LOS ANGELES -- Sophomore sensation is not a term to be used loosely.
In the case of Parker Jackson-Cartwright from Los Angeles Loyola, the moniker is indeed fitting. Come to think of it, the same thing can be said about Etiwanda's Jordan McLaughlin.
The talented underclassmen went toe-to-toe Saturday night. In the end, however, Jackson-Cartwright got the better of the exchange by virtue of his Cubs defeating the McLaughlin-led Eagles, 48-35, in a Division I second-round game of the Southern California Regional playoffs.
“I can't imagine that there are two better sophomores in the state,'' Loyola coach Jamal Adams said. “We're talking about a pair of kids who are going to be high-major college-type of recruits when they're seniors. Both of them are getting a ton of looks already. I had a bunch of coaches and scouts call me this week about the game. Everyone wanted to see Parker and Jordan go at it.''
With the victory, Loyola (26-5) advances to the semifinals on Tuesday night against Santa Ana Mater Dei, a 78-66 winner over Mission Viejo on Saturday. The Monarchs, mind you, did not have standout guard Katin Reinhardt in the lineup. He has a hand injury and will be reevaluated this week.
Jackson-Cartwright was largely -- although not solely -- responsible for the Cubs success. He kept Loyola's stat guru, Andrew Figueras, busy throughout the game. The 5-foot-7 point guard scored a team-high 13 points. Jackson-Cartwright added six rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists.
His counterpart did not have his best game of the season. McLaughlin attempted to keep things close and finished with 10 points, three blocks and two rebounds. Problem was, the 6-foot floor general did not have much help. No other player scored in double digits for Etiwanda (30-3).
“At this stage, in the state tournament, in Division I, it's unique from a fan standpoint to see two players like Jordan and Parker play at such a high level because they are so young,'' Etwiwanda coach Dave Kleckner said. “This game was a preview of things to come for both players.''
The well-rounded effort by Jackson-Cartwright will not go unnoticed. He has a handful of scholarship offers on the table, mostly from programs in the Pac-12 Conference. Jackson-Cartwright appears to be the No. 1 target of UCLA and coach Ben Howland.
McLaughlin is in a similar situation. He has received varied level of interest from multiple schools on the West Coast. It could be a mere matter of time before he is offered.
It's anyone's guess as to where both players will end up at the next level. Good thing is, neither one is a hurry to make a decision about the future. For the time being, Jackson-Cartwright and McLaughlin are perfectly happy with being sophomores. Sophomore sensations, that is.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.