Los Angeles Preps: Michael Milligan

Lutheran holds off Crespi in semis

February, 24, 2012
2/24/12
9:51
PM PT


LA VERNE -- As his team scrambled on defense in the final seconds, La Verne Lutheran basketball coach Eric Cooper's heart didn't skip one beat. Or so he says.

Cooper has seen late-game theatrics far too often this season to be fazed by another frantic finish, but he might be due for a trip to the cardiologist in the offseason after Friday night's thriller at the University of La Verne.

McDonald's All-American forward Grant Jerrett missed two free throws with 14 seconds remaining, and Crespi raced to the other end looking for the tie or the win. Michael Milligan's runner didn't fall, Jerrett grabbed the rebound and heaved the ball into the air, securing a 51-49 victory and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA championship game for a meeting against top-seeded Gardena Serra at Anaheim Arena. The date and time is scheduled to be announced Monday.

It was the second consecutive nail-biter for two-time defending state champion Lutheran (24-6), which escaped with a 50-48 victory at Oaks Christian in the quarterfinals.

"It's been like that all season. We had a quadruple overtime game, two double overtime games," Cooper said smiling. "That's the type of season we've had. If Crespi would have made the last shot to send the game into overtime, it wouldn't have fazed me. That kind of stuff has been happening to us."

Jerrett, an Arizona signee, finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

"With Grant, you've always got a chance," Cooper said.

Sophomore point guard Brian Beard Jr. sank a desperation 3-pointer from about 40 feet out as the shot clock expired to give the second-seeded Trojans a seven-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. It grew to nine points with 1:10 left.

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Crespi edges Bishop Montgomery

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
11:47
PM PT
ENCINO -- There was some blood, plenty of sweat and a teardrop or two after the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoff game between Crespi and Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday night.

Spinnin’ wheel’s spinnin’ true.

In the fourth quarter, Crespi’s Michael Avery had to change his uniform, from No. 4 to No. 1, because it had blood on it. Teammate London Perrantes had to carry his team in the fourth quarter after two Celts fouled out. Bishop Montgomery’s Lamond Murray Jr. didn’t feel much like talking after his team was eliminated from the playoffs.

Crespi won the game, 73-67, and advanced to the semifinals. The Celts will play La Verne Lutheran on Friday night at the University of La Verne.

After building a 21-point lead in the third quarter, Crespi, the No. 19 team in the ESPN Los Angeles basketball rankings, had to hold off a furious comeback by Bishop Montgomery, the No. 9 team in the ESPNLA rankings, in the fourth quarter.

“I’ll take it,” Crespi coach Russell White said. “As long as you’re not trailing at the end.”

Crespi led nearly all the way. Bishop Montgomery was up, 3-2, in the first quarter before Crespi went on a 10-2 run and never looked back. The Celts were up 15-8 after the first quarter and led 32-24 at halftime.

The Knights cut the Crespi lead to five points in the final period, but that was as close as they would get.

“We made some defensive stops,” Murray said. “We played a lot harder than in the first half.”

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Crespi hands Loyola its first loss

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
11:06
PM PT


ENCINO -- Crespi’s London Perrantes came through with one of the biggest shots in his high school career. His little jumper in the paint with 2.9 seconds left was the difference in Crespi’s 75-73 win over Loyola in the Mission League opener at Crespi High School on Wednesday night.

Crespi (14-1) handed Loyola (11-1), winners of 11 games in a row to open the season, its first loss. Perrantes, who came into the game as the leading scorer on Crespi with 14.8 points per game, led four Crespi players in double figures.

Crespi coach Russell White said the plan was to let Perrantes decide the fate of the game.

“Get it in his hands and have him make a play,” White said.

Crespi had to rally on its home court. Down by 10 points in the first half, Crespi battled back to tie the score at 62-62 midway through the fourth quarter.

“We left a lot of plays out there on the floor,” Loyola coach Jamal Adams said. “Hopefully it will get our guys' attention. We have some things to work on.”

Christian Johnson came up big for Crespi in the fourth quarter. He scored eight of his 15 points in the final period, draining five clutch free throws and hitting a crucial 3-pointer.

“It’s a game. It has ebbs and flows,” White said. “He made some big plays.”

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Windward girls upset power MacArthur

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
5:55
PM PT
The Windward girls basketball team upset MacArthur of Texas, the No. 8 ranked team in the nation by ESPNHS, 56-50 in the first round of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona. MacArthur (18-1) lost for the first time this season.

Sophomore point guard Jordin Canada scored 26 points and 11 in the fourth quarter for Windward (7-1).

On the boys side, Crespi (8-0) remained undefeated and advanced to the semifinals of the San Fernando Valley Invitational with a 59-37 win over Camarillo. Michael Milligan Jr. had 11 points and 10 rebounds against Camarillo.

