Los Angeles Preps: Eisenhower

I.E: Final boys basketball top 10

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
4:27
PM PT
1. Etiwanda, 30-3: The Eagles finished with their third 30-win season in the last seven and should be in good shape for the next couple years with the return of sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin, who averaged a team-high 17.8 points. Etiwanda was taken out by Long Beach Poly in the Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight season, then fell to Loyola in a Southern California Regional second rounder.

2. Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles established their run-and-gun identity as the season moved along, and had one of the top players in the I.E. to facilitate that style in shooting guard Marvelle Harris, whose play helped him earn a scholarship from Fresno State in the process. Eisenhower’s season ended with a close loss to Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals.

3. Elsinore, 28-5: The Tigers came up short of their first section final appearance since 1974, losing by nine points to Mayfair in the Division 2A semifinals. They came back to beat Thousand Oaks in the program’s first SoCal Regional appearance before losing to Inglewood in the second round of Division 2. E.J. Twyman played up to expectations entering his senior year, averaging 26.9 points.

4. Colony, 22-10: Two straight losses to end the season didn’t dampen an otherwise strong run by the Titans. Their season was highlighted by a 73-71 victory against second-seeded Compton in a Division 2A quarterfinal. Colony then lost a back-and-forth game against Righetti to prevent the program from advancing to the championship game for the second time in four seasons.

5. Murrieta Valley, 25-3: Righetti took out the third-seeded Nighthawks the round before they beat Colony, ending an otherwise strong season. They won three tournaments prior to Southwestern League play, then defended that title. Darius Butler scored in double figures in every game en route to averaging a team-high 19.6 points, while Reid Shackelford proved to be one of the I.E.’s most improved players, averaging 16.8.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball top 10

March, 4, 2012
3/04/12
9:32
PM PT
None of the Inland Empire's ranked teams survived to make the championship round last weekend. The final hopes, Etiwanda, Elsinore and Colony each lost in the semifinals but still earned berths into the Southern California Regional playoffs.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 29-2: If there were no such things as Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei, the Eagles might have won five straight Southern Section titles, but they were beat by Poly in the Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight year Tuesday.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles stayed with Poly for three quarters in the Division 1AA quarterfinals, but couldn’t get over a 40-point, 15-rebound effort from Roschon Prince in the 77-67 loss.

3. (3) Elsinore, 27-4: The fifth-seeded Tigers couldn’t get past Mayfair in the semifinals and missed a shot at their first championship appearance since 1974.

4. (4) Colony, 22-9: The Titans found their way back to the semifinals of Division 2A after an upset against second-seeded Compton in the quarterfinals but they couldn’t get past Righetti and lost, 68-63.

5. (5) Murrieta Valley, 25-3: A loss to Righetti in another Division 2A quarterfinal ended the season a little sooner than expected for the Nighthawks, who came in seeded third in the division.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' Basketball Top 10

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
4:37
PM PT
Heading into the final week of the Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs and three top 10 teams remain alive.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 29-1: The third-seeded Eagles got what they hoped for, another rematch with Long Beach Poly in a Division 1AA semifinal Tuesday night at Anaheim Convention Center.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 20-8: The Eagles stayed with Poly for three quarters Friday night but couldn’t get over a 40-point, 15-rebound effort from Roschon Prince in the 77-67 loss.

3. (3) Elsinore, 27-3: The fifth-seeded Tigers knocked off No. 4 Leuzinger in a Division 2A quarterfinal Friday night, earning a berth in the semifinals and a shot at their first championship appearance since 1974.

4. (8) Colony, 22-8: The Titans always seem to find their way to the end and here they are again, in the semifinals of Division 2A after an upset Friday at second-seeded Compton.

5. (4) Murrieta Valley, 25-3: A loss to Righetti in another Division 2A quarterfinal ended the season a little sooner than expected for the Nighthawks, who came in seeded third in the division.

(Read full post)

L.B. Poly takes down Eisenhower

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
10:52
PM PT


LONG BEACH -- Roschon Prince had heard enough about the other guy. That was all the motivation he needed to produce the best playoff scoring effort in the history of the Long Beach Poly boys’ basketball program.

The 6-foot-6 junior forward scored a career-high 40 points Friday night and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Jackrabbits to a 77-67 victory against visiting Eisenhower in a Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinal.

