Los Angeles Preps: Fontana Summit

SANTA ANA -- There's something about Jordan Adams lately. She has spent the entire season banged up and it seems as if she hasn't been healthy since she was a freshman.

But Adams, one of the top seniors in the nation, has come on in the playoffs like the leader she is. She scored 23 points, had nine assists and four blocked shots on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Championships, lifting top-seeded Mater Dei to a 69-59 victory over fifth-seeded Fontana Summit.

The victory on Mater Dei's home floor sends the Monarchs to the SoCal Regional Finals on Saturday, 6 p.m., at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario against third-seeded Long Beach Poly, a 64-50 winner over second-seeded Brea Olinda. Mater Dei (32-3) is two wins from winning its third consecutive state title.

Adams, the USC-bound point guard who had a big game in the second round -- an 80-52 victory over Huntington Beach -- also had six rebounds.

Adams wasn't the only Monarch who filled the basket. UCLA-bound Nirra Fields scored 25 points, had eight rebounds and five steals. Khalia Lark added 12 points.

Summit (30-4) scored the the first six points of the game as Ashley Weissmann connected on consecutive three-point baskets, but Mater Dei led after the firset quarter, 21-19, and at halftime, 36-30.

The Monarchs opened the lead to 33-22 in the third quarter but Summit cut its deficit to one point. Still, Mater Dei led by 16 in the fourth quarter.

Jillian Alleyne led Summit with 18 points. Wiessmann had 12 and Ajaee Foster 14.

I.E.: Summit-Etiwanda highlights opening week

August, 31, 2011
Through out this season, ESPNLA plans to highlight the Inland Empire's top matchups of the week, whether it's two undefeated teams going head to head in league play, a beefy offensive line against a swarming defensive front, or an offseason transfer meeting up against his former team. And what's a good preview without a prediction?

Here's what to look for this weekend.


Fontana Summit vs. Etiwanda at Fontana A.B. Miller HS, Friday (7 p.m.) -- One of the top passers in the Southern Section last season goes up against one of the best ball hawks. Larry Cutbirth of Etiwanda threw for 2,996 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, both stats among the top 10 in the state’s biggest section. He'll have to contend with Boise State-bound senior corner Donte Deayon, who hauled in 10 interceptions as a junior, which tied for second in the section. The game was expected to mark the long-awaited return of Etiwanda senior linebacker Chandler Scott, who sat out last season because of a knee injury after leading the Baseline League in tackles as a sophomore, but he suffered another knee injury over the summer and is expected to miss the first two games.

Prediction: Summit 26, Etiwanda 21.


San Bernardino Cajon at Temecula Chaparral, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Chaparral would very much like to spring from the blocks and start the season on a positive note for new coach Ryan Tukua. The matchup to watch here is also quarterback vs. cornerback. Matt Morin returns behind center for Chaparral and the San Diego State-bound left-hander will be trying to beat a Cajon secondary that includes Damontae Kazee, who has committed to Washington but has a brother, Walter, who plays running back for San Diego State. Kazee is also Cajon’s biggest offensive threat at receiver, and he’ll face a defense led by Chaparral strong safety C.J. Dozier, who has committed to Arizona State.

Prediction: Chaparral 20, Cajon 17.

Pomona Diamond Ranch at Chino, Friday (7 p.m.) -- If nothing else, this game should be interesting to watch from a coaching perspective. Chino’s balanced offense will stare down a defense coached by former Riverside North, USC and NFL defensive end Chris Claiborne, in his first season as defensive coordinator at Diamond Ranch. He'll have to find a way to stop Chino quarterback Sean Molles, who threw for 2,343 yards and 29 touchdowns last season, and running back Xavier Browne, who totaled 1,275 yards and 20 touchdowns. Claiborne was defensive coordinator the last two seasons at Corona High, where he developed defensive end DeVante Wilson, now at USC.

Prediction: Chino 28, Diamond Ranch 10.

La Quinta at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, Friday (7 p.m.) -- Taylor Pope might have to be a one-man band for La Quinta. The senior quarterback is the lone returning all-Desert Valley League selection from last season’s team, and one of the key pieces on defense and special teams for the Blackhawks. Los Osos missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004 and returns just eight starters, but the Grizzlies have one of the area's better offensive guards to lean on in 6-4, 280-pound senior Dylan La Frenz.