Alemany (6-1) also advanced to the semifinals of the San Fernando Valley Invitational with a 74-63 win over Van Nuys. Max Guercy scored 29 points and Marqueze Coleman had 17 points.

Crespi plays Ribet and Alemany plays Morningside in the semifinals on Tuesday night.

L.A. North: Boys' basketball Top 10

December, 6, 2011
12/06/11
11:13
PM PT
Here is the top-10 boys basketball teams in the L.A. North region. The teams are ranked with their 2010 records in parantheses:
  1. Harvard-Westlake (29-5) – The Wolverines won the Southern Section Division 3A championship and advanced to the semifinals of the Southern California Regional in the CIF State Division 3 playoffs last year. Harvard-Westlake has two talented seniors returning. Zena Edosomwan averaged 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in his junior season. He scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds against Inglewood in the championship game of the Southern Section Division 3A playoffs. Josh Hearlihy averaged 14.5 points per game in his junior season. Sophomore forward Derick Newton has already made an impact with Harvard-Westlake, dropping 30 points on Dominguez on Saturday (Dec. 3). He was 8-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free-throw line.
    Key returners: Edosomwan (senior forward), Hearlihy (senior guard).
    Key newcomers: Newton (sophomore forward), Alex Copeland (freshman guard).
    Can’t-miss games: Harvard-Westlake vs. Loyola at Roybal Learning Center (Jan. 13), Harvard-Westlake at Crespi (Jan. 20), Alemany at Harvard-Westlake (Jan. 21), Harvard-Westlake vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College (Feb. 3).
  2. Woodland Hills Taft (29-3) – One of the key losses for Taft team is coach Derrick Taylor. He guided Taft to the City Section Division I championship last season, beating longtime nemesis Westchester, 66-62, in the title game. Jason Hart takes over a talented team, despite the loss of three key seniors. Seniors Brandon Perry and Steven Jones will anchor a promising team. They saw limited action last year, but displayed moments of brilliance. Perry averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a junior. He scored a season-high 17 points against El Camino Real in a 67-36 win for Taft. Jones only scored 3.9 points per game, but had one of his best games in the CIF State Division I playoffs. He scored 10 points and was one of five players from Taft in double figures in a 94-81 loss to Centennial in the semifinals of the Southern California regional. Much of the success of this team will depend on if or when Anthony January will become eligible to play for Taft. He transferred from Compton and isn’t expected to be able to play for Taft until next month.
    Key returners: Perry (senior forward), Steven Jones (senior guard).
    Key newcomers: Hart (head coach).
    Key transfer: January (Compton).
    Can’t-miss game: Taft at El Camino Real (Jan. 11).
  3. Crespi (24-9) – The Celts lost their top scorer and floor leader, Matt Mounier, to graduation, but have three talented seniors returning. Crespi lost in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 3A playoffs, 42-40, to Inglewood. The Celts earned a berth in the CIF State Division 3 playoffs and advanced to the second round before losing to La Canada, 43-42. Senior guard London Perrantes averaged 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season. Justin Rubia will most likely join Perrantes in the backcourt for Crespi. He averaged 7.3 points per game as a junior. Forward Michael Milligan will provide senior leadership in the frontcourt.
    Key returners: Perrantes (junior guard), Michael Avery (senior guard), Rubia (senior guard), Milligan (junior forward).
    Key newcomer: Sammy Linn (freshman guard).
    Can’t-miss games: Crespi at Alemany (Jan. 11), Harvard-Westlake at Crespi (Jan. 20), Crespi at Loyola (Jan. 23).

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LA North and LA South: Crespi 70, Artesia 42

February, 22, 2011
2/22/11
10:28
PM PT
ENCINO -- This one was practically over before it even started.

The Crespi High boys' basketball team jumped out to a particularly comfortable 14-point advantage over visiting Lakewood Artesia by the end of the first quarter during Tuesday's Southern Section Division 3A quarterfinal playoff game.

The lead ballooned to 22 points by halftime, 27 in the third quarter and approached the 30-point plateau over the course of the final eight minutes of play.

In the fourth quarter, seemingly the only thing left to do for the Celts was to send their starters to the bench for some rest and let the reserves run out the rest of the clock, which they did, of course, en route to an impressive 70-42 victory

“We came out and dominated, we needed a win like this, we made a statement and let everyone know that we're for real,'' said Crespi's London Perrantes.

The second-seeded Celts (23-7) are indeed for real.

Count Artesia (14-14) as a believer.

“We came into this game tonight knowing that Crespi was tough team, there's a reason why they were the No. 2 seed,'' Artesia coach Greg Taylor said. “We needed a lot of things to go our way if we were going to have a chance to win and that didn't happen.''

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