Los Angeles Preps: Fairfax

The Chatsworth boys volleyball team opened the City Section Division I playoffs with a three-game sweep over Lincoln to advance to the second round.

Chatsworth will play third-seeded Woodland Hills Taft in the second round on Tuesday.

Second-seeded Granada Hills had a bye in the first round and will play Bell, which eliminated Fairfax in three games.

No. 7 El Camino Real plays 10th-seeded Narbonne in the second round. No. 6 Van Nuys plays Sun Valley Poly in the second round. Poly knocked out Kennedy of Granada Hills in three games in the first round.

Here is a look at the second round matches in the City Section Division I playoffs:

(Read full post)

Collision XIV scheduled for Saturday

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
4:11
PM PT
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
4/11/12
4:28
PM PT
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
3/08/12
8:38
PM PT
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.

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)

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.

City Section Division I semis set

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
3:52
PM PT
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.

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)

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)

South: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
7:21
PM PT
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings as the 2012 playoffs get underway:

1. Long Beach Poly (23-1)
Credit the Moore League champion Jackrabbits for shaking off the departure of Ryan Anderson (Boston College) and Alexis Moore (USC) from last year's Division 1AA title team. Then again, Poly never rebuilds -- it reloads. Coach Sharrief Metoyer has done a tremendous job. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Riverside King, Friday, 7 p.m.

2. Gardena Serra (24-2)
Coach Dwan Hurt has his group riding a nine-game win streak heading into the playoffs. The Cavaliers swept through the Del Rey League, and appear to be the slight favorite in Division 4AA. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Salesian, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

3. Loyola (21-4)
Not exactly the regular season the Cubs had hoped for, but they can forget about falling short in the Mission League with a championship run in the next couple of weeks. Julian Harrell and Jacob Hazzard lead a deep, dangerous squad. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Trabuco Hills, Friday, 7 p.m.

4. La Verne Lutheran (19-6)
Lost in senior forward Grant Jerrett's selection to the McDonald's All-American game is the strides sharpshooter Eric Cooper Jr. has taken as a go-to player for the Trojans. Jerrett demands double teams down low, and Cooper, an Arizona commit, is making opponents pay. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Pasadena Marshall, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

5. Price (19-7)
Mixed results for the Knights last week after beating Compton but losing to fellow Division 4AA contender La Verne Lutheran in overtime. San Diego State signee Skylar Spencer and Co. thrive in transition, so they'll be a tough draw in the playoffs. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Blair, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

6. St. John Bosco (19-6)
No shame in finishing at 8-2 in the Trinity League, especially with both losses coming against the state's top-ranked squad. If there's consolation for Braves fans, it's that this team, with junior Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Daniel Hamilton at its core, only figures to get better under first-year coach Derrick Taylor. This week: CIF-SS Division 3A first round vs. Jurupa Hills, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

7. Bishop Montgomery (21-4)
Sure, the Knights couldn't get it done against Del Rey League rival Gardena Serra, but wins against Woodland Hills, Westchester, Pacific Hills and Price don't lie. Montgomery is a team to keep an eye on in a stacked bracket. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Templeton, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

8. Muir (24-2)#
A loss to neighboring rival Pasadena in the regular-season finale didn't discourage coach Gamal Smalley, who led the Mustangs to their first Pacific League crown in over a decade. But the excitement was short-lived, as the Mustangs were disqualified from postseason play and stripped of their title for using an ineligible player. Muir forfeited 20 victories.

9. Damien (24-2)
The Spartans rolled to their second consecutive Sierra League championship, earning a No. 1 seeding in Division 3AAA. They now have a target on their back, and it will be up to Saint Mary's-bound forward Chris Reyes to fight through constant double teams. This week: CIF-SS Division 3AAA first round vs. El Dorado, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

10. Pacific Hills (23-4)
A loss to Windward in the finale denied the Bruins sole possession of the Alpha League title. It didn't affect their postseason aspirations, though, as the Bruins received a No. 1 seeding in Division 4A. This week: CIF-SS Division 4A second round vs. winner of Costa Mesa-St. Monica, Friday, 7 p.m.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Crenshaw (22-4), Compton (17-9), Downey (22-5), Fairfax (19-9), Leuzinger (21-5), Mayfair (21-5), Pasadena (19-7), Santa Monica (18-8), Westchester (20-6), Windward (18-8)

# - Denotes season has concluded

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

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
12:47
PM PT
The all-important final week of regular-season play is upon us, which means some of the Southland's premier programs must remain focused on the task at hand. Looking too far ahead, to upcoming play in the postseason that is, could prove to be disastrous.

That said, let's take a look at how the best of the best from out here in the greater Los Angeles area stack up against each other. There was a shakeup in the bottom half of the top 10 and multiple teams ranked in the teens are on the verge of joining elite status.

1. (1) Mater Dei (22-2): La Verne Lutheran was supposed to present some problems. It did not happen. The Monarchs ended up winning by five points.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (20-1): Jackrabbits' lone loss came back in the first week of December. There have been no signs of slowing since then, of course.

3. (7) Alemany (22-3): The Warriors keep getting the job done. With two games left in the regular season, they're poised to take home the Mission League title.

4. (4) Etiwanda (24-1): As Jordan McLaughlin tends to go, so do the Eagles. The standout sophomore guard is averaging more than 17 points per game.

