Randy Angel

Redondo Union, Mira Costa set for boys basketball showdown after wins in Bay League openers

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Redondo Union’s Cameron High turned in a strong performance in the Sea Hawk’s win over Peninsula. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo Union’s Cameron High turned in a strong performance in the Sea Hawk’s win over Peninsula. Photo by Ray Vidal

In the first of two meetings between rival schools, defending Bay League champion Redondo Union hosts  Mira Costa Friday at 7: 30 p.m. with the winner moving into the driver’s seat in the race for the boys basketball title.

Both teams won their league openers Tuesday and are ranked in the top ten in CIF Southern Section Division 2AA.

Redondo (13-3, 1-0) holds the No. 1 spot and is just ahead of Mira Costa (15-2, 1-0) which is tied for third.

Following a 10-day break and missing its top scorer, it didn’t take long for Redondo to shake off the rust for a 62-54 win over visiting Peninsula.

Playing without the services of senior guard Ian Fox, the CIF Co-MVP last season, the Sea Hawks received a strong performance from sophomore Cameron High who scored 12 points while replacing Fox.

Fox injured an ankle during Redondo’s win over Alemany on Jan. 4 and is questionable for Friday’s game against Mira Costa.

Sophomore Leland Green stepped up in Fox’s absence scoring a game-high 25 points and contributed to the Sea Hawk’s hard-pressing defense.

The game featured fierce competition between two 6-foot-8 players. Redondo’s Terrell Carter finished the game with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Peninsula’s Stanley Roberts Jr. recorded 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Peninsula, which entered the game ranked No. 14 in Division 1A, closed its deficit to 33-31 in the third quarter before Redondo increased the margin with a 9-1 run to end the quarter.

The Sea Hawks were given some breathing room when Green hit four free throws and Carter and High each nailed two shot from the charity stripe in the final 48 seconds.

Mira Costa’s Justin Strings is coming off a 30-point performance in the Mustang’s Bay League opening win against West. Photo by Ray Vidal

Mira Costa’s Justin Strings is coming off a 30-point performance in the Mustang’s Bay League opening win against West. Photo by Ray Vidal

Friday’s game against Mira Costa will much more than bragging rights on the line. The Mustangs would like nothing more than to knock off the defending CIF State Division 2 champions.

“We had a strong non-league record but we start our second season now,” Mira Costa head coach Jeff Amaral said. “The Bay League is very competitive from top to bottom.”

The Mustangs hope their experience playing against tall opponents will help when they face Carter, who transferred from West Torrance for his senior year.

“He’s a load and we respect him having played against him when he was at West,” Amaral said. “It will be a battle and when it comes to Mira Costa-Redondo rivalry games, there’s nothing like it.”

Mira Costa had little trouble defeating West 68-54 on Tuesday. Senior Justin Strings continues to lead the Mustangs, scoring 30 points and adding five rebounds and three steals in the win.

Chase Crandall scored 10 points and Dylan Kim recorded nine points, seven assists and five steals for Mira Costa.

Amaral knew the importance of getting off to a fast start in league competition.

“In the last few years, our games against West have been swing games that have moved the winners up in the playoff picture,” Amaral said.

Redondo continues Bay League action with road games at West on Tuesday and at Palos Verdes on Friday, Jan. 24. Mira Costa plays at Leuzinger (No. 15, Div. 3AA) on Tuesday and hosts Peninsula the following Friday.