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Friday, March 11, 2011
Inland Empire: Winners and losers from Thursday's SoCal Regionals

By Dan Arritt

Looking back, even the losses don’t seem so bad anymore.

The Fontana Summit boys’ basketball team never quite received the respect it deserved this season, mainly due to its lukewarm 10-6 start to the season.

The SkyHawks were seeded No. 6 in the Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs and marched into the semifinals. They were awarded an at-large berth into the Southern California Regional Division 2 playoffs and were seeded 10th.

After winning its opener in overtime, Summit scored its biggest upset of the season Thursday night, traveling to second-seeded Ventura and dominating from start to finish in the 66-45 victory. Ventura won the Division 2AA title last weekend.

Summit will meet Palos Verdes Peninsula in Saturday’s semifinals. Thanks to a couple of other upsets on the same side of the bracket, the SkyHawks are seeded higher than the Panthers, giving them home-court advantage. After traveling to Harbor City for their first-round game Tuesday, then to Ventura less than 48 hours later, the SkyHawks should appreciate the opportunity to play in their own gym.

Summit hasn’t lost at home this season. All of their defeats occurred during pre-league tournaments and showcases. Two defeats came against Etiwanda, a Southern Section Division 1AA semifinalist, another to Division 1AA finalist Corona Centennial and one to San Diego Section Division I champion Carlsbad La Costa Canyon.

Eagles can’t get past Jackrabbits...again

Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner will spend another offseason seeing everything in green and gold, but it won’t be the good kind.

Those are the school colors of Long Beach Poly, which ended the Eagles' season for the second consecutive year with a 66-63 victory Thursday night in a Division 1 regional quarterfinal at Long Beach City College.

During the last two postseasons, Etiwanda has played the Jackrabbits four times and lost three. The Eagles made a valiant comeback from 14 points down at the start of the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie on Jordan Daniels' last-second 3-point attempt.

Byron Wesley scored 18 points in his last game for Etiwanda before heading off to USC. Tyler LaCour pitched in 17.

Long Beach Poly moves on to play Mater Dei on Saturday at Long Beach City College beginning at 7 p.m. In the other Division 1 semifinal, second-seeded Corona Centennial will host third-seeded Woodland Hills Taft at 5 p.m. at Eastvale Roosevelt High.

For the Eagles, it’s back to the drawing board. They graduate their top five scorers in Wesley, Daniels, LaCour, Troy Fiawoo and Evan Jenkins. Look for them to rebuild around their next star, freshman guard Jordan McLaughlin.

Cougars give repeat performance

The second game looked a lot like the first time around. The Moreno Valley Canyon Springs girls’ basketball team was just too tall for visiting Hanford in their Division 1 regional quarterfinal. The Cougars cruised to a 73-62 victory Thursday behind 17 points and 14 blocked shots from 6-2 senior Sophia Ederaine.

Canyon Springs also defeated Hanford, 75-60, at the Brea Olinda tournament back in December. Ederaine, who has signed with University of San Diego, had 20 points and 12 blocks in that game.

The Cougars will get another crack at second-seeded Brea Olinda in the semifinals Saturday at 7 p.m. at Brea Olinda. Canyon Springs lost to the LadyCats, 55-36, in a Division 1AA semifinal.

Brea Olinda reached the semifinals with a 66-55 victory against Rancho Cucamonga.

Knights play just well enough to win

The Rialto girls’ team survived a sub-par performance to defeat visiting Canyon Country Canyon, 46-44, in a Division 2 regional quarterfinal.

The top-seeded Knights led by one point with 15 seconds remaining when Jaya Schultz of Canyon went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one situation. She left the first attempt short and Rialto grabbed the rebound. The Knights made one of two free throws and Canyon missed a half-court heave at the buzzer to secure Rialto's victory.

Janae’ Sharpe, who made a last-second shot to defeat Ventura in the Division 2AA final last weekend, bounced back from a 2-for-12 shooting performance in the first half to score 17 of her 27 points in the second. Summer Webb struggled to a 2-for-20 shooting night and center Denae Williams was limited to nine points, half her season average.

Rialto moves on to host fourth-seeded North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake in the Saturday’s semifinals.