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Boys basketball playoff preview: Coronado, Liberty favored in 5A

Just look at the standings to see how tight the Class 5A boys basketball state title race is.

Coronado, Liberty, Bishop Gorman and Arbor View all finished in a four-way tie for first. Coronado got the No. 1 seed in the playoffs off a tiebreaker. Liberty will be the No. 2 seed. Bishop Gorman and Arbor View are No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

The boys basketball playoffs begin Saturday with four Class 4A Southern Region first-round games. The 5A playoffs begin with the state quarterfinals Feb. 16.

Here’s a look at how the playoffs shape up:

Class 5A

League champion: Coronado.

Co-favorites: Coronado and Liberty.

Anyone in 5A can beat anyone on any given night. That was proven throughout the season. Just ask Coronado and Liberty, who both lost the last day of the regular season to trigger the four-way tie.

Coronado, which has wins over Liberty and Gorman, has arguably the best starting five in the state. Liberty, led by senior Andre Porter, isn’t short on playoff experience. The Patriots have played in the last two 5A state title games.

Dark horse: Arbor View.

Coronado might have the best starting five and Liberty might have the best depth. Arbor View has the best player in the state, however. San Diego State commit Pharaoh Compton is a matchup nightmare. He’s led Arbor View to wins against Coronado and Liberty this season.

Potential first-round upset: No. 6 Foothill over No. 3 Bishop Gorman.

Foothill lost to Gorman 59-54 in the regular season, but the Falcons’ 3-point shooting can keep them in any game.

Class 4A

League champions: Somerset-Losee (Desert), Rancho (Lake), Faith Lutheran (Mountain), Legacy (Sky).

Favorite: Somerset-Losee.

Somerset-Losee moved up to 4A after winning the 3A state title last season. The Lions showed they weren’t fazed by the step up in competition by rolling to a 21-3 record.

Dark horse: Faith Lutheran.

Faith Lutheran cruised in the weakest of the four leagues, but the Crusaders are just as talented as Somerset-Losee, Rancho and Legacy. They have won their last 11 games.

Potential first-round upset: No. 3L Canyon Springs over No. 2M Green Valley.

Canyon Springs earned the final playoff spot from the more challenging Lake League. Green Valley has lost its last two games.

Class 3A

League champions: Mater East (Desert), The Meadow (Mountain).

Co-favorites: Mater East and Democracy Prep.

Both schools showed they can play with some of the best teams in the city. Mater East won the first regular-season game between the two sides 58-52 in December. A scheduled rematch was ruled a double forfeit after a bench-clearing incident.

Dark horse: The Meadows.

The Meadows defeated Democracy Prep three times last season before losing to the Blue Knights in the 2A state title game. The Mustangs enter the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak.

Potential first-round upset: None.

Mater East, Democracy Prep, The Meadows and Boulder City should cruise in their quarterfinal matchups and reach the semifinals.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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