Los Angeles Preps: Chris Anderson

CIF-SS playoffs: Eastern Division

November, 13, 2011
CIF-SS playoffs:
Eastern Division
Here’s a breakdown of the division:

The seeds: No. 1 Summit, No. 2 Citrus Hill, No. 3 Heritage, No. 4 Serrano.

Best first-round matchup: Oak Hills (8-2) at Silverado (5-5) -- Oak Hills entered Week 9 with an unbeaten record and even made an appearance in the ESPNLA Inland Empire top 10 before losing its final two games to finish third in the Mojave River League. Among its victories was a 20-6 triumph against Silverado in its final nonleague tune up Oct. 7. Silverado went 0-5 in nonleague play but found its stride while winning the Desert Sky League and likely feels as if it has a score to settle with the Bulldogs.

Toughest road: Summit (9-1) -- The SkyHawks are the favorite to win this division, but they’ll have to earn their stripes. They open against Paloma Valley, a team playing with nothing to lose after beating defending division champion Elsinore on Thursday to finish in a three-way tie for third in the Sunbelt League, then winning a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs. Summit would then get the winner of Oak Hills and Silverado.

Potential shocker: West Valley at Elsinore, first round – Heading into Week 9 of the regular season, Elsinore seemed a lock to secure one of the top three seeds in the division, but then lost a Sunbelt League showdown against Heritage and didn’t show up in the loss to Paloma Valley, though the Tigers were already guaranteed second place in league. How they respond from their first two-game losing streak in three years is a key question heading into the playoffs. With two 1,000-yard rushers in sophomore Kishawn Holmes and junior Chris Anderson, West Valley will surely test Elsinore’s psyche.

Darkhorse: Kaiser (7-3) -- Elsinore was a darkhorse when it won this title last season and Kaiser has a similar makeup heading into the postseason. The Cats missed out on their first Sunkist League title in 10 years with a 21-7 loss to Summit last week, but the program is accustomed to winning and has steadily improved as the season went along. If the Cats can find a way to scrape together three touchdowns, they’ll be tough for any team to beat.

Final analysis: Summit and Citrus Hill would seem the leaders of this pack, but it would be a huge mistake for any team to look past Heritage or Serrano. Heritage played the Central Division’s top-seeded team, Rancho Verde, closer than anyone this season, and Serrano came within 10 points of defeating Upland, the third-seeded team in the powerful Inland Division.

Championship prediction: This division might be the toughest to predict of any in the Inland Empire. As has been noted, the top four seeds are very even and then you have opponents such as Elsinore, Kaiser and Oak Hills that can step up at any time and play a big game. The difference last season came down to defense and Citrus Hill and Summit might be the most prepared in that department. Summit has the Inland Empire’s all-time interception leader in Boise State-bound defensive back Donte Deayon and Citrus Hill has a dominant defensive end in Roosevelt Pearson. Where the Hawks separate themselves from Summit is at running back. Citrus Hill features one of the I.E.’s best in Colorado-bound senior Davien Payne. Citrus Hill 30, Summit 28.

Link to the Eastern Division bracket on CalPreps.com

ESPNLA top 20 boys' basketball rankings (final)

March, 29, 2011
What a season, so much to reflect on, so little time.

The level of boys' basketball play in the Southland was seemingly at an all-time high this past season, most certainly right on par with what we have seen around here in years past.

The players. The coaches. The games. The drama. That said, we figured it was about time to unveil the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings for the final time this season. Enjoy!

1. (2) Mater Dei (32-2): This group was supposed to be a year away from making an impact. But low and behold, juniors Xavier Johnson and Kaitin Reinhardt won a state title. Division I, no less.

2. (1) Long Beach Poly (31-2): All signs pointed to the Jackrabbits being capable of finishing as the wire-to-wire top-ranked team. Ultimately, however, the target on their backs was a bit too big.

3. (4) Corona Centennial (30-5): Dominique Dunning, Michael Caffey and Gelaun Wheelwright made a nice run. Capping off their senior campaigns with a championship was not in the cards though.

4. (3) Taft (29-3): The Toreadors were the odds-on favorite to win a City Section ring right before the season began. True to form, they had little, or no trouble living up to the rather lofty expectations.

