Los Angeles Preps: Cantwell Sacred Heart

Basketball: Josť Estrada back in Mexico

May, 8, 2012
Cantwell-Sacred Heart standout Josť Estrada, who figures to be one of the top senior basketball players next fall, has returned to his native Mexico to participate in the country's youth championships, according to the newspaper El Debate.

Estrada, who originates from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, averaged 32 points per game last season, his first in the United States. He had a 50-point performance in the playoffs, leading Cantwell-Sacred Heart to a 27-6 record and its first-ever appearance in the section final. The Cardinals had gone 2-25 the previous year.

"I struggled a lot early, beginning with the language," Estrada told the newspaper. "But my classmates and teammates helped me adjust. I gained confidence and that helped my game."

Here's an interview Estrada did with El Debate:

Pacific Hills boys run away with 4A crown

March, 1, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Earning a share of the Alpha League title wasn't fulfilling enough for the Pacific Hills boys' basketball team. A co-championship just doesn't have the same ring to it.

The Bruins got one that's all their own Thursday afternoon, beating Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 65-42, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Guard Brandon Taylor scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and added seven assists.

"Now we have to focus on state," Taylor said.

Taylor had 11 points in the first quarter, sophomore wing Namon Wright had 10 of his 14 in the second. The Bruins shot 57 percent for the game, outscoring Cantwell in every quarter.

"I thought we came out pretty strong," Pacific Hills coach Ivan Barahona said. "One of the things we wanted to do was pressure them. ... We switched defenses a lot in the second half."

Top-seeded Pacific Hills (28-4) held a 33-28 halftime but put together a 19-7 run to pull away. The Bruins were superb in executing Plan A: Denying Cantwell-Sacred Heart star junior Jose Estrada the ball. Estrada, a transfer from Mexico, had a 50-point game earlier in the playoffs and averaged 32 during the regular season.

"Estrada didn't have lanes to attack," Barahona said.

Facing constant double- and triple-teams, Estrada settled for only 19 points -- 15 coming in the first half. Joe Covarrubias added nine points for the Cardinals (28-5), but no other player had more than four.

After a forgettable 2-25 season last year, Cantwell-Sacred Heart made its first appearance in a section final and, based on the the amount of noise coming from its contingent, the entire city of Montebello showed support. Students chanted, "Si se puede!" (Yes we can!).

"We knew we were in for a tough game," Cantwell-Sacred Heart first-year coach George Zedan said. "I think their athleticism and length really bothered us."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.

LA North and LA South: Playoff brackets have Oaks Christian, Nordhoff as top seeds

November, 14, 2010
Oaks Christian was going to be the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division football playoffs. That much was certain.

Which teams would be the next three seeds was very much up for debate.

The tri-champions from the Marmonte League earned the top three spots in the Northern Division playoffs. St Bonaventure is the No. 2 seed with Westlake, the reigning Northern Division champions, at No. 3. All three teams finished with 8-1 league records and tied for first place.

Oaks Christian actually has the worse overall record of the three teams. The Lions are 8-2, losing on opening night, 20-17, to Alemany, and to Westlake in Marmonte League play.

Westlake and St. Bonaventure each finished 9-1 overall. St. Bonaventure’s only loss was to Oaks Christian in overtime. Westlake’s only loss was against St. Bonaventure in double overtime two weeks ago.

“We were all 8-1. Those are two really good teams. We’re lucky to be the No. 1 seed,” said Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell. “We have a tough way to go. I’m glad St. Bonny and Westlake are in the other bracket.”

Oaks Christian opens the Northern Division playoffs against Saugus (5-5), the fourth-place team from the Foothill League and the only at-large team to earn a playoff berth.

“I don’t know much about Saugus,” Redell said. “They’re very well-coached, lost 14-3 to Valencia.”

Saugus lost its last two games of the season, 21-20 to West Ranch two weeks ago, and 14-3 to Valencia in the Foothill League season finale.

St. Bonaventure opens the Northern Division playoffs against Redondo Union. Westlake plays Knight in the first round. Valencia, the fourth-seeded team in the Northern Division playoffs, plays Highland in the first round.

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