Men's Basketball Playoff Preview

Kyle Gray knocks down a jumper over LA Pierce. Photo credit: Semaj Shepheard
Kyle Gray knocks down a jumper over LA Pierce. Photo credit: Semaj Shepheard

About the Owls

Citrus College has had a banner year, repeating as Western State Conference East champions and maintaining top a 10 ranking in the state all season. The Fighting Owls go into the second round of playoffs seeded #3 after receiving a first round bye. Citrus enters the 2018 playoffs having qualified for postseason play an impressive 12 consecutive years dating back to the 2006-2007 season. Last season marked an earlier exit than anticipated, as the Owls fell to Antelope Valley in the sweet 16 in a heartbreaking buzzer beater loss. 

Citrus has displayed remarkable depth this year. Coach Brett Lauer and Assistant Casey Norris have masterfully developed their entire roster, building consistency, teamwork and confidence in their young men. The effective depth of the bench is limited only by the number of minutes there are to distribute. Throughout the season, an infinite number of different lineups and adjustments have been made, exploiting opponent mismatches, slow-to-adjust defenses and generally exerting a higher basketball IQ than its opponents. At any given time, Coach Lauer has multiple weapons at his disposal, including a platoon of three point sharp shooters that have terrorized defenses and deflated team confidence all around Southern California. 

Citrus will undoubtedly focus on its 'take no prisoners' defensive philosophy to break the rhythm of its playoff opponents. But make no mistake, the offensive firepower and versatility of the Citrus lineup is unmatched. Look for contributions all the way down the roster from a number of role players, and definitely expect to see more than several players in double digit points Saturday night. Add to that the fact that 6 different players have scored 20 or more points in a game this year, and you''ll see why playing defense against the Owls is essentially a nightmare for even the best teams in the state. 


About the Jets

San Diego Miramar College enters the 2018 CCCAA as the #14 seed, having taken out #19 West LA on Wednesday. The Jets put together a solid season, going 20-9 overall, but perpetually were lost in the shadow of conference foe and perennial powerhouse San Bernardino Valley. The Jets rank high in the state in points per game with 86.9, good enough to be in the #6 spot statewide. The Jets also boast remarkable depth, with 5 players averaging double digit points per game, and nobody averaging more than 13. The balanced offensive attack should prove to be a hurdle for the Citrus defense, and if the Jets get hot from the field, expect to see field goal percentages in the high 40's along with an exceptionally high number of shot attempts. The Jets are #2 in the state in that category.  


Citrus in the Playoffs

Saturday night's matchup will be the 32nd playoff game for the Owls in the last 12 seasons. In that span, Citrus is 21-10 in the post-season, incuding a 13-2 record inside The Owls' Nest at Citrus College. (Citrus is undefeated at home this year). The Owls went 1-1 in the playoffs last year, and have won at least one playoff game in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Citrus last won the state title in 2008. 


How to Follow

Saturday night's CCCAA SoCal 2nd Round game can be followed a number of different ways, including in person at The Owls' Nest on the campus of Citrus College. Parking will be free on Saturday night in student lots, but all those parking on campus are required to park head in, and not backed into parking stalls. Parking in staff lots without a permit, and parking in a disable parking spot without a proper placard, will result in tickets being issued. Admission to Saturday night's contest with be in line with the CCCAA mandatory guidelines. General admission is $12 per person, $8 for properly identified students, faculty, staff, senior citizens aged 60 and over, and children less than 12 years of age.

In addition to watching the game in person, you can also watch our Live Video Feed and follow the Live Stats of Saturday's action through @ccfightingowls on Twitter will also be updated as often as possible throughout the course of the contest.