5. (5) Loyola (25-6): Talk about not backing down from any challenges, the Cubs played one of the toughest schedules around. Make no mistake, they managed to hold their own in the process.

6. (6) Etiwanda (29-4): Most observers agreed that the Eagles were going to go as far as Byron Wesley would take them. Once postseason play started, the USC-bound senior did not disappoint.

7. (7) Orange Lutheran (27-7): Senior James Douglas is gone, having committed to Northern Arizona. Junior Gabe York returns which means the Lancers will be a formidable unit in the future.

8. (14) Ventura (29-3): Somehow, someway, the Cougars flew underneath the radar during the regular season. Rest assured, everyone knew plenty about them after the Southern Section playoffs.

9. (17) La Verne Lutheran (26-5): Turned tragedy into triumph. The Trojans overcame the loss of three people closely associated to the program and ended up with a Division III state championship.

10. (18) Windward (27-8): Wesley Saunders did a little bit of everything, most of it well. When all was said and done, he guided the Wildcats to a their second straight state title, this time in Division IV.

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1. Mater Dei, 32-3 (1)—The Monarchs won a 23rd consecutive league championship and an eighth state title, and only one of their top 10 players—David Brown—is a senior. Can you say back-to-back? If Xavier Johnson, Katin Reinhardt, Stanley Johnson & Company work hard, they might be the best team in the country.

2. Orange Lutheran, 27-7 (2)—James Douglas and Gabe York led the Lancers to the Division 4AA title. They were the county’s only boys’ section champion and gave the school its first boys’ title. Lutheran—which beat Mater Dei and Westchester this season—was eliminated in the regional by La Verne Lutheran, the eventual state champion.

3. Foothill, 23-9 (7)—It’s all about the finish, and the Knights were rolling at season’s end behind Cooper Pickell and Rob Filley Though beaten by 2A champion Gahr, 71-70, in the section semifinals, Foothill overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to beat 2AA runner-up Mission Viejo in the regional.

4. Mission Viejo, 29-3 (4)—The Diablos, led by BYU-bound center Isaac Neilson, and James Craven almost always played to the wire; three of their last five games went overtime, and their three losses were by a combined six points.

5. Canyon, 26-4 (3)—Chris Anderson’s third-seeded Comanches were shocked by sixth-seeded Summit in the 2AA playoffs, but then Summit lost to Mission Viejo before beating nationally ranked San Diego Lincoln and playing in the Division III state championship.

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Orange County: Anderson is heading to San Diego

March, 3, 2011
Those who follow boys' basketball somewhat closely in the Southland have seen their share of quality point guard play over the course of this season.

Chris Anderson, for example, was one of the premier playmakers around and he proved as much time and time again for Anaheim Canyon. That said, it should not come as a major surprise to learn the 5-foot-7 senior recently gave San Diego a verbal commitment.

“San Diego is a great school, it's close to home, I just felt like it was a perfect fit for me,'' Anderson said. “I think I'm going to have the opportunity to excel there.''

Whether that happens, or not, remains to be seen.

He did, however, excel this season. That much is certain.

Anderson averaged 20.8 points, 7.6 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game for the Comanches (26-4 overall), who had their season end a bit prematurely with a seven-point loss to Fontana Summit in a Southern Section Division 2AA playoff quarterfinal a couple of short weeks ago.

Nevertheless, Anderson & Co. were ranked among ESPNLosAngeles.com's top 20 teams for a majority of the season and they were ranked in the top 10 at one point.

Division I coaches and scouts kept a watchful eye on Anderson during that span. UC Irvine and Pennsylvania offered scholarships and Pac-10 Conference schools such as Oregon State and Stanford were among the others who expressed varied levels of interest in Anderson, brother of UCLA's Jerime Anderson.

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Inland Empire: Daniels makes college decision

February, 19, 2011
It's official, Jordan Daniels is off the board.

The 5-foot-8 senior for the Etiwanda High boys' basketball team made his decision about where he is going to spend the next four years of his life on Friday and committed to Boston College despite having scholarship offers from several other schools.

