Los Angeles Preps: Etiwanda

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
6:16
PM PT
Another prep basketball season is in the books after the CIF State Championships took place last weekend in Sacramento. The Southland was well represented at the gathering, with four teams in attendance up North. Three programs prevailed and brought home some hardware for their respective trophy cases.

Let's take a look at how the Southland's premier programs stacked up against each other this season. Some of the teams will look familiar. Others not so much. Here are the final ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (34-2): The Monarchs went wire-to-wire as the top-ranked team. Are we surprised? No, not really.

2. (4) Alemany (33-4): There's no substitute for experience, and with seniors Max Guercey and Marqueze Coleman in the mix the Warriors know this all too well.

3. (2) Long Beach Poly (28-3): Pieces of the puzzle appeared in place. The Jackrabbits, however, were their own worst enemy when it mattered most, the playoffs.

4. (6) Loyola (26-6): Bad news: Seniors Julian Harrell, Justin Childress and Jacob Hazzard are gone. Good news: Sophomore Parker Jackson-Cartwright returns.

5. (5) Serra (31-3): With Daddy Ugbede out on the court, the Cavaliers were capable of beating anyone. The senior was a threat underneath and out on the perimeter.

6. (3) Taft (29-4): Anthony January was a high-profile transfer at the start of season for the Toreadors. The senior wing, of course, lived up to most of the hype.

7. (7) Etiwanda (30-3): With sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin in the fold, the Eagles figure to be just fine for years to come. More than fine, in fact.

8. (16) Price (26-9): Seemingly no one around played a tougher schedule. Once postseason play rolled around, the Knights were a battled-tested group. And then some.

9. (11) La Verne Lutheran (25-8): The Trojans relied on Grant Jerrett. The Arizona commit and McDonald's All-American could take care of business by himself.

10. (17) St. John Bosco (25-8): The Hamilton brothers, junior Isaac and sophomore Daniel, often times played as if they were seasoned veterans for the Braves.

11. (10) Mayfair (27-6): Senior wing Dion Wright did a little bit of everything for the Monsoons once the playoffs started. He did most of it extremely well too.

12. (9) Pacific Hills (30-5): Brandon Taylor might have been considered an underrated point guard early on this season. The senior changed the perception in the playoffs.

13. (8) Orange Lutheran (22-11): A mid-season injury to Gabe York was difficult to deal with. Once the senior guard was healthy, there was not stopping the Lancers.

14. (12) Pasadena (27-7): The Bulldogs knew they had a reliable presence in senior Blake Hamilton. During their playoff run, everyone else learned the same exact thing.

15. (14) Mission Viejo (25-6): When football and basketball players finally come together, it can be a dangerous combo. Go ahead and ask opponents of the Diablos this year.

16. (18) Crespi (24-8): It was tough to figure out the Celts. They managed to defeat Alemany twice, Price one time and Loyola once. This group might have peeked too early.

17. (13) Calabasas (28-4): The season was dedicated to assistant coach Joe Frazier, in a coma after a motorcycle accident. The Coyotes did their mentor proud from start to finish

18. (15) Inglewood (23-12): Starting five consisted of juniors Charles Lockwood, Kristopher Randall, Randy Onwuasor, Edward Scott Jr. and Nicholas Smiley. Watch out.

19. (NR) Bishop Montgomery (23-5): Playing in highly competitive Division IV took its toll on the Knights. They were a battered and bruised bunch come postseason play.

20. (NR) Village Christian (32-3): The Crusaders were on a crusade, apparently. They came out of nowhere and opened some eyes en route to winning a Division V state title.

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

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)

Parker-Cartwright powers Loyola victory

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
11:08
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Sophomore sensation is not a term to be used loosely.

In the case of Parker Jackson-Cartwright from Los Angeles Loyola, the moniker is indeed fitting. Come to think of it, the same thing can be said about Etiwanda's Jordan McLaughlin.

The talented underclassmen went toe-to-toe Saturday night. In the end, however, Jackson-Cartwright got the better of the exchange by virtue of his Cubs defeating the McLaughlin-led Eagles, 48-35, in a Division I second-round game of the Southern California Regional playoffs.

“I can't imagine that there are two better sophomores in the state,'' Loyola coach Jamal Adams said. “We're talking about a pair of kids who are going to be high-major college-type of recruits when they're seniors. Both of them are getting a ton of looks already. I had a bunch of coaches and scouts call me this week about the game. Everyone wanted to see Parker and Jordan go at it.''

