Los Angeles Preps: James Northup

LA VERNE -- The tight-knit community had to pick a side Tuesday night.

Whom to cheer for? The No. 4-seeded Damien Spartans? The No. 5-seeded Bonita Bearcats? And, perhaps most important, what to wear? Both schools use green as a primary color.

La Verne residents couldn't dodge this one. Damien's campus sits on the corner of Damien Avenue and -- you guessed it -- Bonita Avenue. Turn right on Bonita and take it for a mile until you hit D Street. Make a left and, poof, you've made the quick jump, er, trip from one campus to the other.

Calling this a battle for city bragging rights wouldn't do it justice.

When the dust settled, Sierra League champion Damien (26-3) emerged victorious, 52-44, and advanced to next week's CIF Southern Section Division 3A semifinals. With Hacienda League champion Bonita (26-4) eliminated, the small town of 30,000 figures to follow the Spartans wherever they go next.

"It's a really respectful rivalry," Damien coach Matt Dunn said. "I know we have the utmost respect for them and as a community, it's a lot of fun. We both play with the kids that come to our schools and I think that's what makes it special. This year we both happened to be very good."

On this night, Damien was just a tad bit better.

Bonita had the game's two leading scorers -- Jordan Butler had 15 and James Northup had 11 -- but Dunn had balance with seven of his players scoring at least six points. Clayton White and Gian Demano led the Spartans with nine each, J.P. Chakbazof and J.J. Pavia scored eight apiece.

Dunn's biggest player, though, left his mark late. Damien led by two with less than a minute to go when leading scorer Chris Reyes tipped in a miss. Half of the crowd went wild. You could finally distinguish who was rooting for the home team and who wasn't.

"That tip-in was big," Reyes said. "We needed to get a score right there."

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LA South: Regional basketball notes

February, 17, 2011
Some key performances and upsets in the first round of the CIF Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs, with a focus on teams located in south Los Angeles county:
  • Division 1A -- Walnut upset No. 10-seeded Tesoro, 57-51.
  • Division 2A -- Top-seeded Peninsula, the Bay League champion, extended its win streak to 24 games with a 62-28 victory against Fullerton Troy. Sophomore Nick Colletta's game-high 28 points were not enough for No. 4-seeded Glendora, which was blindsided by Eastside, 72-65, in overtime. No. 5-seeded Mayfair advanced with a 66-43 win against Westlake. No. 7-seeded Gahr moved on with an 84-52 victory over Indio. Mira Costa upset No. 6-seeded San Bernardino, 62-54.
  • Division 3AA -- Top-seeded Price had no problem with Ramona, winning 90-49. No. 4-seeded La Verne Lutheran got 20 points and nine boards from Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett to beat Claremont, 66-48.
  • Division 4AA -- No. 8-seeded Northview beat Northwood, 77-76, in double overtime. Brian Johnson had 37 for Northview. Tyler Hill scored 20 for No. 6-seeded Bishop Amat in a 59-47 win over San Luis Obispo. No. 2 Windward got 24 points from Nic Stover and 22 from Wesley Saunders in an 83-65 victory against Cathedral.