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Sunday, January 8, 2012
I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

By Dan Arritt

Six weeks into the boys’ basketball season and the cream has risen to the top. Etiwanda and Murrieta Valley have been no surprise with their results thus far, but a few teams have emerged from the woodpile to steal a piece of the spotlight.

1. Etiwanda, 15-1 – The Eagles have won 12 straight since a loss to LaVerne Lutheran, the state’s sixth-ranked team by ESPN coming into the season. Etiwanda won the Inland Empire Classic and Holiday Hardwood Classic, then beat L.A. Crenshaw on Saturday at the The Great Inland Empire Shootout at Eisenhower High. Next: at Glendora, Tuesday.

2. Murrieta Valley, 14-1 – The Nighthawks are off to another blistering start after beating Elsinore to win the Nighthawk Classic at Murrieta Valley and Sierra Canyon to win the Mayor’s Division at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. Next: at Temecula Valley, Tuesday.

3. Elsinore, 13-2 – The Tigers are the only team to beat Murrieta Valley this season, scoring a seven-point victory 10 days after losing to the Nighthawks at their own tournament. They also captured the Paloma Valley Winter Shootout with a nine-point win against Vista Murrieta. Next: at Lakeside, Wednesday.

4. Eisenhower, 7-6 – The Eagles have played one of the tougher schedules among I.E. teams thus far, losing to Etiwanda by 21 and nine points but defeating local juggernauts Summit, Rancho Verde and Upland. Next: vs. Yucaipa, Wednesday.

5. Summit, 11-6 – The SkyHawks also experienced a pair of losses at the hands of Etiwanda’s unrelenting man-to-man defense. They took care of business in victories against Cajon, Riverside King and Visa Murrieta. Narrow losses to Murrieta Mesa and Colony are keeping Summit out of the top five. Next: vs. Jurupa Valley, Wednesday.

6. Rancho Verde, 12-4 – The Mustangs have won five straight since a loss to Eisenhower. Their only black mark is a one-point loss to Riverside King at the Ocean View Tournament of Champions on Dec. 10. Next: vs. Valley View, Tuesday.

7. Cajon, 11-6 – The Cowboys lost four of their first five games and had a disappointing effort in five-point loss to Vista del Lago, but demonstrated their ability to shut teams down with a 45-37 victory against Roosevelt on Dec. 7. Next: vs. Colton, Tuesday.

8. Roosevelt, 8-7 – The Mustangs took their lumps at the Rose City Classic in Pasadena and during the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, but have regrouped to start 3-0 in the Big VIII League with big wins against Riverside Poly and Corona. Next: vs. J.W. North, Monday.

9. J.W. North, 11-4 – Despite having one of the biggest frontcourts in the Southland, the Huskies aren’t living up to their preseason hype, most evident by their three-point loss to Riverside Poly in a Big VIII League game Friday night. Another one of those and they’ll be looking up at the top 10. Next: at Roosevelt, Monday.

10. Corona, 10-5 – The Panthers showed they’re a team to be reckoned with after losing to J.W. North by one point in a Big VIII opener last month, then secured their spot in the top 10 with a six-point win last week against Riverside King. Next: at Corona Santiago, Monday.

Just missed: Riverside King (10-4), Colony (9-6), Montclair (14- 1), Chino Hills (10-4), Riverside Poly (11-4), Don Lugo (10-4), Palm Desert (10-3), Silverado (11-2).