Los Angeles Preps: Nick Rudolph

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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Western: No. 25 Ventura 41, Dominguez 14

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
12:49
AM PT



VENTURA – In the blink of an eye, Ventura running back Conner Armstrong swept across the field and into the end zone on his first carry to score a 76-yard touchdown.

By the end of the first quarter, Ventura was up by three touchdowns in its first-round CIF Southern Section Western Division playoff game against Dominguez.

Behind Armstrong’s 235-yard, three-touchdown night, Ventura, the fourth-seeded team in the Western Division playoffs, easily handled Dominguez, 41-14, scoring early and often on Friday night at Ventura High School.

Armstrong scored on runs of 76, 48 and 30 yards. He scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and Ventura was up 21-0 before Dominguez knew what hit them.

A 5-foot-7 running back is what hit the visiting Dons. The run-oriented offense that Dominguez (7-4) uses doesn’t allow for quick scores or explosive plays. Playing with a three-touchdown deficit is not how Dominguez coach Keith Donerson expected to open the playoffs.

“It’s very challenging,” Donerson said. “It’s tough to come from behind.”

Even though Ventura (11-0) jumped out to an early lead, Cougars coach Brad Steward said he expected his players to keep their intensity up. Ventura was up 28-8 at halftime, but the game was far from over.

“I didn’t think so at all,” Steward said. “They did move the ball. We were fortunate we scored the first time we touched the ball.”

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L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 2, 2011
10/02/11
10:19
PM PT
What happened to the teams from the Serra League? Alemany and Crespi, the class of the Serra League, lost on Friday night. For Alemany, it was another heartbreaking one-point loss. For Crespi, it was a blowout against Vista Murrieta.

At least Sherman Oaks Notre Dame stepped up, shutting out Golden Valley.

Alemany has two losses this season, both by one point. The Warriors lost to J.W. North by one point, 36-35, two weeks ago. Their most recent lost was to Dorsey, 14-13.

Crespi was undefeated at 4-0 entering the game against Vista Murrieta. Maybe a more telling stat was that the teams Crespi beat were a combined 2-12.

As a result, Alemany and Crespi drop a little in the L.A. North top 10 rankings. Westlake and St. Bonaventure move up a little. Oaks Christian remains on top and awaits its crosstown rival Westlake on Thursday night.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (3-1) – Quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw for three touchdowns and the Lions improved to 3-0 in Marmonte League play with a 56-7 win over Calabasas.
  2. (4) Westlake (5-0) – The Warriors scored 73 points and, believe it or not, it wasn’t the highest total of Friday night. Paraclete dropped 86 points on Marshall of Pasadena. Westlake stayed undefeated with a 73-27 win over Royal.
  3. (5) St. Bonaventure (3-1) – Ouch! The Seraphs shut out Simi Valley, 34-0. Running backs Shaun Wick and Zach Green each scored two touchdowns for St. Bonaventure.
  4. (2) Crespi (4-1) – The Celts had a 13-7 lead on Vista Murrieta in the first half, but ultimately lost, 38-20. It was the first loss of the season for Crespi. Vista Murrieta, meanwhile, stayed undefeated at 4-0.
  5. (3) Alemany (3-2) – The Warriors have lost two games by a combined score of two points. They lost by one point to Dorsey on Friday night. Alemany quarterback Devon Dunn was knocked out of the game in the second half because of an injury after a sack.
  6. (6) Canyon (4-0) – The Cowboys rolled over Beverly Hills, 56-6. Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He broke the school record for career receiving touchdowns with 26.
  7. (7) Chaminade (3-1) – The Eagles looked good against Mira Costa in a 29-13 win. Running back Terrell Newby rushed for 243 yards and scored two touchdowns.
  8. (8) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-0) – The Knights had no problem with Golden Valley, shutting out the Grizzlies, 42-0. After its first four plays of the game, Notre Dame was up 21-0.
  9. (9) St. Francis (4-0) – The Golden Knights handed West Ranch an embarrassing first loss in a matchup of previously undefeated teams. St. Francis won 35-0, building a 28-0 lead in the first half.
  10. (10) Ventura (5-0) – The Cougars welcomed back MaxPreps All-American Nick Rudolph with a 27-0 win over Camarillo. Ventura running back Conner Armstrong had a nice night with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Football: Ventura 27, Camarillo 0

October, 1, 2011
10/01/11
12:41
AM PT
CAMARILLO -- The game between Ventura and Camarillo was supposed to be a matchup of two of the best receivers in the state.

But it was an unheralded receiver from Ventura who stole the show.

Hunter Winans caught seven passes for 107 yards and scored a touchdown in Ventura’s 27-0 nonleague shutout against Camarillo on Friday night.

While Winans shined against Camarillo, Ventura coach Brad Steward was not surprised by his performance.

“It was another good game for Hunter,” Steward said.

The senior receiver has been playing in the shadow of Nick Rudolph, who was selected to the MaxPreps preseason All-American team as a tight end. But Rudolph missed the last two games because of a separated shoulder.

Rudolph made his return against Camarillo (1-3) and caught five passes for 51 yards. He caught two critical passes on Ventura’s second scoring drive and helped set up a Conner Armstrong touchdown run in the first quarter.

On the other side of the field, Camarillo receiver Jake Maulhardt was coming off a state-record performance against Canyon last week. He caught 28 passes to break the state record and scored three touchdowns.

Maulhardt wasn’t nearly as effective against Ventura, catching eight passes for 72 yards and no touchdowns. Six of his catches came in the second half.

