Los Angeles Preps: CIF Playoffs

Serra knocks off LV Lutheran in 4AA

March, 1, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Kajon Mack and Dakarai Tucker were sophomores when Gardena Serra won section and state titles two years ago. They were handed championship rings but, with guys Marqise Lee doing most of the heavy lifting, it didn't quite feel right.

The senior duo felt grand Thursday afternoon, as Serra captured the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA crown with a 69-59 victory against La Verne Lutheran at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Fellow senior Daddy Ugbede scored 32 points on 14-for-20 shooting, out-dueling Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, an Arizona-bound forward and the state's only McDonald's All-American.

"It feels good to be a part of this now," Mack said smiling.

Tucker added 21 points for top-seeded Serra, which pulled away late in a game that featured 15 lead changes and nine ties. The Del Rey League-champion Cavaliers capitalized on their size advantage down low, out-rebounding the Trojans 36-20 and forcing Jerrett, Lutheran's only big, into foul trouble.

"I'm a firm believer in whoever controls the boards, controls the game," Serra coach Dwan Hurt said. "That's what we talked about in practice."

Serra (29-2) had 10 second-chance points and it proved to be the difference. Jerrett picked up his fourth foul with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter, paving the way for the 6-foot-7 Ugbede. The student section serenaded him with chants of "Who's your Daddy?"

"La Verne Lutheran is a very good team," Hurt said. "We just persevered out there. Once we got rid of Jerrett, Daddy basically had his way down low."

Jerrett finished with 19 points but only five rebounds. Eric Cooper Jr. scored 12 points and Brian Beard had 11 for Lutheran, which now turn its attention a state tournament it has won the last two years.

"If Serra does play us again they know it will be a game," Lutheran coach Eric Cooper Sr. said. "It will definitely be a game. I look forward to state and seeing what these guys do when they step on the court again."

Mack and Tucker, meanwhile, were giddy in the postgame media room, knowing they had just won arguably the most difficult division in the state.

"There's a difference when you're on the bench than being a part of it," Hurt said. "This one is probably more meaningful to them because they know they had a part in it."

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

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.

Bishop Amat girls claim 3A title

February, 29, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Like at many schools across the Southland, tradition is of utmost importance at Bishop Amat. The San Gabriel Valley, it seems, counts on Amat to add to its loaded trophy case year in and year out.

They'll have to make room in the display case once more.

Amat built onto its illustrious history Wednesday afternoon, beating top-seeded Oak Park, 44-30, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A girls' basketball title game at the Anaheim Convention Center. It was the Lancers' first section championship since 2006 but its fourth since the turn of the century.

"We have a pretty strong tradition," Amat coach Richard Wiard said. "The expectations are always there. The only way you meet expectations is with hard work."

Amat (21-11) blitzed the bracket's top-seeded team, holding Oak Park to only eight points in the second and third quarters combined. Sophomore Paulina Santana had 14 points and Dagmar Ramirez had 10 to lead the Lancers.

"They pleasantly surprised us," said Oak Park coach Kenny Golub, whose team made its first finals appearance since 2011. "Their defense was definitely a little bit more tenacious than ours."

The Oak Park Eagles (21-9) trailed by five after the first quarter, but were held to only three points in the second and five in the third. That added up to a insurmountable deficit. Only three players scored for Oak Park: Kelsey Haines (20), Sarah Bucknovitz (seven) and Courtney Wing (three).

"I still believe they should have been the top seed," Golub said of Amat. "They were the most athletic team we've played all year. They were a step quicker. We had our hands full."

The Lancers held the Eagles to 24-percent shooting and, although they were out-rebounded, controlled the pace. Ramirez had a crucial steal-and-score late in the third quarter that sparked an 8-0 run. Amat, which played one of the most difficult regular-season schedules around, was undersized but it mattered little.

"Our difficult schedule helped us prepare," Wiard said.

And Amat, once again, met its lofty expectations.

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

Campbell Hall girls capture 4A crown

February, 29, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Even before the season began, Campbell Hall girls' basketball team members debated on possible hanging locations for a championship banner they had yet to win. Seniors had brainstormed since freshman year.

