Los Angeles Preps: Long Beach Poly

Poly's Wicks picks up two more offers

May, 30, 2012
Running back Gerard Wicks of Long Beach Poly picked up two scholarship offers Wednesday, from Nevada and Colorado State. He has also holds an offer from Washington State.

Wicks and fellow senior-to-be Manusamoa Luuga form a powerful backfield tandem for the Jackrabbits. Wicks rushed for 11 touchdowns last season and averaged nearly eight yards per carry; Luuga had 10 scores and more than six yards per carry.

And although Wicks shares the ball, he figures to be one of the area's most productive seniors this fall.

Broadus settles in at Diamond Bar

May, 30, 2012
Cordell BroadusBlair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comCordell Broadus figures to be a standout at Diamond Bar HS for the next three seasons.

His father's name follows him wherever he goes. Cordell Broadus knows it comes with the territory.

The sophomore-to-be, though, is ready to make a name for himself on the football field. Broadus, the son of world-famous rapper Snoop Dogg, transferred to Diamond Bar from Long Beach Poly last fall and was a standout on the Brahmas freshmen team.

He looked like a top target for Diamond Bar earlier this month at the Rancho Cucamonga passing tournament.

"The move was difficult when it first happened, meeting new friends and a new team," Broadus said. "It's been good ever since. The competition level at Long Beach Poly is a whole lot different than it is down here, but I've learned that it's all on me and how hard I work."

So far, Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine likes what he sees.

"We're expecting him to really lead us the next three years," said Maine, who went 4-6 last year in his first season. "Hopefully [our athletes] get bigger, stronger and keep leading this team."

Moore League bounced from playoffs

May, 18, 2012
Friday's first round was cruel to the Moore League baseball teams.

League champion Long Beach Poly, seeded fourth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 bracket, was upset at home by Huntington Beach, 2-1, despite left-hander Chris Castellanos' complete-game effort. The Jackrabbits loaded the bases in the last inning but Jeff Turley lined out to left field.

Second-place Lakewood, meanwhile, dropped a 2-0 decision to Marina. And Long Beach Wilson, behind top MLB Draft prospect Chase DeJong, fell at Newbury Park, 3-0.

They say the postseason is an entirely different monster. Poly, Lakewood and Wilson -- which combined for a 72-19 regular-season record -- now know the saying all too well.

South: Baseball playoff seeds

May, 14, 2012

The seeded teams in south Los Angeles County:

Div. 1: No. 4 Long Beach Poly (24-6)
Div. 2: None
Div. 3: No. 1 Bonita (26-2), No. 3 Alhambra (20-3)
Div. 4: No. 2 La Salle (18-7-1), No. 4 Bishop Amat (19-9)
Div. 5: No. 2 L.A. Cathedral (21-5), No. 4 Gardena Serra (20-4)
Div. 6: No. 4 Pasadena Poly (16-5)
Div. 7: No. 2 Santa Monica New Roads (14-5)

Wild-card games will be held Tuesday and first-round games on Friday.

Baseball: Poly takes Moore League title

May, 11, 2012
Moore League baseball juggernauts Lakewood and Long Beach Wilson were expected to duke it out for the top spot this season, but Long Beach Poly spoiled the party.

Xavier Lavelle's walk-off two run double in the bottom of the 12th inning led the Jackrabbits to a 2-1 win against Wilson on Thursday night, giving Poly sole possession of the league title for the first time since 1968. Wilson star pitcher Chase DeJong threw 10 innings of no-hit ball and hit a leadoff triple in the top of the 12th that led to the Bruins' go-ahead run.

Poly (24-6, 11-1) entered the week ranked fourth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 poll. Wilson (23-7, 9-3) was eighth and Lakewood (25-6, 10-2) ninth.

The CIF-Southern Section playoff pairings will be released Monday at 12:30 p.m.

