The Catholic School's Winter Classic at Cal State East Bay in Hayward featured Catholic programs from Northern California. Here is a run down on the early games and some of the highlight players.
Central Catholic 57, St. Elizabeth 19
Central Catholic cruised to a 57-19 victory as they run their record to 10-1. The Modesto based program has six players listed at 6-foot-5 and taller which was the clear reason for the victory. This game did not give an accurate read of the guard play for the Raiders but their post play and size present matchup problems against opponents for the rest of the season.
St. Elizabeth falls to 1-8 on the season as the Mustangs had trouble matching up at all positions due to their lack of size. They trailed 16-3 after one quarter and 31-9 at the half as they could never muster a rally. The Mustangs had no double digit scorer in the game.
Archbishop Riordan 79, Moreau Catholic 63
Riordan goes to 7-0 with the win but may be a dark horse in the West Catholic Athletic League race when the New Year starts. The Crusaders await five transfers to become eligible that bolsters a team that is already quite balanced in the exterior and interior. In this game, the guard play was the difference in its perimeter shooting and pressure defense.
Moreau Catholic has the uncanny situation of five freshmen starting as they drop to 8-4. Newark Memorial are the clear favorites in the Mission Valley League. If the Mariners can develop their youth, then they should be the second best in the their league at season's end.
St. Mary's Stockton 65, St. Francis 52
St. Mary's Stockton goes to 6-4 in an up and down season so far. The team has no one taller than 6-foot-4 and are guard oriented. Lucky for the Rams, they do feature some good individual and cohesive guard play.
St. Francis drops to 5-2 as the Lancers have some solid pieces on the team. But in the talent rich WCAL, the Lancers may have a hard time cracking the upper half in the league. The team is a senior laden team but seemed to be flustered by the press and made too many turnovers in this game.
Players of Note
John Fenton 6-foot-9 Post Central Catholic (2013): The Colgate commit had 16 points as he dominated in the paint with offensive rebounding and easy post moves. Fenton has a strong frame and center of gravity. His lateral movement is adequate as he positions himself well.
Jonathan Boddie 6-foot-5 SF Central Catholic (2014): The junior is athletic and long as he benefits in the paint with teammate Fenton. If he can develop his perimeter game in the next two years, then his stock would be even more impressive. But the size, length, and athleticism are all tangible for a college level prospect as he scored 13 points.
Graham Gilleran 6-foot-7 PF Archbishop Riordan (2013): The senior had 11 points in the win. He plays fundamentally well as he moves his feet, positions himself, and gets good rebounding position. His lateral movement and athletic quickness are question marks but his size and skill are serviceable at the next level.
Geru Mabrey 5-foot-9 PG Archbishop Riordan (2013): Mabrey plays as a quick jitterbug guard on both ends as he pushed the ball and applies good pressure defense. He had 19 points and several steals in the victory. The senior said that Cal Poly, Pepperdine, and Western Oregon have put out feelers.
AJ Padrones 5-foot-10 G Archbishop Riordan (2013): The senior hit three 3-point shots in the third quarter as he led the team with 20 points. Padrones moved well without the ball to find his perimeter spots. With five transfers to come on board in the New Year, Padrones playing time may be limited in league play.
Khalil Johnson 6-foot-2 SG St. Francis (2013): Khalid's twin is bigger and is more of an offensive scoring threat. He also can use his body more effectively inside and rebounding. Menlo College is apparently interested in the senior.
Oscar Frayer 6-foot-5 F Moreau Catholic (2016): Frayer fought foul trouble throughout the game but is long and skilled for a freshman. He has a nice turnaround move and steps into his midrange shot well as he had 10 points. He blocked a few shots and already showed his defensive and rebounding prowess.
Brandon Lawrence 6-foot-1 SG Moreau Catholic (2016): Lawrence has a very smooth perimeter shot as he was able to release with little separation. He moves well without ball and finds his spots as he scored 20 points. The freshman can still grow in terms of height, weight, and skill but plays beyond his grade level already.
Armond Simmons 5-foot-11 PG Moreau Catholic (2016): Simmons is an athletic point guard who can score inside or outside as he had 11 points. He has good size and has time to grow into the prototypical point guard height. The Moreau program looks to have a solid trio of freshman to build on.
Gabriel Vincent 6-foot-3 SG St. Mary's Stockton (2014): Vincent plays bigger than his size as he takes the ball strong in the paint and has good body control. He is also long and rangy on the defensive end. The junior had 12 points in the victory.
Jacob Aruta 6-foot-0 SG St. Mary's Stockton (2015): Aruta hit a couple of perimeter shots and took the ball to the basket aggressively as he had 13 points. His offense looks solid but can use some more bulk for his defense. The sophomore will benefit from the guard oriented system where they spread the floor on offense for perimeter shots and press the opposing teams.
Khalid Johnson 5-foot-9 PG St. Francis (2013): Johnson is rangy and runs the team well. He is aggressive with his dribble to the basket. Sonoma State apparently has strong interest in the senior.
Eric Morgan 6-foot-7 PF St. Francis (2014): The junior has height and length but needs some bulk. He made some nice post moves but could be more aggressive in his moves. He scored 8 points in the defeat.