Los Angeles Preps: Mayfair

NFL cornerback Alterraun Verner hosting camp

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
7:09
PM PT
Former Mayfair and UCLA star Alterraun Verner, a third-year defensive back with the Tennessee Titans, will host a free football and cheer camp at Mayfair High School in Lakewood on June 30.

Current college and NFL players will be on hand to provide instruction at the all-day event. There will be free T-shirts and food, and campers who submit a report card with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher will receive an award.

Registration is open at alterraunverner.com.

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
6:16
PM PT
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
3/26/12
4:36
PM PT
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.

Looking ahead in CIF state playoffs

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
3:47
PM PT
Coaches never like to look ahead. But sportswriters do.

Here are some interesting potential match-ups in the CIF State Boys Basketball Southern California Regional playoffs that begin on Wednesday night.

Few teams have been able to beat Mater Dei, the top-seeded team in the Division I regional bracket. Woodland Hills Taft, the No. 3 seed team in the Division I playoffs, might be the one team to give Mater Dei some trouble if the two teams meet in the Division I regional championship game.

Taft has never made it past the semifinals of the CIF State regional playoffs. But first-year coach Jason Hart has his kids playing with a ton of confidence and freedom. This could be the year Taft dunks its way to the Southern California Regional final and perhaps a spot in the state championship.

No team from California has been able to beat Mater Dei this season. The only two losses for the Monarchs were against Grace Prep from Texas and Gill St. Bernard’s from New Jersey.

(Read full post)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
5:08
PM PT
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)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
4:39
PM PT
The goal for many of the Southland's premier programs at the start of the season was simple: Win a Los Angeles City Section or Southern Section championship. And with title games taking place later in the week, the time has come for teams to follow through with the plans they made months ago.

Unfortunately for some, lofty aspirations of taking home some hardware never materialized this year. Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Los Angeles Westchester along with La Verne Damien and Los Angeles Windward fall into that category as each program had their respective season end last week.

That said, let's take a look at the teams whose postseason hopes remain alive and well.

1. (1) Mater Dei (27-2): The Monarchs made it to the final four in Division 1-AA. No surprise there. Now let's see if they can seal the deal with a trophy.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (25-1): Etiwanda in the Division 1-AA semifinals is the only thing standing between the Jackrabbits and a berth in the marquee game.

3. (3) Etiwanda (29-1): Jordan McLaughlin is a sophomore. He certainly doesn't play like an underclassman though and averages more than 17 points per game.

4. (4) Loyola (24-4): Give the Cubs some credit. They did not overlook anyone in the Division 1-AA bracket and a showdown against Santa Ana Mater Dei awaits.

5. (5) Taft (27-3): Los Angeles Dorsey does not figure to give the Toreadors much trouble in the City Section title game this weekend. A championship is a formality.

6. (6) Alemany (27-4): The Warriors figured to go as far as senior point guard Max Guercy would take them. Low and behold, they are in the Division 3-A finals.

7. (7) Gardena Serra (28-2): There were no easy games in Division 4-AA and the Cavaliers can vouch for that fact. Next up: La Verne Lutheran in the title game.

8. (8) La Verne Lutheran (23-6): Expect a big Division 4-AA finals game from Grant Jerrett. The senior and Arizona commit is overdue for a memorable performance.

10. (14) Orange Lutheran (17-10): Arizona-bound senior Gabe York is healthy once again. That does not bode well for Capistrano Valley in the Division 1-A semifinals.

10. (10) Pacific Hills (27-4): The Bruins had better be prepared for Jose Estrada in Division 4-A. The junior from Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart can flat-out score.

11. (15) Mayfair (22-5): Seemingly a sure thing to win it all in Division 2-A. The highest seeded team left in the bracket for the Monsoons is No. 5 Wildomar Elsinore.

12. (17) Capistrano Valley (25-4): Lack of respect has been a driving for the Cougars in Division 1-A. An upset victory over Orange Lutheran would quiet the skeptics.

13. (20) Calabasas (26-3): The Coyotes have flown underneath the radar for a while now in Division 3-AA. Suppose it's about time they receive an acknowledgment.

14. (11) Price (22-8): No shame in losing to Gardena Serra in the Division 4-AA semifinals. Plus, the Knights played one of the more competitive schedules around.