Prediction: La Quinta 14, Los Osos 13.

I.E.: Top games for the upcoming football season

August, 9, 2011
With the start of the high school football season just around the corner, now's a good time to ink the calendars with the best games involving Inland Empire teams.

9/1 – Victorville Silverado vs. Rancho Cucamonga @ Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos HS

9/2 – San Bernardino Cajon @ Temecula Chaparral; Fontana Summit @ Etiwanda

9/8 – Perris Citrus Hill @ Moreno Valley; Upland @ Tustin

9/9 – Los Angeles Crenshaw @ Norco; Summit @ Redlands; Vista Murrieta @ Etiwanda

9/16 – Corona Centennial vs. Mater Dei @ Santa Ana Stadium; La Quinta @ Mission Viejo

9/22 – Summit vs. Colton @ Fontana A.B. Miller HS

9/23 – Upland @ Norco; Chaparral @ Corona Centennial; Riverside North @ Fontana Kaiser; Moreno Valley Rancho Verde @ Romoland Heritage

9/29 – Riverside Poly vs. Corona Centennial @ Riverside Ramona HS

9/30 – Norco @ Eastvale Roosevelt; Rancho Cucamonga vs. Redlands @ Los Osos; Redlands East Valley @ Chino Hills

10/7 – Riverside Poly vs. Roosevelt @ Ramona; Corona Santiago @ Norco

10/14 – Vista Murrieta @ Chaparral; Riverside North vs. Riverside Poly @ Riverside College

10/21 – Norco @ Corona Centennial; Rancho Cucamonga @ Upland; Redlands East Valley @ Redlands

10/27 – Santiago vs. Riverside North @ Riverside College

10/28 – Riverside Poly @ Norco; Chino @ Ontario Colony

11/4 – Heritage @ Elsinore; Palm Springs @ La Quinta

11/10 – Redlands @ A.B. Miller; Santiago @ Roosevelt

11/11 – Kaiser vs. Summit @ A.B. Miller; Riverside Arlington @ Rancho Verde

Inland Empire: Santiago's win also a boost for King

May, 11, 2011
The Corona Santiago baseball team might not be in the hunt for the Big VIII League championship this season, but the Sharks had a big hand in helping Riverside King clinch at least a share of the title.

Santiago traveled to Riverside North on Tuesday and scored six runs in the fifth inning, then let right-hander Steven Pallares finish off the Huskies in the 6-2 victory.

North (21-7, 9-4) came into the game tied with King (18-8, 10-3) for first place, but the Wolves now control their own destiny.

Santiago (18-8, 8-5) was led by sophomore Michael Darr with three hits and an RBI. Pallares allowed one earned run on seven hits and struck out 11 in the complete game.

King travels to North on Thursday, where a victory would give the Wolves sole possession of first place and the No. 1 seeding from the league heading into the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs next week.

If the Huskies win, they would be co-champions and the league’s top-seeded team because of their sweep against King this season. North would also make the rare leap from last in the league standings a year ago to first.

Over in the Sunkist League, Fontana Summit defeated Fontana Kaiser, 5-1, to keep its league title hopes alive. The SkyHawks are 9-5 in league play with a game remaining Thursday at Riverside Patriot, which is tied for third at 7-7.

Kaiser fell to 10-4 in league and travels Thursday to Bloomington (7-7) for another regular-season finale. Summit owns the tiebreaker against Kaiser because it won two of three against the Cats this season.

Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon clinched the Sunbelt League title Tuesday with a 2-1 victory against Lake Elsinore Lakeside.

Palm Desert (Desert Valley League) and Redlands (Citrus Belt League) also won Tuesday to lock up the No. 1 seeds from their respective leagues.

Here’s a list of the leagues that have key games on today’s slate.

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Boys basketball final top 10

March, 28, 2011
Another boys' basketball season has come and gone in the Inland Empire and the 2010-11 version might go down as one of the region's best. Fontana Summit advanced to the Division 2 state championship game, while Corona Centennial came up one game short, but still put the program on the map with its postseason run. Below is the final rankings for the season, along with the final record and where the team was ranked heading into the postseason.

1. Centennial, 30-5 (1) – Advanced to the Southern Section Division 1AA finals and Southern California Regional Division 1 championship game.