Baseball roundup: Poly beats Lakewood

April, 24, 2012
It has been quite a week for Long Beach Poly pitcher Chris Castellanos. It began with a perfect game against Long Beach Wilson and ended Tuesday night a dramatic win against Moore League top dog Lakewood, the 34th-ranked team in the nation according to ESPNHS.

Castellanos went the distance in Tuesday's gut-wrenching 3-2 victory at Blair Field. The junior left-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the final inning. Last week Castellanos beat Wilson's Chase DeJong and this week he beat Lakewood's Shane Watson. Both DeJong and Watson have signed to play at USC next fall.

With the victory, Poly remained in the hunt for the Moore League title, improving to 7-1 in league and 19-4 overall. Lakewood is also 7-1 in league and 22-4 overall.

Other notable baseball action in south Los Angeles County:
  • For the first time in school history, Pasadena La Salle beat Bishop Amat, 7-6. Bishop Amat, the defending CIF-Southern Section Division 4 champs, blew a five-run lead and dropped only its second league game since joining the Del Rey League in 2007. La Salle (14-6-1, 6-1) and Amat (14-8, 8-1) face off again on Friday at Citrus College, with the winner gaining the upper hand in the league title race.
  • Bonita improved to 21-1 with a 4-1 win against Thousand Oaks. The Bearcats are the top-ranked team in Division 3.

L.B. Poly's Castellanos throws perfect game

April, 18, 2012
Long Beach Poly junior pitcher Chris Castellanos retired all 21 batters in a 1-0 victory against Long Beach Wilson at Blair Field on Tuesday night. The left-hander got 13 ground outs and five strikeouts to help the Jackrabbits (17-3) grab sole possession of second place in the Moore League.

“He put it all together,” Poly coach Toby Hess told Gazettes.com. “He had all three pitches working. When he does that, he’s tough to hit. He was really pitching tonight, he was carving people up.”

Castellanos out-dueled Wilson ace right-hander Chase DeJong, a USC signee.

"I honestly had no intentions of a perfect game," Castellanos told the newspaper. "It's exciting. I never thought in my wildest dreams that something like this would happen."

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 26, 2012
Another prep basketball season is in the books after the CIF State Championships took place last weekend in Sacramento. The Southland was well represented at the gathering, with four teams in attendance up North. Three programs prevailed and brought home some hardware for their respective trophy cases.

Let's take a look at how the Southland's premier programs stacked up against each other this season. Some of the teams will look familiar. Others not so much. Here are the final ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (34-2): The Monarchs went wire-to-wire as the top-ranked team. Are we surprised? No, not really.

2. (4) Alemany (33-4): There's no substitute for experience, and with seniors Max Guercey and Marqueze Coleman in the mix the Warriors know this all too well.

3. (2) Long Beach Poly (28-3): Pieces of the puzzle appeared in place. The Jackrabbits, however, were their own worst enemy when it mattered most, the playoffs.

4. (6) Loyola (26-6): Bad news: Seniors Julian Harrell, Justin Childress and Jacob Hazzard are gone. Good news: Sophomore Parker Jackson-Cartwright returns.

5. (5) Serra (31-3): With Daddy Ugbede out on the court, the Cavaliers were capable of beating anyone. The senior was a threat underneath and out on the perimeter.

6. (3) Taft (29-4): Anthony January was a high-profile transfer at the start of season for the Toreadors. The senior wing, of course, lived up to most of the hype.

7. (7) Etiwanda (30-3): With sophomore point guard Jordan McLaughlin in the fold, the Eagles figure to be just fine for years to come. More than fine, in fact.

8. (16) Price (26-9): Seemingly no one around played a tougher schedule. Once postseason play rolled around, the Knights were a battled-tested group. And then some.

9. (11) La Verne Lutheran (25-8): The Trojans relied on Grant Jerrett. The Arizona commit and McDonald's All-American could take care of business by himself.

10. (17) St. John Bosco (25-8): The Hamilton brothers, junior Isaac and sophomore Daniel, often times played as if they were seasoned veterans for the Braves.

