Los Angeles Preps: Inglewood

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 26, 2012
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.

Roundup: Third-seeded Taft loses

March, 10, 2012
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.

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 5, 2012
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)

LA South: Local teams ready for postseason run

March, 4, 2012
Some of the Southland's premier prep hoops programs reside in the Northern region of Los Angeles. And for those skeptics out there looking for proof, one need not look any further than the brackets released for the Southern California Regional Playoffs on Sunday afternoon.

First round play begins Wednesday night and Long Beach Poly is one of the marquee teams competing in Division I. The Jackrabbits were awarded the all-important No.2 seed and open up at home game against Capistrano Valley.

Among the other potentially entertaining games in an absolutely loaded Division I field: Los Angeles Crenshaw at No. 4 Loyola Los Angeles, Los Angeles Westchester at Fresno Bullard and Los Angeles Dorsey at Orange Lutheran.

In Division II, No.2 Mayfair earned a first-round bye. Los Angeles Garfield faces a particulary tough task at No. 5 Inglewood. Division III has a strong contingent, including No. 6 Bellflower St. John Bosco, No.7 Bell and South Torrance.

Gardena Serra is the top seed in Division IV and has a bye in the first round. Local opponents looming large are No. 2 La Verne Lutheran, No. 3 Los Angeles Price and No. 5 Los Angeles Pacific Hills. Other teams posing as ptoential threats are underdogs No. 8 Animo South Los Angeles and Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart.

In Division V, Playa del Rey St. Bernard is the top seed. No. 2 Los Angeles Ribet Academy and Los Angeles View Park could play the spoiler role.

Inglewood rallies, beats Royal in 2AA

March, 3, 2012

ANAHEIM -- Somewhere, somehow, someway, Paul Pierce is smiling.

His alma mater, Inglewood, entered Saturday's Southern Section Division 2AA final in search of its first title since 1994, back when Pierce was a promising prospect and running the show in the Southland.

Turns out, the Sentinels would not be denied. One of the program's most prestigious alums, Pierce, would have been proud of the effort. After trailing for a majority of the game against Simi Valley Royal, Inglewood took the lead in the fourth quarter and made the advantage hold up en route to a 60-57 victory at Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

"I don't really want to talk about 1994, this 2012 and I'm proud, thankful, for the group I have around me now,'' Inglewood coach Pat Roy said. "These kids worked hard all year. They were hungry, you saw that out there on the court today. They never gave up, and as a coach, that's what you want from your players.''

Kristopher Randall and Nicholas Smiley combined for eight points in the fourth quarter for the unseeded Sentinels (22-11). The seventh-seeded Highlanders (24-7), on the other hand, could not find a reliable scoring presence down the stretch, when it mattered most. And that proved to be costly.

With Smiley and Randy Onwuasor and struggling from the perimeter in the first half of play, Edward Scott Jr. picked up the slack after intermission. The junior wing scored eight points in the third quarter to help the Sentinels battle back from a six-point halftime deficit. They trailed 46-44 at the start of the fourth.

"I just did what I was supposed to do, give us a lift,'' Scott Jr. said.

Charles Lockwood picked up a pair of fouls early on and proceeded to the bench in the first quarter. With the 6-foot-9 junior on the sidelines, Scott Woods took over. Also 6-9, the fellow underclassman center scored six points and added seven rebounds and three bocks as Royal took a 31-25 advantage at the halftime break.

J.R. Powell got off to a fast start, knocking down three three-pointers in the first quarter alone. He finished with 11 points in the first eight minutes to give the Highlanders a a 17-12 lead at the end of one.

Woods had 14 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. Powell had 16 points.

Randall and Smiley had 15 points each. Onwuasor had 13 points.

Wonder how long it will take for word to get back to Pierce about his alma mater?

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

InglewoodSean Ceglinsky/For ESPNLA.comInglewood players and coaches celebrate their championship victory on Saturday.

