Los Angeles Preps: Matt Mounier

1. The Crespi boys basketball team won its 11th game in a row and its first two games of Mission League play. Matt Mounier scored 28 points and had 10 rebounds in a tight 76-72 win over league rival Loyola. Crespi followed with 68-50 league win over St. Francis. Justin Rubia and Carter Gallo each scored 13 points and combined for six 3-pointers. Crespi plays Harvard-Westlake tonight.

2. The Harvard-Westlake boys are riding a 10-game winning streak and, like Crespi, won its first two Mission League games. Poor St. Francis was on the losing end of a 63-44 game last week to Harvard-Westlake. Josh Hearlihy scored 28 points and was 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Damiene Cain had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He had a monster game against Notre Dame, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in a 63-45 win two nights later.

3. The Thousand Oaks boys basketball team bounced back after losing its first game of the season, the championship game of the Desert Heat Classic. Thousand Oaks won two Marmonte League games last week and improved to 4-0 in league play. Thousand Oaks won the first game, 52-47, over Westlake. In the second game, Evann Hall scored a career-high 33 points in Thousand Oaks’ 71-55 win over Simi Valley. Hall scored 14 points in the third quarter as Thousand Oaks built a 53-38 lead. Next up for Thousand Oaks is Calabasas tonight.

4. The Ventura boys basketball team won its 13th game in a row. Win No. 13 came unmercifully against Santa Barbara, 64-19. Ventura held Santa Barbara to two first-quarter points and nine first-half points. Everyone on Ventura’s roster scored, but only Jared Wilson reached double figures. He scored a team-high 14, nearly matching the entire team output for Santa Barbara. Next up for Ventura is Buena on Wednesday night.

5. The Chatsworth boys basketball team has a little four-game winning streak, including 55-37 over Community Charter from Lake View Terrace in the College of the Canyons Showdown on Saturday. On the horizon is a more challenging showdown with Woodland Hills Taft on Thursday night. Taft is nationally ranked and considered one of the best teams in California. Taft hasn’t played since Dec. 30 against Corona Del Mar in the Torrey Pines Tournament in San Diego. Chatsworth gets El Camino Real and Taft will play Birmingham on Wednesday night before the two teams meet. It’ll be a good test for Chatsworth and perhaps a letdown for Taft.

LA North: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 4, 2011
Crespi, Harvard-Westlake and Ventura won tournaments over the holiday break. Woodland Hills Taft lost its first and second games of the season. Thousand Oaks lost its first game of the season. The Southern Section teams begin league play this week. The City Section teams start their league seasons next week.

1. (2) Crespi (12-3) – Crespi has won nine games in a row including the championship game of the Marin Catholic Tournament. The Celts beat University from Irvine, 69-52, to win the Marin Catholic Tournament. Matt Mounier scored 35 points in the championship game and earned MVP of the tournament.

2. (5) Harvard-Westlake (11-2) – Harvard-Westlake won the Invitational Division of the Desert Heat Invitational. Josh Hearlihy won the tournament MVP. Zena Edosomeone and Jordan Butler earned spots on the all-tournament team. The Wolverines have won eight games in a row, including the 65-57 win over Silverado from Nevada in the championship game of the Desert Heat Invitational.

3. (1) Woodland Hills Taft (12-2) – Taft lost its first two games of the season in the Torrey Pines Tournament in San Diego. The Toreadors ended the tournament on a winning note, beating Corona Del Mar, 65-53, in the seventh-place game. Kevin Johnson led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds against Corona Del Mar.

4. (8) Thousand Oaks (13-1) – Thousand Oaks lost its first game of the season, 60-52, to Capistrano Valley in the championship game of the Desert Heat Invitational. Richard Mullaney and Anthony Jacques earned spots on the all-tournament team.

5. (5) Ventura (14-1) – Ventura won its own tournament, beating Canyon, 56-36, in the championship game. Dylan Houck was the tournament MVP and scored 11 points in the championship game against Canyon. Jared Wilson made the all-tournament team for the Cougars, who have won 12 games in a row.

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LA North: Athletes of the week

January, 4, 2011
Matt Mounier, Sr., Crespi

He won the most valuable player for the Marin Catholic Tournament scoring 35 points in the championship game over University from Irvine. Crespi has won two tournaments and Mounier has been the MVP of both. Crespi is riding a nine-game winning streak.

Anne Tarakchian, Jr., Chaminade

She won the most valuable player in the Black Division of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz. She scored 13 points and had 15 rebounds in her team’s 45-37 win over Legacy from Nevada in the championship game of the tournament.
1. The Woodland Hills Taft boys basketball team lost its first game of the season at the Torrey Pines Tournament in San Diego. Taft actually lost two games in a row after winning its first 11 games. The first loss, 77-75, came against St. Edwards from Lakewood, Ohio, on Dec. 28. The next day, Taft lost to Corona Centennial, 61-58. Taft ended the tournament with a win, 65-53, over Corona Del Mar.

2. The Saugus boys basketball team won the Hart Holiday Classic with a career performance from Jeremy Gatewood. He scored a career-best 34 points and hit seven 3-pointers in his team’s 85-68 win over Hart in the championship game. Saugus improved to 12-4. Brad Buchignani scored 16 points in the championship game for Saugus and earned tournament MVP. Hart’s Austin Maly had a career night too in the championship game. He scored 30 points and made eight 3-pointers.