11. (10) Mayfair (27-6): Senior wing Dion Wright did a little bit of everything for the Monsoons once the playoffs started. He did most of it extremely well too.

12. (9) Pacific Hills (30-5): Brandon Taylor might have been considered an underrated point guard early on this season. The senior changed the perception in the playoffs.

13. (8) Orange Lutheran (22-11): A mid-season injury to Gabe York was difficult to deal with. Once the senior guard was healthy, there was not stopping the Lancers.

14. (12) Pasadena (27-7): The Bulldogs knew they had a reliable presence in senior Blake Hamilton. During their playoff run, everyone else learned the same exact thing.

15. (14) Mission Viejo (25-6): When football and basketball players finally come together, it can be a dangerous combo. Go ahead and ask opponents of the Diablos this year.

16. (18) Crespi (24-8): It was tough to figure out the Celts. They managed to defeat Alemany twice, Price one time and Loyola once. This group might have peeked too early.

17. (13) Calabasas (28-4): The season was dedicated to assistant coach Joe Frazier, in a coma after a motorcycle accident. The Coyotes did their mentor proud from start to finish

18. (15) Inglewood (23-12): Starting five consisted of juniors Charles Lockwood, Kristopher Randall, Randy Onwuasor, Edward Scott Jr. and Nicholas Smiley. Watch out.

19. (NR) Bishop Montgomery (23-5): Playing in highly competitive Division IV took its toll on the Knights. They were a battered and bruised bunch come postseason play.

20. (NR) Village Christian (32-3): The Crusaders were on a crusade, apparently. They came out of nowhere and opened some eyes en route to winning a Division V state title.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

South: Boys' basketball top 10

March, 26, 2012
The final boys’ basketball top 10 rankings for schools in south Los Angeles County:

1. Long Beach Poly (29-3)
On the bad side, Poly came up short in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA finals against Mater Dei and again in the Southern California Regionals against Fresno Bullard. On the bright side, standout juniors Roschon Prince and Jordan Bell return next season with redemption in mind.

2. Loyola (26-6)
Four of Loyola's six losses came against eventual state champions -- two to Mater Dei and two to Mission League titlist Alemany. The Cubs blew a 10-point lead against Mater Dei in the Division 1AA semis, which will serve as motivation for up-and-coming point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright this offseason.

3. Gardena Serra (31-3)
The Cavaliers were the last ones standing in Division 4AA but couldn't find the same magic in the regional final against Price. Despite missing out on a trip to Sacramento, Serra can hang its hat on the impressive section title.

4. Price (26-9)
San Diego State-bound forward Skylar Spencer and Co. made a run at state but fell short in the capital. The Knights return a good group, led by versatile guard Chance Murray.

5. La Verne Lutheran (25-8)
Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett, the state's only McDonald's All-American, was denied his third straight state championship ring but it won't dampen a stellar prep career. The torch has been handed to sharpshooting junior guard Eric Cooper Jr.

6. Pacific Hills (30-5)
The Bruins were a force in the difficult Alpha League and it carried them to the Division 4A championship. With only two seniors graduating, coach Ivan Barahona has Pacific Hills eying the repeat next season.

7. Pasadena (28-7)
The Bulldogs benefited from rival Muir's forfeiture of the Pacific League crown, but forward Brandon Jolley and guard Ajon Jefferson legitimized it by winning the Division 3AAA championship. Both return next year.

8. St. John Bosco (25-8)
Yes, the Braves beat Pasadena in the regional tournament. But they're a spot below because Pasadena captured a section title. With dynamic brothers Isaac and Daniel Hamilton leading the charge, Bosco will be one of the teams to watch next year.

9. Mayfair (27-6)
The Wright brothers, Brian and Dion, guided the Monsoons to the Division 2 title against Santa Maria Righetti.