15. (12) St. John Bosco (22-7): An upset at the hands of Oak Park in the Division 3-A semifinals ended the season a bit sooner than expected for the talented Braves.

16. (19) Crespi (23-7): The Celts were one only basket away from defeating La Verne Lutheran and making an appearance in Division 4-AA championship game.

17. (NR) Mission Viejo (26-3): The Diablos have been on the verge of entering the poll for weeks. They have finally arrived and are a force to be reckon with in Division 1-A.

18. (NR) Pasadena (24-6): Damien received most of the headlines in Division 3-AAA this season. The Bulldogs, however, are the ones standing in the end during postseason play.

19. (NR) Royal (23-6): In terms of peaking at the right time, the Highlanders figured things out just in the nick of time in Division 2-AA. They're one win away from the finals.

20. (NR) Thousand Oaks (21-8): Must be considered the surprise of the playoffs so far. Lancers have knocked off No. 1 and No. 8 seeds to reach the Division 2-AA semifinals.

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

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 20, 2012
2/20/12
3:01
PM PT
Postseason play is well underway and the action has been fast and furious. That said, it's about time for the premier programs from the Southland to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs.

Over the next couple of days, the semifinal showdowns will begin to materialize as teams move toward division championships. So let's take a look at the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.

1. (1) Mater Dei (25-2): Katin Reinhardt or Xavier Johnson, pick your poison. Limiting the effectiveness of one of the two is possible. Stopping them both isn't.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (23-1): Highly-touted junior Roschon Prince does a little bit of everything, and does it well, for the Jackrabbits.

3. (3) Etiwanda (27-1): Here's where things get interesting in Division 1-AA for the Eagles. Santa Monica and Long Beach Poly loom large en route to finals.

4. (4) Loyola (22-4): With a collision course seemingly set with Mater Dei in the all-important Division 1-AA semifinals, the Cubs can't afford to look too far ahead.

5. (5) Taft (25-3): On deck, Lake Balboa Birmingham in the Los Angeles City Section playoffs Wednesday. The Toreadors will not have any troubles in this one.

6. (6) Alemany (25-4): La Puente Bishop Amat stands between the Warriors and a berth in the Division 3-A semifinals. Chances are, they will not be denied.

7. (7) Gardena Serra (26-2): Cavaliers will have their hands full with North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan in a Division 4-AA game Tuesday.

8. (8) La Verne Lutheran (21-6): Road trip to Westlake Village Oaks Christian on Tuesday night figures to be a speed bump along the way in Division 4-AA play.

9. (9) Bishop Montgomery (23-4): It is not easy to win at Encino Crespi. It will be interesting to see if the Knights are up to the challenge in Division 4-AA on Tuesday.

10. (10) Pacific Hills (25-4): Freshman phenom Aaron Holiday and North Hollywood Campbell Hall could play the role of spoiler. The Bruins are well aware of that fact.

(Read full post)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
1:25
PM PT
With regular-season play in the books, the Southland's premier programs will take a day or two and regroup before the focus turns toward the postseason.

That said, let's take a look at some of the top teams from the greater Los Angeles area as preparations begin for the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs later this week.

At this stage of the game, it's win or go home.

1. (1) Mater Dei (24-2): No real surprise here, Monarchs remain atop the poll. Moreover, they appear poised to take home the Division 1-AA title.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (22-1): If anyone is capable of giving the top-ranked team a run for its money, perhaps it's the talented Jackrabbits.

3. (4) Etiwanda (26-1): There will be no easy games in Division 1-AA play for the Eagles. Questions about just how good they are about to answered.

4. (6) Loyola (21-4): Signs point to the Cubs meeting Mater Dei in the Division 1-AA semifinals. With a finals berth on the line, anything can happen.

5. (5) Taft (24-3): Anthony January's nickname is "Dinnertime." Odds are, the senior wing will be hungry during the City Section tournament.

(Read full post)

South: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
7:21
PM PT
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings as the 2012 playoffs get underway:

1. Long Beach Poly (23-1)
Credit the Moore League champion Jackrabbits for shaking off the departure of Ryan Anderson (Boston College) and Alexis Moore (USC) from last year's Division 1AA title team. Then again, Poly never rebuilds -- it reloads. Coach Sharrief Metoyer has done a tremendous job. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Riverside King, Friday, 7 p.m.