Lockwood leads Inglewood charge

February, 28, 2012

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)

Fab Five playoff games this week

February, 27, 2012
Sunny Hills (25-6) vs. Royal (23-6): Seventh-seeded Royal plays 11th-seeded Sunny Hills in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs on Tuesday night. The bracket makers didn’t do such a great job in Division 2AA. Sunny Hills knocked out third-seeded J.W. North, 77-75, in the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Canyon lost in the second round to 16th-seeded Tesoro. The highest-seeded team Royal has played in the postseason is No. 10 Villa Park in the second round. The Highlanders are averaging less than 60 points a game in the playoffs (59.3), but allowing only 44.6 points per game.

Thousand Oaks (21-8) vs. Inglewood (19-10): It could be an all-Marmonte League final in the Southern Section Division 2AA championship game. But even Thousand Oaks coach Richard Endres said he didn’t think his team would have a chance to win a CIF championship this year. How they got this far is nothing short of miraculous. He starts five juniors and finished in a tie for third place in the Marmonte League standings. Thousand Oaks was probably a year away from contending for the league championship and a CIF title. But the Lancers have been the hottest team in the playoffs. If there is a team that’s hotter than Thousand Oaks, it’s Inglewood. The unseeded Sentinels have eliminated three seeded teams in the playoffs, including No. 4 Canyon of Anaheim in the second round. Thousand Oaks travels to Inglewood for their semifinal game on Tuesday night.

Crescenta Valley (26-4) vs. Mission Viejo (26-3): Fourth-seeded Crescenta Valley travels through the Orange Curtain to Mission Viejo for a chance to play in the championship game of the Southern Section Division 1A playoffs. Mission Viejo is the top seed in the Division 1A playoffs, but is coming off an overtime scare in the quarterfinals. Mission Viejo survived with an 81-77 win in the quarterfinals against West Ranch. Crescenta Valley eliminated fifth-seeded El Toro, 61-49, in the quarters. The Falcons are averaging nearly 70 points per game (69.3) in the playoffs.


Burbank (19-11) vs. Summit (25-3): The Burbank girls are one game away from playing for the Southern Section Division 1A championship. But the Bulldogs must travel to Fontana to face top-seeded Summit to get there. The 13th-seeded Bulldogs are coming off a 58-48 win over Temecula Valley in the quarterfinals. Summit easily eliminated Downey, 62-54, in the quarterfinals. Burbank plays Summit on Tuesday night.

Ventura vs. J.W. North (27-4): The Ventura girls have a long road trip in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs on Tuesday. The second-seeded Cougars head out to Riverside to play third-seeded J.W. North. Ventura beat Redondo Union, 51-39, in the quarterfinals. Sam Meyer led the way with 18 points for Ventura. The Huskies eliminated Thousand Oaks, 63-48, in the quarterfinals.

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 29, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (18-1)
The Jackrabbits increased their lead to two games in the Moore League standings thanks to Roschon Prince's stellar game at Compton on Friday. The junior wing had 35 points and 12 rebounds. This week: at Lakewood, Wed.; vs. Long Beach Wilson, Fri.; vs. Orange Lutheran in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

2. Loyola (18-3)
An up-and-down week ended in a positive way with a 92-84 win against Orange Lutheran at the Fairfax State Preview Classic. Still in the Mission League race, but need some help. This week: at Notre Dame, Wed.; at Harvard-Westlake, Fri.; vs. Taft in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

3. Gardena Serra (21-2)
There's great balance throughout coach Dwan Hurt's roster, that much was evident in the Cavaliers' 10-point win against host Fairfax at the State Preview Classic on Saturday. Senior guard Kajon Mack and big Daddy Ugbede complement each other well. This week: vs. Bishop Montgomery, Wed.; vs. Bishop Amat, Fri.

4. La Verne Lutheran (16-5)
A 67-62 overtime loss to Westchester on Saturday snapped a nine-game win streak. The Trojans face an interesting group of competitors in the next few days. This week: vs. Ribet Academy, Tues.; at Renaissance Academy, Wed.; at Mater Dei in Nike Extravaganza, Sat.

