Los Angeles Preps: Arroyo Valley

I.E: Final boys basketball top 10

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
4:27
PM PT
1. Etiwanda, 30-3: The Eagles finished with their third 30-win season in the last seven and should be in good shape for the next couple years with the return of sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who averaged a team-high 17.8 points. Etiwanda was taken out by Long Beach Poly in the Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight season, then fell to Loyola in a Southern California Regional second rounder.

2. Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles established their run-and-gun identity as the season moved along, and had one of the top players in the I.E. to facilitate that style in shooting guard Marvelle Harris, whose play helped him earn a scholarship from Fresno State in the process. Eisenhower’s season ended with a close loss to Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals.

3. Elsinore, 28-5: The Tigers came up short of their first section final appearance since 1974, losing by nine points to Mayfair in the Division 2A semifinals. They came back to beat Thousand Oaks in the program’s first SoCal Regional appearance before losing to Inglewood in the second round of Division 2. E.J. Twyman played up to expectations entering his senior year, averaging 26.9 points.

4. Colony, 22-10: Two straight losses to end the season didn’t dampen an otherwise strong run by the Titans. Their season was highlighted by a 73-71 victory against second-seeded Compton in a Division 2A quarterfinal. Colony then lost a back-and-forth game against Righetti to prevent the program from advancing to the championship game for the second time in four seasons.

5. Murrieta Valley, 25-3: Righetti took out the third-seeded Nighthawks the round before they beat Colony, ending an otherwise strong season. They won three tournaments prior to Southwestern League play, then defended that title. Darius Butler scored in double figures in every game en route to averaging a team-high 19.6 points, while Reid Shackelford proved to be one of the I.E.’s most improved players, averaging 16.8.

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I.E.: Boys' basketball playoff primer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
4:30
PM PT
With the best Inland Empire boys’ basketball teams placed in the top four divisions of the Southern Section playoffs, here’s a rundown of what to look for beginning with Friday’s first-round games.

DIVISION 1AA

Background: The Inland Empire is well known in this division. The region has sent a representative to the championship game the last three years. Long Beach Poly beat Corona Centennial last season, Mater Dei toppled Etiwanda the year before and Riverside King upset Mater Dei in 2009.

Best Shot: If third-seeded Etiwanda is to continue that trend, the Eagles will likely need to find a way to beat second-seeded Long Beach Poly. They lost to the Jackrabbits in the Division 1AA semifinals last season and again nine days later in the second round of the SoCal Regional playoffs. There are few high school coaches who squeeze more out of their players than Dave Kleckner at Etiwanda, however.

Best first-round game: Highland at Silverado. A good old- fashioned high desert showdown as 11th-seeded Silverado brings a 16-game winning streak into the postseason. The Hawks will need to find a way to slow Highland senior guard Joseph Prince, who is averaging 23.4 points. Prince, who played the last two seasons at Glenbrook North High in Northbrook, Ill., scored a season-high 37 points in the regular-season finale last week against Lancaster.

Darkhorse: Rancho Verde didn’t land on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded Mater Dei, so that can already be considered a victory. In the last three seasons, the Mustangs lost all four postseason meetings against Mater Dei, with three losses in the section playoffs and another in the SoCal Regionals. Rancho Verde is seeded 10th and drew a good challenge in the opener against visiting Montclair. A possible second-round game against seventh-seeded Eisenhower looms.

DIVISION 1A

Background: A team from the I.E. has qualified for the semifinals in this division the last three seasons, Redlands East Valley a year ago, Colony in 2010 and Chino Hills in 2009. In the last final appearance by an I.E. team, Riverside King beat Etiwanda in the 2008 championship game at Honda Center.

Best Shot: The I.E.’s streak of semifinalists could be in serious jeopardy. The highest-seeded teams in this division are No. 7 Chino Hills and No. 10 Vista Murrieta, and they would meet in the second round should they win their openers. The good thing is, one I.E. team would be guaranteed a trip to the quarterfinals.

Best first-round game: Corona at Arroyo Valley. Both these teams have held their own against good competition this season. Corona tied for fifth in the highly competitive Big VIII League and Arroyo Valley finished runner up in the San Andreas League, losing both games to league champion Cajon by a combined six points.

Darkhorse: Vista Murrieta has shown it can reach up and bite a good team if they’re not paying attention. The Broncos beat Murrieta Valley by 13 points in a Southwestern League game last month and the Nighthawks are seeded third in Division 2A. Davin Guinn, a 6-5 senior forward for Vista Murrieta, is one of the top players in the division. He matched his season high with 32 points in the rematch against Murrieta Valley last week.

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DESERT VALLEY LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – La Quinta @ Palm Springs; Xavier Prep @ Cathedral City; Indio # Palm Desert. Friday – Coachella Valley @ Palm Desert.

