Los Angeles Preps: Jahmel Taylor

Chaminade, Canyon win basketball tournaments

December, 30, 2011
The Chaminade boys basketball team won its own tournament. The Canyon boys basketball team beat Ventura at the Ventura tournament.

Alemany is in the championship game of the Modesto Christian tournament. Crespi lost in the semifinals of the Redondo Sea Hawk Beach Classic.

Here’s a look at the games from Thursday night and some of the tournament games being played tonight:

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Montclair defends title at Atascadero tournament

December, 30, 2011
The Montclair boys' basketball team continued its record start to the season Thursday with a 60-57 victory in the championship game of the Atascadero tournament.

For the second consecutive season, the Cavaliers (13-0) beat the tournament hosts by three points in the final.

Atascadero guard Rob Berwick had a good look at the basket with about 10 seconds remaining, but his three-point attempt went off the rim, according to this report in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Montclair senior guard Devyn Sampson scored a season-high 24 points and contributed 13 rebounds en route to winning tournament MVP honors. Back-court mate Kevin Fregoso had 12 points and seven assists and was named to the all-tournament first team.

At the Holiday Hardwood Classic at Oaks Christian HS:

Behind a career-high 18 points from senior guard Dominique Walker, the Etiwanda boys’ basketball team advanced to tonight’s championship game in Westlake Village.

The Eagles (13-1) will meet tournament host Oaks Christian at 8:30 p.m.

Etiwanda took a 14-7 lead after the opening quarter against Santa Monica in the semifinals, stretched it to 11 by the end of three and ultimately advanced with a 56-52 victory. Etiwanda sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin contributed 12 points, only the third time this season has hasn’t led the team in scoring.

Oaks Christian (10-2) is led by senior point guard Chass Bryan (16.3 ppg) and junior guard Jackson Miller (11.7), setting the stage for what should be an interesting back-court matchup.

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LA North and LA South: St. Bernard 61, Sierra Canyon 59

March, 19, 2011

ONTARIO -- With the final seconds ticking off the fourth-quarter clock in Saturday's Southern California Regional boys' basketball playoff game, Thurman Thomas did not panic. The senior guard from Playa del Rey St. Bernard High kept his wits about him.

Thomas grabbed an errrant shot by Usoma Mbelu along the baseline, turned toward the rim and tossed in the game-winning basket, a floater, as time expired to lift the Vikings to a 61-59 Division V title over Chatsworth Sierra Canyon at Colony High.

"I had to make a quick decision and get the ball up. Once I did, I knew the shot was going in,'' Thomas said. "You know what the funny thing part is, I had a dream that I was going to hit the game-winner last night. I guess things work out sometimes.''

The Vikings (26-8) entered the game knowing that in order to be successful, they needed to stop Jahmel Taylor of Sierra Canyon (27-6). The sophomore guard struggled throughout and finished with four points, well below his 22-point average.

"We wanted to frustrate Taylor, bother him, we weren't going to let him beat us, no way,'' Vikings coach Reggie Morris said.

With Taylor seemingly a non-factor, the Trailblazers turned to Michael Cohen. The senior guard responded too, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the first half of play help Sierra Canyon take what appeared to be a comfortable 36-29 lead at halftime.

St. Bernard responded, Brandon Randolph in particular. He scored back-to-back baskets to start the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 1:58 left tied the score at 57-57 and essentially set the stage for Thomas' late game heroics.

Thomas finished with 13 points. Teammate Daniel Cordoba scored 13 points as well.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
CIF Southern California Regional final

Boys Division V

Colony High School in Ontario

Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (27-5) vs. St. Bernard of Playa Del Rey (25-8), Saturday, 3 p.m.

Both teams were in the CIF Southern Section Division 5A playoffs. Sierra Canyon won the 5A title. St. Bernard lost in the semifinals to Montclair Prep. St Bernard avenged that loss to Montclair Prep in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional.

Behind 27 points and 11 rebounds from senior Thurman Thomas, St. Bernard beat Montclair Prep, 64-53.

Sierra Canyon has not lost since Feb. 1, a 61-60 loss to Campbell Hall. The Trailblazers have won 11 games in a row, including 48-45 over Montclair Prep in the Division 5A championship game.

For first-year coach Ryan Silver, it has been a remarkable season. He won the first CIF champiomship in school history for the boys' basketball program. He has his team in the Southern California Regional final for the first time in school history as well.

He has a young team too. Two of Sierra Canyon’s top scorers are freshmen. Jahmel Taylor, the team’s leading scorer, is a sophomore.

St. Bernard has a super sophomore of its own in Brandon Randolph. He scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds in the quarterfinals of the Southern California Regional against Flintridge Prep.

Key players: Three players from Sierra Canyon are averaging double figures in scoring. Taylor leads the team at 21.6 points per game. Marsalis Johnson, the team’s 6-foot-5 freshman power forward, is averaging 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds. Fellow freshman Bryan Alberts is averaging 11.4 points.

Randolph is averaging 18.8 points and 6.4 rebounds for St. Bernard. He has scored in double figures every game this season. Thomas is second on the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game. Junior Emani Gant is second on the team in rebounding at 5.9 per game.

LA North: Div. 5A, Sierra Canyon 48, Montclair Prep 45 OT

March, 4, 2011

SANTA ANA -- The tempo of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A championship game was not to Sierra Canyon coach Ryan Silver’s liking.

It was a slow, methodical, low-scoring game that went into overtime. Sierra Canyon’s Jesse Howell scored the only field goal in the extra period in his team’s 48-45 win over Montclair Prep at Mater Dei High School on Friday night.

“He was unbelievable throughout the game,” Silver said about Howell. “He brought it. They slowed down the tempo. We like to play in the 70s. They kept it in the 40s. This is not our kind of game.”

Howell scored 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field. His biggest shot of the game came in overtime. Both teams went scoreless for the first three minutes in overtime before Howell hit a 15-foot jumper to break the tie and give Sierra Canyon a two-point lead.

Sophomore guard Jahmel Taylor made two free throws in the final minute of overtime to give Sierra Canyon a four-point lead. Taylor scored a team-high 16 points with two 3-pointers.

“I was born to do that,” Taylor said about making the free throws in overtime. “That’s what I dream of all the time.”

Neither team shot well from the field. Sierra Canyon was 19-of-61 for 31.1 percent. Montclair Prep was 16-of-56 from the field, 28.6 percent, and was 0-for-12 from 3-point range.

Sierra Canyon had a two-point lead, 11-9, after the first quarter. Both teams came alive in the second quarter, each scoring 16 points. Sierra Canyon led at halftime, 27-25.

Sierra Canyon extended its lead to four points after three quarters. Down 37-33, Montclair Prep clamped down on Sierra Canyon and tied the score at the end of regulation, 44-44.

“We missed a lot of shots,” Silver said. “We shot the ball poorly tonight.”

Sierra Canyon outscored Montclair Prep, 4-1, in overtime to win its first CIF basketball championship. It was also the first CIF championship for Silver who is in his first year as coach of Sierra Canyon.

Montclair Prep’s Charles Lockett led all scorers with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Teammate Trey Dickerson scored 15 points.