Los Angeles Preps: Division 4-AA

LV Lutheran holds off Oaks Christian

February, 21, 2012
WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Injury or not, there was no way of keeping Eric Cooper Jr. on the bench for Tuesday night's Southern Section playoff game. The junior guard from La Verne Lutheran understood the importance of his presence out on the floor for his teammates.

Despite a troublesome finger on his shooting hand, Cooper Jr. logged major minutes for the Trojans and was an all-important steadying presence down the stretch as they avoided an upset with a 60-58 victory over host Oaks Christian in a Division 4AA quarterfinal game.

“At this stage of the game, you have to stick it out and fight through some things in order to get the job done,'' Cooper Jr. said. “Nothing is going to keep me out of the lineup. I just taped up my finger, went out there and did my thing. It's the playoffs, that's what you do.''

The Lions (22-6) had a chance to win the game. Luckily for La Verne Lutheran (22-6), Chass Bryan's 3-pointer hit off the back iron just before the buzzer sounded.

If not for Cooper Jr., the Trojans might have been in trouble. Starting point guard Brian Beard picked up three fouls in the first five minutes and was forced to the sidelines. The Arizona-bound Cooper Jr. finished with six points, four rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes.

“Eric might need to have surgery,'' said his father and Trojans coach Eric Cooper Sr. “I think he has a dislocated right index finger, his shooting hand, and a possible break too. We're going to see the doctor on Monday. He says his discomfort is at an eight on a scale to 10. I don't think so. He would not be able to play. Still, we're trying to be cautious about things.''

Cooper Jr. had help along the way, of course. Grant Jerrett scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the first half as La Verne Lutheran rallied from eight-point deficit. The 6-foot-10 senior post and Arizona commit also contested Bryan's potential game-winner.

Bryan kept the Lions close and finished with 18 points.

His teammate, Michael Roletti, nearly played the role of spoiler. He made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter alone and ended up with 18 points of his own.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
LONG BEACH -- Harvard-Westlake won the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA girls' basketball championship, 58-54, over Bishop Montgomery at the Pyramid on Saturday.

Skylar Tsutsui hit a layup with 3.4 seconds left to give Harvard-Westlake a four-point cushion and cap a come-from-behind win for her team.

Harvard-Westlake trailed by three points at halftime and by as many as 10 in the first half. But Harvard-Westlake outscored Bishop Montgomery, 17-10, in the third quarter to take a 43-39 lead into the final period.

“I wasn’t worried,” Harvard-Westlake coach Melissa Hearlihy said. “We have scoring power that I felt pretty comfortable with.”

Nicole Hung scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Harvard-Westlake. Teammate Nicole Nesbit also scored 16 points on seven-for-14 shooting from the field. Janine Zelden hit two 3-pointers and finished with eight points.

Bishop Montgomery built an early lead with a 9-2 run to start the second quarter. Kristen Ale scored 14 points to lead Bishop Montgomery. Taylor Sansbury added 12 and Devon Brookshire scored 10.

Bishop Montgomery extended its halftime time to 34-26 to open the third quarter. Harvard-Westlake didn’t score its first basket until the 6:38 mark of the third quarter and didn’t make its first field goal until 5:14 of the third quarter.

Harvard-Westlake went on a 10-2 run and took the lead, 37-36, with 2:08 to play in the third quarter. Hung put back a missed shot by Hilary King and was fouled on the play. Hung made her free throw to give her team a one-point lead.

Harvard-Westlake extended its lead to four points, 43-39, to start the fourth quarter. Bishop Montgomery tied the score at 45-45 but never took back the lead.

“We just got back to playing our game,” Hearlihy said. “Bishop Montgomery played a great first half. At halftime, I felt like Bishop Montgomery wanted the ball more.”

LA North & LA South: Bishop Montgomery leads Harvard-Westlake at halftime

March, 6, 2010
LONG BEACH -- Bishop Montgomery leads Harvard-Westlake, 29-26, at halftime of the Southern Section girls' basketball Division 4AA championship game.

Harvard-Westlake’s Natalie Florescu leads all scorers with 10 points. Kristen Ale leads Bishop Montgomery with nine points.

Bishop Montgomery built a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter. Harvard-Westlake chipped away and closed to within two with under two minutes to play in the first half.

The two teams played a sloppy, low-scoring first quarter. Bishop Montgomery had a 6-4 lead at the four-minute mark of the first quarter and extended it to a 14-11 lead at the end of the quarter.

Bishop Montgomery opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run and was up 25-15 with 3:51 to play in the quarter.

Harvard-Westlake responded with an 8-2 run and was down two points, 28-26, after Nicole Nesbit converted a fast-break layup with 1:43 to play in the second quarter.

LA North & LA South: Harvard-Westlake vs. Bishop Montgomery girls' preview

March, 6, 2010
Harvard-Westlake and Bishop Montgomery will meet in the championship game of the CIF Southern Section Division 4-AA playoffs at the Pyramid in Long Beach.

Harvard-Westlake, the No. 1 seed in the bracket, beat Oak Park, 63-45, in the semifinals, Antelope Valley, 79-68, in the quarterfinals, and St. Lucy’s, 76-54, in the second round. Harvard-Westlake, the No. 32 team in the ESPN Fab 50, had a first-round bye.

Bishop Montgomery is the No. 2 seed in the Division 4-AA bracket. The team beat Lutheran of Orange, 53-52, in the semifinal. Bishop Montgomery beat Alemany, 59-58, in the quarterfinal, El Segundo, 72-25, in the second round, and Lompoc, 71-28, in the first round.

Harvard-Westlake has a 29-1 overall record and a 25-game winning streak. The team's only loss came against Mater Dei on Dec. 11.

"I think we've played well as a team," said Harvard-Westlake coach Melissa Hearlihy. "We've been here before. Hopefully that will help us."

Bishop Montgomery is 26-6 and has a 12-game winning streak.

"It's exciting," said Bishop Montgomery coach Alexa Johnson. "It's exciting for our school."