5. (5) Taft (22-3): Questions about the Los Angeles City Section frontrunner recently started to surface. A victory over Los Angeles Loyola provided answers.

(Read full post)

Boys' hoops: Fairfax 73, Eisenhower 67

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
4:28
PM PT
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.

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
2:49
PM PT
The Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs are right around the corner, mere weeks away now. Accordingly, most of the premier programs the Southland has to offer appear to be as focused as ever with postseason play clearly in sight.

That said, some major shuffling took place in this week's edition of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings. There is a growing understanding that the time has come for teams to hit their strides and finish up the regular season with momentum.

It's not where you start, of course, but where you finish.

1. (1) Mater Dei (19-2): No signs of slowing down. Going wire-to-wire on top of rankings is a possibility.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (17-1): Second-best team stacks up well against anyone in the Southern California.

3. (4) Loyola (18-3): Looked good in victory against quality opponent Orange Lutheran over the weekend.

4. (5) Etiwanda (22-1): Loss to La Verne Luthern only thing separating Eagles from unblemished record.

5. (8) Taft (19-3): Players have bought into system of their new coach and former NBA player Jason Hart.

6. (9) Bishop Montgomery (18-3): It's official: The Knights can no longer be overlooked. They're a threat.

7. (11) Alemany (20-3): Warriors keep proving all the naysayers wrong. No team is hotter than this group.

8. (10) Gardena Serra (21-2): Del Rey League showdown with Bishop Montgomery looms large Wednesday.

9. (3) La Verne Lutheran (16-5): A recent setback to Los Angeles Westchester was somewhat surprising.

10. (13) Pacific Hills (21-3): Alpha League test comes on Friday against North Hollywood Campbell Hall.

11. (14) Price (17-5): Peaking at the right time is important. The Knights might have finally it figured out.

12. (6) Crespi (19-4): Three losses last week goes to show how difficult Mission League play can be at times.

13. (12) St. John Bosco (16-5): Interested to see how the Hamilton brothers do on Friday night at Mater Dei.

14. (18) Westchester (16-5): A victory over La Verne Lutheran certainly does not hurt the improving resume.

15. (15) Orange Lutheran (14-8): Senior Gabe York is back in lineup after a brief absence. Lancers need him.

16. (16) Capistrano Valley (20-2): Aleks Lipovic and Nick Thomas are a particularly potent one-two combo.

17. (7) Windward (14-8): Nick Stover emerging as unquestioned leader. The Wildcats need guidance too.

18. (19) Mayfair (17-5): Extremely difficult nonleague schedule is paying off for this battle-tested bunch.

19. (17) Damien (20-2): Chris Reyes is a one-man show. His effort, however, came up short against Etiwanda.

20. (NR) Calabasas (19-3): Frontrunner in the Marmonte League race. Pair of road games on deck this week.

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

Serra upends event host Fairfax

January, 28, 2012
1/28/12
8:58
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Serra guard Kajon Mack continues to show that he's one of the top unsigned seniors in the area. He didn't necessarily light up the scoreboard during Serra's 50-40 victory against Fairfax on Saturday night, but he displayed mental toughness and timely shooting.

Mack said he has one scholarship offer -- from San Francisco -- and interest from the likes of UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis and Sacramento State.

He is hungry for more attention.

"It makes me work harder for that scholarship," said Mack, who scored a game-high 16 points.

Said Serra coach Dwan Hurt: "Kajon is a student of the game. He's intelligent and understands his role very well."

Del Rey League leader Serra (21-2), which has won six straight since losing to Price in the Cochran Classic at LACES, used a balanced attack to pull away. Fairfax (15-8) pulled to within five in the fourth quarter but was plague by poor shooting late.

"This helps is get ready for the playoffs," Hurt said. "This helps boost our confidence. ... Our plan was to stay relentless on the boards and to wear Fairfax down."

Senior forward Daddy Ugbede added 11 points for the Cavaliers. Ronny Price led the Lions with 10 off the bench.

In the end, Serra was a rude guest at the Fairfax State Preview Classic.

"This was a big game because we want to be ranked high in the state," Mack said. "We wanted to make a statement."

L.A. South: Prep basketball roundup

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
10:38
PM PT
St. John Bosco (16-4) eked out a 72-68 victory at JSerra on Wednesday night to improve to 5-0 in Trinity League play, setting up a highly intriguing matchup with Mater Dei, the region's top-ranked squad, on Friday in Bellflower. Isaac Hamilton led the way with a game-high 26 points.

Loyola (16-3) lost at home to Alemany, 95-81, and is now two games back in the Mission League standings. The Cubs had gotten back into the race with an impressive win against Crespi earlier in the week. Loyola got 24 points from Julian Harrell.

In the Western League, Fairfax (14-7) beat Westchester, 53-46. Brendyn Taylor had 17 points. In the Pacific League, Muir (20-1) beat Burbank, 54-52, thanks to Jelani Mitchell's 17 points.

Windward (14-7) bounced back from a demoralizing Alpha League loss to Pacific Hills, defeating Sierra Canyon 68-67.

In the Ocean League, Culver City beat Beverly Hills, 87-81, behind 33 points from Aamahd Walker and 32 from Keilan Horton.

SPONSORED HEADLINES