Considering the Jackrabbits won their first section title in 1919, the list of prime playoff performances is long and decorated. Prince left no doubt he belongs at the top.

“I just wanted to show them, if I was the most dominant player on probably the most dominant team, that I was going to win,” he said.

The second-seeded Jackrabbits advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will host third-seeded Etiwanda in a matchup that has become routine this time of year. The Jackrabbits beat Etiwanda in the Division 1AA semifinals last season and again in the SoCal Regional playoffs. Etiwanda beat Poly the year before in a semifinal before losing to Poly in the regionals.

“We’re ready for Etiwanda,” Prince said. “We’ve played them for two years so far, so it’s nothing new.”

Before he could begin plotting against Etiwanda, the object of Prince’s motivation was Eisenhower 6-3 guard Marvelle Harris, one of the nation’s top unsigned seniors who came in averaging 24.7 points. Harris, who gave a verbal commitment to Fresno State a day earlier, finished with 29.

On most nights, that would have been enough to be the star of the game, but not this night. The Jackrabbits devoted more manpower to stopping Harris as the game wore on and his shooting percentage steadily declined.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball playoff primer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
4:30
PM PT
With the best Inland Empire boys’ basketball teams placed in the top four divisions of the Southern Section playoffs, here’s a rundown of what to look for beginning with Friday’s first-round games.

DIVISION 1AA

Background: The Inland Empire is well known in this division. The region has sent a representative to the championship game the last three years. Long Beach Poly beat Corona Centennial last season, Mater Dei toppled Etiwanda the year before and Riverside King upset Mater Dei in 2009.

Best Shot: If third-seeded Etiwanda is to continue that trend, the Eagles will likely need to find a way to beat second-seeded Long Beach Poly. They lost to the Jackrabbits in the Division 1AA semifinals last season and again nine days later in the second round of the SoCal Regional playoffs. There are few high school coaches who squeeze more out of their players than Dave Kleckner at Etiwanda, however.

Best first-round game: Highland at Silverado. A good old- fashioned high desert showdown as 11th-seeded Silverado brings a 16-game winning streak into the postseason. The Hawks will need to find a way to slow Highland senior guard Joseph Prince, who is averaging 23.4 points. Prince, who played the last two seasons at Glenbrook North High in Northbrook, Ill., scored a season-high 37 points in the regular-season finale last week against Lancaster.

Darkhorse: Rancho Verde didn’t land on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded Mater Dei, so that can already be considered a victory. In the last three seasons, the Mustangs lost all four postseason meetings against Mater Dei, with three losses in the section playoffs and another in the SoCal Regionals. Rancho Verde is seeded 10th and drew a good challenge in the opener against visiting Montclair. A possible second-round game against seventh-seeded Eisenhower looms.

DIVISION 1A

Background: A team from the I.E. has qualified for the semifinals in this division the last three seasons, Redlands East Valley a year ago, Colony in 2010 and Chino Hills in 2009. In the last final appearance by an I.E. team, Riverside King beat Etiwanda in the 2008 championship game at Honda Center.

Best Shot: The I.E.’s streak of semifinalists could be in serious jeopardy. The highest-seeded teams in this division are No. 7 Chino Hills and No. 10 Vista Murrieta, and they would meet in the second round should they win their openers. The good thing is, one I.E. team would be guaranteed a trip to the quarterfinals.

Best first-round game: Corona at Arroyo Valley. Both these teams have held their own against good competition this season. Corona tied for fifth in the highly competitive Big VIII League and Arroyo Valley finished runner up in the San Andreas League, losing both games to league champion Cajon by a combined six points.

Darkhorse: Vista Murrieta has shown it can reach up and bite a good team if they’re not paying attention. The Broncos beat Murrieta Valley by 13 points in a Southwestern League game last month and the Nighthawks are seeded third in Division 2A. Davin Guinn, a 6-5 senior forward for Vista Murrieta, is one of the top players in the division. He matched his season high with 32 points in the rematch against Murrieta Valley last week.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys basketball top 10

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
11:53
PM PT
None of the top 10 teams dropped a game last week, leaving things intact heading into the Southern Section playoffs beginning Friday.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 26-1: Dominique Walker, a 6-3 senior guard, scored a career-high 19 points Thursday night in a 70-64 victory against Rancho Cucamonga in a Baseline League finale. Next: Friday vs. San Clemente in a Division 1AA first-round game.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 18-7: There might be some debate which is the second-best team in the Inland Empire but there’s no arguing who’s the best team in the Citrus Belt League after the Eagles completed their third consecutive undefeated run. Next: Friday vs. Montebello in a Division 1AA first-round game.