10. Damien (26-3)
Coach Matt Dunn won't make the excuse, but making a 200-mile trip up the coast didn't help the top-seeded Spartans' chances of advancing in the Division 3AAA playoffs.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Bishop Montgomery (23-5), Crenshaw (24-6), Compton (19-10), Dorsey (27-9), Downey (22-6), Fairfax (20-10), Leuzinger (23-6), Muir (5-21)#, Westchester (22-8), Windward (20-9)

# - Muir was 24-2 on the court; vacated 19 wins for use of an ineligible player.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Following him on Twitter.

ONTARIO --Mater Dei withstood an emotional charge by Long Beach Poly in the second half and won the right to defend it two consecutive state titles.

The Monarchs, the top-seeded team in the Southern California Regional Championships, scored a 54-43 victory over third-seeded Poly on Saturday in the Division I finals at Citizens Bank Arena.

Mater Dei was paced by Nirra Fields, who scored 20 points, and Alexas Williamson, who scored 14.

The game pitted Mater Dei (32-3), the No. 1 ranked team in the state, against Poly (31-4), ranked No. 3. They are ranked 1-2 in the state in Division I, essentially playing a de facto state championship.

The Monarchs will play in Sacramento next Saturday, 6 p.m., against the North champion, Berkeley, a 56-38 winner over Sacramento Kennedy. Berkeley is ranked fourth in the state in the division.

"It means a lot," Kevin Kiernan, Mater Dei's coach, said of the opportunity to win three in a row. "We're trying to build something here, obviously. ... That's why we work so hard."

Williamson proved especially important in the third quarter, when Poly had to make its push. The Jackrabbits, trailing 27-18, opened the third with Destiny King's rebound, but Williamson answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, and then Andee Velasco added another three for a 36-18 lead.

(Read full post)

There's nothing second-rate about the meeting Saturday night to determine the Southern California Regional Champion in girls' Division I basketball.

In what may well be the marquee game of the day in a a de facto state championship contest, Mater Dei (32-3) will take on Long Beach Poly (31-3) in the 6 p.m. game at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.

There's not a northern team ranked ahead of third-seeded Poly, which was No. 4 in the state before it beat second-seeded Brea Olinda in the regional semifinals Tuesday, an impressive 64-50 road victory on the Ladycats' home floor floor. Poly had a 48-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter, then closed strong. Destiny King scored 16, sophomore Arica Carter 14 and Breeyon Alexander 10 in that victory.

For Poly to win the right to advance to the state title game in Sacramento, it will have to overcome a Mater Dei team that has been rejuvenated by the stellar play of Jordan Adams recently. The oft-injured guard has put up some impressive numbers in the last two games, and if she has any kind of a night against the Jackrabbits she will make it tough on Poly. Against Fontana Summit, she had 23 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four blocks. Against Huntington Beach, 24 points, 13 rebounds six assists and three steals.

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L.B. Poly stunned by Fresno Bullard

March, 13, 2012
Madness struck in Long Beach on Tuesday night.

Second-seeded Long Beach Poly fell to Fresno Bullard in a shocker at Cabrillo High School, eliminating the Jackrabbits from the Southern California Regionals Boys Division I playoffs.

Junior forward Jordan Bell blocked a potential tying shot, but the ball deflected out near mid court, where Bullard's Walter Orr scooped it and heaved a turnaround jumper that swished through the net to give the visitors the improbable win.

Bullard advanced to the title game to play top-seeded Mater Dei, the defending state champion, on Saturday at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.

The winner will play for the state title in Sacramento the following weekend.

Click here for video of the dramatic shot.

L.B. Poly beats OLu a second time

March, 10, 2012
Roschon PrinceBlair Angulo for ESPNLA.comRoschon Price scored a game-high 29 points as Long Beach Poly knocked off Orange Lutheran.

LONG BEACH -- Roschon Prince knew beating Orange Lutheran and star Gabe York wouldn’t be as easy the second time around, so he planted his feet.

The versatile Prince was a force in the paint, leading Long Beach Poly to a 70-62 victory Saturday night at Jordan High School. The Jackrabbits advanced to the Southern California Regionals Division I semifinals, where they'll meet Fresno Bullard on Tuesday. Prince had a game-high 29 points without any makes from beyond the arc. He mostly played with his back to the basket.