“Boston College was the right fit for me, I liked the coaches and how they treated me during the whole recruiting process, I got a good vibe from them,'' Daniels said. “I'm in a good place right now and am ready to continue my basketball career back East.''

The Eagles coaching staff has had some recent success in landing players from the Southland. Once Daniels arrives on campus at Chestnut Hill, he will join Long Beach Poly's Ryan Anderson, Brea Olinda's Kyle Caudill and Valencia's Lonnie Jackson.

The point guard is one of the Southland's premier players at his position and ranks right up there with Division I-bound peers such as Woodland Hills Taft's Spencer Dinwiddie, Los Angeles Price's Askia Booker and Corona Centennial's Michael Caffey.

With Daniels now seemingly set in terms his future at the next level, college coaches and scouts figure to turn their attention toward Bellflower St. John Bosco's Cezar Guerrero and Anaheim Canyon's Chris Anderson, a pair of unsigned floor generals.

“I can't speak too much about the other point guards, but I have no problems singing Jordan's praises,'' Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner said. “He's a young man with a ton of talent and a ton of character. I've been doing this for 20 years and I can tell that he has what it takes to succeed and make it at the next level. We have not seen the best from Jordan Daniels yet.''

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

CANYON COUNTRY -- Canyon of Anaheim's Chris Anderson scored 17 points and had nine assists in his team's 65-59 CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoff win over Canyon of Canyon Country.

Anderson scored five points in the fourth quarter as his team squandered a 10-point lead. Anderson said he played a sloppy first half and turned the ball over too much. Canyon of Canyon Country led at halftime, 32-30.

But Canyon of Anaheim built a 10-point lead in the third quarter. Jojo Ballestero hit two 3-pointers and Toreno Winn scored six points as the Comanches from Anaheim started pulling away.

Canyon of Canyon Country battled back in the fourth quarter. Darnel Haggerty hit a 3-pointer to tie the score, 54-54, with 4:30 to play in the game.

The game stayed tied for nearly a minute and a half as neither team could score. Canyon of Anaheim built a five-point lead on free throws at the end of the game to secure the win.

Third-seeded Canyon of Anaheim will play Summit, the No. 6 seed in the Division 2AA playoffs, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

ESPNLA top 20 boys' basketball rankings

February, 15, 2011
The CIF-Southern Section and City Section playoffs are all set to get started later this, week which can mean only one thing: The Southland's top teams are on the verge of squaring off, tournament style, with the hopes of eventually bringing home some championship hardware to their respective schools.

We figured it was best to unveil another installment of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings before things get underway. It will be interesting, no doubt, to see how things unfold and just how many of the following programs live up to the lofty postseason expectations bestowed upon them.

In terms of making an appearance in the final poll before the playoffs, consideration was given to larger schools Compton, Elsinore, Murrieta Valley, Pasadena and Washington. The same could be same about little guys Mission Hills Alemany, Bellflower St. John Bosco and Westlake Village Oaks Christian. In the end, however, there is only room for 20 teams. So, let's get down to business.

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (24-1): Ryan Anderson and the Jackrabbits have been the top-ranked team from start to finish thus far. No need to switch things up at this stage of the game.

2. (2) Mater Dei (24-2): If anyone is capable of defeating Long Beach Poly in a loaded Division 1AA bracket, perhaps it is the Monarchs. Doing so, however, is an entirely different story.

3. (4) Taft (23-2): The talented Toreadors are the odds-on favorite to win the City Section title. Anything less than a championship would be one of the biggest surprises of the season.

4. (3) Corona Centennial (23-3): The premier program out in the Inland Empire has shown little, or no, signs of slowing down. A deep run during postseason play is a distinct possibility.

5. (5) Loyola (20-5): Talk about playing your best basketball at the most opportune time, no one wants to face the Cubs in Division 1A. The real question is, did they peak a bit too early?

6. (6) Etiwanda (25-2): The Eagles have plenty of explaining to do after inexplicably losing two of their final five regular-season games. That said, we are patiently waiting for an answer.

7. (7) Orange Lutheran (21-6): Among the teams looming as potential threats in Division 4AA are Windward, Alemany and St. John Bosco. The Lancers figure to be tested early and often.