3. (3) Elsinore, 24-3: After their close call against Perris the week before, the Tigers completed their third-straight undefeated run through Sunbelt League play with one-sided victories against Heritage and Paloma Valley. Next: Friday vs. Patriot in a Division 2A first-round game.

4. (4) Murrieta Valley, 23-2: The Nighthawks earned payback against Vista Murrieta with a 71-48 victory Tuesday and also clinched their second consecutive outright Southwestern League title. Vista Murrieta handed Murrieta Valley its only blemish in league play with a 13-point win Jan. 19. Next: Friday vs. Chino in a Division 2A first-round game.

5. (5) J.W. North, 21-5: The Huskies couldn’t beat Riverside Poly in Big VIII League play but beat everyone else en route to a 12-2 record and first place in the Inland Empire’s toughest league. Poly finished second at 9-5. Next: Friday vs. Simi Valley in a Division 2AA first-round game.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

February, 5, 2012
2/05/12
10:53
PM PT
Most of the top teams in the I.E. held their ground last week, with several clinching outright league titles, or at least a share, heading into the final week of the regular season.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 24-1: Sam Flemming scored with 15 seconds remaining to lift the Eagles to a 70-69 victory Tuesday at Upland, keeping them perfect in Baseline League play. Etiwanda came back to win its 21ststraight game Friday night and clinch the outright league title at Los Osos. Next: Tuesday @ Alta Loma.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 16-7: The Eagles clinched their third consecutive outright Citrus Belt League title with victories last week against visiting A.B. Miller (79-49) and at Redlands East Valley (61-34). Eisenhower wasn’t able to keep up with Fairfax on Saturday afternoon at the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei and lost, 73-67. Next: Wednesday @ Redlands.

3. (4) Elsinore, 22-3: The Tigers are well on their way to a fourth straight Sunbelt League title after defeating Temescal Canyon (64-57) and Perris (57-55) last week. Elsinore has won 29 consecutive league games. Next: Wednesday @ Heritage.

4. (5) Murrieta Valley, 21-2: The Nighthawks maintained their one-game lead on Vista Murrieta in the Southwestern League with wins last week at Great Oak (46-35) and Murrieta Mesa (60-39). Reid Shackelford sank five of seven three-pointers against Murrieta Mesa. Next: Tuesday vs. Vista Murrieta.

5. (3) J.W. North, 19-5: Last week began with another hiccup in Big VIII League play, an 11-point loss at Riverside Poly, but the Huskies came back with wins against visiting Roosevelt (64-49) and at Corona Santiago (53-48) to clinch at least a share of the league title with two games remaining. Next: Monday @ Riverside King.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 29, 2012
1/29/12
9:31
PM PT
A couple of more sizable upsets in the Inland Empire league last week, one that cost a low desert team a spot in these rankings and another that put a well-known program on the brink of joining the ‘dropped out’ club. Last week's results also opened the door for a high desert team to make its debut in the top 10, and a Mt. Baldy League team to return.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 22-1: The Eagles just keep getting better and better. They ran over Rancho Cucamonga and Glendora in Baseline League play last week, then roared back from a slim halftime deficit Saturday night to beat Damien, 64-45, at Azusa Pacific. Next: Tuesday @ Upland.

2. (2) Eisenhower, 14-6: Marvelle Harris continues to leave an impression on the I.E. The 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard put up 33 points in a 41-point blowout against Fontana last week, but more impressive was the 23 he scored Friday night in a 79-61 victory against Yucaipa in another Citrus Belt League game. Next: Wednesday vs. AB. Miller.

3. (8) J.W. North, 17-4: The Huskies are back where many expect they belong, owning a two-game lead in the Big VIII League with five games to play. They won their lone game last week, beating up on defending champion Corona Centennial, 73-38 Next: Monday @ Riverside Poly.