2. Gardena Serra (24-2)
Coach Dwan Hurt has his group riding a nine-game win streak heading into the playoffs. The Cavaliers swept through the Del Rey League, and appear to be the slight favorite in Division 4AA. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Salesian, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

3. Loyola (21-4)
Not exactly the regular season the Cubs had hoped for, but they can forget about falling short in the Mission League with a championship run in the next couple of weeks. Julian Harrell and Jacob Hazzard lead a deep, dangerous squad. This week: CIF-SS Division 1AA first round vs. Trabuco Hills, Friday, 7 p.m.

4. La Verne Lutheran (19-6)
Lost in senior forward Grant Jerrett's selection to the McDonald's All-American game is the strides sharpshooter Eric Cooper Jr. has taken as a go-to player for the Trojans. Jerrett demands double teams down low, and Cooper, an Arizona commit, is making opponents pay. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Pasadena Marshall, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

5. Price (19-7)
Mixed results for the Knights last week after beating Compton but losing to fellow Division 4AA contender La Verne Lutheran in overtime. San Diego State signee Skylar Spencer and Co. thrive in transition, so they'll be a tough draw in the playoffs. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Blair, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

6. St. John Bosco (19-6)
No shame in finishing at 8-2 in the Trinity League, especially with both losses coming against the state's top-ranked squad. If there's consolation for Braves fans, it's that this team, with junior Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Daniel Hamilton at its core, only figures to get better under first-year coach Derrick Taylor. This week: CIF-SS Division 3A first round vs. Jurupa Hills, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

7. Bishop Montgomery (21-4)
Sure, the Knights couldn't get it done against Del Rey League rival Gardena Serra, but wins against Woodland Hills, Westchester, Pacific Hills and Price don't lie. Montgomery is a team to keep an eye on in a stacked bracket. This week: CIF-SS Division 4AA first round vs. Templeton, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

8. Muir (24-2)#
A loss to neighboring rival Pasadena in the regular-season finale didn't discourage coach Gamal Smalley, who led the Mustangs to their first Pacific League crown in over a decade. But the excitement was short-lived, as the Mustangs were disqualified from postseason play and stripped of their title for using an ineligible player. Muir forfeited 20 victories.

9. Damien (24-2)
The Spartans rolled to their second consecutive Sierra League championship, earning a No. 1 seeding in Division 3AAA. They now have a target on their back, and it will be up to Saint Mary's-bound forward Chris Reyes to fight through constant double teams. This week: CIF-SS Division 3AAA first round vs. El Dorado, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

10. Pacific Hills (23-4)
A loss to Windward in the finale denied the Bruins sole possession of the Alpha League title. It didn't affect their postseason aspirations, though, as the Bruins received a No. 1 seeding in Division 4A. This week: CIF-SS Division 4A second round vs. winner of Costa Mesa-St. Monica, Friday, 7 p.m.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Crenshaw (22-4), Compton (17-9), Downey (22-5), Fairfax (19-9), Leuzinger (21-5), Mayfair (21-5), Pasadena (19-7), Santa Monica (18-8), Westchester (20-6), Windward (18-8)

# - Denotes season has concluded

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

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
12:47
PM PT
The all-important final week of regular-season play is upon us, which means some of the Southland's premier programs must remain focused on the task at hand. Looking too far ahead, to upcoming play in the postseason that is, could prove to be disastrous.

That said, let's take a look at how the best of the best from out here in the greater Los Angeles area stack up against each other. There was a shakeup in the bottom half of the top 10 and multiple teams ranked in the teens are on the verge of joining elite status.

1. (1) Mater Dei (22-2): La Verne Lutheran was supposed to present some problems. It did not happen. The Monarchs ended up winning by five points.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (20-1): Jackrabbits' lone loss came back in the first week of December. There have been no signs of slowing since then, of course.

3. (7) Alemany (22-3): The Warriors keep getting the job done. With two games left in the regular season, they're poised to take home the Mission League title.

4. (4) Etiwanda (24-1): As Jordan McLaughlin tends to go, so do the Eagles. The standout sophomore guard is averaging more than 17 points per game.

5. (5) Taft (22-3): Questions about the Los Angeles City Section frontrunner recently started to surface. A victory over Los Angeles Loyola provided answers.

(Read full post)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

January, 30, 2012
1/30/12
2:49
PM PT
The Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs are right around the corner, mere weeks away now. Accordingly, most of the premier programs the Southland has to offer appear to be as focused as ever with postseason play clearly in sight.