"It's always the game plan to dominate the paint," the junior forward said. "I saw something and wanted to focus on being on the block and scoring easy."

Fellow junior Jordan Bell did the dirty work, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking six shots to go along with eight points. Reuben Strickland added 10 points for second-seeded Long Beach Poly (28-2).

York, the sharpshooting Arizona signee, had 27 for Orange Lutheran (22-11). OLu had a disappointing regular season before capturing the Southern Section Division 1A title. At one point the Lancers lost eight of 10 games and finished third in the Trinity League. Their troubles were on full display against Poly at the Mater Dei Nike Extravaganza on Feb. 4 -- a game the Jackrabbits easily won by 22.

"It's the state payoffs and teams are better," Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer said. "They're champions. I knew this game wasn't going to be easy."

York had trouble with Poly’s active defense last time. The guard finished with 23 points but never found his lethal touch from the perimeter, missing 14 of 19 shots.

"We didn't want to take them lightly just because we beat them by so much at the Extravaganza," Prince said. "We wanted to come out hungry, fight hard and put our will on them early so it wouldn't be a hard game."

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Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 5, 2012
With the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs in the books, the premier programs from the greater Los Angeles area turn their collective attention toward the Southern California Regional Playoffs this week. First-round play starts Wednesday night as teams begin their bids for a berth in the CIF State Championship game.

That said, let's take a quick look at how some of the best of the best from right here in the Southland stack up against each other. Without further adieu, here's the latest edition of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (29-2): Have gone wire-to-wire atop of our rankings and show no signs of slowing down.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (26-2): Revenge-minded Jackrabbits would like another shot against Mater Dei.

3. (5) Taft (28-3): Not much competition in Los Angeles' City Section. Division I state will be different though.

4. (6) Alemany (28-4): All signs pont to the Warriors making an appearance in Division III state title game.

5. (7) Gardena Serra (29-2): The top seed in Division IV and distinction is worthy given body of work.

6. (4) Loyola (24-5): Wouldn't be least bit surprised to see the Cubs make some noise in Division I play.

7. (3) Etiwanda (29-2): Eagles are overlooked in Division I with Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly around.

8. (9) Orange Lutheran (21-10): Gabe York receives the headlines while Payton Banks waits in the wings.

9. (10) Pacific Hills (28-4): Brandon Taylor is one of the most underrated seniors in Southern California.

(Read full post)

LA South: Local teams ready for postseason run

March, 4, 2012
Some of the Southland's premier prep hoops programs reside in the Northern region of Los Angeles. And for those skeptics out there looking for proof, one need not look any further than the brackets released for the Southern California Regional Playoffs on Sunday afternoon.

First round play begins Wednesday night and Long Beach Poly is one of the marquee teams competing in Division I. The Jackrabbits were awarded the all-important No.2 seed and open up at home game against Capistrano Valley.

Among the other potentially entertaining games in an absolutely loaded Division I field: Los Angeles Crenshaw at No. 4 Loyola Los Angeles, Los Angeles Westchester at Fresno Bullard and Los Angeles Dorsey at Orange Lutheran.

In Division II, No.2 Mayfair earned a first-round bye. Los Angeles Garfield faces a particulary tough task at No. 5 Inglewood. Division III has a strong contingent, including No. 6 Bellflower St. John Bosco, No.7 Bell and South Torrance.

Gardena Serra is the top seed in Division IV and has a bye in the first round. Local opponents looming large are No. 2 La Verne Lutheran, No. 3 Los Angeles Price and No. 5 Los Angeles Pacific Hills. Other teams posing as ptoential threats are underdogs No. 8 Animo South Los Angeles and Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart.

In Division V, Playa del Rey St. Bernard is the top seed. No. 2 Los Angeles Ribet Academy and Los Angeles View Park could play the spoiler role.