San Clemente, champions of the South Coast League with a record of 18-7 (8-0 in league), is seeded 14th in the playoff bracket released today. Downey, the third-place team in the San Gabriel Valley League at 18-8 (6-4 in league), is seeded 19th. It finished behind Gahr and Lynwood in league.
The Tritons come into the game on an 11-game winning streak and are unbeaten in 2015. The streak corresponds with the full-time return of its starting lineup from injuries and football commitments.
Downey, on the other hand, has lost two of its last three, including a three-point loss on Feb. 10 to its league's fourth-place team, Paramount, which finished the season at 8-18.
The teams had two common opponents during the regular season, with similar results. Both lost to Corona del Mar in December: the Tritons 64-47 and the Vikings 61-56. And both defeated Dana Hills. The Tritons did it twice, 58-43 and 54-46; and the Vikings once, 62-51.
Statistically, San Clemente scored slightly more points per game than Downey (61.0 to 57.8), while the Vikings gave up fewer on defense (50.1 to 54.4)
As for the rosters, the Tritons will have a size advantage. Downey lists more than half of its roster at six feet or under, while San Clemente posts half of its players at 6-3 or over. The Vikings have no player over 6-4. San Clemente has four, as well as a quartet at 6-4 to Downey's duo.
C.J. Smith, a junior forward, is one of those 6-4 Downey players, and its leading scorer (12.9 ppg) and rebounder (7.9 rpg). Two other Vikings average in double figures: 6-3 senior forward Jeraun Richards at 11.6 ppg and 5-10 senior guard Justin Ayala at 10 ppg.
The Tritons have only two players averaging in double figures on offense: 6-5 senior forward Sam Darnold (15 ppg) and 6-4 guard Nicholas Crankshaw (11.1 ppg). The duo also leads the Tritons in rebounding at 8.5 and 7.2 rpg, respectively.
San Clemente, however, has four more players averaging more than the 6.7 ppg of Downey's fourth-leading scorer, 6-1 junior guard Tyler Dees. These are Cade Griffin (8.9 ppg), Gage Shelmidine (8.0 ppg), Joe Mann (7.8 ppg) and Scott Herrod (6.9 ppg).