Last year’s finish: Palm Springs (12-0); Palm Desert (10-2); La Quinta (7-5); Indio (7-5); Cathedral City (3-9); Xavier Prep (3-9); Coachella Valley (0-12).

Players to watch: Quintin Taylor (Palm Springs), 6-2, Jr., G; Nick King (Palm Springs), 6-1, Sr., G; Xavier Thomas (Indio), 6-4, Sr., F; Abram Montoya (Indio), 6-2, Sr., G; Jonathan Serven (Palm Desert); 6-3, Sr., G; Robert Romero (Palm Desert), 6-5, Sr., F; Mike Releford (Cathedral City), 5-10, Sr., G; Taylor Pope (La Quinta), 6-0, Sr., G; Nathan Hill (La Quinta), 6-4, Jr., G; Creighton Chaney (Xavier Prep), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Palm Springs, Indio, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Xavier Prep, Coachella Valley.

INLAND VALLEY LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – Arlington @ Moreno Valley; La Sierra @ Ramona; Canyon Springs @ Rancho Verde; Vista del Lago @ Valley View.

Last year’s finish: Rancho Verde (11-3); Canyon Springs (11-3); Arlington (8-6); Ramona (8-6); Valley View (7-7); Vista del Lago (5-9); La Sierra (3-11); Moreno Valley (3-11).

Players to watch: Jordan Grace (Rancho Verde), 6-2, Sr., G; Kendall Schmidt (Rancho Verde), 6-0, Sr., G; Lance Jones (Rancho Verde), 6-3, Jr., F; Rajshah Head (Canyon Springs), 6-0, Sr., G; Joseph Esthers (Valley View), 5-10, Sr., G; Devonte Klines (Valley View), 5-11, So., G; Stephen Scroggins (Moreno Valley), 5-11, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: Rancho Verde, Canyon Springs, Valley View, Arlington, Vista del Lago, Ramona, La Sierra, Moreno Valley.

SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE

League openers: Tonight – San Bernardino @ Rialto, Arroyo Valley @ Colton, Cajon @ Pacific. Saturday – Rialto @ Carter. Monday – Arroyo Valley @ San Bernardino.

Last year’s finish: San Bernardino (14-0); Cajon (11-3); Rialto (9-5); Arroyo Valley (9-5); Colton (5-9); San Gorgonio (4-10); Carter (3-11); Pacific (1-13).

Players to watch: Khleem Perkins (San Bernardino), 6-3, Jr., G; Javone Rabon (San Bernardino), 6-4, Sr., F; Jamie Jenkins (San Bernardino), 5-8, Sr., G; Richie Ragoo (Colton), 5-11, Sr., G; Devin Jones (Cajon), 6-0, Sr., G; Stephen Marshall (Arroyo Valley), Sr., G; Antonio Clemmons (Pacific), 6-0, Sr., G.

Predicted order of finish: San Bernardino, Cajon, Arroyo Valley, Rialto, Colton, Pacific, San Gorgonio, Carter.

Next up: Big VIII, Mojave River and Mt. Baldy leagues (open league play Wednesday).

I.E.: A closer look at the San Andreas League

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
10:02
PM PT
SAN ANDREAS LEAGUE

Last season’s results: San Bernardino Cajon (10-3, 7-0); San Bernardino San Gorgonio (7-5, 6-1); Colton (11-3, 5-2); Rialto Carter (6-4-1, 4-3); San Bernardino Arroyo Valley (4-6, 3-4); Rialto (5-5, 2-5); San Bernardino (3-7, 1-6); San Bernardino Pacific (0-10, 0-7).

Players to watch: The San Andreas League made a strong impression during last season’s SS-Central Division playoffs, finishing 6-3 and sending two unseeded teams to the semifinals, including eventual champion Colton. While the Yellowjackets will need to replace most of their leaders, the SAL features a busload of other returning talent. The most decorated athlete is Damontae Kazee of Cajon, a first-team all-league selection as a wide receiver and defensive back last season, and an all-Central Division selection on offense. Kazee committed to Washington last spring. Rialto and San Gorgonio also have a strong group of returners. Tyler Telphy of Rialto is the league’s top returning rusher after totaling 970 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He’ll be joined on offense by fellow first-team all-league offensive lineman Julian Ramos. On defense, Bernabe Orozco had 11 sacks for the Knights last season, and junior defensive back Bryan Davis had four interceptions. Rialto will also feature one of the top kickers in the I.E., senior John Pena, an all-Central Division pick. San Gorgonio features a returning all-Central Division player in wide receiver Brandon Charles, and running back Jamie Snowten made great strides in the second half of last season. On defense, the Spartans will lean on defensive end Ryan Hunter-Simms, who produced 13 sacks en route to making last season’s all-Central Division squad. Hunter-Simms won a SS-Masters meet title in the discus last spring and finished third in state. Pacific went winless last season but should improve with the return of 6-5 senior receiver Haneef Hill, a first-team all-leaguer, as well as a number of other players with varsity experience. Another player to watch is Kris Brown of Carter, who swiped five interceptions last season.

