Los Angeles Preps: Kenyatta Smith

State basketball: Five things from the CIF playoffs

March, 27, 2011
  1. The best basketball player in California is a girl. If there was any doubt Mater Dei’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was the most talented basketball player in the state, she put it to rest in the championship game against Berkeley. After going scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game, she went on a scoring binge in the final minute of the first quarter and the entire second quarter. She scored 15 of her team’s 24 points in the first half. She helped her team erase a 12-point deficit and take a four-point lead into halftime. She ended up with a game-high 33 points. After the game, she said she wasn’t 100 percent healthwise. She hurt her quad in practice two days before the championship game. After hitting her first shot in the first quarter, she had a noticeable limp the rest of the game. Even when she was hobbled and playing on at best one-and-a-half legs, she was the best player on the court. The University of Connecticut will be in good hands for the next four years, as if it needed any more help to continue to be the best college basketball team in the country.
  2. Wesley Saunders and Kenyatta Smith are going to make Harvard a force in basketball. Saunders from Windward and Smith from Flintridge Prep decided on the Ivy League for their college basketball careers. They probably could have played anywhere they wanted in the country. Saunders was highly recruited and guided Windward to the Division IV state championship. The 6-foot-6 forward scored 15 points and had nine rebounds in the state title game against Salesian. Smith’s size, at 6-8, made him an attractive recruit. He towered over his opponents through the Southern Section and state playoffs. Harvard hasn’t been to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament since 1946 and came within a last-second, desperation jumper from Princeton to going this year. Saunders and Smith might be the California connection to help end that drought.

(Read full post)

LA North: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 8, 2011
The Taft boys basketball team takes over the No. 1 spot after a hard-fought, slow-paced, overtime win against Concord De La Salle in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High School over the weekend. Taft’s win, combined with Harvard-Westlake’s 20-point loss to Loyola, shook up the top 10. Simi Valley’s impressive win over Thousand Oaks added to the shake-up. Canyon beat Valencia for the third time this season and climbed into the top 10.

1. (2) Woodland Hills Taft (21-2) -- Taft has an 11-game winning streak after beating Concord De La Salle, 49-42 in overtime, in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High School. Taft ends the regular season with two West Valley League road games: Cleveland on Wednesday and Granada Hills on Friday.

2. (4) Ventura (22-2) – Ventura won its fifth game in a row and ran its Channel League record to 10-0 with a 60-43 win over Dos Pueblos. Ventura plays Santa Barbara on Tuesday and Buena on Thursday.

3. (5) Loyola (19-5) – Loyola hasn’t lost since Jan. 14 against Harvard-Westlake. The Cubs avenged that loss in a big way, 71-51, on Friday to win their eighth game in a row. Loyola wraps up Mission League play against St. Francis on Wednesday.

4. (1) Harvard-Westlake (22-3) – Harvard-Westlake lost it first Mission League game of the season to Loyola and had its 18-game winning streak snapped. The Wolverines bounced back with a two-point win over Crespi on Monday night. They finish Mission League play at home against Alemany on Wednesday.

5. (6) Crespi (20-7) – Crespi saw its four-game winning streak snapped by Harvard-Westlake, 60-58, on Monday night. It was the Celts’ first loss since Jan. 24 to Loyola.

(Read full post)