They're still unsettled on where the banner will go, but the hard part is done.

Top-seeded Campbell Hall captured the program's first section title Wednesday afternoon, routing Alpha League rival Brentwood, 66-29, in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A championship at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. In the process, the Vikings set a new record for fewest points allowed in the division's title game.

"It's really cool," said UCLA-bound Lauren Holiday, who fell one assist short of a triple-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds. "Making history hasn't hit me yet, but it's going to. I just have the jitters inside. It's a great feeling."

Campbell Hall beat Brentwood for the third time this season, and the last was the loudest. The Vikings exceeded their pregame goal of a 33-point margin, which they came up with rather creatively: The number of years seniors put into the program (four) plus leap day's unique number (29).

The Brentwood Eagles did not make a field goal in the second quarter, settling for only one free throw and allowing Campbell Hall (21-6) to set the tempo in transition. The Vikings held a 32-10 halftime lead.

"In the first three minutes we were competing," Brentwood coach Charles Solomon said. "But we didn't deal with adversity well. I take full responsibility for that. This didn't resemble the team that had made this playoff run. ... We missed some shots early."

Numerous players had recently complained about the sensitivity of the arena's rims, which, they said, are unforgiving. The hoops in Anaheim demand perfection -- too stiff to provide lucky bounces, even for soft-touch shooters. Campbell Hall's Natalia Azad avoided them altogether, making six of eight from beyond the arc.

"I was really comfortable," said Azad, who transferred to Campbell Hall when Montclair Prep cut its athletic program last summer. "There was no pressure. I just had fun."

Azad finished with a game-high 22 points, and Nicole Tolbert added 19 and seven rebounds. Drew Cabral had 10 points for Brentwood, which won back-to-back section titles in 2004 and 2005. The Eagles dug an inescapable hole by making only three of their 21 first-half shots.

"Our defensive effort was our best effort," Campbell Hall coach Toya Holiday said. "We're about getting stops, getting rebounds and pushing the ball."

Campbell Hall didn't encounter trouble during the tournament, reaching the title game with wins of 48, 24, 21 and 19 points. Now, the only problem they face is determining where they'll hang the banner.

"I want it to lie on the floor near where other teams warm up so they can see it," said the younger Holiday, whose brothers Jrue Holiday (UCLA, Philadelphia 76ers) and Justin Holiday (Washington) captured state crowns at Campbell Hall.

"Maybe by the doors near the entrance of the gym," Tolbert countered.

The debate continues.

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

Mater Dei survives against Loyola

February, 28, 2012

ANAHEIM -- The two losses Mater Dei has this season came in overtime, so the last thing longtime Mater Dei basketball coach Gary McKnight wanted was to head there.

Senior forward Xavier Johnson sank two clutch free throws and the Monarchs played suffocating defense on the final possession, escaping with a 61-58 win against Loyola in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1A semifinal Tuesday night at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

Sharpshooter Jacob Hazzard's potential tying 3-pointer barely left his hand before it was sent back his way. Khaliq Bedart-Ghani grabbed the loose ball and fired a 3-pointer of his own but missed badly, and top-seeded Mater Dei advanced to face second-seeded Long Beach Poly in Saturday night's title game at the same venue.

"I just didn't want it to get to overtime," McKnight said.

Johnson made sure it didn't, recording game-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds. His electrifying dunk at the end of the third quarter was exactly what a lackadaisical Mater Dei needed to wake up.

"They made one more play than we did," said Loyola coach Jamal Adams, whose team led by as many as nine late in the third quarter. "We played our tails off. No moral victories."

Recent history between the two added intrigue. Last season, defending Division 1A champ Loyola lost to Mater Dei in the Southern California regionals, 72-70, after leading by nine heading into the fourth quarter. The Monarchs went on capture the state crown in Sacramento.

Tuesday night's affair mirrored that closely: Defending state champion Mater Dei (28-2) went on a 9-0 run midway through the fourth to regain control.

