Los Angeles Preps: Reggie Morris

Report: Reggie Morris to coach Redondo

May, 11, 2012
After two years at St. Bernard, basketball coach Reggie Morris is making the move to Redondo Union, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Morris was a combined 50-17 in his two seasons in Playa del Rey, highlighted by a trip to Sacramento in 2011 for the CIF State Division V championship game. He's no stranger to the Bay League -- Morris previously spent eight years at Leuzinger, guiding the Olympians to their first sectional title in 2010 and helping with the development of eventual NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook.

Redondo went 10-17 last season and finished in fifth place in the Bay League.

SACRAMENTO -- Brandon Randolph, like many basketball players, has imagined the scenario countless times: clock winding down, ball in his hands, everything in slow motion, crowd goes wild.

It nearly came to fruition Friday afternoon, but the St. Bernard sophomore guard simply ran out of time, as the Vikings fell to St. Joseph Notre Dame, 47-44, in the CIF State Boys Division V championship at Power Balance Pavilion. Randolph had 1.7 seconds to release a potential tying shot, but the buzzer sounded before he let the ball go. His attempt missed by inches, off the front of the rim.

"I think it would have counted if I had made it," Randolph said. "It felt good off my hands. Like a regular shot."

Randolph had only four points in the second half but still finished with a team-high 14. Thurman Thomas, whose heroics in last week's Southern California Regionals got the Vikings (26-9) to Sacramento, finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jacari Whitfield led St. Joseph with 15 points, all coming from beyond the arc.

St. Bernard was 3 for 16 from three-point range and managed only 16 points in the second half. Still, neither team led by more than five.

"I understand we're in the arena setting," St. Bernard coach Reggie Morris said, "but 44 points is probably not going to get it done."

Whitfield sank a deep three with 58 seconds left to break a tie and give the Pilots (27-8) a 45-42 lead. St. Bernard trailed by three when Whitfield missed the first of a one-and-one, setting up Randolph's dream-like situation.

"We've got to come back," Randolph said, "work hard and try to get it again next year."

Said Morris: "We definitely will be one of the bigger programs in Southern California, not just on the Division V level but period. We want to stand up and be a powerhouse along those big-name schools."

At Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento

Matchup: Playa del Rey St. Bernard (26-8) vs. Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame (26-8), Friday, 1:30 p.m.

How they got here: St. Bernard: beat Redlands Adventist Academy, 81-37; Flintridge Prep, 68-54; Montclair Prep, 64-53; Sierra Canyon, 61-59 to win the Southern California Regional.

St. Joseph Notre Dame: beat Ripon Christian, 53-32; Vacaville Christian, 75-71 (OT); San Francisco University, 61-43 to win the Northern California Regional.

Key Players: Super sophomore Brandon Randolph leads St. Bernard with averages of 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. Teammate Thurman Thomas, who sank the game-winner as time expired in the regional final, averages 15.7 points. St. Joseph Notre Dame captain Brendan Keane, who is heading to Northern Colorado, had 17 points and seven rebounds to get the Pilots to Sacramento.

What to expect: Don't be surprised if St. Bernard coach Reggie Morris zeroes in on Keane, a 6-10 center who has four inches on the Vikings' tallest player. The Pilots had four players with at least seven boards in the clincher last week, meaning St. Bernard will have to be aggressive in attacking the glass. This will be St. Joseph Notre Dame's sixth appearance in the state title game and first in Division V. The most recent trip came in 2009, when the Pilots fell to champion L.A. Windward, 69-53.

LA North and LA South: St. Bernard 61, Sierra Canyon 59

March, 19, 2011

ONTARIO -- With the final seconds ticking off the fourth-quarter clock in Saturday's Southern California Regional boys' basketball playoff game, Thurman Thomas did not panic. The senior guard from Playa del Rey St. Bernard High kept his wits about him.

Thomas grabbed an errrant shot by Usoma Mbelu along the baseline, turned toward the rim and tossed in the game-winning basket, a floater, as time expired to lift the Vikings to a 61-59 Division V title over Chatsworth Sierra Canyon at Colony High.

"I had to make a quick decision and get the ball up. Once I did, I knew the shot was going in,'' Thomas said. "You know what the funny thing part is, I had a dream that I was going to hit the game-winner last night. I guess things work out sometimes.''

The Vikings (26-8) entered the game knowing that in order to be successful, they needed to stop Jahmel Taylor of Sierra Canyon (27-6). The sophomore guard struggled throughout and finished with four points, well below his 22-point average.

"We wanted to frustrate Taylor, bother him, we weren't going to let him beat us, no way,'' Vikings coach Reggie Morris said.

With Taylor seemingly a non-factor, the Trailblazers turned to Michael Cohen. The senior guard responded too, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the first half of play help Sierra Canyon take what appeared to be a comfortable 36-29 lead at halftime.

St. Bernard responded, Brandon Randolph in particular. He scored back-to-back baskets to start the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer with 1:58 left tied the score at 57-57 and essentially set the stage for Thomas' late game heroics.

Thomas finished with 13 points. Teammate Daniel Cordoba scored 13 points as well.

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

LA North & LA South: Jones' three
as time expires gives Taft victory

March, 11, 2010
WOODLAND HILLS -- With nine seconds left in Thursday's second-round regional between Taft and Leuzinger, the Toreadors had the ball under the Leuzinger basket with score tied.

And that's when Bryce Jones stepped up. The Taft senior isolated himself 25 feet away from the basket and drained an NBA-range 3-pointer in front of two Olympians defenders just as time expired to give the Toreadors a 66-63 victory over visiting Leuzinger in the second round of the Southern California Division I State Regionals.

Cue the celebration from the Taft sideline. Cue the mobbing of the court by the Taft student section. And cue Mater Dei, which Taft will face in the next round Saturday. The Taft victory also put an end to Leuzinger's 21-game winning streak.

"That's what I practice all day for," said Jones, who's headed to USC next season. "I love opportunities like those, and I came through with it."

The play initially called for DeAndre Daniels to get the ball, Taft coach Derrick Taylor said. But when Taylor noticed that Leuzinger's Aqeel Quinn was shading away from Jones toward Daniels, he redirected his team to create an isolation play for Jones.

But Leuzinger's Amir Garrett looked to be glued on Jones as the clock ticked down, and the Olympians sent a second defender with a few seconds left. It didn't make a difference.

"He just made a great shot," Leuzinger coach Reggie Morris said. "We played that defense as good as you can play it. We switched it, we didn't foul, we had him going away from the basket with four hands in his face -- you can't ask for anything better than that."

"He's a great player, and he just made a great shot."

On the night, Jones made eight of 12 shots and scored 21 points. He also sat out a good portion of the second half after committing his fourth foul in the third quarter. The 6-foot-8 Daniels also had a lot of success against the Olympians, with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Taft's Landon Drew, the younger brother of North Carolina's Larry Drew, Jr., picked up a game-high nine assists as he fed the ball inside to Daniels.

Leuzinger had four players in double figures, led by Delon Wright's 16 points. Garrett had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Teshon Burton added 12. Altogether, the Olympians managed to pressure the Toreadors into 16 turnovers, but they couldn't keep the pace up as much as they wanted.

The Olympians also couldn't keep up with the Toreadors' shooting. Taft outshot Leuzinger 48 percent to 36 percent. But the Olympians' up-and-down style kept them close all game long.

"We were trying to make it a frantic game the whole game," Morris said. "But the officials wouldn't let us. We knew that they don't really excel playing frantic, and that's the way we play."

Said Taylor: "Their pressure bothered us. They run the floor better than anybody in California."