8. (8) Westchester (23-6): After taking a brief glance at the City Section bracket, the Comets appear to be on a collision course with Taft in the finals. Looking ahead could prove costly though.

9. (9) Harvard-Westlake (22-4): With Daniene Cain and Zena Edosomwan providing an imposing presence down low in the paint, the Wolverines will be tough to beat in Division 3A.

10. (11) Peninsula (25-1): Lone loss came last year, on Dec. 3, a six-point setback to Westchester. Fast forward to present day and the Panthers are in the midst of a 21-game winning streak.

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1. Mater Dei, 24-2 (1)—The Monarchs won a 23rd consecutive league championship and go into the Division 1AA playoffs as the second seeded team.

2. Orange Lutheran, 20-7 (2)—Only county team to beat Mater Dei is seeded No. 1 in 4AA and hope this year it doesn’t fall three points short of a title.

3. Canyon, 24-3, (3)—Have one of the outstanding players in Chris Anderson who gives third-seeded Comanches a legit shot at 2AA title .

4. Mission Viejo, 25-1 (4)—Big man Isaac Neilson give the Diablos a dangerous element as they try to win 2AA title from the No. 2 spot. His tip-in at the buzzer beat Capo Valley.

5. Aliso Niguel, 24-2 (7)—Wolverines are seeded second in 1A and get a first- round bye because not enough teams applied for an at-large berth. That’s one less game they have to win.

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ESPNLA top 20 boys' basketball rankings

January, 25, 2011
There are no significant changes at the top of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 boys' basketball rankings this week. A shakeup toward the bottom half of the top 10, however, was in order after one team was dealt a surprising setback.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that a pair of programs are making their first appearance in the rankings following the exits of Murrieta Valley and Los Angeles Fairfax, a pair of schools that could be back in the mix sooner rather than later.

Some other teams to keep a close eye on are Aliso Niguel, Compton and La Verne Damien, along with Pasadena, Ventura and Los Angeles Washington. A couple of quality victories over the next couple of days figure to go a long way.

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (18-0): Winning Moore League games by an average of 42 points. Are you kidding me? Running the table appears to be entirely possible.

2. (2) Etiwanda (20-0): Jordan Daniels doesn't receive enough credit. All of that, however, could end up changing if the senior point guard keeps the Eagles flying high.

3. (3) Mater Dei (18-2): There are no easy games in the tough Trinity League. St. John Bosco looms on Wednesday followed by a showdown with Orange Lutheran on Friday.

4. (4) Centennial (16-3): Big VIII League games against Riverside King on Tuesday evening and Riverside Poly on Thursday night figure to offer little, or no, resistance.

5. (5) Taft (15-2): Kevin Johnson has been focused on the task at hand recently. And make no mistake, when the senior is motivated, the Toreadors are seemingly unstoppable.

6. (7) Westchester (18-5): With a showdown against rival Fairfax on Thursday, perhaps the Comets are primed for an upset loss Wednesday against Hamilton. Perhaps not.

7. (8) Canyon (19-2): Chris Anderson might be a tad bit undersized. He is, after all, 5-foot-7. Thing is, no one plays a bigger role tor the Comanches than the senior point guard.

8. (9) Harvard-Westlake (17-2): Damiene Cain and Zena Edosomwan are a potent one-two punch down in the post and they work the high-low game to near perfection.

9. (10) Mission Viejo (22-0): At 6-10, Issac Neilson is proving to be a force on both ends of the floor. Aliso Niguel will attempt to stop the BYU-bound senior on Friday night.

10. (6) Orange Lutheran (16-5): Suffered a setback with loss to Cezar Guerrero and St. John Bosco. Now, it is time to see how the Lancers respond to some adversity.

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Orange County: Xavier Johnson MVP in Mater Dei's victory

December, 6, 2010
Led by Xavier Johnson's 40 points, Mater Dei overcame a sluggish start to beat Anaheim Canyon, 73-64, to win the Loara tournament championship.

Mater Dei was down after one quarter, 17-13, and pulled to a low-scoring 24-24 tie by halftime. Johnson, after keeping Mater Dei in the game in the first half, scored 25 of his 40 in the second as the Monarchs separated from the Comanches.

Johnson was named the tournament MVP. Chris Anderson had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Canyon.