(Read full post)

L.B. Poly outlasts Etiwanda again

February, 28, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Make it four straight playoff wins for Long Beach Poly over familiar foe Etiwanda.

Defending CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA boys' basketball champion Long Beach Poly advanced to the title game once again Tuesday night, earning a semifinal victory over third-seeded Etiwanda, 56-47, at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. After experiencing recent success against the Inland Empire power, Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer used a proven blueprint: Size.

"Another dogfight with Etiwanda," Metoyer said. "I think it was everything that everybody thought it would be. We played tough. Our goal was to dominate the paint."

The second-seeded Jackrabbits (27-1) did exactly that, holding a 43-23 rebounding edge behind the interior play of juniors Roschon Prince and Jordan Bell. Prince had 22 points and 10 boards; Bell had nine points, 12 boards and seven blocks.

Prince, coming off a career-high 40 points in the quarterfinals, was nearly uncontainable on drives to the basket and made 14 of 19 free throws, including 11 of 14 in the fourth quarter. Bell, meanwhile, made his presence felt on defense. His monstrous block on Jordan McLaughlin with just under two minutes left changed the momentum. Etiwanda could have pulled to within two but, instead, the Jackrabbits got two points at the other end and pulled away.

"It's a nice luxury when you've got a guy who can get off the floor and block shots," Metoyer said.

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Taft, Dorsey advance to title game

February, 25, 2012
CARSON -- Jason Hart didn’t know any of his players when he stepped into the Woodland Hills Taft gym for the first time last summer. All he knew, really, was that he had big shoes to fill after longtime coach Derrick Taylor left for St. John Bosco.

It’s safe to say Hart, in his first year coaching high school basketball, knows his team well now. The 33-year-old coach -- who wears cardigans, jeans and sneakers on the sideline -- has picked up right where the successful Taylor left off.

Top-seeded Taft advanced to its fifth consecutive CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I championship game Saturday, hanging on to beat fifth-seeded Crenshaw, 64-63, at the Torodome on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“I think this proves that a young coach can get the job done if they know what they’re doing,” Hart said. “This team was brand new to me. This means a lot, not just for me but the kids. They fought hard. They’re the ones that deserve the credit.”

Taft (27-3), the defending section champion, clicked quickly following Taylor’s departure. The Toreadors bought into Hart’s philosophy. They believed in him.

“That’s why we’re in the championship game.” said Hart, who played nine seasons in the NBA.

Senior forward Anthony January dunked his way to a game-high 24 points, and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Guards Steve Jones and Kris Yanku each had 14 points in support.

The Toreadors built a 21-point lead but carelessness allowed Crenshaw (24-5) to chop away. A 3-pointer from Brandon Baker pulled the Cougars to within five with 45 seconds remaining, Crenshaw got another defensive stop and a spectacular left-handed scoop shot from Andre Edwards, and the Taft lead was trimmed to three with 15 seconds left.

(Read full post)

Lutheran holds off Crespi in semis

February, 24, 2012

LA VERNE -- As his team scrambled on defense in the final seconds, La Verne Lutheran basketball coach Eric Cooper's heart didn't skip one beat. Or so he says.

Cooper has seen late-game theatrics far too often this season to be fazed by another frantic finish, but he might be due for a trip to the cardiologist in the offseason after Friday night's thriller at the University of La Verne.

McDonald's All-American forward Grant Jerrett missed two free throws with 14 seconds remaining, and Crespi raced to the other end looking for the tie or the win. Michael Milligan's runner didn't fall, Jerrett grabbed the rebound and heaved the ball into the air, securing a 51-49 victory and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA championship game for a meeting against top-seeded Gardena Serra at Anaheim Arena. The date and time is scheduled to be announced Monday.

It was the second consecutive nail-biter for two-time defending state champion Lutheran (24-6), which escaped with a 50-48 victory at Oaks Christian in the quarterfinals.

"It's been like that all season. We had a quadruple overtime game, two double overtime games," Cooper said smiling. "That's the type of season we've had. If Crespi would have made the last shot to send the game into overtime, it wouldn't have fazed me. That kind of stuff has been happening to us."