2. Etiwanda, 29-4 (2) – Lost to Long Beach Poly in both the Division 1AA semifinals and the second round of the Division 1 SoCal regionals.

3. Summit, 28-8 (6) – Ousted in the Division 2AA semifinals, but came back to win the Division 2 regional final and advance to the state championships.

4. Rialto Eisenhower, 19-8 (4) – Lost to eventual Division 1 state champion Mater Dei in a Division 1AA quarterfinal.

5. Redlands East Valley, 25-7 (NR) – Advanced to the Division 1A semifinals where it lost to eventual champion Los Angeles Loyola.

6. Murrieta Valley, 24-4 (3) – Hampered by the loss of leading scorer Justin Gudger to an broken ankle in the first round of the Division 1AA playoffs, the fifth-seeded Nighthawks lost in the second round.

7. Upland, 20-10 (7) – Got through to the Division 1AA quarterfinals with an impressive second-round win against Pasadena but couldn’t get past Corona Centennial.

8. Ontario Colony, 20-10 (9) – Knocked off seventh-seeded Placentia Valencia in a Division 2AA second-round game, then lost to eventual finalist Mission Viejo in the quarterfinals.

9. Eastvale Roosevelt, 19-7 (8) – Seeded No. 10 in Division 1AA, lost by three points to seventh-seeded Montebello at home.

10. Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (21-7) (NR) – Overcame a tough stretch at the end of Inland Valley League play to give Mater Dei a match in a Division 1AA second-round game.

Dropped out: Elsinore (5), San Bernardino (10).

Just missed: Palm Springs, Victorville Victor Valley, Victorville Silverado, Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Montclair, Chino Hills, Riverside North, San Bernardino Cajon, Temecula Valley.

SACRAMENTO -- The glass slipper fit, but the clock had to strike midnight eventually.

Fontana Summit's surprise run ended Friday night, as the SkyHawks fell to San Jose Archbishop Mitty, 53-50, in the CIF State Boys Division II basketball championship at Power Balance Pavilion. Summit had made it out of the Southern California Regional as the No. 10 seed and in just its fifth year as a varsity program.

"This is the best group of kids you would want to coach," Summit coach Steven Hickey said. "We as a staff are so proud of these guys. It hurts, but I'm still proud of them."

Summit (28-8) had the ball trailing by one with 18.7 seconds left, but an errant pass by Dorian Cason led to a Mitty (32-2) bucket. Montigo Alford missed the tying shot at the other end, giving the Monarchs their first state title.

"It felt amazing," Mitty forward Aaron Gordon said. "There are no words to express how good that felt. ... I had an out-of-body experience when that ball went over (Alford's) head."

Gordon, one of the top sophomore prospects in the nation, had 17 points and tied a CIF State title-game record with 21 rebounds. Mitty survived despite the fact that Gordon did not score in the final 12 minutes as he battled foul trouble.

Summit (28-8) scored the game's first seven points before Mitty capped the opening quarter on a 9-2 run. Gordon had 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first half alone, guiding the Monarchs to a 26-19 lead at the break. About the only thing he did wrong was pick up a technical foul for smacking the glass after thunderous two-handed dunk.

The SkyHawks opened the second half on a 10-3 spurt to tie it up and hung tough for the remainder. They went into the fourth quarter down three and finally pulled even with 30 seconds left on a lay in by Quinton Lilley. Cason had a game-high 19 to go along with 14 boards. Summit would have been in trouble if not for its 11 free throw makes in the second half. They missed all 17 of their three-pointers.

"I love my guys," Hickey said. "They can't all go in."

At Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento

Matchup: Fontana Summit (28-8) vs. San Jose Archbishop Mitty (31-2), Friday, 8 p.m.

How they got here: Summit: beat Narbonne, 72-70 (OT); Ventura, 66-45; Peninsula, 79-74; San Diego Lincoln, 74-69 to win the Southern California Regional.

Archbishop Mitty: beat Casa Grande, 71-43; Las Lomas, 70-61; Woodcreek, 67-44 to win the Northern California Regional.

