Los Angeles Preps: Leonard De Coud

Pondering public vs. private dilemma

March, 27, 2012

Should California separate public and private schools during the CIF basketball playoffs? That was one of the questions kicked around during the CIF state basketball finals in Sacramento over the weekend.

Two states, New York and Texas, split up private and public schools in the playoffs.

In California, there are 1,522 schools and 1,400 of them are public. Private schools won all 10 of the CIF state titles. Fifteen of the 20 teams in the CIF state finals were from private schools.

The J.W. North and Laguna Beach girls -- both public schools -- lost their championship games. The Sheldon boys from Sacramento, with a home-court crowd, played in the Division I championship game and were no match for Mater Dei, which won its record-setting ninth CIF state title.

Berkeley lost the Division I girls final for the second year in a row to Mater Dei. La Costa Canyon from Carlsbad lost to Archbishop Mitty from San Jose in the Division II boys final.

CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida told the Sacramento Bee that the playoffs have become a system of have and have nots.

The private schools have greater resources, better facilities, stable coaching staffs and supportive parents and boosters. Public schools do not always have the best equipment, coaches, support, gyms and training facilities.

Would California be better off with separate playoffs for private and public schools?

The J.W. North girls from Riverside made the biggest argument for keeping the system the way it is.

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J.W. North girls fall short in title game

March, 23, 2012

SACRAMENTO – If John Wooden was considered the Wizard of Westwood, Leonard De Coud might be the Wizard of Riverside.

De Coud turned a four-win team into a CIF state title contender in a matter of months. The J.W. North girls' basketball team came within a basket of winning the Division II state title at Power Balance Pavilion on Friday.

Archbishop Mitty won the CIF State Division II girls' basketball championship, 56-54, surviving a second-half, 3-point barrage from J.W. North. After the game, De Coud said his girls are not a one-season wonder.

“This is a win for this program,” De Coud said. “We will be back here next year. Count on it.”

J.W. North (30-6) hit five 3-pointers in the second half after going 0-for-4 in the first half. Akilah Martin drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 points for J.W. North. Her 3-pointer with 3:50 to play in the third quarter gave J.W. North a 29-28 lead, its first since the first quarter.

The Huskies had a 1-0 lead in the first quarter before Archbishop Mitty built a 9-4 edge. J.W. North trailed until the third quarter, but Archbishop Mitty never led by more than five points in the first half and let J.W. North hang around.

“We ran our offense,” De Coud said. “We got out of sync of what we normally do on offense.”

Archbishop Mitty (28-5) was up 22-19 at halftime. Neither team shot well in the first half. J.W. North was 8-for-25 (32 percent) from the field in the first half. Archbishop Mitty was 10-for-32 from the field, taking seven more shots, but making only 31 percent of them.

Emily Dinger opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give Archbishop Mitty a six-point lead, 25-19. But Brittany Crain answered right back for J.W. North with a 3-pointer. The two teams exchanged the lead four times before the end of the third quarter.

Archbishop Mitty started the final period with a two-point lead, 36-34, and maintained it through a high-scoring fourth quarter.

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CIF state girls basketball finals preview

March, 21, 2012
Division I

Mater Dei of Santa Ana vs. Berkeley

Mater Dei (34-1) meets Berkeley (27-2) in the Division I championship game for the second year in a row. Mater Dei won last season's game, 59-47. For Mater Dei, this will be the Monarchs’ fifth trip to the CIF state final. They are in search of their third straight championship. UCLA-bound Nirra Fields, the Gatorade state player of the year, scored 20 points against Long Beach Poly in the Southern California Regional final. Berkeley is making its record-setting 11th appearance in the CIF state championship game. Elisha Davis, who’s headed to Arizona State, scored 17 points and made four 3-pointers, against Kennedy of Sacramento in the Northern California Regional final.

Division II

J.W. North of Riverside vs. Archbishop Mitty of San Jose

J.W. North won only four games last season. Now the Huskies from Riverside (31-5) are one win away from a state championship. First-year coach Leonard De Coud guided J.W. North to its first state championship appearance in school history. The Huskies beat Santa Ana Foothill, 57-49, in the Southern California Regional final. Priscilla Brooks led J.W. North with 17 points against Foothill. Archbishop Mitty (27-5) is making its ninth appearance in the CIF state championship game and its first since 2008. Kelli Hayes scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds against St. Mary’s from Stockton in the Northern California Regional final.

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Riverside North girls win Division II

March, 17, 2012

ONTARIO -- The Riverside J.W. North girls' basketball team didn't want to feel the way it felt two weeks ago in Anaheim. One night of dejection was enough.

North learned its lesson after falling short in the CIF Southern Section title game. It all came together Saturday afternoon in a 57-49 victory against Foothill in the Southern California Division II regional championship at Citizens Bank Arena. The Huskies (30-5) will make their first-ever appearance in the state championship game next week in Sacramento.

"We weren't prepared enough back them," North first-year coach Leonard De Coud said, referring to his team's loss to Lynwood on March 2. "We had to stay humble and hungry at the same time."

Foothill (28-6), making its first SoCal finals appearance, pulled to within two points with two minutes left but never scored again.

"It's sad to see it end, but we've had a really amazing run," Foothill coach Vince Namba said. "It was uncharted territory for us but our fans and community were great."

Pricilla Brooks led North with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Molly Greubel had 16 for Southern Section Division 2A champion Foothill.

North had an amazing turnaround this season under De Coud. The Huskies were 4-21 last year.

"We knew we'd have to come hard this year," said Brittany Crain, who posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Lynwood girls hold off J.W. North in 2AA

March, 2, 2012

ANAHEIM -- In the words of Lynwood girls’ basketball coach Ellis Barfield, the Lady Knights weren’t very good at the free-throw line this season.

It was difficult to tell Friday afternoon.

Lynwood made 11 of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter of the Southern Section Division 2AA final against J.W. North, allowing the Lady Knights to hold on for a 66-55 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

“We put a lot of time and effort on those free throws,” Barfield said. “It paid off.”

It didn’t appear the game would come down to free throws earlier in the half.

The fifth-seeded Lady Knights led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before the third-seeded Huskies made their second run of the game. North, which led, 14-7, early on, cut the deficit to five on a 3-pointer by Akilah Martin with 3:30 left in the game, and Kamille Diaz sank another 3-pointer five seconds later to trim Lynwood’s lead to two.

“Our heads weren’t in there in the fourth quarter,” said Lynwood sophomore guard Priscilla Lopez. “I guess we thought we won the game already.”

Once they reached the free-throw line, however, they seemed to locate their focus again.

Jazmine Johnson sank two free throws with 3:01 remaining to push the lead back to four. Alize Lofton then made two to push it to six and Amber Blockmon sank two more to stretch the lead to 59-51 with 1:54 left. That seemed to deflate the Huskies for good.

“The fight came out of us,” said North coach Leonard De Coud, who took over this season and increased the team’s win total from four to 27.

Lopez finished with 14 points to lead the Lady Knights, Blockman had 13 points and nine rebounds and Shahana Zeigler contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.

Priscilla Brooks scored 18 points for North before fouling out with 2:52 remaining and Lynwood leading by four.