Los Angeles Preps: Grant Jerrett

Eric Cooper leaves Lutheran for St. Anthony

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
1:33
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Eric Cooper, who guided La Verne Lutheran to back-to-back state basketball titles in 2010 and 2011 before falling short in the Southern California regional semifinals last season, has accepted the head coaching position at Long Beach St. Anthony.

Lutheran was 25-8 last season behind Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett, the state's only McDonald's All-American.

"It's an opportunity to come home to the area I grew up at, a chance to do something out here," Cooper said. "I still have a great team over there at Lutheran. It was a very tough decision, kind of just came about. I prayed about it and it worked out."

Cooper took over at Lutheran in 2007 and quickly built its program into a small-school power, compiling a 132-30 record in five seasons. Cooper's son, Eric Cooper Jr., will also make the move to St. Anthony. Cooper Jr. is an Arizona commit and one of the area's top rising senior guards.

St. Anthony was 17-10 last season and 50-30 over the last three years under former coach Chris Morrison.

"Everything fell in place at Lutheran," Cooper said. "I had good kids who were ready to work and great assistant coaches. That's what made it right."

Spencer steps into big role for Price

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:54
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LOS ANGELES -- There was no shortage of high-profile post players in the Southland this season. The position, in fact, was seemingly the deepest it has been in recent years.

Attempting to determine who the best of the bunch was could prove to be a difficult task given the long list of candidates. A case can certainly be made for Skylar Spencer, considering the 6-foot-9, 220-pound senior from Los Angeles Price senior is the last man standing.

[+] EnlargeSkyler Spencer
Courtesy of Nick KozaSkyler Spencer has been consistent in his play and that is a big reason Price finds itself in the state title game.
While most of his highly regarded peers sit at home on Friday afternoon and wonder about what could have been, Spencer will suit up for the Knights (26-8 overall) and likely be the difference between winning and losing in the CIF state championship game against Richmond Salesian (33-2). The opening tip is at 1:30 p.m. in Sacramento at Power Balance Arena.

“I wouldn't trade Skylar for anybody out here,'' Price coach Michael Lynch said. “He's our captain, our leader on the team, we've been on his back so many times this year.''

If given the chance, many would choose Grant Jerrett from La Verne Lutheran as the premier player in the greater Los Angeles area. The senior and Arizona commit, after all, was recently named the Gatorade State Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.

North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan deserves consideration with regard to being mentioned in the same sentence as some of the Southland's best bigs. Also worth mentioning is Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January. Gardena Serra's Daddy Ugbede and La Verne Damien's Chris Reyes round out the well-rounded group.

Spencer can't be overlooked if winning is a criteria used in the conversation. The Knights were among the top programs in the ESPNLosAngeles Top 20 rankings this season with Spencer leading the way. Remember, Price played one of the more competitive schedules around.

“We did not back down from anyone, we'll play anyone, anytime, anywhere,'' Spencer said. “To be the best, you have to play the best. That's the way you have to think.''

(Read full post)

Price knocks off La Verne Lutheran

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
9:41
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LA VERNE -- It was as simple as this: Skylar Spencer didn't want his season to end. One free throw to tie, two to lead. Less than seven seconds remaining.

The San Diego State-bound forward sank both, pushing Los Angeles Price past La Verne Lutheran, 53-52, Tuesday night in the Southern California Regionals Division IV semifinals at the University of La Verne. Price will match up against top-seeded Gardena Serra, the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA champion, in the regional title game Saturday night at Ontario Colony High School.

Second-seeded Lutheran, a two-time defending state champion, had a chance to win with 6.9 seconds remaining, but McDonald's All-American Grant Jerrett fumbled a pass inside the paint before the final buzzer sounded.

"That last six-point-whatever seconds seemed like two minutes," Price coach Michael Lynch said. "When I saw that ball fumbled away, I lost it."

Lutheran (25-8) took a 52-51 lead with 32.8 seconds remaining after Jerrett made one of two free throws. Lynch called a timeout and, on the ensuing possession, Spencer pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled hard.

He composed himself and took the biggest free throws of his life.

"I knew I had to at least make one but I was worried about making two," said Spencer, who finished with 11 points and five blocked shots. "I didn't want my season to end. I didn't want the game to go into overtime."