Projected order of finish: San Gorgonio, Cajon, Rialto, Colton, Carter, Pacific, Arroyo Valley, San Bernardino.

Key games: Sept. 2 – Cajon @ Temecula Chaparral, San Bernardino @ Upland; Sept. 9 – San Gorgonio @ Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, Rialto @ La Quinta, Colton vs. Riverside North @ Riverside College, Arroyo Valley @ Palm Springs; Sept. 16 – Fontana Kaiser @ Cajon; Sept. 22 – Colton vs. Fontana Summit @ Fontana A.B. Miller HS; Sept. 30 – Rialto @ Colton; Oct. 7 – San Gorgonio @ Cajon; Oct. 21 – Cajon @ Rialto; Oct. 28 – Colton @ Cajon; Nov. 4 – Rialto @ San Gorgonio; Nov. 10 – San Gorgonio @ Colton.

Alumni in the NFL: Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens (Colton ’06); Shareece Wright, San Diego Chargers (Colton ’06); Allen Bradford, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Colton ’06); Lonyae Miller, Dallas Cowboys (Rialto/Fontana Kaiser ’06).

Fast fact: Three players who were seniors on the 2006 Colton team were selected in the NFL draft in June, the most players from the same high school in this year’s draft. Jimmy Smith, a cornerback out of Colorado, is a safe bet to make the Baltimore Ravens. Shareece Wright, a cornerback out of USC, is in camp with the San Diego Chargers, and college teammate Allen Bradford is trying to secure a back-up running back role with Tampa Bay.

On the clock: Southwestern League.

Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

November, 15, 2010
11/15/10
4:02
PM PT
1. The best Inland Empire team not to make the playoffs is Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos. The Grizzlies were officially eliminated Friday when they lost to second-place Upland, 41-38, on a 29-yard field goal by Jake Van Ginkel with 3.9 second remaining. Earlier this season, Los Osos lost in overtime, 29-28, against league champion Rancho Cucamonga. It’s the third consecutive season that Upland has ended the Grizzlies’ season. The Highlanders beat Los Osos in the Central Division championship game last season and in a semifinal the year before.

2. Temecula Great Oak had a 14-point halftime lead and its playoff future in hand Friday night, but then Temecula Valley turned the tables in the Southwestern League finale and scored 27 unanswered points to win, 34-21, spoiling the Wolfpack’s postseason hopes. Great Oak’s loss was Murrieta Valley’s gain, however, as the Nighthawks got a second life after blowing a chance to control their own playoff destiny the night before in a 27-20 loss to Temecula Chaparral.

3. Coming into the season, Victorville Victor Valley had been a combined 5-23 the last seven seasons in the Desert Sky League, earning one trip to the playoffs in that span. Last season, the Jackrabbits finished 7-3 overall but failed to make the playoffs after losing to Ridgecrest Burroughs in the regular-season finale. On Friday, the Jackrabbits had a chance to win the league title with a victory against Burroughs and this time they pulled it off, 25-24, thanks to a 26-yard field goal by Isaiah Kepley with 1:14 left.

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Inland Empire: Games of the week

October, 7, 2010
10/07/10
5:24
PM PT

Courtesy of Rob Helfman
Norco lineman Brent Walker (78) has been a key to the Cougars' success on the ground this season.

In just its fourth varsity season, Eastvale Roosevelt has quickly become Norco's rival.

Two years ago, Roosevelt scored the game’s first 21 points and held on to upset Norco, 21-13, in their first Big VIII League meeting. A year ago, the Cougars stopped Roosevelt on the two-yard line as time expired to preserve a 30-27 victory.

The matchup moves to Norco High for the first time, where the Cougars have won seven straight games. Norco (4-0) is ranked No. 2 in the Inland Empire by ESPNLA.com, Roosevelt (3-1) is No. 10.

Roosevelt junior quarterback Aaron Crone has been solid this season, throwing eight touchdowns with just one interception. Sam Boyd, a rugged 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end, has been his favorite target, snaring 14 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns.

