Crespi’s Christian Johnson came up with some big shots in his team’s 75-73 win over Loyola to open Mission League play last week. Teammate London Perrantes calls Johnson the team’s secret weapon. “He’s a baseball player first, but I definitely think he’s a great shooter for us,” Perrantes said. Johnson scored 14 points against Loyola and came on strong in the fourth quarter. He hit a 3-pointer, his only 3-point attempt of the game, to give Crespi a four-point lead, 71-67, with a little over two minutes to play in the game. He made five free throws in the final period to help his team maintain a slight lead. He finished the game 4-of-5 from the field and had seven rebounds. Perrantes, who scored 17 points to lead Crespi in scoring against Loyola, added that Johnson isn’t going to be the player opposing teams key on. If Johnson gets hot, he can be a dangerous player.
The opening of the Mission League boys basketball season lived up to the hype at the expense of Loyola. Crespi, Alemany and Harvard-Westlake won their first two games of league play. Crespi opened with a tight, two-point win over previously undefeated Loyola. The Celts followed with a 71-50 win over St. Francis. After Alemany won its league opener against Chaminade, the Warriors took care of Loyola, 69-63, to hand the Cubs their second loss in a row. Loyola opened the season by winning its first 11 games. Harvard-Westlake had a good news, bad news type of week. The Wolverines won their first two league games without much struggle, but also lost senior Josh Hearlihy to a knee injury. He isn’t expected back until playoffs. Luckily, sophomore Derrick Newton has filled in nicely by leading the team in scoring with 19.1 points per game. In the meantime, Crespi is home against Alemany on Wednesday night in a game for first place in league, for the time being.
The Foothill League put a hurt on Clovis North, the reigning Central Section Division II champion. Valencia and Saugus beat Clovis North on consecutive nights in the Santa Clarita Valley. Valencia’s Zach Davis and Troy Hammell each scored 17 points to lead the Vikings to a 55-45 win on Thursday night. Saugus hit 10 3-pointers and routed Clovis North, 69-54, on Friday night. Matt Coleman had a monster game on the boards with 16 rebounds and scored 10 points. Jeremy Gatewood led Saugus with 14 points. In Clovis North’s defense, the team graduated nine players from its championship team from a year ago. Coach Rob Streeter said only one of his seniors on the current roster had any significant playing time last year. Definitely a rebuilding year for Clovis North and huge confidence boosts for Saugus and Valencia before Foothill League play begins this week.
Calabasas and Westlake meet on Wednesday night in a Marmonte League showdown for first place. Both teams are 4-0 in league play. While Calabasas was expected to be one of the top teams in the league, Westlake has been a bit of a surprise. Westlake has won six games in a row and three players are averaging double figures in scoring. Junior guard Joshua Brooks leads the team with 15.8 points per game and is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore wing Larry Bush has been putting up some big numbers in recent games. He is averaging 12.2 points per game and has scored in double figures in four of the team’s past five games. He scored a season-high 21 points in a loss to West Ranch on Dec. 16. Junior guard Grant Lozoya has been equally effective as Bush with 12.1 points per game. Calabasas, meanwhile, is coming off a 69-41 win over Agoura. Josh Cohan led Calabasas in scoring with 17 points and sophomore Jeremy Lieberman had 10 points and five assists.
Royal’s Scott Woods posted a triple-double in his team’s 55-41 win over Simi Valley on Friday night. He had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. Some other top performers from the weekend: Freshman Marcus LoVett from Providence had a couple of 30-point games. He scored 30 against Buckley in his team’s 69-53 win on Friday night. He followed with a 32 points against against Bell-Jeff in a 77-71 win on Saturday night. Buckley’s Tyler Coppin-Carter actually outscored LoVett with 31 points and had 15 rebounds. Grant’s Gor Plavchyan scored 31 points in an 81-72 loss to Birmingham. Campbell Hall freshman Aaron Holiday scored 24 points in his team’s 73-71 overtime win over Sierra Canyon.