top 25 this week, the T-Wolves have the talent needed to compete in this game. They need to play to their best, but 
  • Knock Down 3-Pointers: The last time out, Woodcreek was just 1-of-9 from 3-point land. Tyrell Roberts had that lone trey — a dagger in Sheldon’s metaphorical heart — late in the game, but the rest of the team failed to hit a single 3. With so much attention given to Jordan Brown in the middle of the key, Roberts and co. will need to hit big shots if they hope to pull this one out.  
  • Speaking of Brown: The two tallest players on Bishop Montgomery’s squad are 6-foot-6 senior forward Jordan Schakel and sophomore Will Crawford. The Knights also have a pair of 6-5 forwards, but no one will be close to Jordan Brown’s 6-foot-11 height and extended wingspan. If he can collect offensive rebounds and dominate the paint, then Woodcreek will hang tight with SoCal’s top team. If he gets in foul trouble, especially for over-the-back fouls, then the T-Wolves’ chances of an win decrease dramatically. 
  • Use the Unknown: The last key for Woodcreek to emerge with a win tonight comes in the form of the mysterious. Both teams have tape on each other. They’ve both watched the taped incessantly. But Woodcreek maintains a slight edge when it comes to the unknown. Think about it. Bishop Montgomery just knocked off the sixth-ranked team in the nation. They’re riding a big high. They’re the heavy favorites. But Woodcreek has a team of many not-yet-proven players. Tyrell Roberts, Jackson Hughes, Naequan Parker, Delis Boggs-Smith and Chris Cagle are underrated and mostly unknown at this point. They can use that advantage to gain an early edge, which could pay off in the fourth quarter. 

 

BROWN’S NBA ROOTS

Jordan Brown has making of NBA star in his blood.

His father, Dion was once drafted by the San Antonio Spurs, and has helped train his son into one of the area’s best prospects and players we’ve ever seen. 

A sixth-round draft pick in 1984, Dion Brown reached the pros after four seasons at Louisiana–Lafayette. He was drafted the same year Hakeem Olajuwon was selected first by the Houston Rockets, Michael Jordan third by the Bulls and Charles Barkley fifth by the Sixers.

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