Key Players: Point guard Montigo Alford willed Summit to a comeback effort against San Diego Lincoln, scoring 15 of his team-high 18 in the second half. The SkyHawks have more options, including Darrick Arnold, Devon Alexander and sixth-man Cameron Lewis. Mitty's Aaron Gordon, the brother of former UCLA forward Drew Gordon, is ESPNU's eight-best prospect for the class of 2013.

What to expect: As the top-seeded team in the Northern California Division II Regional, Archbishop Mitty was supposed to be in this position. The Monarchs have been here twice before, in 2007 and 2008. They lost to Santa Ana Mater Dei both times. It's a different story for Summit. No one expected the SkyHawks' flight to Sacramento after they received a No. 10 seeding for the Southern California Regional. The odds were even greater last week at Galen Center, where Summit faced off against one of the state's best teams in Lincoln. So can the surprising SkyHawks, in only their fifth year as a varsity program, do it again?

LOS ANGELES -- Fontana Summit coach Steven Hickey and his players admitted they had their sights set on only one team earlier this season.

Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln.

The motivation paid off, as 10th-seeded Summit upset top-seeded San Diego Lincoln, 74-69, Saturday afternoon at Galen Center to advance to the CIF State Division II boys' basketball championship game in Sacramento next week. With the win, the SkyHawks redeemed their loss to the Hornets in last year's Southern California regionals.

"That loss last year stuck with us," Summit's Dorian Cason said. "That's all we could talk about."

Defending state champion Lincoln (31-2) appeared to be heading for a repeat, leading by as many as 12 in the first half and 13 in the second. Summit (28-7) pulled to within five early in the third quarter, forcing Lincoln coach Jason Bryant to call a timeout. The Hornets drew up an alley-oop for UCLA-bound Norman Powell, who slammed it through uncontested for some breathing room.

But the SkyHawks rose above it.

"I knew they had an axe to grind," Bryant said. "These guys were ready and mad about losing in our gym last year."

Summit was hardly fazed, taking its first lead of the game early in fourth quarter on a Montigo Alford pull-up jumper. Alford then nailed a three-pointer and hit a floater on consecutive possessions. The sequence was at the heart of a 14-1 run to begin the fourth.

"At the beginning of the year all we could talk about was Lincoln," said Alford, who scored a team-high 18 points. "We had them last year. We had to play our game."

Lincoln, meanwhile, hadn't played a close game in months. The Hornets easily won a San Diego Section title and breezed their way to Galen with wins of 22 and 31 points in the state playoffs. Yet Lincoln was off the mark at the free-throw line, making just 11 of 21 attempts. Powell had a game-high 21, but he missed nine of his 10 three-pointers.

"Really, it was about finding my range," Powell said. "There's no backdrop [at Galen], so I tried to stay with it. Usually I make those. It just wasn't my night."

Summit will vie for a state title in just its fifth year as a varsity program.

"This shows everybody that we're a very good team," Devon Alexander said. "I don't think a lot of people believed in us."

Blair Angulo covers preps and UCLA for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Inland Empire: Half dozen boys' basketball teams remain alive

February, 23, 2011
And then there were six.
Now that the Southern Section boys’ basketball playoffs have been pared down to the semifinals, the Inland Empire is left with just a few precious pieces still in the game.
Here’s a rundown:


Of the I.E. teams still playing, the Eagles are by far the most familiar with this time of year. They jumped all over host Valencia in a Division 1AA quarterfinal Tuesday night, scoring the first 10 points en route to 70-58 victory and their fourth straight trip to the section semifinals. Etiwanda, seeded fourth, moves on to play a familiar foe in top-seeded Long Beach Poly. Etiwanda beat the Jackrabbits in the semifinals last season, then lost to them in the Southern California Regionals.


The Big Three carried the Huskies to a 74-58 victory Tuesday against visiting Upland. Dominique Dunning scored 26 points, Michael Caffey had 19 and Gelaun Wheelwright 13 for third-seeded Centennial. The Huskies, who have won 18 consecutive games, will meet second-seeded Mater Dei in the Tuesday’s semifinals at the Anaheim Convention Center. Mater Dei ended the season for Rialto Eisenhower, 82-62.


Another team that appears to be peaking at the right time is the Wildcats. They went to Downey on Tuesday night and had no problem knocking off the fourth-seeded Vikings, 71-54, in a Division 1A quarterfinal. Led by senior point guard Terrell Todd and Pepperdine-bound center Paulin Mpawe, REV has the kind of inside-outside punch that can carry a team in the postseason. The fifth-seeded Wildcats will face a tough test in the semifinals against top-seeded Loyola, however.