That said, some major shuffling took place in this week's edition of the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings. There is a growing understanding that the time has come for teams to hit their strides and finish up the regular season with momentum.

It's not where you start, of course, but where you finish.

1. (1) Mater Dei (19-2): No signs of slowing down. Going wire-to-wire on top of rankings is a possibility.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (17-1): Second-best team stacks up well against anyone in the Southern California.

3. (4) Loyola (18-3): Looked good in victory against quality opponent Orange Lutheran over the weekend.

4. (5) Etiwanda (22-1): Loss to La Verne Luthern only thing separating Eagles from unblemished record.

5. (8) Taft (19-3): Players have bought into system of their new coach and former NBA player Jason Hart.

6. (9) Bishop Montgomery (18-3): It's official: The Knights can no longer be overlooked. They're a threat.

7. (11) Alemany (20-3): Warriors keep proving all the naysayers wrong. No team is hotter than this group.

8. (10) Gardena Serra (21-2): Del Rey League showdown with Bishop Montgomery looms large Wednesday.

9. (3) La Verne Lutheran (16-5): A recent setback to Los Angeles Westchester was somewhat surprising.

10. (13) Pacific Hills (21-3): Alpha League test comes on Friday against North Hollywood Campbell Hall.

11. (14) Price (17-5): Peaking at the right time is important. The Knights might have finally it figured out.

12. (6) Crespi (19-4): Three losses last week goes to show how difficult Mission League play can be at times.

13. (12) St. John Bosco (16-5): Interested to see how the Hamilton brothers do on Friday night at Mater Dei.

14. (18) Westchester (16-5): A victory over La Verne Lutheran certainly does not hurt the improving resume.

15. (15) Orange Lutheran (14-8): Senior Gabe York is back in lineup after a brief absence. Lancers need him.

16. (16) Capistrano Valley (20-2): Aleks Lipovic and Nick Thomas are a particularly potent one-two combo.

17. (7) Windward (14-8): Nick Stover emerging as unquestioned leader. The Wildcats need guidance too.

18. (19) Mayfair (17-5): Extremely difficult nonleague schedule is paying off for this battle-tested bunch.

19. (17) Damien (20-2): Chris Reyes is a one-man show. His effort, however, came up short against Etiwanda.

20. (NR) Calabasas (19-3): Frontrunner in the Marmonte League race. Pair of road games on deck this week.

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

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 29, 2012
1/29/12
9:30
PM PT
The south Los Angeles County boys’ basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (18-1)
The Jackrabbits increased their lead to two games in the Moore League standings thanks to Roschon Prince's stellar game at Compton on Friday. The junior wing had 35 points and 12 rebounds. This week: at Lakewood, Wed.; vs. Long Beach Wilson, Fri.; vs. Orange Lutheran in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

2. Loyola (18-3)
An up-and-down week ended in a positive way with a 92-84 win against Orange Lutheran at the Fairfax State Preview Classic. Still in the Mission League race, but need some help. This week: at Notre Dame, Wed.; at Harvard-Westlake, Fri.; vs. Taft in Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, Sat.

3. Gardena Serra (21-2)
There's great balance throughout coach Dwan Hurt's roster, that much was evident in the Cavaliers' 10-point win against host Fairfax at the State Preview Classic on Saturday. Senior guard Kajon Mack and big Daddy Ugbede complement each other well. This week: vs. Bishop Montgomery, Wed.; vs. Bishop Amat, Fri.

4. La Verne Lutheran (16-5)
A 67-62 overtime loss to Westchester on Saturday snapped a nine-game win streak. The Trojans face an interesting group of competitors in the next few days. This week: vs. Ribet Academy, Tues.; at Renaissance Academy, Wed.; at Mater Dei in Nike Extravaganza, Sat.

5. Price (17-5)
The Knights have won six straight since losing at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee, riding the leadership of junior guard Chance Murray and bouncy forward Skylar Spencer. The upcoming schedule will put their streak in serious jeopardy, though. This week: at Ribet Academy, Fri.; at Alemany, Sat.

(Read full post)

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
1:00
PM PT
LA Preps ESPN.com Illustration


The action has been fast-paced over the past week, with many of the Southland's premier programs in league play. This is the time when teams begin to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

The top half of the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings remains intact, for the most part. There is, however, some shuffling in the middle of the poll. And low and behold, we have a pair of worthy newcomers in the all-important mix toward the bottom half of things.