Norco will continue to lean on Stanford-bound running back Kelsey Young, who is regaining his step after playing on a sore ankle the last two weeks. Offensive lineman Brent Walker, who is reportedly leaning toward accepting a UCLA scholarship offer, usually leads the way.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Three more to see:

Colton (3-1) at San Bernardino Arroyo Valley (2-2), Friday – Arroyo Valley is hoping to get quarterback Michael Yearwood back on the field for this key San Andreas League game. He sat out the first two games waiting for his transfer from Los Angeles University to be approved, then injured his knee in his first offensive series back against Rialto Eisenhower and was forced to sit last week. Before transferring from Arroyo Valley to University last spring, Yearwood accounted for 3,433 total yards and 36 touchdowns last season. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Colton 35, Arroyo Valley 24.

Riverside Norte Vista (2-2) at Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon (2-2), Friday – Get ready for two teams that rely heavily on the run game. Temescal Canyon is led by running back Michael Shepherd, who was handed the ball 48 times last week and totaled 237 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 victory against Chula Vista Otay Ranch. Norte Vista running back Ryan Ruiz rushed for 124 yards in 33 carries last week and scored three touchdowns in a 38-35 victory against Hemet West Valley. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Temescal Canyon 30, Norte Vista 28.

Ontario (2-2) at Ontario Chaffey (1-4) – Ontario has lost six straight Mt. Baldy League games to Chaffey, but this might be its chance to end that skid in a few years. The Jaguars have already doubled their win total from a year ago. Chaffey has lost four straight games to quality opponents, but still has a formidable offensive line that averages 268 pounds. ESPNLA.com’s pick: Chaffey 27, Ontario 16.

Inland Empire: The top 10

September, 14, 2010
9/14/10
8:18
AM PT
Norco leapfrogged Chaparral of Temecula in the rankings this week after the Cougars posted an impressive victory against visiting Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, down Interstate 15, Chaparral was getting knocked off its perch by Oceanside. Palm Springs wasn't impressive against short-handed Arroyo Valley, and Rancho Verde couldn't shake San Gorgonio until the fourth quarter.

1. (2) Vista Murrieta (1-0)

Jovonte Slater, eighth in the 100 meters at the state track and field finals last June, showed he's good on synthetic turf as well, running for two scores and returning a punt for another against Etiwanda. Last week: Beat Etiwanda, 49-27. Next: at Corona Santiago, Friday.

2. (3) Corona Centennial (1-0)

Barrinton Collins has made the move from wide receiver to running back look seamless and coach Matt Logan like a genius, rushing for five touchdowns against Birmingham of Lake Balboa. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 48-8. Next: vs. Mater Dei, Friday

3. (4) Norco (1-0)

Despite a sore hip, Kelsey Young rushed for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars came from behind to defeat Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 25-21. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Colony, Friday

4. (1) Temecula Chaparral (0-1)

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Pumas over the next three weeks, but coach Tom Leach wouldn’t have it any other way. Last week: Lost to Oceanside, 21-14. Next: vs. Fresno Central, Friday

5. (5) Riverside Arlington (1-0)

Superiorr Reid spoiled the grand opening of El Camino’s new stadium by catching the go-ahead touchdown with 39 seconds remaining. Last week: Beat El Camino, 14-10. Next: vs. Riverside Poly at Riverside Ramona, Friday

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Inland Empire: The Top 10

September, 6, 2010
9/06/10
10:16
PM PT
1. Temecula Chaparral (Southwestern League), 0-0
The Pumas open their season Friday night against visiting Oceanside, the two-time defending Division I state bowl champion which is coming off a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of Servite last Thursday, ending its 39-game winning streak.

2. Vista Murrieta (Southwestern League), 0-0
The Broncos also had the luxury of scouting their first opponent in person last week. Etiwanda, which is scheduled to travel to Vista Murrieta on Friday, allowed 42 points in a seven-point loss Thurday against Summit High of Fontana. Summit doesn't have a bonafide quarterback, but Vista Murrieta surely does in three-year starter Derrick Brown.

3. Corona Centennial (Big VIII League), 0-0
Centennial has been chomping at the bit to get started this season and first up is an intersectional game at Birmingham High of Lake Balboa, which is coming off a 16-7 victory Friday against West Adams of Los Angeles, its first victory in a season opener since 2001.

4. Norco (Big VIII League), 0-0
One of the more intriguing intersectional matchups of the season will happen Friday when Norco hosts Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Crenshaw is led by running back De'Anthony Thomas, who has verbally committed to USC. Norco will lean on running back Kelsey Young, who has pledged to Stanford.

5. Riverside Arlington (Inland Valley League), 0-0
Arlington will open its season Friday against host El Camino of Oceanside, which scored on a blocked punt, a fumble return and a kickoff return in a 36-7 victory Saturday against Gardena. The Wildcats best defender is ophomore linebacker Justin Williams, who had three sacks against Gardena and scored on the fumble return.

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