Jerrett, an Arizona signee, finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

"With Grant, you've always got a chance," Cooper said.

Sophomore point guard Brian Beard Jr. sank a desperation 3-pointer from about 40 feet out as the shot clock expired to give the second-seeded Trojans a seven-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. It grew to nine points with 1:10 left.

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City Section Division I semis set

February, 23, 2012
Coliseum League representatives Crenshaw and Dorsey officially crashed the party Tuesday night, earning upset victories to advance to the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I boys' basketball semifinals.

Fifth-seeded Crenshaw beat fourth-seeded Palisades, 68-66, on a three-pointer by Micah Winn with five seconds left. Seventh-seeded Dorsey shocked second-seeded Fairfax, 47-46, thanks to a Laroy Alexander made basket with two seconds remaining.

The semifinal schedule for Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills:

(1) Taft vs. (5) Crenshaw, 6 p.m.
(3) Westchester vs. (7) Dorsey, 8 p.m.

The championship will be played Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m., also at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Serra gets another shot at Price

February, 23, 2012
The top-seeded Gardena Serra boys' basketball team will have redemption on its mind when it takes the floor Friday night for a CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA semifinal matchup against fourth-seeded Price at Morningside High School.

The teams met in mid January and Serra (27-2) lost, 49-47, in controversial fashion when center Emmanual Ndumanya's game-tying shot at the buzzer was waved off. On video it appears as if Ndumanya got his shot off before time expired, but now the teams will get to settle it on the court. Second-seeded La Verne Lutheran (22-6) and Encino Crespi (23-6) meet in the other semifinal at the University of La Verne.

It was a game of runs last time, with Serra falling behind 22-4 before storming back with a 25-2 run. The lead reached 13 as Price (22-7) was held scoreless until late in the third quarter, but the Knights responded with an 11-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter.

"It's going to be another war," Price coach Michael Lynch said, "but we’re ready."

Soccer: El Rancho zones in on defense

February, 22, 2012
POMONA -- The bull's eye that surrounds the Pico Rivera El Rancho boys' soccer team is immense. Players know it exists, and coach Dominic Picon is more than fully aware that, with every victory, the target expands.

[+] EnlargeFrancisco Lara
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comEl Rancho's Francisco Lara scored two goals in a 2-1 playoff win over Diamond Ranch on Tuesday.
The defending CIF-Southern Section Division 4 champion Dons weren't nationally ranked heading into the season, flying under the radar until late December. They've since ascended to No. 5 -- and top in the state -- in the latest ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

Let's just say opponents haven't needed much motivation.

"We've had to grind out a lot of wins lately," Picon said Tuesday following a 2-1 second-round playoff victory against Diamond Ranch. "Every team is giving us their best shot. ... I know the kids feel some of the pressure but they've responded pretty well."

El Rancho improved to 24-0 on Tuesday thanks to senior striker Francisco Lara's two goals and an extraordinary defensive stand in the final minutes. Diamond Ranch had three potential equalizers cleared off the line, and a header clanked off the crossbar. The Dons host South Torrance in Thursday's quarterfinals.

The road to repeating has been a difficult one. Junior midfielder Cristian Roldan, the reigning CIF player of the year, has been limited to "playing at 50 percent" with a bad ankle injury, according to Picon. To help compensate, Lara, the team's dynamic scorer, was half-jokingly told by Picon to score three goals in the second half Tuesday.

"It's tough, injuries catch up to you at the end of the season," Picon said. "I'm sure it's mentally tough for these kids because they go to school and they get asked, 'How did you do?' The answer used to be, 'Oh, we won.' It was a good job. Now, the question is, 'How'd you win?' With 2-1 and 2-0 wins the question then becomes, 'What happened?' It's a major deal, but they've done a great job playing with a target on their back."

Price beats Windward a third time

February, 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Price boys' basketball coach Michael Lynch poked his head out the locker room door Tuesday night, peered down the hallway and, finally, cracked a smile that screamed relief.