(Read full post)

Roundup: Third-seeded Taft loses

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
11:39
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The Woodland Hills Taft boys’ basketball team, seeded third in the Southern California Regional Division I playoffs, was upset Saturday night by visiting Fresno Bullard, 70-63.

Taft led by nine points at the half and appeared headed to a semifinal meeting against second-seeded Long Beach Poly, but Bullard opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run en route to outscoring the Toreadors, 48-32, in the second half.

Kris Yanku scored 18 points to lead Taft and Anthony January had 14 before fouling out with 25 seconds remaining.

Corey Silverstrom scored 23 points to lead Bullard to its biggest victory in program history.

In Division II:
Inglewood 60, Elsinore 55 -- The fifth-seeded Sentinels knocked off the fourth-seeded Tigers and earned a semifinal matchup Tuesday at top-seeded La Costa Canyon. Second-seeded Mayfair advanced to the semifinals in the bottom half of the bracket, knocking off San Joaquin Memorial, 49-48, and will host third-seeded San Diego Lincoln.

In Division III:
San Diego Cathedral Catholic 89, Oak Park 79 (2OT) -- After letting a four-point lead slip away at the start of the fourth quarter, Oak Park climbed back from a seven-point deficit with two minutes remaining to force the first overtime. The fifth-seeded Eagles then hit a buzzer-beating 3-point shot to force the second extra period. Oak Park scored the first three points of the second overtime before the fourth-seeded Dons seized control for good.

Pasadena 77, Bell 44 -- Pasadena senior shooting guard Blake Hamilton scored 23 of his 25 points in the opening half as the second-seeded Bulldogs built a 53-17 lead. Pasadena will meet sixth-seeded St. John Bosco in the semifinals Tuesday at Monrovia High. St. John Bosco upset third-seeded Calabasas in another quarterfinal.

In Division IV:
Pacific Hills 62, Crespi 54 – The fifth-seeded Bruins trailed by nine points at the half but stormed back over the final two quarters to beat the fourth-seeded Celts. Pacific Hills will meet top-seeded Gardena Serra in Tuesday’s semifinals. Serra knocked off ninth-seeded San Diego Francis Parker, 53-31.

La Verne Lutheran 57, Visalia Central Valley Christian 52 – Lutheran forward Grant Jerrett scored 27 points to lead the second-seeded Trojans to the victory. Lutheran advanced to play Price, a 67-51 winner against La Jolla Country Day in another quarterfinal. Lutheran beat Price by two points in the regular-season finale.

In girls’ Division I:
Summit 45, Corona Santiago 44 – The fifth-seeded SkyHawks held on to beat the fourth-seeded Sharks. Summit took a six-point lead with 1:37 remaining, but Santiago sophomore Chrishae Rowe converted a four-point play with a minute left to pull the Sharks back to within two. Summit didn’t give up the lead, however, and moves on to a semifinal meeting Tuesday against top-seeded Mater Dei.

Second-seeded Brea Olinda will host third-seeded Long Beach Poly in the other semifinal.

In Division II:
Foothill 50, Ventura 48 – A steal and layup by Dayanara Armenta with 2:49 remaining gave fifth-seeded Foothill a 45-36 lead, and the Knights held on to beat fourth-seeded Ventura. Foothill will meet top-seeded Lynwood in one semifinal, while second-seeded J.W. North and sixth-seeded Palisades will play in the other.

SoCal Regional boys' basketball roundup

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
10:52
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The second-seeded Long Beach Poly boys' basketball team had to fight off a stiff test from No. 15 Capistrano Valley on Wednesday night in a Division 1 Southern California Regional first-round game before ultimately winning in overtime, 65-59.

The Jackrabbits finally took control by scoring the first six points of overtime while the Cougars were committing three turnovers. Capistrano Valley had led by as many as 13 points in the first half before Poly scored the final eight points of the second quarter to get back into the game.

The Jackrabbits will host seventh-seeded Orange Lutheran in Saturday’s second round. The Lancers knocked off Dorsey, 64-57.

In other Division 1 games:

Etiwanda 57, Vista 50 – Sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin scored 18 points as the fifth-seeded Eagles overcame a four-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.

Mission Viejo 70, Torrey Pines 62 – The ninth-seeded Diablos surged to a 17-point lead after three quarters against No. 8 Torrey Pines.

Taft 84, Clovis West 54Anthony January, a 6-7 senior power forward for third-seeded Taft, scored 17 points as the Toreadors surged to a 26-12 lead after the opening quarter. Taft will host Fresno Bullard in Saturday’s second round.

Fresno Bullard 68, Westchester 53 – The sixth-seeded Knights got 32 points and 15 rebounds from senior shooting guard Aaric Armstead. Westchester trailed by just five points heading into the final quarter but were outscored, 21-9.

In Division 2:

El Camino Real 71, Colony 63 – The ninth-seeded Titans led by two heading into the fourth quarter but No. 8 El Camino Real outscored Colony, 15-7, over the next four minutes to take the lead for good.

Elsinore 56, Thousand Oaks 46 – The fourth-seeded Tigers cut the deficit to two points at the end of the third quarter on a four-point play by E.J. Twyman at the buzzer and then outscored the 13th-seeded Lancers, 20-8, in the final quarter. Elsinore moves on to host fifth-seeded Inglewood, a 65-52 winner against Garfield.

Tulare Union 72, Righetti 71 – In the biggest upset in the division, the 11th-seeded Redskins knocked off No. 6 Righetti and advanced to play third-seeded San Diego Lincoln, a 76-64 winner against visiting Sunny Hills.

Fresno San Joaquin Memorial 51, Royal 43 – The 10th-seeded Highlanders went on the road and couldn’t get past the seventh-seeded Panthers.

(Read full post)

Serra knocks off LV Lutheran in 4AA

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
7:28
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ANAHEIM -- Kajon Mack and Dakarai Tucker were sophomores when Gardena Serra won section and state titles two years ago. They were handed championship rings but, with guys Marqise Lee doing most of the heavy lifting, it didn't quite feel right.

The senior duo felt grand Thursday afternoon, as Serra captured the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA crown with a 69-59 victory against La Verne Lutheran at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. Fellow senior Daddy Ugbede scored 32 points on 14-for-20 shooting, out-dueling Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, an Arizona-bound forward and the state's only McDonald's All-American.

"It feels good to be a part of this now," Mack said smiling.

Tucker added 21 points for top-seeded Serra, which pulled away late in a game that featured 15 lead changes and nine ties. The Del Rey League-champion Cavaliers capitalized on their size advantage down low, out-rebounding the Trojans 36-20 and forcing Jerrett, Lutheran's only big, into foul trouble.

"I'm a firm believer in whoever controls the boards, controls the game," Serra coach Dwan Hurt said. "That's what we talked about in practice."

Serra (29-2) had 10 second-chance points and it proved to be the difference. Jerrett picked up his fourth foul with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter, paving the way for the 6-foot-7 Ugbede. The student section serenaded him with chants of "Who's your Daddy?"

"La Verne Lutheran is a very good team," Hurt said. "We just persevered out there. Once we got rid of Jerrett, Daddy basically had his way down low."

Jerrett finished with 19 points but only five rebounds. Eric Cooper Jr. scored 12 points and Brian Beard had 11 for Lutheran, which now turn its attention a state tournament it has won the last two years.

"If Serra does play us again they know it will be a game," Lutheran coach Eric Cooper Sr. said. "It will definitely be a game. I look forward to state and seeing what these guys do when they step on the court again."

Mack and Tucker, meanwhile, were giddy in the postgame media room, knowing they had just won arguably the most difficult division in the state.

"There's a difference when you're on the bench than being a part of it," Hurt said. "This one is probably more meaningful to them because they know they had a part in it."

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

Lockwood leads Inglewood charge

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
11:03
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INGLEWOOD -- Charles Lockwood might not be the most well-known post player the Southland has to offer. This time next year, however, things could be drastically different.

The 6-foot-9 junior from Inglewood showed glimpses of his potential during Tuesday night's Southern Section playoff game against visiting Thousand Oaks. His well-rounded effort, in fact, proved to be one of the differences in the Sentinels' 65-36 Division 2AA semifinal victory.

“Charles has a lot to offer, what you're seeing now is a player who is about to take the next step, a big step,'' Inglewood coach Pat Roy said. “He's heading in the right direction.''

Lockwood has been largely, although not solely responsible for the success this season at Inglewood (21-10), which advances to this weekend's finals against Simi Valley Royal.

Thousand Oaks (21-9) had trouble containing Lockwood down in the paint early on. His back-to-back baskets sparked a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter. A pair of buckets late in the second quarter helped Inglewood take a 34-22 advantage at the halftime break.

With a comfortable lead, Lockwood got to work on the defensive end in the second half. He forced the Lancers to take difficult shots, they made one field goal and three free throws over an eight-minute stretch. As a result, the Sentinels started the fourth quarter up, 47-27.

Despite drawing double-and-triple teams for a majority of the game, Lockwood managed to finish with eight points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. With the game's final outcome no longer in doubt, he made his way to the bench for good with less than three minutes left.

(Read full post)

Lutheran holds off Crespi in semis

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
9:51
PM PT


LA VERNE -- As his team scrambled on defense in the final seconds, La Verne Lutheran basketball coach Eric Cooper's heart didn't skip one beat. Or so he says.

Cooper has seen late-game theatrics far too often this season to be fazed by another frantic finish, but he might be due for a trip to the cardiologist in the offseason after Friday night's thriller at the University of La Verne.

McDonald's All-American forward Grant Jerrett missed two free throws with 14 seconds remaining, and Crespi raced to the other end looking for the tie or the win. Michael Milligan's runner didn't fall, Jerrett grabbed the rebound and heaved the ball into the air, securing a 51-49 victory and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA championship game for a meeting against top-seeded Gardena Serra at Anaheim Arena. The date and time is scheduled to be announced Monday.

It was the second consecutive nail-biter for two-time defending state champion Lutheran (24-6), which escaped with a 50-48 victory at Oaks Christian in the quarterfinals.

"It's been like that all season. We had a quadruple overtime game, two double overtime games," Cooper said smiling. "That's the type of season we've had. If Crespi would have made the last shot to send the game into overtime, it wouldn't have fazed me. That kind of stuff has been happening to us."

Jerrett, an Arizona signee, finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

"With Grant, you've always got a chance," Cooper said.

Sophomore point guard Brian Beard Jr. sank a desperation 3-pointer from about 40 feet out as the shot clock expired to give the second-seeded Trojans a seven-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. It grew to nine points with 1:10 left.

(Read full post)

Fab Five playoff games this weekend

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
3:41
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Southern Section Division 1A

Mission Viejo (25-3) vs. West Ranch (17-10): Top-seeded Mission Viejo travels to play eighth-seeded West Ranch in the quarterfinals on Friday night. Can West Ranch pull of the upset? Mission Viejo plays tough defense. Opposing teams are scoring an average of 54.5 points per game against the Diablos. In the playoffs, the Mission Viejo defense is even better, surrendering only 44.5 points per game. Mission Viejo had an 18-game winning streak at one point during the season. West Ranch has a legitimate big man in 6-foot-7 forward Ako Kaluna. He is averaging 16.1 points per game and coming off a 29-point performance against Edison in the second round of the playoffs. West Ranch as a team is averaging 70.4 points per game and 86.5 points per game in the playoffs.

El Toro (22-8) vs. Crescenta Valley (25-4): This should be a tight one. Fifth-seeded El Toro is on the road against fourth-seeded Crescenta Valley. The Falcons are coming off a 67-55 win over Warren in the second round. Dylan Kilgour, Davis Dragovich and Cole Currie each scored in double figures for Crescenta Valley. They combined for 51 of the Falcons’ 67 points against Warren. Kilgour led the way with 19 points. El Toro’s Cody White scored 24 points in his team’s 76-48 win over Huntington Beach in the second round.

Division 2AA

Riverside Poly (21-8) vs. Thousand Oaks (20-8): The Lancers won their biggest game of the season, knocking out top-seeded Ocean View in the second round of the playoffs. Heck, it might have been the biggest win of the playoffs. Now 15th-seeded Thousand Oaks is home against No. 8 Riverside Poly in the quarterfinals. Tanner Fanjoy went off for Thousand Oaks against Ocean View, hitting seven 3-pointers and scoring 27 points. The Lancers were 11-for-12 from 3-point territory as a team. They probably can’t rely on that kind of performance again, but coach Richard Endres is used to preparing teams for deep playoff runs. Poly Riverside narrowly beat Ayala, 44-42, in the second round.

(Read full post)

LV Lutheran holds off Oaks Christian

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
10:58
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WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Injury or not, there was no way of keeping Eric Cooper Jr. on the bench for Tuesday night's Southern Section playoff game. The junior guard from La Verne Lutheran understood the importance of his presence out on the floor for his teammates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bryan kept the Lions close and finished with 18 points.

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

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

Bonita: Small town's overlooked team

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
10:50
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Garrett HorineBlair Angulo for ESPNLA.comGarrett Horine scored 17 points in Bonita's easy first-round playoff victory on Wednesday night.

LA VERNE -- Fans trickled into Bonita's old gym through a single door Wednesday night without much commotion. The wooden bleachers weren't filled to capacity, a steady rain maybe discouraging some from leaving the warmth of their homes.

It wasn't loud. It wasn't extravagant. It was basketball in its purest form: Crisp ball movement and suffocating man-to-man defense. Just the way Bonita coach Greg Eckler likes it.

Rather silently, seventh-seeded Bonita improved to 24-4 on the season and ran its winning streak to 15 games with a dominant 80-28 victory against Cerritos in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA boys' basketball playoffs. The Bearcats advanced to meet unseeded Brea Olinda on Friday. They don't get much publicity, and Eckler understands why: It won't happen with two-time defending state champion La Verne Lutheran a mere three blocks away. And it won't happen with two-loss Damien, located less than two miles from Bonita, stealing the city's headlines.

Greg Eckler
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comBonita coach Greg Eckler has seen his team power its way to a 24-4 record this season.
But the small town's third team is pretty good, too.

"It's great that we've got a strong little basketball area," Eckler says of La Verne, a town with a population of 33,000 that is nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains some 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. "It speaks to what's going on out here. A lot of people don't talk about La Verne being a dominant city when it comes to basketball, but for a couple of years now we've had three solid teams."

Bonita, the Hacienda League champion, is fine with thriving in the shadows. Lutheran has the state's only McDonald's All-American in Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett. It has hung CIF state championship banners each of the last two seasons. Damien has Saint Mary's-bound forward Chris Reyes and a state-of-the-art gym.

Bonita, though, has scrappers and hustlers and a standout football player manning the post.

"Not one guy is a star," says senior Garrett Horine, the school's leading receiver last season. "We all share the ball and work hard."

Six players scored in double figures Wednesday night; Horine led the way with 17. The Bearcats went on a defense-fueled 33-2 run in the first half, and held Cerritos to four points in the third quarter.

"We certainly don't get the publicity," says Eckler, who's in his 10th season. "But when [Lutheran and Damien] have the kids that they've got, they're going to get more publicity."

(Read full post)

Grant Jerrett named McDonald's A.A.

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
2:48
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The two-year drought is over.

La Verne Lutheran forward Grant Jerrett was named to the prestigious McDonald's All-American game on Thursday, becoming the first player from California to be honored since 2009 when four locals were named to the west roster. Jerrett, an Arizona signee, is the state's only representative this year.

"I feel honored and blessed to be able to play in this game," said Jerrett, who is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds for back-to-back state champion Lutheran.

This year's game will be televised live by ESPN on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. PT from the United Center in Chicago.

Here is a link to the complete boys' rosters.

On the girls' side, the Southland will have four players in the game (which will be played the same night as the boys' game but at 4 p.m. PT) on the West roster

Mater Dei guards Jordan Adams and Nirra Fields are on the team, as well Silverado center Candice Agee and Windward center Imani Stafford.

Here is a link to the complete girls' rosters.

No. 1 Mater Dei 71, No. 9 LV Lutheran 66

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
10:56
PM PT
SANTA ANA -- If crowd murmurs were any indication, the showdown between defending state champions exceeded expectations Saturday night. Mater Dei fans hoping for yet another Monarchs blowout were in for a reality check.

The tension built but it subsided quickly.

Top-ranked Mater Dei beat La Verne Lutheran, 71-66, to successfully defend its home court in the 17th annual Nike Extravaganza, but the margin was too close for the red-clad fans. The Monarchs had won their previous eight games by an average of 30 points but trailed the Trojans early in the fourth quarter.

Mater Dei (22-2), the defending CIF Division I state champion, used one of its patented runs to pull away. Senior guard Eli Stalzer sank a jumper, forward Stanley Johnson had a monstrous breakaway dunk and Jordan Strawberry nailed a runner to create some space. The final minute turned into a free-throw shooting contest, but the Monarchs passed that test.

Ninth-ranked La Verne Lutheran (18-6), a two-time defending state titlist, showed the crowd why it has been successful in recent years. Junior guard Eric Cooper had a game-high 21 points and wing Cameron Osorno added 12.

Senior forward Grant Jerrett gave Lutheran a brief two-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but he was never heard from again. Mater Dei denied the post, forcing low-percentage shots from the perimeter. Jerrett, an Arizona signee and arguably the Southland's best prep player, had only seven points and six boards.

"We had to box out this big 6-foot-10 dude over here," said Xavier Johnson, who led Mater Dei with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Katin Reinhardt had 17 points, and Stanley Johnson pitched in with 10 and 11 boards.

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

Jerrett tweaks ankle, Lutheran rolls

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
11:37
PM PT
LA VERNE -- The old windowless gym on the campus of Lutheran High makes for great echoes, and a thunderous dunk by Grant Jerrett easily reverberated across its walls Tuesday night.

Then, a loud thud. Deep gasps followed, and the building went hush.

[+] EnlargeGrant Jerrett
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.com Grant Jerrett (33) of La Verne Lutheran is helped off the court Tuesday by teammates after hurting his left ankle.
Jerrett was flat on his back, clutching a left ankle that, recently, has been given him issues. He had tweaked the ankle yet again, rolling it on an opposing player's foot on his way down from an explosive and, what turned out to be, unlucky dunk.

"It's pretty bad," Jerrett said. "It's something I've been dealing with and I've been trying to strengthen the ankle. I don't know. I have to deal with it, I guess."

To make matters even gloomier it was senior night at Lutheran, and Jerrett spent it on the bench with a towel over his head and his elevated left ankle resting on a chair. The Trojans, ranked No. 9 by ESPN Los Angeles, faced little trouble without the top-rated senior in the Southland, routing Ribet Academy, 89-60. The ankle injury, though, is a major concern for the back-to-back state champions.

Jerrett estimates that he'll only be sidelined a day or two, but his status for Saturday's matchup at top-ranked Mater Dei is up in the air, according to Lutheran coach Eric Cooper.

"The playoffs are the most important thing," Cooper said. "There's no need for him to play Saturday. He'll want to play, but we'll see."

Fellow seniors Cameron Osorno and Brandon Shaw were recognized at halftime, with their parents joining them at half-court as Cooper spoke on a microphone. Jerrett, meanwhile, remained seated as his parents walked across the floor to embrace him on the bench.

(Read full post)

Damien's Chris Reyes is Mr. Motivation

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
7:18
PM PT
Chris ReyesCourtesy of Justin RadDamien's Chris Reyes is accustomed to teams taken him lightly, and he's just fine with that.

LA VERNE -- When discussions take place about some of the Southland's premier post players, the name Chris Reyes is not always included in the conversation.

The lack of recognition, however, does not bother the 6-foot-6, 205-pound senior from Damien. The perceived snub has served as plenty of motivation this season. Accordingly, Reyes is playing as well, if not better than most his peers in the greater Los Angeles area.

“Chris may not be ranked as high as the other guys, but he is just as good in my book,'' Damien coach Matt Dunn said. “He affects the game in so many ways, on both ends of the floor. Honestly, I think when people underestimate him, it's a mistake. I've seen Chris make opponents pay for taking him lightly in the past. He plays with this uncanny fire.''

As Reyes has gone, so have the Spartans (18-1 overall), No. 17 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings. They have a test Wednesday in a showdown with visiting Chino Hills Ayala. The winner will be in the driver's seat in the Sierra League standings.

The St. Mary's-bound Reyes is shooting 62 percent from the field and is averaging a double-double per game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Never one to back down from a challenge, he has also blocked an average of five shots on a nightly basis.

“I'd like to be be compared to the best big guys around. Do I think about it all the time? No, not really,'' Reyes said. “Honestly, I kind of like being unknown.''

He is far from an unknown, rest assured. Thing is: La Verne Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan, Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January and Gardena Serra's Daddy Ugbede typically grab most of the headlines.

(Read full post)

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