The sixth-seeded SkyHawks clawed back from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit in a Division 2AA quarterfinal Tuesday against third-seeded Anaheim Canyon and won, 70-63, to advance to the semifinals for the second straight season. Dorian Cason has been one of the I.E.’s most improved players throughout the season and he finished with 22 points, including 17 in the first half. Cason, a 6-6 senior forward, will be matched against 6-10 senior center Isaac Neilson of Mission Viejo in Friday’s semifinals, which will be hosted by Summit at a to-be-determined neutral site.


The Indians won their second straight playoff game by the score of 49-48 to reach the semifinals in Division 3AA for the second consecutive season. Unlike the second-round game at Arroyo Grande, when second-seeded Palm Springs held on for the victory, the Indians rallied from 12 points down in the fourth quarter against visiting La Habra Sonora. Palm Springs will play third-seeded La Canada in Friday’s semifinals. The game will be played at a neutral site but the Indians have been designated the home team, so it will likely be played somewhere in the desert.


The city of Redlands has not one, but two teams in the semifinals. The Bulldogs knocked off Trinity Classical Academy of Valencia, 57-43, in a Division 6A quarterfinal Tuesday. Despite getting out-sized by 6-6 forward James Brooks of first-year Trinity Classical, Kamaal Thomas came through with 17 points and Mikeal Anderson had 14 for third-seeded RAA, which will play second-seeded Boron in Friday’s semifinals.
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)

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball second-round primer

February, 17, 2011
When the second round of the Southern Section boys’ basketball playoffs begins Friday night, a number of Inland Empire teams face interesting matchups. Here’s a closer look:

Long distance award – Palm Springs is seeded second in Division 3AA, but the Indians won’t get a break, traveling nearly 300 miles to play at Arroyo Grande.

Haven’t we met before? – Victorville Victor Valley hosts Villa Park in Division 2AA, a compelling rematch from earlier this season, when the eighth-seeded Jackrabbits rallied from 13 points down with four minutes remaining and beat ninth-seeded Villa Park, 75-73, at Villa Park.

Act II -- Elsinore, the second-seeded team in Division 2A, travels to Riverside North for another regular-season rematch. The Tigers defeated North, 67-60, on Dec. 30 in the championship game of the Paloma Valley Shootout.

Act III -- Redlands East Valley will host San Bernardino Cajon in Division 1A. These teams met Dec. 29 in a semifinal of the Kiwanis tournament and REV came away with 47-45 victory after the Cowboys missed the front end of three one-and-one free-throw situations down the stretch.

Not you again – Moreno Valley Rancho Verde will travel to Mater Dei for a Division 1AA game against the second-seeded Monarchs. The Mustangs lost to Mater Dei twice in the postseason a year ago, 94-58, in the section semifinals and 80-48 in the second round of the Southern California Regionals.

Power couple – Get ready for an interesting matchup between big men in Division 1AA. Eastvale Roosevelt and 6-8 senior forward Shannon Fowler will take on Montebello and 6-11 senior center Antonio Worthy. Roosevelt is seeded 10th and the Oilers are No. 8.

Underdog vs. underdog – Moreno Valley Vista del Lago will host Lancaster Eastside in Division 2A. Both teams should feel fortunate just to be lacing their sneakers one more time. Eastside upset fourth-seeded Glendora, 72-65, in overtime. Vista del Lago got past 13th-seeded Garden Grove, 59-47.

Bad memories – Fontana Summit will travel to Huntington Beach in Division 2AA. The last time the SkyHawks played in Orange County they lost two years ago to Anaheim Loara, 68-66, in a Division 2A second-round game. That marked the first time Loara had ever advanced to the quarterfinals in the program’s 47-year history.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 14, 2011
The regular season came to an end last week and the second season begins Wednesday with first-round playoff games in most divisions. Upland and Fontana Summit are among the Inland Empire teams that built momentum heading into the playoffs, Eastvale Roosevelt and Ontario Colony seem to be heading in the opposite direction.