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L.A. North: Games of the Week

September, 28, 2011
9/28/11
3:08
PM PT
Camarillo receiver Jake Maulhardt had one of the greatest performances in state history against Canyon High School last week. He set a state record with 28 receptions and scored three touchdowns.

But his team lost, 52-28, to Canyon and dropped to 1-2 on the season. Camarillo’s offense has been able to put points on the scoreboard, averaging 23 a game. Its defense, on the other hand, is giving up 30.6 points per game.

Camarillo coach Dennis Reidmiller says he is hoping his defense can increase its intensity against undefeated Ventura (4-0) on Friday night at Camarillo High School.

“We’re scoring points,” Reidmiller said. “We’re not doing a real good job of tackling. We got to do a much better job of tackling.”

Ventura is coming off a 35-20 win over Nordhoff and has been scoring at a rapid clip, 37.7 points per game. Running back Conner Armstrong has rushed for 466 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in four games. Quarterback Rodney Stanley has thrown for 816 yards and eight touchdowns.

Stanley has been posting those numbers without one of the team’s best receivers, tight end Nick Rudolph. He was selected to the MaxPreps preseason All-American team, but has missed the last two games and has only eight catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He is expected to make his first start since Sept. 9 against Agoura.

“He’s a little banged up and sat out the last two weeks,” Ventura coach Brad Steward said.

Steward added that receiver Hunter Winans has played well in Rudolph’s absence and is a big reason why the team is undefeated.

“We like to point toward an undefeated season,” Steward said. “We want to be as good as we can when league starts.”

Camarillo presents problems for Ventura, and every other team it faces, with the 6-foot-7 Maulhardt at receiver. One of the nice surprises on the Camarillo side is the play of sophomore quarterback Michael Marin. He has passed for 922 yards, completing 68 percent of his passes, and nine touchdowns in three games. He has only thrown one interception in 124 pass attempts. Steward said his team will have to score to keep up with Camarillo.

“I think they’re very, very dangerous,” Steward said. “We’re hoping to get a few stops. We’re trying to disguise coverages. We can’t let them sit on one thing. Keep it varied and keep them off-balance.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top games in the region:

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LA North: West Ranch's JC Cloney changes up, heading to Long Beach State

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
9:24
AM PT
West Ranch of Stevenson Ranch senior JC Cloney is headed to the Long Beach State baseball team after originally committing to Cal State Fullerton earlier this summer.

West Ranch baseball coach Casey Burrill said in an e-mail that Cloney changed his mind about joining the Cal State Fullerton baseball team when coach Dave Serrano decided to take the University of Tennessee coaching job in June.

“JC is very excited about choosing LB State,” Burrill said. “He originally verbally committed to Cal State Fullerton, but over the summer the Fullerton head coach left for Tennessee. So JC weighed his options after the Fullerton coaching staff left. He had several baseball scholarship offers to choose from again, but he felt Long Beach was the best fit for his baseball and academics.”

Cloney hit .321 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in his junior season. He was also 4-5 with one save and a 2.98 ERA on the mound. He struck out 65 batters in 56 1/3 innings.

“JC is going to pitch and play first base for them,” Burrill said. “There is no doubt in my mind that he will be very successful.”

Ventura TE makes All-American team

Ventura High School senior tight end Nick Rudolph was selected to the MaxPreps preseason All-American football team.

The 6-foot-4 Rudolph caught 42 passes for 719 yards and 15 touchdowns in his junior season.

He was also on the Ventura basketball team that won the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA championship and reached the second round of the CIF Division II state playoffs.

Follow Tim Haddock in Twitter @thaddock.

Ventura's Jon McMurry is a study in perseverance

March, 2, 2011
3/02/11
7:22
PM PT


VENTURA -- It was Dec. 12, 2009, Jon McMurry remembers the day well.

He was on the basketball court, practicing alongside his Ventura High teammates. It was one of those typical Saturday afternoon scrimmages, nothing too out of the ordinary.

Then, all of a sudden, McMurry ran into a teammate, seemingly at full speed. He went down hard, to be sure, much harder than normal. Things immediately became not so ordinary.

He was lying face down on the hardwood, writhing in pain with a left knee injury, far more serious than anyone could have possibly imagined at the time.

The scenario plays over and over in his mind. It is difficult to forget.

The road to recovery has been long and arduous. McMurry, however, has successfully battled back and will be in uniform for the Cougars on Saturday when they face Mission Viejo in the Southern Section Division 2AA championship game at the Anaheim Convention Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.

“I went through a rough time, for a while, it seemed like forever. My future was uncertain, I thought playing basketball again might not ever happen, '' McMurry said. “Right after my injury, I was in a wheelchair for four months and on crutches for five or six more months. The rehab was tough, my knee is still weak, painful. That wasn't going to stop from coming back.''

Rest assured, having McMurry in the lineup against the second-seeded Diablos (29-1) is a must if top-seeded Ventura (28-2) hopes to bring the title home.

Considering all of the damage that was initially done, it is difficult to believe he actually made a return to the rotation for the Cougars. McMurry did, after all, dislocate his kneecap less than two years ago during his junior season. Making matters worse, he tore his medial collateral ligament, partially tore his anterior cruciate ligament and broke the lateral condyle of his femur.

“It's a bad, bad memory, Jon's injury was as bad as any I've seen in all of my many years,'' Ventura coach Dan Larson said. “The pain he was in, getting the emergency people out here to our gym as quickly as possible and trying to keep him calm. After he hit the floor, one of our assistant coaches was holding what was left of his knee together. It was completely destroyed.

“We've had some bad ones here, but Jon's situation was one of the top five bad injuries of all time at the school. It was just a terribly bad knee injury, it was just gruesome.''

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