5. Price (17-5)
The Knights have won six straight since losing at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee, riding the leadership of junior guard Chance Murray and bouncy forward Skylar Spencer. The upcoming schedule will put their streak in serious jeopardy, though. This week: at Ribet Academy, Fri.; at Alemany, Sat.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Pick six games of the week

November, 17, 2011
Eastside(4-6) vs. No. 2 Westlake (10-0), Friday (7 p.m.)
The top-seeded team in the Southern Section Northern Division playoffs eases into postseason with a first-round game against Eastside, the fourth-place team from the Golden League. The Lions have lost three games in a row. They don’t run the ball well -- the Lions' leading rusher is Kevin Teate with 691 yards and two touchdowns. They don’t pass the ball well, averaging a notch over 31 yards per game. They don’t score many points, averaging 16.6 points and were shut out in three of their last five games. Westlake is undefeated, averaging 45.5 points and coming off a 35-14 win over St. Bonaventure, the No. 11 team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings.

Mira Costa (4-6) vs. No. 9 Oaks Christian (8-2), Friday (7:30 p.m.)
Oaks Christian, the reigning Northern Division champion and the second-seeded team in the Northern Division playoffs, opens against the third-place team from the Bay League. Mira Costa is another team that hasn’t scored much, only 17.7 points per game, and lost its league finale, 21-7, against Redondo Union. Oaks Christian stumbled a bit into the playoffs, playing two close games in the final three weeks of the Marmonte League season. Both of Oaks Christian’s running backs, Carlos Mendoza and Ishmael Adams, were nicked up in the final weeks of the season. Still the Lions are averaging 35.3 points and should be in good position to make another run at a CIF championship.

No. 11 St. Bonaventure (8-2) vs. Redondo Union (5-5), Friday ( 7:30 p.m.)
The Sea Hawks finished in second place in the Bay League and won four of the last five games of the season. Two of their toughest games were a 21-0 loss to Gardena Serra in Week 2 and a 33-13 loss to Orange Lutheran in Week 5. St. Bonaventure, the No. 3 seed in the Northern Division playoffs, has been ranked higher than Serra and OLu all season in the ESPNLA rankings. The Seraphs might be playing with some chips on their shoulders, too. Coach Todd Therrien was definitely not happy with the way his team lost to Westlake in the Marmonte League finale. Don’t get him started on how his team lost to Oaks Christian.

Inglewood (5-5) vs. No. 24 Chaminade (8-2), Friday (7 p.m.)
Chaminade Coach Ed Croson said his players were “disheartened” after losing to Gardena Serra in the Mission League finale and, as a result, dropping from the No. 1 to No. 3 seed in the Western Division playoffs. The Eagles run the ball well and can score against any team. Running back Terrell Newby has 1,533 yards and 24 touchdowns. Quarterback Logan Scott is efficient, passing for 1,490 yards and 11 touchdowns at a 65 percent completion rate. The wild card in the Chaminade offense is speedster wideout Elijah Dunston. He caught 34 passes for 412 yards and a team-high five touchdowns among the receivers. Inglewood, the second-place team from the Ocean League, has won four games in a row. The Sentinels also lost five of their first six games. Two of those losses were to Palos Verdes and Mira Costa, the top two teams from the Bay League. It could be a long night for Inglewood.

Birmingham (8-2) vs. Arleta (9-1), Friday (7 p.m.)
Birmingham is the No. 6 seed in the City Section Division I playoffs and takes on Arleta in the first round. It is East Valley vs. West Valley. Birmingham was the surprise champion of the West Valley League after upsetting El Camino Real in the second to last game of the season. Arleta won the East Valley League championship with an undefeated record. The only loss for the Mustangs was against Chatsworth, 28-12, in the second week of the season. It was also be a matchup of two of the best running backs in the San Fernando Valley. Arleta’s Dejon Coleman is one touchdown away from setting the City Section for touchdowns in a season. Birmingham’s Isaiah Hastings has outplayed the top tailbacks in the West Valley League all season.

Cresnshaw (5-4) vs. El Camino Real (8-2), Friday (7 p.m.)
El Camino Real opens the City Section Division I playoffs against the reigning champs. This is a winnable game for El Camino. Crenshaw is the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. El Camino is No. 9 and home for the playoff opener. The Conquistadores won four of their last five games but stumbled a bit into the playoffs. They lost to Birmingham and, as a result, lost the West Valley League championship. In the West Valley League finale, they narrowly beat Granada Hills, 35-34, and had to erase a 20-point halftime deficit. Crenshaw finished in third place in the Coliseum League and lost its last two games of the season.