1. Corona Centennial, 23-3 (1) – The Huskies scored early and often in a 65-45 victory Thursday against Eastvale Roosevelt, giving them the outright Big VIII League title. Michael Caffey returned from an ankle injury to score 21 points, Gelaun Wheelwright had 20 and Dominique Dunning 16 for Centennial, which is seeded third in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Temecula Great Oak in a first-round game at Centennial, 7 p.m.

2. Etiwanda, 25-2 (2) – Etiwanda wrapped up the regular season with one-sided wins against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos and Alta Loma, then learned it was seeded fourth in the Division 1AA playoffs. The Eagles paid the price for two late-season losses and dropped a couple spots in the seeding order. That means they’ll have to go through top-seeded Long Beach Poly to reach the finals, instead of second-seeded Mater Dei. Next up: Wednesday vs. Long Beach Wilson in a first-round game at Etiwanda, 7 p.m.

3. Murrieta Valley, 23-3 (3) – The Nighthawks ended a perfect run through Southwestern League play with double-digit wins at Vista Murrieta and Temecula Chaparral. MurrietaValley, which won the Division 2AA title last season against Compton, now steps up two levels for the playoffs. The Nighthawks are seeded fifth in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Corona in a first-round game at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

4. Rialto Eisenhower, 17-7 (4) – The Eagles blew out Fontana and Yucaipa last week to finish unbeaten in Citrus Belt League play for the second consecutive year. After the Eagles went 7-6 in December, they found their groove down the stretch, even getting payback against Los Angeles Fairfax for an earlier loss. Eisenhower, the Division 2A champion the last two seasons, enters the Division 1AA playoffs seeded seventh. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chaparral in a first-round game at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.

5. Elsinore, 23-4 (5) – The Tigers employed their full-court press to perfection last week in one-sided victories against Romoland Heritage and Menifee Paloma Valley. They finished undefeated in Sunbelt League play and are seeded second in the Division 2A playoffs, their highest seeding in school history. Elsinore advanced to the Division 3AA semifinals last season, eventually losing to Santa Ana Foothill, which is seeded third in same half of bracket. Next up: Wednesday vs. Westminster in a first-round game at Elsinore, 7 p.m.

(Read full post)

Inland Empire: Girls' basketball playoff preview

February, 14, 2011
The Southern Section girls’ basketball playoff pairings were released Sunday and a number of top Inland Empire teams are massed in Division 1AA, with a few others scattered elsewhere. First-round games begin Thursday. Here’s a rundown:

Division 1AA

Moreno Valley Canyon Springs enters the playoffs as the fourth-seeded team in this division. The Cougars lost two games during the regular season and one was against second-seeded Long Beach Poly, 64-37, back on Dec. 2. Canyon Springs is led by Nebraska-bound guard Tear’a Laudermill, who is averaging 16.6 points. The division is loaded with other top I.E. teams, including fifth-seeded San Bernardino Cajon, sixth-seeded Etiwanda, eighth-seeded Fontana Summit and ninth-seeded Corona Santiago, all coming off league championships. Summit and Santiago face a potential second-round match up Saturday.

Division 1A

Rancho Cucamonga ended Etiwanda’s 66-game Baseline League winning streak this season but couldn’t hold on for the league title. The Cougars are seeded fourth in this division, two spots ahead of Big VIII League runner-up Corona Centennial. Sierra League champion Chino Hills is seeded seventh and opens Thursday against visiting Redlands East Valley.

Division 2AA

Rialto ended Cajon’s 85-game league winning streak this season and went on to share the San Andreas League title with the Cowgirls. For their efforts, the Knights are the top-seeded team in this division. Rialto has an interesting first-round match up Thursday, hosting at-large selection Santa Margarita, which won the Division 3A title last season. Another team to watch is eighth-seeded Norco.

Division 2A

Indio went 23-2, including 12-0 in the Desert Valley League, and is seeded fourth in this division. The Rajahs only losses came against Division 1AA qualifiers Temecula Great Oak and Temecula Chaparral. Indio’s first-round opponent, Riverside North, finished 4-20 and lost its last 12 games. Citrus Belt League champion Rialto Eisenhower is seeded seventh.