4. (4) Elsinore, 20-3: The Tigers went 3-0 last week, starting off with a trip deep into South Orange County for a 77-70 victory Monday against Aliso Niguel. They came back two days later and won at Paloma Valley in a Sunbelt League game, then beat visiting Lakeside in another league game. Next: Wednesday @ Temescal Canyon.

5. (5) Murrieta Valley, 19-2: Jackson Helms, a 6-6 senior forward, scored a season-high 20 points Friday night in a 72-54 victory against Temecula Valley in Southwestern League play, helping the Nighthawks finish 2-0 during the week and erase the memory of a tough loss against Vista Murrieta the week before. Next: Tuesday @ Great Oak.

(Read full post)

I.E.: 5 things from last week

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
5:33
PM PT
1. Nearly two years after the Murrieta Valley boys’ basketball team lost its last Southwestern League game, one that cost the Nighthawks a share of the league title, they faced off against the team that beat them, cross-town rival Vista Murrieta. The latest result Thursday night was even more shocking, as the host Broncos got 27 points from Davin Guinn and beat the top-ranked team in Division 2A, 60-47. As a result, heading into this week, Vista Murrieta, Murrieta Valley and Murrieta Mesa are locked in a three-way tie in SWL play at 3-1.

2. Don Lugo appeared to be the only 6-0 team at the halfway point of the Mt. Baldy League schedule, but the Dons had to forfeit a two-point victory against Montclair on Jan. 9 for using an ineligible player, the Chino Champion reported. The loss dropped Don Lugo into a three-way tie with Montclair and Colony, who the Dons also defeated earlier this season. Colony, which had a 59-game league winning streak snapped by Montclair last season, blew out the host Cavaliers, 88-57, on Friday night to set up a key rematch this Friday at Don Lugo.

3. Marvelle Harris of Eisenhower is considered one of the top unsigned shooting guards on the West Coast, according to several recruiting publications. The 6-foot-3 senior is likely earning additional looks after a strong start to the season. He was at his best Wednesday night in a 60-49 victory against Redlands East Valley, scoring 28 points and pulling down eight rebounds to keep the Eagles atop the Citrus Belt League standings. He had 29 points and 11 rebounds in 59-48 win the week before against Yucaipa, which is tied for second with REV at 3-1.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 22, 2012
1/22/12
8:30
PM PT
A big upset in the Southwestern League last week, as Vista Murrieta took down previously-No. 2 Murrieta Valley in a cross-town showdown. Other than another unpredictable week in the Big VIII League, the rest of the top teams kept on winning.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 19-1: The Eagles had their easiest week of the season, blowing out Los Osos and Alta Loma in Baseline League games. Dominick Alexander, a 5-11 sophomore guard, took advantage of the extra minutes and scored a career-high 14 points Friday against Alta Loma. Next: Tuesday @ Rancho Cucamonga.

2. (4) Eisenhower, 12-6: The Eagles trailed in the third quarter Wednesday against Redlands East Valley but pulled away in the second half to win their 35th consecutive league game, 60-49. They made it 36 in a row with a win Friday against Redlands. Next: Wednesday @ Fontana.

3. (5) Summit, 15-6: The SkyHawks clung to a five-point lead at the half Friday night against Kaiser, but opened it up by outscoring the Cats, 18-13, in the third quarter of the Sunkist League game. Devon Alexander finished with 20 points in the 66-52 win. Next: Wednesday vs. Patriot.

4. (3) Elsinore, 17-3: The Tigers lost to Leuzinger of Lawndale in a Martin Luther King Day Shootout at St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey, but won the games that counted Wednesday at Perris and Thursday against visiting Heritage. Next: Monday @ Aliso Niguel.

5. (2) Murrieta Valley, 17-2: The Nighthawks fell Thursday night in the biggest upset of the season involving I.E. teams. Murrieta Valley gave up 27 points to Vista Murrieta forward Davin Guinn and lost, 60-47, in the Southwestern League game. Next: Tuesday @ Chaparral.

(Read full post)

I.E.: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
9:48
AM PT
The top seven teams from last week’s rankings went unbeaten, while the Big VIII League did some reshuffling as J.W. North reemerged as the team to beat.

1. (1) Etiwanda, 17-1: Sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin continues to be the model of consistency, scoring 21 points in a 56-35 win at Glendora and 20 in a 61-43 victory against visiting Upland. Next: Tuesday vs. Los Osos.