3. Matt Mounier and the Crespi boys basketball team remained hot during the winter tournament season. Crespi won its second tournament in a row taking the Marin Catholic Tournament with a 69-52 win over University from Irvine in the championship game. Mounier, who won the MVP of the San Fernando Valley Invitational, scored 35 points in the championship game against University. He earned MVP honors in the Marin Catholic Tournament. Crespi has won nine games in row through the San Fernando Valley Invitational and the Marin Catholic Tournament.

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LA North: Crespi boys basketball team wins San Fernando Valley Invitational

December, 23, 2010

MISSION HILLS -- The Crespi boys basketball team won the San Fernando Valley Invitational, beating Alemany, 78-53, in the championship game.

Crespi’s Matt Mounier scored a game-high 24 points and earned tournament most valuable player. He made 12-of-12 free throws. Crespi was 31-of-36 from the free-throw line in the game.

Alemany (7-2) was down by four points, 34-30, at halftime. Crespi outscored Alemany, 21-11, in the third quarter to build a 14-point lead.

Crespi’s Reggie Coates scored seven of his 12 points in the third quarter. He also had 15 rebounds in the game.

Crespi (7-3) extended its lead to 20 points, 61-41, after Mounier knocked down a pair of free throws with a little over six minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

London Perrantes scored 13 points and teammate Christian Johnson had 10 points for Crespi in the game against Alemany. Both were selected to the all-tournament team.

Alemany’s Marqueze Coleman scored a team-high 22 points and had four steals. He and Jordan Fuller earned spots on the all-tournament team.

“I’m proud of the way my guys competed in this tournament,” Alemany coach Tray Meeks said. “Being 7-2 is a good thing. I’m extremely proud of the way our guys competed.”

LA North: Crespi, Alemany to meet in final of San Fernando Valley Invitational

December, 22, 2010

MISSION HILLS -- Mission League rivals Crespi and Alemany will meet in the championship game of the San Fernando Valley Invitational boys' basketball tournament at Alemany High School.

Crespi beat Sierra Canyon, 71-41, in one semifinal. Matt Mounier scored 22 points for Crespi.

Crespi is averaging 74 points per game and holding opponents to 38.2 points per game in the tournament.

Alemany knocked off Santiago Corona, 74-64, in the other semifinal on Tuesday night.

Marqueze Coleman had a team-high 17 points for Alemany. Teammate Max Guercy scored 13 points and had six assists.

Alemany outscored Santiago, 24-13, in the fourth quarter of their semifinal game. Alemany's Jordan Fuller hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Alemany held a 33-32 lead at halftime and was up by only two points after three quarters before pulling away in the fourth quarter.

"I think we started playing defense," Alemany coach Tray Meeks said. "We started to pick it up and make them make tough shots."

LA North: Crespi overcomes
deficit to ruin Alemany's run

March, 5, 2010
SANTA ANA -- For a few moments -- an entire quarter, actually -- second-seeded Encino Crespi looked as if it were the team that had been playing on borrowed time.

The deficit kept getting larger and the crowd kept getting louder.

But the Celts, the second-seeded team in the Southern Section Division 4A playoffs, had three more quarters to prove themselves.

Rallying from a 13-point deficit after eight minutes, Crespi got 21 points from Blake Stanton and defeated upstart Mission Hills Alemany, 50-43, at the Meruelo Events Center at Mater Dei.

It is the second title for Crespi (21-11), which also won a title in 2001 against Santa Fe Springs St. Paul. But the story coming into the contest was Alemany (15-17), which had finished fourth in the Mission League and had a lowly 11-16 record at the start of the playoffs. The Warriors -- with two freshmen and two sophomores -- were playing in their first title game in the school's 53-year history; only once before had it even reached the semifinals.

But with a large and raucus crowd behind it, Alemany played like a team that was due. It scored the last 15 points of the first quarter and took a 19-6 lead against an opponent that had beaten them twice during league play.

But then . . .

"Adrenaline wears off," said Alemany's Jordan Fuller, who scored a team-high 14. "We were forced to play fundamentally and we didn't execute."

But Crespi did. The lackadaisical defense of the first quarter gave way to more focus; after allowing 19 points in the first quarter, the Celts allowed only 24 over the final three quarters. Alemany was two for 21 from three-point range and finished 28.6% from the field.

"We were not executing our game plan, we didn't get our hands up on the right guys," said Crespi Coach Russell White. "It's a lesson to all those younger players out there: Do what you coach tells you on defense and you'll probably be all right."

The defense was one part to Crespi's victory, and Stanton was the other. The senior point guard was eight of 18 from the field and helped initiate the second-quarter comeback as Crespi scored over and over in transition. His three-point basket from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded on the first half gave the Celts a 27-25 lead.

"His speed, strength, his ability to handle the ball, he's hard to guard off the dribble," White said of Stanton.

Matt Mounier scored 17 for Crespi, which trailed twice in the fourth quarter, 38-36, and 42-41. But Kenny Stenhouse hit a pair of free throws, Mounier scored inside and Stanton scored the final five points.

"We let the game come to us," Stanton said.

And then they took it.