Division 3A

Sunbelt League champion Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon enters as the sixth-seeded team in this division. The Titans open against Murrieta Mesa (3-22). De Anza League champion Yucca Valley is seeded eighth.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball playoff preview

February, 13, 2011
The Southern Section boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released Sunday and Inland Empire teams were seeded high in several divisions. Here’s a rundown:

Division 1AA

Etiwanda lost two games in the final two weeks of the season, causing the Eagles to fall a couple spots in the seeding order. Instead of entering the postseason seeded No. 2, the Eagles are No. 4, one behind Corona Centennial, who they beat back in December. MurrietaValley is seeded fifth, Rialto Eisenhower is seventh and Eastvale Roosevelt is 10th. Murrieta Valley won the Division 2AA title last season and Eisenhower won in Division 2A.

Division 1A

RedlandsEast Valley is seeded fifth after finishing second to Eisenhower in the Citrus Belt League. The Wildcats open Wednesday against visiting Dana Hills, and Pepperdine-bound center Paulin Mpawe should have a strong game against the undersized Dolphins. Victorville Silverado was seeded sixth and received a first-round bye because the Hawks were champions of the Desert Sky League.

Division 2AA

Sixth-seeded Fontana Summit certainly fits the bill of a dark horse in this division. The SkyHawks are playing their best basketball of the season, carrying an 11-game winning streak into the postseason. They played Riverside Patriot on Thursday in a game that would determine the Sunkist League title and posted an impressive 70-31 victory. Other teams to watch are eighth-seeded Victorville Victor Valley and 10th-seeded Ontario Colony.

Division 2A

Elsinore was seeded second after running away withthe Sunbelt League title. The Tigers enter the postseason on a nine-game winning streak and open the playoffs against visiting Westminster, which advanced with an 8-18 record. San Bernardino, which won its first league title since 1993, is seeded sixth and Chino Hills Ayala is 10th.

Division 3AA

Second-seeded Palm Springs posted an impressive 22-1 record during the regular season, its only loss coming by two points against Palos Verdes Peninsula, the top-seeded team in Division 2A.

Division 3A

Palm Desert, which finished runner up to Palm Springs in the Desert Valley League, is the highest-seeded I.E. team in this division at No. 7. The Aztecs face an interesting first-round match up against visiting Lakewood Artesia, once one of the elite programs in Southern California but now just fourth-place team from the Suburban League.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball games of the week

February, 10, 2011
1. Corona Centennial (22-3, 13-0) at Eastvale Roosevelt (18-5, 12-1), tonight, 7:30 p.m. – Centennial’s high-scoring offense will take on Roosevelt’s stingy defense for the second time this season in a Big VIII League game. A win by the Mustangs and they’ll share the league championship. Centennial won the first meeting, 59-56, on Jan. 20. Michael Caffey scored 25 points in that game, but has been hobbled with an ankle injury since last week. The Mustangs almost got caught looking ahead Tuesday before squeaking by Riverside King, 61-59. Udun Oskue, a 6-foot-5 senior forward for the Mustangs, is averaging 15 points in the last four games.

2. Riverside Patriot (22-4, 8-1) at Fontana Summit (20-6, 9-0), tonight, 6:30 p.m. – The SkyHawks won the first Sunkist League meeting, 64-50, at Patriot on Jan. 25, dominating the paint by scoring 24 of 27 field goals from within five feet. Summit point guard Montigo Alford did most of the dissecting that game, handing out 11 assists. The Warriors, who have finished runner-up in league the last three seasons, will need to count on shooters Bryan Saffel and Matt Scogebo if the they want to get over the hump.

3. Glendora (21-5, 6-3) at Upland (17-9, 5-4), tonight, 6:30 p.m. – Upland has bounced back from the brink to win its last two Baseline League games against difficult opponents and now sits in third place with one game remaining. Second-place Glendora beat the Highlanders by one point on Jan. 25.

4. San Jacinto (14-12, 8-1) at Perris Citrus Hill (16-9, 9-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. – Oyintonye Akamande, a 6-foot senior guard for Citrus Hill, scored a season-high 23 points in the first Mountain Pass League meeting, a 60-55 victory by the visiting Hawks on Jan. 26. Anthony Rounds, a 6-6 junior forward, is usually Citrus Hill’s leading scorer, averaging 19.4 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Looking ahead: Southern Section playoff selections, Sunday, noon-2 p.m.