2. (2) Murrieta Valley, 16-1: The Nighthawks opened Southwestern League play with victories last week against Temecula Valley and Great Oak. Reid Shackelford was the high scorer of the week with 25 points Thursday against Great Oak. Next: Tuesday vs. Murrieta Mesa.

3. (3) Elsinore, 13-2: The Tigers opened Sunbelt League play Wednesday with a 68-47 victory against Lakeside. E.J. Twyman and Lawrence Chamberlain scored 24 points each for Elsinore, which came back to defeat Temescal Canyon on Friday. Next: Monday vs. Leuzinger at St. Bernard HS.

4. (4) Eisenhower, 9-6: The Eagles are off to a 2-0 start in Citrus Belt League play after downing Yucaipa (59-48) and A.B. Miller (74-39) last week. Marvelle Harris scored 22 of his game-high 27 points in the first half Friday night against Miller. Next: Monday vs. Ayala at Los Osos HS.

5. (5) Summit, 13-6: Isaiah Taylor was the high scorer in victories last week against visiting Jurupa Valley and Bloomington. The 6-1 senior guard scored 22 in the 74-54 victory Wednesday against Jurupa Valley and 27 on Friday in the 87-43 win against Bloomington. Next: Wednesday at Norte Vista.

(Read full post)

Citrus Belt, Sierra and Sunkist previews

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
4:04
PM PT
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE

League openers: Wednesday night – Fontana @ Redlands; Yucaipa @ Eisenhower; A.B. Miller @ Redlands East Valley.

Last year’s finish: Eisenhower (10-0); Redlands East Valley (8-2), Redlands (6-4); Yucaipa (4-6); A.B. Miller (2-8); Fontana (0-10).

Players to watch: Marvelle Harris (Eisenhower), 6-3, Sr. G; Terrance Sims (Eisenhower), 5-10, Sr., G; Toriano Harris (Eisenhower), 6-1, Sr., G; Evan Pea’Ches (Redlands), 6-7, Sr., F; Jamal Ellis (Redlands East Valley), 5-11, Sr., G; Daylin Billingsley (Yucaipa), 6-6, Sr., F; Adam Stanford (A.B. Miller), 6-3, Jr., F.

Predicted order of finish: Eisenhower, Redlands, Redlands East Valley, Yucaipa, Fontana, A.B. Miller.

SIERRA LEAGUE

League openers: Wednesday night – Ayala @ Chino Hills; Damien @ Claremont; Charter Oak @ South Hills.

Last year’s finish: Damien (9-1); Chino Hills (7-3); Ayala (7-3); Claremont (5-5); South Hills (1-9); Charter Oak (1-9).

Players to watch: Chris Reyes (Damien), 6-7, Sr., F; Clayton White (Damien), 6-0, Sr., G; Jared Dizon (Damien), 6-3, Jr., G; Josh Ramirez (Ayala), 6-4, Sr., G; Jared Ponce (Ayala), 6-2, Sr., G; Matt Ponce (Ayala), 5-10, Sr., G; Tyler Ponce (Ayala), 6-2, Sr., G; Mike Navar (Chino Hills), 6-7, Sr., C; Deion Page (Chino Hills), 6-1, Sr., G; Deandre Page (Chino Hills), 6-1, Sr., G; Bishop Mency (Chino Hills), 6-4, So., F; Kyle Maloof (Claremont), 6-1, Sr., G; Korey Serna (South Hills), 6-9, Sr., C; Kody Brown (Charter Oak), 6-7, Sr., F.

Predicted order of finish: Damien, Chino Hills, Ayala, Claremont, South Hills, Charter Oak.

SUNKIST LEAGUE

League openers: Wednesday night – Jurupa Valley @ Summit, Patriot @ Bloomington; Norte Vista @ Kaiser.

Last year’s finish: Summit (10-0); Patriot (8-2); Jurupa Valley (5-5); Bloomington (3-7); Kaiser (2-8); Norte Vista (0-10).

