Huskies and Jags battle for spot in Final Four

East Los Angeles (26-3) and San Jose (26-4) will face each other at the Elite Eight on Thursday afternoon at 1pm in a battle of two teams looking to make an appearance at the Final Four. The two teams will face each other for the first time this season in a battle of two teams that have played well throughout the season.

San Jose comes into the game as the 2nd seed coming out of Northern California and hold a 10 game winning streak. The Jags won the Coast South Conference and have put together a season to remember as San Jose has picked up wins over big programs throughout the season. San Jose picked up wins against a solid Fresno squad and cruised past 7th seeded Chabot in the sweet 16 to pick up their place at the Elite Eight. The Jaguars have been playing great basketball all season long and have been proving a lot of people wrong throughout the season. San Jose have put together a 17-3 record against teams that made the post season and won nine consecutive games against teams that made the post season in mid November until early January. The Jags are led by a balanced attack where four players are averaging in double figures led by the Coast South Conference Player of the Year “6-5” sophomore Gavin Wilburn. The sophomore is averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists and his versatility is a big reason why the Jags are having a lot of success. “6-3” Jerry Jackson is another option for the Jags as the sophomore has averaged 20.0 points per game in the post season and has stepped up his scoring since the playoffs have started. Jackson averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 rebounds during the season and adds athleticism and match up problems for many teams that the Jags have faced throughout the season. The versatile Mison Coilton is another option for the Jags as the high IQ and jack of all trades averaged 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists during the season. Sharpshooting Jacob Harper (10.4 points) has hit big shots all season for the Jags and is shooting 41% from downtown while making 59 three pointers this season. A.B Gilchrist has been solid at the point guard position and Jordan Gill has played well for the Jags as well. San Jose averaged 79.2 points per game while giving up 72.3 points per contest. The Jags are 12th in the state in rebounding margin at +7.9, 7th in the state in assists per game at 18.9 per game, and 6th in the state in free throw attempts per contest. The depth of the team will be on full display as they will look to advance but will have their hands full with the Huskies.

East Los Angeles comes into the game winners of eleven straight games and were the 3rd seed in the playoffs in Southern California. The Huskies went undefeated in South Coast North Conference action and picked up wins in the post season over Riverside and Los Angeles Harbor in overtime in the sweet 16. East Los Angles is 12-3 against teams that made the post season and will look to advance to the Final Four with a victory over San Jose. Since December 2nd, the Huskies have are 22-1 and have played great basketball throughout the season. East Los Angeles also has a balanced attack where three players averaged in double figures in the season. “6-8” Player of the Year of the South Coast North Conference JT Langston leads the Huskies in scoring in the 2022-2023 season. The sophomore averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 64% from the floor (10th in the state). Langston is also a great rim protector as the sophomore is 10th in the states in block shots and does it all on both ends of the floor. Corey Cofield II has played well for the Huskies all season long averaging 11.8 points per game and the wing is a force on the offensive glass and has shot 55% from the floor and one of the best defenders in the state. Coastal Carolina committ Jon Sanders is the last Huskie that averages in double figures as the sophomore has averaged 10.7 points per contest and has shown versatility by doing it all on the offensive end as he leads the Huskies in assists averaging 4.4 per game. Gregory Melvin (9.7 points), Tyrelle Hunt (9.6 points), Demetrius Calip (8.8 points), and Donjae Lindsey (8.3 points) have also been scoring options throughout the season. East Los Angeles comes into the game averaging 88.3 points per game which is 3rd in the state and also shoot a very high percentage as the Huskies are 7th in the state shooting 49% from the floor. East Los Angeles is also in the top 20 in Free throws made per game (15.5), Free throws attempted (22.4), offensive rebounds per game (13.8), Total Rebounds per game (40.6), rebounding margin per game (+8.6), steals per game (10.4), Blocks per game (4.0), opponents field goal percentage (40.7), and opponents three point field goal percentage (30.2).

Outlook: This is a very intriguing match up and it will be interesting to see how the Jags athletic ability will be able to rebound with the size and athleticism of East Los Angeles. The rebounding battle will be key as we are expecting an up tempo game. San Jose has been able to win close games throughout the season as the Jags are 9-1 in games decided by five points or less and East Los Angeles is 4-1 in the similar situation. If the Huskies control the boards and get a lot of second chance opportunities it could be a long night for the Jags, but if the Jags are able to make perimeter jumpers, and compete on the glass San Jose will like their chances and could be moving into the final four.

Massey Rating projection ( : East Los Angeles 84 San Jose 71