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SoCalHoops High School News

CIF Boys State Finals Preview: Division IV
St. Bernard v. Tamalpais--(March 16, 2000)

What: CIF State Finals--Division III Boys
When: Friday, March 17, 2000
Time:  4:00 p.m..
Where: Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA

Tamalpais comes into this game as the No. 1 ranked team in California according to Cal-Hi Sports' rankings published yesterday.  St. Bernard comes in at No. 3, and they are probably considered more of an underdog in this tournament than any other team from SoCal.  St. Bernard didn't win the Southern Section title, losing to surprising Serra, which picked up it's second consecutive D-IVAA title. But they advanced to the finals of the Southern Regional behind the great play of senior guards Brandon Williams and Chrismen Oliver and knocked off Santa Monica Crossroads last Saturday for the right to travel to Sacramento on Friday where they'll meet the Redtailed Hawks of Tamalpais. The Hawks won the North Coast Section and last Saturday beat Modesto Christian pretty decisively to take the Northern Regionals, 73-60. Tamalpais is led by 6-10 center Jair Veldhuis, a native of Holland, who really was first seen last summer at the West Coast All Star Camp and in the spring at the adidas Hoop Summit in Fresno.  This is only his second year of organized basketball.  Tam is also led by guards Bryan Defares and Michael Tabb.

Here are the rosters:

St. Bernard Vikings
Coach:  Bob Alaniz
Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks
Coaches: Ralph Wilson, Michael Evans
3   Jeremy Cranon   5'-9" Sr. G
4   Chrismen Oliver   5'-10" Sr. G
10   Geoffrey Hooker   6'-3" Sr. F/C
11   Darren Miles   5'-10" Sr. G
21   Ezunial Burts   6'-3" Sr. F
22   Kirk Colby   6'-1" Sr. G
23   Brandon Williams   6'-0" Sr. G
24   Bernard McCumby   6'-1" Sr. F/G
25   Ronald Carter   6'-0" Sr. G
31   E.J. Moore   6'-1" Sr. G
33   Kellen Haynie   6'-3" Sr. F
34   Anthony Uzondo   6'-2" Sr. F/C
40   Brandon Nunally   6'-3" Jr. F
44   Ikenna Unaka   6'-4" Sr. C
3   Amed Baporia   5'-7" Sr. G
5   Jason Kent   5'-9" Sr. G
10   Marshall Payne   5'-8" So. G
11   David Chan   5'-10" Sr. G
12   Greg Smith   6'-3" sr. F
15   Michael Tabb   6'-5" Sr. G
20   Quillan Spindler   6'-0" Sr. G
21   Marq Wallace   6'-1" Sr. G
22   Aaron Rubinstein   6'-8" Jr. F
24   Jeremy White   6'-1" Sr. G
32   Bryan Defares   6'-3" Sr. G
33   Ryan Scott   6'-7" Sr. F
34   Jair Veldhuis   6'-10" Sr. C
35   Jonah Wharton   6'-0" Jr. G

So what will these guys do?  Tamalpais pressures teams looking for turnovers, while St. Bernard uses a  2-2-1 halfcourt trapping defense and a loose substitution rotation to get some offensive power going. In addition to creating mismatches and taking away defensive adjustments, the subbing also helps to mask the fact that the Vikings don't have a single player over 6-4.

St. Bernard's leading scorer is 6-foot senior shooting guard Brandon Williams, who averaged 19.5 points, four rebounds and three assists per game through the regular season. Senior point guard Chrismen Oliver is averaging 10 ppg,   and 6.5 assists while Bernard McCrumby, another senior,  averages 12 ppg. and 5 rpg. The Vikings dropped three games in a row during league play, and their loss in the Southern Section final forced them to go on the road in the first round of the Southern Regionals, but that really was no impediment to their success as they beat No. 3 seed Corcoran up in the Central Valley, then beat No. 2 seed Crossroads decisively, 61-42. In the finals last Saturday, Bernard McCrumby made eight of 11 shots for the Vikings in their regional final victory over Santa Monica Crossroads, and he'll probably be looked to for the bulk of the Vikings' scoring in this game as well. 

Tamalpais on the other hand will count on starting point guard Bryan Defares, who has been pretty much a one-man offensive show lately, averaging 26 ppg in the last three playoff games, and a total of 78 points in three playoff games.   Amed Baporia is usually the backup point guard, but he was injured in the NorCal Semfinals.  We hear he'll be available. Michael Tabb (23 ppg), Greg Smith (8.0 ppg) and Marq Wallace (6.0 ppg) will also be counted on to produce some offense, and with Bernard McCrumby likely guarding DeFares, this will create some matchup problems for St. Bernard. How will St. Bernard manage to deal with Veldhuis (6'-10" Sr. C)?  Well, we're not sure, but probably about the same way they defended 6'-9' Isaiah Fox when they beat Crossroads in the finals, by sticking with man coverage and doubling into the paint whenever he touches the ball.  Veldhuis is not especially athletic nor skilled, even though he does have a D-I body and the potential to be a big impact player if he stays in the US for college instead of returning to his native Netherlands, he can be guarded effectively as evidenced by the fact that he's only averaging 11 ppg offensively, and his real threat to opponents is as a rebounder:   He's averaging 10 rpg this season, impressive in anyone's book.   The Vikings will probably go with a straight man-to-man defense in a halfcourt game,   sagging and doubling on Jair if and when he gets the ball, which might present some three-point opportunitites for the Hawks shooters. This will bode well for guys like Greg Smith, Jeremy White and Marq Wallace, and even though none of them are big time scorers with Smith averaging 8 ppg, White at 10 ppg and Wallace at 6 ppg, give them enough open looks and they'll produce. Wallace starts at the two and he hit 20 points against Oroville in the quarterfinals of the NorCal regionals last week and 23 in the finals. Smith starts at the power forward spot, and he can score big too, like when he went 7 for 7 and hit 18 points against San Rafael in the North Coast Section semifinals in early March. Tabb was the leading scorer of the league at 17.1 ppg and along with White, who is usually the 6th man, can get some great offensive production.  White had 22 points against San Rafael in the league playoffs. Ryan Scott, who usually backs up Veldhuis is probably a better scorer, but not a better blocker or rebounder than Jair, and he's had some big scoring games. The third big man is Aaron Rubinstein.  Doesn't play much, but he's the future of the team

In short, this will definitely be the toughest game of the year for the Vikings. . . but that's as it should be.  . This is, after all the State Finals, and it's not supposed to be easy.

See you there.

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