Players to watch: Devon Alexander (Summit), 6-1, Sr., G; Darrick Arnold (Summit), 6-3, Sr., F; Isaiah Taylor (Summit), 6-1, Sr., G; Thomas Folsom (Patriot), 6-10, Sr., C; Stephon Bryant (Jurupa Valley), 6-2, Jr., F; Sam Parks (Jurupa Valley), 6-1, So., F; Steven Avila (Jurupa Valley), 5-10, Jr., G; John Moss (Bloomington), 5-10, Sr., G

Predicted order of finish: Summit, Jurupa Valley, Kaiser, Patriot, Bloomington, Norte Vista.

Previously:

Baseline, Mountain Pass, Southwestern and Sunbelt leagues

Big VIII, Mojave River and Mt. Baldy leagues

Desert Valley, Inland Valley and San Andreas leagues

I.E.: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
6:26
PM PT
Six weeks into the boys’ basketball season and the cream has risen to the top. Etiwanda and Murrieta Valley have been no surprise with their results thus far, but a few teams have emerged from the woodpile to steal a piece of the spotlight.

1. Etiwanda, 15-1 – The Eagles have won 12 straight since a loss to LaVerne Lutheran, the state’s sixth-ranked team by ESPN coming into the season. Etiwanda won the Inland Empire Classic and Holiday Hardwood Classic, then beat L.A. Crenshaw on Saturday at the The Great Inland Empire Shootout at Eisenhower High. Next: at Glendora, Tuesday.

2. Murrieta Valley, 14-1 – The Nighthawks are off to another blistering start after beating Elsinore to win the Nighthawk Classic at Murrieta Valley and Sierra Canyon to win the Mayor’s Division at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. Next: at Temecula Valley, Tuesday.

3. Elsinore, 13-2 – The Tigers are the only team to beat Murrieta Valley this season, scoring a seven-point victory 10 days after losing to the Nighthawks at their own tournament. They also captured the Paloma Valley Winter Shootout with a nine-point win against Vista Murrieta. Next: at Lakeside, Wednesday.

4. Eisenhower, 7-6 – The Eagles have played one of the tougher schedules among I.E. teams thus far, losing to Etiwanda by 21 and nine points but defeating local juggernauts Summit, Rancho Verde and Upland. Next: vs. Yucaipa, Wednesday.

5. Summit, 11-6 – The SkyHawks also experienced a pair of losses at the hands of Etiwanda’s unrelenting man-to-man defense. They took care of business in victories against Cajon, Riverside King and Visa Murrieta. Narrow losses to Murrieta Mesa and Colony are keeping Summit out of the top five. Next: vs. Jurupa Valley, Wednesday.

(Read full post)

I.E.: A closer look at the Citrus Belt League

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
10:53
PM PT
CITRUS BELT LEAGUE

Last season’s results: Redlands East Valley (8-3, 5-0); Redlands (7-3-1, 3-2); Yucaipa (6-5, 3-2); Fontana A.B. Miller (5-5, 3-2); Rialto Eisenhower (1-9, 1-4); Fontana (0-10, 0-5)

Players to watch: Redlands East Valley will have the luxury of a 1-2 punch in the backfield. Jesse Riley was a first-team all-league selection as a junior last season, playing a key role in a 24-22 victory against rival Redlands by rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll be joined by junior Taylor Thompson, who brings a more bruising running style. REV also returns quarterback Austin Decoud and a dominant offensive lineman in Dominique Robertson, who reportedly has an offer on the table from Arizona State. Edmund Faimalo also returns up front, as well as junior tight end Blake Braun, both first-team all-league picks a year ago. Defensively, the Wildcats will lean on defensive lineman Justin Sedivy and outside linebacker Trevor Douglass. Redlands figures to provide the biggest obstacle for REV again this season. The Terriers also return their quarterback, senior Mike Stallone, and a gifted ball carrier in junior Darryl Miller, who left an impression at the end of last season by rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a first-round playoff loss to Norco. The most heralded newcomer to the CBL is Reshawn Hooker of A.B. Miller. Hooker, a senior linebacker who transferred from San Bernardino Arroyo Valley in the offseason, is rated as the 49th best player in the state by Rivals.com. He reportedly has scholarship offers from six Pac-12 schools, including UCLA. Boise State is also high on his preference list. Yucaipa made the playoffs last season as the league’s third-place team and the Thunderbirds will be counting on junior quarterback Clayton Leach-Mead to continue his improvement. Nate Pascale led their defense with six sacks last season.