L.A. South: Top five games - Week 1

September, 7, 2011
The opening week of high school football has passed and, soon, the contenders will start distancing themselves from the so-called pretenders. As part of our weekly feature, here are this week's five must-see games in south Los Angeles County, in no particular order:

Glendora at Monrovia, Thursday, 7 p.m. -- Defending Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia, idle last week, begins its quest to repeat. Glendora (0-1), which lost to Charter Oak last week, must contain the Wildcats' Ellis McCarthy, the area's top-rated defensive tackle who has offers from the likes of Cal, Florida, Oregon and USC.

No. 8 Carson vs. No. 4 Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium, Friday, 7 p.m. -- USC-bound receiver Darreus Rogers had 11 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns to carry Carson (1-0) to a thrilling comeback against Mater Dei. Will that carry over against the Jackrabbits (1-0), who were 24-23 winners at Sacramento Grant and also have their share of momentum?

No. 12 St. John Bosco at No. 15 Lakewood, Friday, 7 p.m. -- Let the air show begin. Standout Bryce Treggs had 161 receiving yards and a touchdown for St. John Bosco (1-0) in its win against visiting Mission Hills. The Lancers (1-0) were 46-22 winners against Locke and, as expected, were led by their deep stable of receivers. You can catch the game live on FOXSportsWest.com as part of the website's Prep Zone platform.

Inglewood at Mira Costa, Friday, 7 p.m. -- For these two teams, stakes are as high as they'll be this early in the season. Both lost their openers -- Inglewood to Westchester, 27-21 in overtime, and Mira Costa to Loyola, 28-14 -- so one will get back on track and the other will go back to the drawing board.

No. 7 Bishop Amat vs. No. 1 Servite at Cerritos College, Friday, 7:30 p.m. -- The first meeting between Amat and Servite since 2005 promises to be a lively affair. It's an opportunity for the Lancers to prove that they're a real contender in the Pac-5. "I can't wait. We'll just see what happens," Amat quarterback Rio Ruiz told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "It's going to be a dogfight for four quarters." The game will stream live on FOXSportsWest.com as part of the website's Prep Zone platform.

Don't agree with this list of top games? Does another game deserve more notoriety? Leave a comment on this post or contact ESPNLosAngeles.com preps writer Blair Angulo directly on his Twitter page. Follow @ESPNLAPreps for live in-game updates, final scores and news.

Basketball: Five SoCal basketball teams headed to Hawaii

August, 29, 2011
Five boys' basketball teams from Southern California will be headed to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational tournament, a pre-Christmas event at Lahainaluna High School.

Oaks Christian, Mission Viejo, Inglewood, Redondo Union and San Pedro were invited to the event. Each team will play four games in the tournament that runs from Dec. 19-23.

Teams from Washington, Utah and Alabama have also been invited to the tournament.

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.

Top returning WRs in south L.A. County

August, 24, 2011
With the start of the high school football season just a little over a week away, we give you a list of the top 15 returning receivers in south Los Angeles County, sorted by last year’s yardage totals. Keep in mind that players from schools in the San Fernando Valley, Orange County and Inland Empire are not included.

Darreus Rogers (Carson), a USC pledge and first-team All-City Section member, headlines the list. Bryce Treggs (St. John Bosco), a Cal commit who checks in at No. 4, is perhaps the top playmaker I saw all of last season. He'll be a major force in the Trinity League this fall. The most glaring omission is senior Derrick Woods (Inglewood), who had a versatile role in the backfield last season but is projected as a receiver at the next level. He has offers from USC, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma, among others. Jabari Ruffin (Downey) and Malik Gilmore (Lakewood) aren't on the list either but should make their quarterbacks very happy.

Rank / Name (Year, School) / Yards / Touchdowns

1. Darreus Rogers (Senior, Carson): 1,347 yards, 8 TD
2. Delshawn McClellon (Senior, Gahr): 1,116 yards, 9 TD
3. Vinny Venegas (Senior, Covina): 1,064 yards, 12 TD
4. Bryce Treggs (Senior, St. John Bosco): 1,010 yards, 12 TD
5. George Katrib (Senior, Diamond Bar): 984 yards, 11 TD

6. Adam Aguirre (Senior, Cantwell-Sacred Heart): 981 yards, 11 TD
7. Christian Mack (Senior, St. Bernard): 976 yards, 10 TD
8. Darius Powe (Senior, Lakewood): 822 yards, 6 TD
9. Alex Jackson (Senior, Culver City): 814 yards, 13 TD
10. Alex Villalobos (Senior, San Gabriel): 802 yards, 8 TD

11. Robert McCovery (Senior, L.A. Jordan): 736 yards, 10 TD
12. Harold Johnson (Junior, West Adams Prep): 733 yards, 5 TD
13. James Simmons (Senior, Chadwick): 707 yards, 9 TD
14. Chris Gilchrist (Senior, Charter Oak): 704 yards, 5 TD
15. Peter de la Cruz (Senior, Covina): 700 yards, 4 TD

Here is a highlight tape of Treggs' junior season:

LA South: Venice receiver is right on the Marks

May, 6, 2011
Gabriel MarksCourtesy of Stephanie Mei-LingVenice receiver Gabriel Marks has stepped up his game and has been receiving more attention from recruiters lately

WESTWOOD -- Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice's Gabriel Marks might not be one of the most well-known wide receivers when it comes to recruiting on the national level. And given the collection of talented wideouts in the 2012 class, the lack of recognition is somewhat understandable.

The perception about him, however, could be on the verge of changing soon.

Marks took another step in the right direction toward having his name mentioned among the country's premier players at his position at last weekend's Instinct Showcase held by B2G Sports at UCLA. The 5-foot-11, 175-plus pound pass-catcher performed well, often times making the particularly difficult catch appear routine despite drawing double-coverage throughout.

“I'm competitive, I've always been that way. I feel like I'm one of the top receivers on the West Coast already, but I want more, I want to be the best around,'' Marks said. “Every time I step on the field, I'm trying to make people look bad and make a name for myself. It's that simple.''

Make no mistake, Marks has done a good job of making a name for himself thus far. In his first season with a full-time job on the outside for Venice, he had 35 receptions, 13 of which were for touchdowns. He also finished with 1,344 all-purpose yards during his junior year.

Accordingly, Marks caught the attention of numerous prospective colleges. He has scholarship offers on the table from Colorado, Idaho and Southern Methodist. Also worth mentioning is the fact UCLA and Utah have recently raised the stakes and offered him.

With well-rounded efforts such as the one put forth at B2G Sports' Instinct Showcase, chances are his list of potential suitors will be growing in the near future. Oregon and Texas A&M recently jumped on the bandwagon and both are expressing varied levels of interest.

“I've had the pleasure of working with Marks for a while now and one of his biggest assets is his drive, his determination to do whatever it takes to be the best,'' said Ron Allen, co-founder and executive director for B2G Sports. “He plays with a chip on his shoulder. His commitment is unmatched. He's hungry. We're talking about a kid with all of his priorities in line.''

(Read full post)

LA South: Boys' basketball top 10

March, 28, 2011
Here is the final, end-of-the-season edition of the boys' basketball top 10 rankings of teams from south Los Angeles County (with preseason ranking in parentheses):

1. (1) Long Beach Poly, (31-2) – The Jackrabbits managed to hang up a Southern Section banner but ran out of steam in the Southern California Regionals, falling to eventual state champion Mater Dei. Still, seniors Ryan Anderson, Alexis Moore and Alex Carmon have something to be proud of.

2. (3) La Verne Lutheran, (26-5) - Is there a better feel-good story in the state? The Trojans battled through adversity -- Xavier Jones' heart attack and the death of three people close to the program -- to win their second consecutive state championship. Fittingly, senior Kevin Payne, whose father died just prior to the season, was the hero in Sacramento.

3. (NR) L.A. Windward, (27-8) - The Wildcats made it to Anaheim for the sectional championships but couldn't finish the task. They redeemed themselves in the state tournament, capturing the Division IV title behind the play of Wesley Saunders and Nick Stover.

4. (5) Westchester, (27-8) – After nearly taking the City Section championship from Woodland Hills Taft at Galen Center, the Comets won a game in the Southern California Regionals before losing at Corona Centennial. The two-time defending state champions failed to repeat.

5. (2) Los Angeles Price, (23-8) – A disappointing finish on two fronts for this talented, high-flying squad. The Knights lost by three to La Canada in the sectional final at Anaheim Arena, then laid an egg in the regionals, losing in the second round to Inglewood. It was not the ending Norvel Pelle and Askia Booker had hoped for.

6. (NR) Gahr, (26-8) - This is feel-good story No. 2. The Gladiators won the CIF-SS Division 2A championship as the seventh-seeded team. It was an emotional night in Anaheim for coach Rickey Roper, whose wife had been diagnosed with a recurrence of leukemia in November and had not watched Gahr play until the title game.

7. (NR) Peninsula, (30-3) – A good season that could have gone great. The Bay League winners were favored for the Division 2A sectional title but stumbled at Mayfair before they could make the trip to Katella Avenue. More tough luck in the state tournament, as Peninsula received the 11th seed and fell at Fontana Summit, the eventual runner-up in Sacramento, by five points.

8. (8) Inglewood, (26-8) - Inglewood didn't necessarily underachieve, but it didn't overachieve either. They lost to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake by just two points in the Division 3A championship. And then upset L.A. Price to get to the regional semis, where they were tripped up by top-seeded La Caņada.

9. (9) Damien, (26-4) – The omission of the Spartans from the Southern California Regionals was one of the biggest controversies. Many thought Damien had done enough to merit a selection -- they won three playoff games and lost, on the road, to highly regarded Harvard-Westlake by a mere three points. Coach Matt Dunn has a good thing going.

10. (NR) St. Bernard, (26-9) - Keep tabs on sophomore guard Brandon Randolph, who nearly led the Vikings to the Division V state championship. Coach Reggie Morris has this young squad heading in the right direction, saying, "We definitely will be one of the bigger programs in Southern California, not just on the Division V level but period. We want to stand up and be a powerhouse along those big-name schools."

Dropped out of the final regular-season rankings: No. 8 Montebello, No. 10 Compton.

LA North and LA South: La Canada 60, Inglewood 50

March, 12, 2011

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- The La Canada boys; basketball team finally finished a game the way coach Tom Hofman likes to see.

Instead of hanging on for a whisker win, La Canada delivered a series of knockout blows against Inglewood in the semifinals of the CIF Division III Southern California Regional on Saturday night.

La Canada’s Mike McGlashan scored six points in the fourth quarter and led his team to a 60-50 win over Inglewood. Down two points, 42-40, after three quarters, La Canada outscored Inglewood 20-8 in the fourth quarter to turn a tight game into a blowout.

La Canada will play La Verne Lutheran, a 61-45 winner over Harvard-Westlake in the other semifinal, in next Saturday's regional final at USC's Galen Center. The winner will move on to the state title game in Sacramento the following weekend.

“The first half, we were impatient,” Hofman said. “That fourth quarter was the best we played all year. We’ve had a lot of great endings, but not great fourth quarters. Defense, rebounding, shot selection was excellent. We showed a lot of heart and a lot of drive.”

La Canada has played its share of close games in the playoffs. The Spartans won the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship by three points over Price. They won their second-round game in the Southern California Regional by one point over Crespi.

Riley Moore opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to give La Canada the lead, 43-42. Joseff Singleton gave Inglewood the lead back when he put back a missed shot less than a minute later.

The teams swapped leads again before La Canada started pulling away with 4:30 to play in the game.

McGlashan drove the lane and scored his first two points of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 47-47. He broke the tie with another driving shot through the lane with two seconds left on the shot clock to give La Canada a 49-47 lead.

“He hit huge shots and he was patient with them,” Hofman said. “He had great balance in the paint. He did a great job.”

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