With the victory, Loyola (26-5) advances to the semifinals on Tuesday night against Santa Ana Mater Dei, a 78-66 winner over Mission Viejo on Saturday. The Monarchs, mind you, did not have standout guard Katin Reinhardt in the lineup. He has a hand injury and will be reevaluated this week.

Jackson-Cartwright was largely -- although not solely -- responsible for the Cubs success. He kept Loyola's stat guru, Andrew Figueras, busy throughout the game. The 5-foot-7 point guard scored a team-high 13 points. Jackson-Cartwright added six rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists.

His counterpart did not have his best game of the season. McLaughlin attempted to keep things close and finished with 10 points, three blocks and two rebounds. Problem was, the 6-foot floor general did not have much help. No other player scored in double digits for Etiwanda (30-3).

“At this stage, in the state tournament, in Division I, it's unique from a fan standpoint to see two players like Jordan and Parker play at such a high level because they are so young,'' Etwiwanda coach Dave Kleckner said. “This game was a preview of things to come for both players.''

(Read full post)

Etiwanda-Loyola: Battle of elite PGs

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
4:34
PM PT
Loyola's Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Etiwanda's Jordan McLaughlin are, without question, two of the Southland's top basketball prospects. The point guards figure to draw quite an audience Saturday night when their schools meet in the second round of the Division I Southern California Regionals.

Jackson-Cartwright
Jackson-Cartwright
McLaughlin
McLaughlin
The sophomores are quite familiar with each other. They matched up in summer-league games last year and even attended a high school football game together as friends.

They'll meet under different circumstances Saturday: A trip to the regional semifinals -- likely against top-seeded Mater Dei -- is up for grabs.

"I'll play my game, nothing is going to change," said Jackson-Cartwright, the top-ranked player in the state for the 2014 recruiting class who has scholarship offers from the likes of UCLA, USC, Arizona State and Washington. "He's a good player. I'll try to get into him and make it tough for him."

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
5:08
PM PT
With the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs in the books, the premier programs from the greater Los Angeles area turn their collective attention toward the Southern California Regional Playoffs this week. First-round play starts Wednesday night as teams begin their bids for a berth in the CIF State Championship game.

That said, let's take a quick look at how some of the best of the best from right here in the Southland stack up against each other. Without further adieu, here's the latest edition of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (29-2): Have gone wire-to-wire atop of our rankings and show no signs of slowing down.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (26-2): Revenge-minded Jackrabbits would like another shot against Mater Dei.

3. (5) Taft (28-3): Not much competition in Los Angeles' City Section. Division I state will be different though.

4. (6) Alemany (28-4): All signs pont to the Warriors making an appearance in Division III state title game.

5. (7) Gardena Serra (29-2): The top seed in Division IV and distinction is worthy given body of work.

6. (4) Loyola (24-5): Wouldn't be least bit surprised to see the Cubs make some noise in Division I play.

7. (3) Etiwanda (29-2): Eagles are overlooked in Division I with Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly around.

8. (9) Orange Lutheran (21-10): Gabe York receives the headlines while Payton Banks waits in the wings.

9. (10) Pacific Hills (28-4): Brandon Taylor is one of the most underrated seniors in Southern California.

(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.: Four teams earn home games for SoCal Regionals

March, 4, 2012
3/04/12
9:30
PM PT
The Etiwanda and Elsinore boys’ basketball teams have first-round homes games when the Southern California Regional playoffs begin Wednesday. On the girls' side, Summit and Corona Santiago will host opening-round games.

Etiwanda, which was defeated last week by Long Beach Poly in the Southern Section Division 1AA semifinals for the second straight year, was seeded fifth in Division 1 and will host Vista, the San Diego Section Division 1 runner-up.

Elsinore, a semifinalist in Division 2A, was seeded fourth in Division 2 and will host Division 2AA runner-up Thousand Oaks. Colony, another semifinalist in Division 2A, will hit the road and play at eighth-seeded El Camino Real, the City Section’s Division 2 champion.

Palm Desert will travel to Cathedral in San Diego for a Division 3 first-round game.

Summit, the Division 1A champion, will host the Central Section’s Division 1 second-place finisher, Bakersfield Stockdale. Santiago, a semifinalist in Division 1AA, will host El Camino Real, the City Section’s Division 1 semifinalist.

Murrieta Valley and Norco, both Division 2A semifinalists, will open on the road in Division 2, while second-seeded J.W. North, the Division 2AA runner-up, has a first-round bye.

L.B. Poly outlasts Etiwanda again

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
9:44
PM PT


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.

(Read full post)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
4:39
PM PT
The goal for many of the Southland's premier programs at the start of the season was simple: Win a Los Angeles City Section or Southern Section championship. And with title games taking place later in the week, the time has come for teams to follow through with the plans they made months ago.

Unfortunately for some, lofty aspirations of taking home some hardware never materialized this year. Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Los Angeles Westchester along with La Verne Damien and Los Angeles Windward fall into that category as each program had their respective season end last week.

That said, let's take a look at the teams whose postseason hopes remain alive and well.

1. (1) Mater Dei (27-2): The Monarchs made it to the final four in Division 1-AA. No surprise there. Now let's see if they can seal the deal with a trophy.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (25-1): Etiwanda in the Division 1-AA semifinals is the only thing standing between the Jackrabbits and a berth in the marquee game.

3. (3) Etiwanda (29-1): Jordan McLaughlin is a sophomore. He certainly doesn't play like an underclassman though and averages more than 17 points per game.

4. (4) Loyola (24-4): Give the Cubs some credit. They did not overlook anyone in the Division 1-AA bracket and a showdown against Santa Ana Mater Dei awaits.

5. (5) Taft (27-3): Los Angeles Dorsey does not figure to give the Toreadors much trouble in the City Section title game this weekend. A championship is a formality.

6. (6) Alemany (27-4): The Warriors figured to go as far as senior point guard Max Guercy would take them. Low and behold, they are in the Division 3-A finals.

7. (7) Gardena Serra (28-2): There were no easy games in Division 4-AA and the Cavaliers can vouch for that fact. Next up: La Verne Lutheran in the title game.

8. (8) La Verne Lutheran (23-6): Expect a big Division 4-AA finals game from Grant Jerrett. The senior and Arizona commit is overdue for a memorable performance.

10. (14) Orange Lutheran (17-10): Arizona-bound senior Gabe York is healthy once again. That does not bode well for Capistrano Valley in the Division 1-A semifinals.

10. (10) Pacific Hills (27-4): The Bruins had better be prepared for Jose Estrada in Division 4-A. The junior from Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart can flat-out score.

11. (15) Mayfair (22-5): Seemingly a sure thing to win it all in Division 2-A. The highest seeded team left in the bracket for the Monsoons is No. 5 Wildomar Elsinore.

12. (17) Capistrano Valley (25-4): Lack of respect has been a driving for the Cougars in Division 1-A. An upset victory over Orange Lutheran would quiet the skeptics.

13. (20) Calabasas (26-3): The Coyotes have flown underneath the radar for a while now in Division 3-AA. Suppose it's about time they receive an acknowledgment.

14. (11) Price (22-8): No shame in losing to Gardena Serra in the Division 4-AA semifinals. Plus, the Knights played one of the more competitive schedules around.

15. (12) St. John Bosco (22-7): An upset at the hands of Oak Park in the Division 3-A semifinals ended the season a bit sooner than expected for the talented Braves.

16. (19) Crespi (23-7): The Celts were one only basket away from defeating La Verne Lutheran and making an appearance in Division 4-AA championship game.

17. (NR) Mission Viejo (26-3): The Diablos have been on the verge of entering the poll for weeks. They have finally arrived and are a force to be reckon with in Division 1-A.

18. (NR) Pasadena (24-6): Damien received most of the headlines in Division 3-AAA this season. The Bulldogs, however, are the ones standing in the end during postseason play.

19. (NR) Royal (23-6): In terms of peaking at the right time, the Highlanders figured things out just in the nick of time in Division 2-AA. They're one win away from the finals.

20. (NR) Thousand Oaks (21-8): Must be considered the surprise of the playoffs so far. Lancers have knocked off No. 1 and No. 8 seeds to reach the Division 2-AA semifinals.

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

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)

I.E.: Basketball playoffs continue tonight

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
1:21
PM PT
The Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs resume tonight with some intriguing second-round and quarterfinal games. Here's a look at the key storylines to watch for, and a list of all the other games involving Inland Empire teams.

Top Ticket

Division 1A second-round game

Vista Murrieta at Chino Hills, 7 p.m.: These teams met Jan. 3 in a nonleague tuneup, and host Chino Hills was the much better team that night, scoring a 67-47 victory. The seventh-seeded Huskies win with defense, and they’ll know who to stop for Vista Murrieta. Davin Guinn is averaging 23 points a game for the 10th-seeded Broncos. The 6-foot-5 senior forward scored 32 in a 65-57 overtime victory Friday night against Alta Loma. Guinn scored 25 points when these teams last met, but shot 6 for 22 and no other Vista Murrieta player contributed more than seven points.

Upset Alert

Division 1AA second-round game

Etiwanda at Gahr, 7 p.m.: Etiwanda is seeded third in the division and usually skims right through the early rounds of the postseason, but Gahr is also a program accustomed to long playoff runs, and it opened with an overtime upset victory at 13th-seeded Ventura.

Matchup to watch

Division 2AA second-round game

J.W. North at Temecula Valley, 7 p.m.: Temecula Valley received a big boost when 6-7 junior forward Brandon Rosser returned Friday for the Golden Bears’ first-round game against at Serrano. Rosser was thought to be lost for the season when he suffered a severe gash on his right wrist when he collided with an unsecured door while trying to save a loose ball under his basket during a holiday tournament at Marin Catholic High School in the Bay Area. Rosser contributed eight points and 14 rebounds in the overtime victory against Serrano. Rosser averaged 15.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 12 games before the injury. His size will come in handy against third-seeded J.W. North, whose front line stands, 6-5, 6-5 and 6-8.

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Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
3:01
PM PT
Postseason play is well underway and the action has been fast and furious. That said, it's about time for the premier programs from the Southland to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs.

Over the next couple of days, the semifinal showdowns will begin to materialize as teams move toward division championships. So let's take a look at the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (25-2): Katin Reinhardt or Xavier Johnson, pick your poison. Limiting the effectiveness of one of the two is possible. Stopping them both isn't.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (23-1): Highly-touted junior Roschon Prince does a little bit of everything, and does it well, for the Jackrabbits.

3. (3) Etiwanda (27-1): Here's where things get interesting in Division 1-AA for the Eagles. Santa Monica and Long Beach Poly loom large en route to finals.

4. (4) Loyola (22-4): With a collision course seemingly set with Mater Dei in the all-important Division 1-AA semifinals, the Cubs can't afford to look too far ahead.

5. (5) Taft (25-3): On deck, Lake Balboa Birmingham in the Los Angeles City Section playoffs Wednesday. The Toreadors will not have any troubles in this one.

6. (6) Alemany (25-4): La Puente Bishop Amat stands between the Warriors and a berth in the Division 3-A semifinals. Chances are, they will not be denied.

7. (7) Gardena Serra (26-2): Cavaliers will have their hands full with North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan in a Division 4-AA game Tuesday.

8. (8) La Verne Lutheran (21-6): Road trip to Westlake Village Oaks Christian on Tuesday night figures to be a speed bump along the way in Division 4-AA play.

9. (9) Bishop Montgomery (23-4): It is not easy to win at Encino Crespi. It will be interesting to see if the Knights are up to the challenge in Division 4-AA on Tuesday.

10. (10) Pacific Hills (25-4): Freshman phenom Aaron Holiday and North Hollywood Campbell Hall could play the role of spoiler. The Bruins are well aware of that fact.

(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)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
1:25
PM PT
With regular-season play in the books, the Southland's premier programs will take a day or two and regroup before the focus turns toward the postseason.

That said, let's take a look at some of the top teams from the greater Los Angeles area as preparations begin for the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs later this week.

At this stage of the game, it's win or go home.

1. (1) Mater Dei (24-2): No real surprise here, Monarchs remain atop the poll. Moreover, they appear poised to take home the Division 1-AA title.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (22-1): If anyone is capable of giving the top-ranked team a run for its money, perhaps it's the talented Jackrabbits.

3. (4) Etiwanda (26-1): There will be no easy games in Division 1-AA play for the Eagles. Questions about just how good they are about to answered.

4. (6) Loyola (21-4): Signs point to the Cubs meeting Mater Dei in the Division 1-AA semifinals. With a finals berth on the line, anything can happen.

5. (5) Taft (24-3): Anthony January's nickname is "Dinnertime." Odds are, the senior wing will be hungry during the City Section tournament.

(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)

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