Projected order of finish: Redlands East Valley, Redlands, A.B. Miller, Yucaipa, Eisenhower, Fontana.

Key games: Sept. 9 – Compton Dominguez vs. Redlands East Valley @ Perris Citrus Hill HS, Fontana Summit @ Redlands; Sept. 16 – A.B. Miller @ Arroyo Valley; Sept. 23 – Los Angeles Dorsey vs. Redlands East Valley @ Citrus Hill, Etiwanda @ A.B. Miller; Sept. 30 – Redlands vs. Rancho Cucamonga @ Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos HS, Redlands East Valley @ Chino Hills; Oct. 7 – Mission Viejo vs. Redlands East Valley @ Univ. of Redlands; Oct. 21 – Redlands East Valley @ Redlands; Oct. 28 – Yucaipa @ Redlands; Nov. 4 – A.B. Miller @ Yucaipa; Nov. 10 – Redlands East Valley @ Yucaipa, Redlands @ A.B. Miller.

Alumni in the NFL: Nick Barnett, Buffalo Bills (A.B. Miller ’99); Victor Butler, Dallas Cowboys (Eisenhower ’05); Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos (Eisenhower ’04).

Fast fact: The Inland Empire has developed some intense rivalries in recent years but none have quite reached the level of Redlands East Valley and Redlands. It was one-sided at first, with Redlands winning the first five meetings between 1998 and 2002 by a combined score of 237-6. Since then, Redlands East Valley has taken control, winning six of the last eight, including four straight.

On the clock: Desert Valley League.
Catching up on the second round of the Southern Section boys’ basketball playoffs, who would have thought Riverside North and Moreno Valley Vista del Lago would be the Inland Empire's last remaining teams in Division 2A?

But the 15th-seeded Huskies upset second-seeded Elsinore in overtime Friday night, and Vista del Lago beat Lancaster Eastside in a matchup of unseeded teams.

Here’s a rundown of the Inland Empire highlights.

Biggest upset outside of Elsinore: Murrieta Valley lost to 12th-seeded Valencia, 77-70, in Division 1AA, but that wasn’t such a shocker once it was learned the fifth-seeded Nighthawks would be without leading scorer Justin Gudger, who broke his ankle in a first-round overtime victory against Corona.

In the lower half of the same bracket, 11th-seeded Upland knocked off sixth-seeded Pasadena, 56-51, an impressive result, but again not too surprising. The Highlanders entered the playoffs riding a four-game winning streak that included a win against fourth-seeded Etiwanda.

Most fantastic finish: After driving 300 miles to play Arroyo Grande in Division 3AA, second-seeded Palm Springs went back and forth against the 15th-seeded Eagles. The Indians led by two with 0.2 seconds remaining and Kelly Shepard at the free-throw line for Arroyo Grande. Shepard missed the first attempt, then tried to intentionally miss the second but it rattled in, ending his team’s chance for an upset.

Defensive play of the night: With the score tied and about 20 seconds remaining in the Division 1AA game between Rialto Eisenhower and host Lakewood, guard Devin Garner stole the ball and raced for a layup at the other end, giving the seventh-seeded Eagles the lead for good in the 65-61 victory.

Beacon off the bench: Victorville Silverado reserve forward Rohjon Brett scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 65-59 victory against Palmdale in a Division 1A game. Brett, a 6-foot-5 junior, had not scored more than 10 points in a game this season. His three-point basket with 4:10 remaining gave the sixth-seeded Hawks a six-point lead.

Another believer: The most under-appreciated team in the playoffs continues to be Fontana Summit. The SkyHawks are seeded sixth in Division 2AA but continue to perform like a title contender after clobbering host Huntington Beach, 68-50.

Honorable Mention: Terrell Todd scored 26 points and Paulin Mpawe had 17 points and 19 rebounds for fifth-seeded Redlands East Valley in a 77-71 victory against San Bernardino Cajon in Division 1A. ... Byron Wesley had 25 points and 14 rebounds to lead Etiwanda to a decisive 86-54 victory against visiting Chino Hills in Division 1AA. ... Zeke DeBlase scored 26 points but eighth-seeded Victorville Victor Valley came up short against No. 9 Villa Park in Division 2AA and lost, 62-59.

Here’s all the scores involving I.E. teams:

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES