Los Angeles Preps: City Section

The El Camino Real softball team won its 14th City Section championship Wednesday afternoon with a 5-0 victory over top-seeded Carson at UCLA's Easton Stadium.

Senior pitcher Karyn Wright went the distance for second-seeded El Camino Real (27-5), striking out seven and allowing five hits. Wright will play her college ball at Portland State.

ECR claimed a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a Carson fielding error, and added another on Dayna DeBlasi's RBI single in the fifth. The Conquistadors scored twice in the seventh to seemingly put the game out of reach.

The Colts (25-6) beat ECR in the title game last year but couldn't defend their crown. Long Beach State-bound shortstop Darian Tautalafua of Carson failed to set a new state record for career home runs, finishing tied atop the leaderboard with 53.

It was ECR's first title win since 2005. The Conquistadors' 14 softball titles rank second among City Section schools, two behind leader San Pedro (16).

The two other championship results from Easton Stadium:

Invitational Division

Harbor City Narbonne beat Maywood Academy, 4-3, to win its third Invitational Division championship in four years. The Gauchos answered Maywood Academy's two first-inning runs with three in the bottom half and never relinquished the lead.

Small School Division

San Pedro Port of Los Angeles captured its second consecutive City Section Small School Division title behind freshman pitcher Nicolle Miranda's one-hitter in a 6-0 victory over Wilmington Harbor Teacher Prep. Miranda had 12 strikeouts, a pair of RBIs and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Port of Los Angeles, which finished the season 20-7, won its first-ever championship last year.

Carson's Tautalafua ties state home run mark

May, 18, 2012
Carson's Darian Tautalafua hit her 53rd career home run on Friday afternoon, tying the state record in the top-seeded Colts' 10-4 win against Chatsworth in the City Section softball playoffs.

Tautalafua, who has signed to play next year at Long Beach State, has 17 home runs this season. She tied the mark shared by Crenshaw's Alia Williams (2006-09) and La Crescenta Valley's Baillie Kirker (2006-09).

Tautalafua will have a chance to set a new record Tuesday when Carson meets Granada Hills in the semifinals.

Windward's Stover nabs MVP at Collision

April, 24, 2012
Los Angeles Windward forward Nick Stover, a Loyola Marymount signee, earned most valuable player honors at the Collision XIV all-star game at El Camino College on Saturday night, leading the CIF Southern Section boys' team to a 113-106 victory against the City Section.

Stover had 19 points and San Diego State-bound forward Skylar Spencer of Price added 18 for the Southern Section, which won for the sixth time in the event's 14-year history. Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January had a game-high 24 for the City Section.

The City Section girls' team won its game, 68-67, after erasing an 18-point deficit. Pasadena Poly's Michelle Miller, who this season passed Lisa Leslie for third place on the Southern Section career scoring list, had 19 points.

Collision XIV scheduled for Saturday

April, 19, 2012
Top graduating girls' and boys' basketball players from the CIF Los Angeles City Section and Southern Section will be on display Saturday at the 2012 Collision XIV all-star games at El Camino College in Torrance.

The event features five games, headlined by the City Section versus Southern Section games at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Among those suiting up for the Southern Section boys' team will be Price teammates Skylar Spencer (San Diego State) and Khalil Johnson (Cal). Fairfax teammates Brendyn Taylor (USC) and Landon Drew (Cal State Northridge) will represent the City Section.

Alums of the event include Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers), Austin Daye (Detroit Pistons) and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves).

The City boys lead the all-time series 8-5, while the Southern girls lead 11-2.

Fairfax's Taylor signs with USC

April, 11, 2012
Fairfax guard Brendyn Taylor, one of the top players in the City Section this past season, signed with USC on Wednesday. He averaged 18 points and five rebounds as a senior at Fairfax.

"Brendyn has a great upside," USC coach Kevin O'Neill said in a statement. "He is an athletic wing who's best days are ahead of him. He is going to be a major plus both on and off the court for USC."

The 6-foot-2 guard missed most of the last two seasons because of CIF transfer rules after leaving View Park. Fairfax finished 20-10 and tied for first in the Western League. Taylor's brother, Bryce, played for Oregon from 2004 to '07.

Fairfax's Solomon triumphant in return

March, 8, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Former Fairfax star Solomon Hill felt right at home Thursday afternoon, leading the Arizona Wildcats to a 66-58 victory against UCLA in the second round of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament at Staples Center.

The junior forward had a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds, playing nearly all 40 minutes for an undersized Wildcats squad that needed every last bit of it.

"He was mad when we took him out for 15 seconds," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Hill was an uncontainable force, presenting difficulties to former Southern California prep rivals David and Travis Wear of Santa Ana Mater Dei. He made 12 of 14 free throws and three of six 3-pointers. The Wears couldn't stop him on drives to the basket and, if they gave him space, Hill gathered himself and launched from the outside.

"All day long we had difficulties matching up defensively," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Hill played on the 2007 Fairfax squad that won state and City Section titles. He led the Lions to a 27-5 mark as a senior in 2009.

Loyola outlasts Crenshaw in first round

March, 7, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- Julian Harrell still hasn't gotten over Loyola's loss to Mater Dei in the CIF-Southern Section semifinals. He says he thinks about the 10-point lead his team let slip away in the final 10 minutes against the state's top-ranked team and eventual Division 1AA champion.

It happened over a week ago, but the defeat still stings. Loyola used it as motivation Wednesday night, beating Crenshaw 103-91 before a capacity crowd in the first round of the Southern California Regionals.

"I'm not over the loss, to be honest," said Harrell, who scored a team-high 25 points. "I'm still trying to swallow that loss. ... That's in the past, but we do want another shot at [Mater Dei]."

Fourth-seeded Loyola (25-5) will face Etiwanda in the second round Saturday night and, with a win, will likely get another crack at the top-seeded Monarchs in the regional semifinals.

Sharpshooter Jacob Hazzard had 22 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Cubs. Senior Khaliq Bedart-Ghani added 16 and an electrifying breakaway dunk. Super sophomore point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright had 12 points and 10 assists.

Loyola held a 51-40 lead following an up-and-down, fast-paced first half. Crenshaw had twice fallen behind by double figures but responded with runs, including a 9-0 spurt midway through the second quarter. The Cubs answered with a 17-4 run, highlighted by a pair of dagger 3-pointers from role player Trey Mason.

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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.

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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.

No. 5 Taft 73, No. 3 Loyola 57

February, 4, 2012
SANTA ANA -- Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January continues to stake his claim as one of the region's elite seniors. The 6-foot-8 forward had a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds in leading fifth-ranked Taft to a 73-57 rout of third-ranked Loyola in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

There may not be another City Section team that can match up with Taft (22-3), not with the way the Toreadors manhandled Loyola (20-4) on Saturday night. That became obvious with every January dunk.

Taft shot 60 percent in the second half, pulling away from the Cubs with an 18 to 6 third quarter. It was their first major intersectional victory -- the Toreadors had missed opportunities against Bishop Montgomery and Windward. Brandon Perry had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

It doesn't appear as if Taft has been affected by the departure of longtime coach Derrick Taylor, who is now at St. John Bosco.

Loyola, meanwhile, appeared windless, a possible byproduct of participating in the ever-grueling Mission League. The Cubs were coming off a 77-74 win against Harvard-Westlake on Friday night but didn't generate the same energy against a long and athletic Taft squad. Sharpshooter Jacob Hazzard was a bright spot, pouring in 19.

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

Westchester 45, Capo Valley 42

February, 4, 2012
SANTA ANA -- Longtime Westchester coach Ed Azzam usually knows which buttons to press and, perhaps more important, when to press them.

Well, he pressed "press" on Saturday afternoon, and the scheme helped Westchester to a 45-42 win against streaking Capistrano Valley in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

The Comets (19-5), No. 14 in the ESPN Los Angeles prep basketball rankings, switched to a full-court press in the fourth quarter and quickly erased an eight-point deficit. They held Capistrano Valley (21-3) to a season-low in points.

The most important stop came in the waning moments. Westchester guard Jio Romano denied Aleks Lipovic a clean look in the final seconds, forcing Lipovic to give up the ball three times before a contested jump shot barely grazed the side of the rim.

South Coast League leader Capo Valley, ranked No. 16 by ESPN Los Angeles, had won nine straight.

Westchester shot only 35 percent (14 of 40), but still managed with intensity on defense. Je'ron Primus was the only Comets player to score in double digits with 15 but he only made three field goals. He was strong at the line, converting on eight of nine free throws.

Jonny Bates scored 17 and Lipovic 13 for the Cougars.

Boys' hoops: Fairfax 73, Eisenhower 67

February, 4, 2012
SANTA ANA -- The post-halftime woes that have plagued Fairfax disappeared Saturday and the Lions held on for a 73-67 victory against a hot Rialto Eisenhower team in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

Fairfax was strong in the third quarter, thanks to senior guard Brendyn Taylor's ability to get to the free-throw line. He scored 14 of his team-high 22 points -- including 10-for-10 on free throws -- in the second half to lead the Lions (17-9). Taylor had help from point guard Landon Drew, who scored 13 of his 17 after the break. Fairfax had lost two of three, including last week to Gardena Serra in an all-day showcase event inside its own gym.

Marvelle Harris had 25 points and Terrance Sims had 23 for Eisenhower (16-7). The Citrus Belt League-leading Eagles failed to extend their 11-game winning streak.

Moran resigns as Marshall football coach

January, 23, 2012
[+] EnlargeAndy Moran
Jose Marin/Marin Media Coach Andy Moran helped lead Marshall to an 11-3 record last season.
Longtime Marshall football coach Andy Moran resigned from his position, the CIF Los Angeles City Section announced Monday. Moran, Marshall's all-time leader in wins and a member of the school's hall of fame, acted as head coach in 2011 despite losing his teaching position at the school in the summer.

According to the section office, Moran had been commuting to Marshall from his job as a middle school physical education teacher in Burbank. His old teaching position at Marshall was not brought back this year.

Marshall finished 11-3 last season, losing to South East in the Division II championship game at East L.A. College. Moran guided the Barristers to eight straight playoff appearances during his 10 years on the job. Marshall has gone undefeated in league in back-to-back seasons -- the first and only time it's happened in the school's 81-year history.

A replacement has not been named.

South: Boys' basketball roundup

January, 19, 2012
Compton (11-7) handed Long Beach Jordan (12-6) its first Moore League loss with a 72-63 overtime win Wednesday night. Victor Robbins overcame leg cramps to lead the Tarbabes with 19 points. Long Beach Poly (14-1) returned from a successful trip to Seattle and manhandled Long Beach Wilson to the tune of 79-33. Roschon Prince had 20 points.

In Western League action, Fairfax (12-6) improved to 4-1 in league with an 80-55 home win over LACES, while Westchester (11-4) blew out Venice, 63-32.

CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA top-ranked Damien (17-1) took sole possession of first place in the Sierra League with a 63-55 victory against Chino Hills (12-7). Chris Reyes had 24 points, including 12 straight in a clutch fourth quarter. Sharpshooting wing Jared Dizon added 21.

In a battle for first place in the Hacienda League, Bonita (15-4) beat Walnut, 55-40.

Gardena Serra (17-2) remained atop the Del Rey League by defeating Bishop Amat, 52-21. The Cavaliers held the Lancers to just nine points in the first half. Elsewhere in league, Bishop Montgomery (16-3) earned a 72-48 win at Cathedral.

Narbonne's Williams lands UCLA offer

January, 17, 2012
Troy WilliamsBlair Angulo for ESPN.comNarbonne quarterback Troy Williams, who will be a senior in the fall, received a scholarship offer from UCLA on Tuesday.

Harbor City Narbonne quarterback Troy Williams, one of the area's top prospects in the class of 2013, received a scholarship offer from UCLA on Tuesday.

"It means a lot," said Williams, who was one of the top junior signal-callers in the region last season. "I have the option to stay close to home and I could relate to a lot of the coaches who are on the staff because they are from L.A. so it's good."

Williams was named the CIF City Section player of the year after leading Narbonne to the Division I championship last season. He passed for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns, and also added 11 rushing scores.

Williams, who admits he was a USC fan growing up, says he might make a decision on a school before the beginning of next season.

"I was thinking about graduating early so I'll probably commit before my senior season or during the season," he said.

Williams, an early ESPNU 150 watch list member, also has offers from Bowling Green, Southern Methodist, Nevada, Washington and Washington State.

So is there a leading school at this point?

"No," he said. "Everybody's even right now."