After Price defeated visiting Windward, 76-62, for the third time this season, Lynch could finally exhale.

"It's incredibly tough to beat a team three times," Lynch said. "Windward coach [Miguel] Villegas is a really good coach and he’s got a good team. We knew we were in for a war. Really, I wouldn’t have scheduled them had I known what the divisions would be like."

Fourth-seeded Price (22-7) advanced to face top-seeded Gardena Serra in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA semifinals on Friday night, with the winner moving on to play the winner of Crespi-La Verne Lutheran in the title game at Anaheim Arena. The Knights had beaten Windward, 69-64, in the Santa Monica Tournament on Dec. 7 and again, 65-41, at the Fairfax State Preview Classic on Jan. 28.

But there was much at stake in the third meeting. Price's two prior victories would mean nothing without a third.

"Every time you play a team you want to pretend like it’s your first time playing them," said Price senior forward Skylar Spencer, who had 14 points and five blocks.

Teammate Kahlil Johnson scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, and put an exclamation point on the game with back-to-back breakaway dunks in the final moments. He sank two 3-pointers late in the first half to pace the Knights to a 37-32 lead at intermission.

"Kahlil is a shooter," Lynch said. "He can really shoot the basketball. Once he gets on a roll and feels it, the ball is going down."

The third time wasn't the charm for the Windward Wildcats (20-9). They closed to within two late in the third quarter despite the absence of leading scorer Nick Stover, who was whistled for his fourth foul just two minutes into the second half.

"At halftime we talked about [Stover] having three fouls," Lynch said. "We said, ‘Whoever he’s guarding, we’re going at him.’ The referees were calling the game pretty straight up on both sides. We knew they’d blow the whistle if we really attacked him."

Stover, a Loyola Marymount signee, finished with only 13 points, well below his average of 22 per game. Guard Jordan Wilson had 14, and Luke Silverman-Lloyd and Charles Dawson each had 10 for the Wildcats.

"We knew the third time would be the hardest," Johnson said. "And it was."

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

Bonita: Small town's overlooked team

February, 15, 2012
Garrett HorineBlair Angulo for ESPNLA.comGarrett Horine scored 17 points in Bonita's easy first-round playoff victory on Wednesday night.

LA VERNE -- Fans trickled into Bonita's old gym through a single door Wednesday night without much commotion. The wooden bleachers weren't filled to capacity, a steady rain maybe discouraging some from leaving the warmth of their homes.

It wasn't loud. It wasn't extravagant. It was basketball in its purest form: Crisp ball movement and suffocating man-to-man defense. Just the way Bonita coach Greg Eckler likes it.

Rather silently, seventh-seeded Bonita improved to 24-4 on the season and ran its winning streak to 15 games with a dominant 80-28 victory against Cerritos in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA boys' basketball playoffs. The Bearcats advanced to meet unseeded Brea Olinda on Friday. They don't get much publicity, and Eckler understands why: It won't happen with two-time defending state champion La Verne Lutheran a mere three blocks away. And it won't happen with two-loss Damien, located less than two miles from Bonita, stealing the city's headlines.

Greg Eckler
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comBonita coach Greg Eckler has seen his team power its way to a 24-4 record this season.
But the small town's third team is pretty good, too.

"It's great that we've got a strong little basketball area," Eckler says of La Verne, a town with a population of 33,000 that is nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains some 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. "It speaks to what's going on out here. A lot of people don't talk about La Verne being a dominant city when it comes to basketball, but for a couple of years now we've had three solid teams."

Bonita, the Hacienda League champion, is fine with thriving in the shadows. Lutheran has the state's only McDonald's All-American in Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett. It has hung CIF state championship banners each of the last two seasons. Damien has Saint Mary's-bound forward Chris Reyes and a state-of-the-art gym.

Bonita, though, has scrappers and hustlers and a standout football player manning the post.

"Not one guy is a star," says senior Garrett Horine, the school's leading receiver last season. "We all share the ball and work hard."