1. (1) Mater Dei (17-2): Can anyone stop the Monarchs? Doesn't appear to be likely. Starting to think these kids are capable of going wire-to-wire atop the poll. At least during regular season play.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (14-1): One of the toughest stretches of the season looms particularly large this week for the Jackrabbits. They have three games, including a difficult test Friday at Compton.

3. (3) La Verne Lutheran (15-4): Business as usual for Grant Jerrett & Co. The senior forward and one of the Southland's top players is averaging 23 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game.

4. (5) Loyola (15-2): Had a funny feeling it would be a mere matter of time before the Cubs found a way to climb into the thick of things. Can't imagine them falling on hard times anymore this year.

5. (7) Etiwanda (19-1): Jordan McLaughlin receives most of the headlines. He has had help along the way though, from Sheldon Blackwell, Dominique Walker, Brandon Townes and Sam Fleming.

6. (4) Crespi (18-2): The Celts suffered a surprising setback to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake last week. Things don't get any easier with a Mission League showdown at Loyola on Monday night.

7. (8) Windward (13-6): The Wildcats have not played a game in 10 days. The time for rest and relaxation is a thing of the past. They will be back in the saddle on Tuesday against visiting Pacific Hills.

8. (6) Taft (17-3): Any questions about whether the Toreadors were the cream of the crop in the Los Angeles City Section were answered in a road victory over Los Angeles Fairfax this past weekend.

9. (13) Bishop Montgomery (16-3): With a rematch against Serra on Feb. 1, the Knights cannot afford to look too far ahead. Staying focused on the task at hand is paramount at this point.

10. (15) Gardena Serra (19-2): Having faced six teams in the rankings thus far, all signs point to the Cavaliers being a more than ready, battle-tested bunch once postseason play begins in mid-February.

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MLK Day Hoops Showdown schedule

January, 15, 2012
1/15/12
10:05
PM PT
Los Angeles Price and Playa del Rey St. Bernard will host all-day showcases on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The schedules:

At Price High School (7901 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles)

12:30 p.m. - Campbell Hall vs. Ribet Academy
2:00 p.m. - Dominguez vs. Dorsey
3:30 p.m. - Providence vs. Morningside
5:00 p.m. - Palm Springs vs. Price
6:30 p.m. - Mayfair vs. Washington Prep
8:00 p.m. - Santa Monica vs. Gardena Serra

At St. Bernard High School (9100 Falmouth Ave., Playa Del Rey)

11:00 a.m. - Perris vs. Fremont
12:30 p.m. - Elsinore vs. Leuzinger
2:00 p.m. - Renaissance Academy vs. View Park
3:30 p.m. - LACES vs. St. Monica
5:00 p.m. - Beverly Hills vs. Brentwood
6:30 p.m. - Culver City vs. St. Bernard

L.A. South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 9, 2012
1/09/12
9:59
AM PT
The south Los Angeles County boys' basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Loyola (11-2)
Losing the first two Mission League games wasn't how the Cubs wanted to start. Still, it doesn't figure to be the end of their title hopes. This week: vs. Chaminade, Mon.; vs. Harvard-Westlake, Fri.; vs. Notre Dame, Sat.

2. Long Beach Poly (11-1)
The Jackrabbits have been idle since before Christmas, and the layoff might be a good thing for the Moore League favorites. They travel to Seattle next week. This week: vs. Lakewood, Fri.

3. Gardena Serra (13-1)
The Cavaliers are deep and talented, and the favorites in the Del Rey League. Daddy Ugbede and Dakarai Tucker led the charge down in San Diego over the weekend. This week: vs. Cathedral, Wed.; at Bishop Montgomery, Fri.; vs. Price in Cochran Classic at LACES, Sat.

4. St. John Bosco (11-2)
The Braves are the dark horse pick in the Trinity League thanks to the additions of brothers Isaac Hamilton, a junior, and Daniel, a sophomore. Lately it's been the younger brother flashing his scoring skills. This week: at Servite, Wed.; at Santa Margarita, Fri.

5. Bishop Montgomery (13-2)
Victories against Westchester, Taft, Serra and Price make up an impressive résumé for the Knights. This week: at La Salle, Wed.; vs. Gardena Serra, Fri.

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