Six players scored in double figures Wednesday night; Horine led the way with 17. The Bearcats went on a defense-fueled 33-2 run in the first half, and held Cerritos to four points in the third quarter.

"We certainly don't get the publicity," says Eckler, who's in his 10th season. "But when [Lutheran and Damien] have the kids that they've got, they're going to get more publicity."

(Read full post)

Boys' Division 4AA bracket unpredictable

February, 15, 2012
The boys' Division 4AA bracket promises to be the most competitive in the CIF-Southern Section basketball playoffs. Trying to pick a winner gets the head spinning.

For instance, take a look at some key regular-season results of fourth-seeded Los Angeles Price (19-7):

Price lost to third-seeded Bishop Montgomery, but Bishop Montgomery lost to top-seeded Gardena Serra twice in Del Rey League play. The problem? Price beat Serra when the teams met at the Cochran Classic.

That's not all.

Price fell to second-seeded La Verne Lutheran. But La Verne Lutheran, a two-time defending state champ, lost to fifth-seeded Windward. Yet Windward lost to Price two times. Are you dizzy yet?

Playoff games tip off tonight at 7 p.m. Here is the Division 4AA schedule:

Salesian at (1) Serra
Bosco Tech at (16) Workman
(10) JSerra at Laguna Beach
(8) Harvard-Westlake at Whitney
La Salle at (5) Windward
(11) Maranatha at Twentynine Palms
(13) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame at Paraclete
Blair at (4) Price

Templeton at (3) Bishop Montgomery
(14) Morningside at Victorville University Prep
(12) Sierra Canyon at Malibu
(6) Crespi at Rosamond
Besant Hill at (7) Oaks Christian
(9) Chaminade at Morro Bay
Banning at (15) Big Bear
(2) La Verne Lutheran at Pasadena Marshall

South: Notable seeds for CIF-SS basketball playoffs

February, 12, 2012
Defending CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA champion Long Beach Poly received a No. 2 seeding in the boys' basketball bracket Sunday, a mere formality given that Mater Dei, the state's top-ranked squad, resides in the same division. The Jackrabbits (23-1) have maybe the best shot at unseating the Monarchs.

Poly opens postseason play with Riverside King on Friday at 7 p.m.

Loyola (21-4), the Mission League's second-place team, received a No. 4 seeding and opens against Trabuco Hills. Other south Los Angeles County schools receiving seeds in Division 1AA: Santa Monica (6), Downey (8) and Long Beach Jordan (14).

Notable seeds from the other divisions:
  • Division 4AA: Call this the "division of death." The seeds: No. 1 Gardena Serra (24-2); No. 2 La Verne Lutheran (19-6); No. 3 Bishop Montgomery (21-4); No. 4 L.A. Price (19-7); No. 5 Windward (18-8). First-round games will be played Wednesday at 7 p.m. Muir went 24-2 and won the Pacific League on the court but was disqualified from the playoffs for using an ineligible player. Muir will forfeit 20 wins.
  • Division 1A: Warren is the No. 13 seed, Walnut is No. 15.
  • Division 2A: No. 1 seed Mayfair (21-5), the Suburban League champion, hosts Moorpark. No. 2 seed Compton (17-9) plays San Bernardino. No. 4 seed Leuzinger, the Bay League champion, hosts Baldwin Park.
  • Division 3AAA: No. 1 seed Damien (24-2), the Sierra League champion, plays El Dorado. No. 2 Pasadena (19-7), hosts Magnolia.
  • Division 3A: No. 2 seed St. John Bosco (19-6), the second-place finisher in the Trinity League, hosts Jurupa Hills.
  • Division 4A: No. 1 seed Pacific Hills (23-4) has a first-round bye and plays the winner of Costa Mesa-St. Monica.
  • Division 5AA: No. 1 St. Bernard (19-7), a state finalist last year, has a first-round bye and awaits the winner of San Gabriel Academy and Cate.

On the girls' side:
  • The No. 1 seeds: Windward (Division 4AA); Long Beach Poly (1AA); Keppel (2AA); West Torrance (3AAA).