Los Angeles Preps: Rialto Eisenhower

Boys' hoops: Fairfax 73, Eisenhower 67

February, 4, 2012
2/04/12
4:28
PM PT
SANTA ANA -- The post-halftime woes that have plagued Fairfax disappeared Saturday and the Lions held on for a 73-67 victory against a hot Rialto Eisenhower team in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

Fairfax was strong in the third quarter, thanks to senior guard Brendyn Taylor's ability to get to the free-throw line. He scored 14 of his team-high 22 points -- including 10-for-10 on free throws -- in the second half to lead the Lions (17-9). Taylor had help from point guard Landon Drew, who scored 13 of his 17 after the break. Fairfax had lost two of three, including last week to Gardena Serra in an all-day showcase event inside its own gym.

Marvelle Harris had 25 points and Terrance Sims had 23 for Eisenhower (16-7). The Citrus Belt League-leading Eagles failed to extend their 11-game winning streak.

MLK Day schedule at Los Osos

January, 15, 2012
1/15/12
10:04
PM PT
Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos will host an all-day event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and it features an attractive matchup between Ventura (14-4) and La Verne Damien (15-1).

9:30 a.m. -- Twentynine Palms vs. Walnut
11 a.m. -- Miller vs. Irvine Northwood
12:30 p.m. -- Los Osos vs. Pomona
2 p.m. -- Chino vs. Bishop Amat
3:30 p.m. -- Pacific Hills vs. Chino Hills
5 p.m. -- Claremont vs. Glendora
6:30 p.m. -- Ventura vs. Damien
8 p.m. -- Chino Hills Ayala vs. Rialto Eisenhower

Inland Empire: Boys basketball final top 10

March, 28, 2011
3/28/11
10:23
PM PT
Another boys' basketball season has come and gone in the Inland Empire and the 2010-11 version might go down as one of the region's best. Fontana Summit advanced to the Division 2 state championship game, while Corona Centennial came up one game short, but still put the program on the map with its postseason run. Below is the final rankings for the season, along with the final record and where the team was ranked heading into the postseason.

1. Centennial, 30-5 (1) – Advanced to the Southern Section Division 1AA finals and Southern California Regional Division 1 championship game.

2. Etiwanda, 29-4 (2) – Lost to Long Beach Poly in both the Division 1AA semifinals and the second round of the Division 1 SoCal regionals.

3. Summit, 28-8 (6) – Ousted in the Division 2AA semifinals, but came back to win the Division 2 regional final and advance to the state championships.

4. Rialto Eisenhower, 19-8 (4) – Lost to eventual Division 1 state champion Mater Dei in a Division 1AA quarterfinal.

5. Redlands East Valley, 25-7 (NR) – Advanced to the Division 1A semifinals where it lost to eventual champion Los Angeles Loyola.

6. Murrieta Valley, 24-4 (3) – Hampered by the loss of leading scorer Justin Gudger to an broken ankle in the first round of the Division 1AA playoffs, the fifth-seeded Nighthawks lost in the second round.

7. Upland, 20-10 (7) – Got through to the Division 1AA quarterfinals with an impressive second-round win against Pasadena but couldn’t get past Corona Centennial.

8. Ontario Colony, 20-10 (9) – Knocked off seventh-seeded Placentia Valencia in a Division 2AA second-round game, then lost to eventual finalist Mission Viejo in the quarterfinals.

9. Eastvale Roosevelt, 19-7 (8) – Seeded No. 10 in Division 1AA, lost by three points to seventh-seeded Montebello at home.

10. Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (21-7) (NR) – Overcame a tough stretch at the end of Inland Valley League play to give Mater Dei a match in a Division 1AA second-round game.

Dropped out: Elsinore (5), San Bernardino (10).

Just missed: Palm Springs, Victorville Victor Valley, Victorville Silverado, Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Montclair, Chino Hills, Riverside North, San Bernardino Cajon, Temecula Valley.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
9:20
PM PT
The regular season came to an end last week and the second season begins Wednesday with first-round playoff games in most divisions. Upland and Fontana Summit are among the Inland Empire teams that built momentum heading into the playoffs, Eastvale Roosevelt and Ontario Colony seem to be heading in the opposite direction.

1. Corona Centennial, 23-3 (1) – The Huskies scored early and often in a 65-45 victory Thursday against Eastvale Roosevelt, giving them the outright Big VIII League title. Michael Caffey returned from an ankle injury to score 21 points, Gelaun Wheelwright had 20 and Dominique Dunning 16 for Centennial, which is seeded third in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Temecula Great Oak in a first-round game at Centennial, 7 p.m.

2. Etiwanda, 25-2 (2) – Etiwanda wrapped up the regular season with one-sided wins against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos and Alta Loma, then learned it was seeded fourth in the Division 1AA playoffs. The Eagles paid the price for two late-season losses and dropped a couple spots in the seeding order. That means they’ll have to go through top-seeded Long Beach Poly to reach the finals, instead of second-seeded Mater Dei. Next up: Wednesday vs. Long Beach Wilson in a first-round game at Etiwanda, 7 p.m.

3. Murrieta Valley, 23-3 (3) – The Nighthawks ended a perfect run through Southwestern League play with double-digit wins at Vista Murrieta and Temecula Chaparral. MurrietaValley, which won the Division 2AA title last season against Compton, now steps up two levels for the playoffs. The Nighthawks are seeded fifth in Division 1AA. Next up: Wednesday vs. Corona in a first-round game at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

4. Rialto Eisenhower, 17-7 (4) – The Eagles blew out Fontana and Yucaipa last week to finish unbeaten in Citrus Belt League play for the second consecutive year. After the Eagles went 7-6 in December, they found their groove down the stretch, even getting payback against Los Angeles Fairfax for an earlier loss. Eisenhower, the Division 2A champion the last two seasons, enters the Division 1AA playoffs seeded seventh. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chaparral in a first-round game at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.

5. Elsinore, 23-4 (5) – The Tigers employed their full-court press to perfection last week in one-sided victories against Romoland Heritage and Menifee Paloma Valley. They finished undefeated in Sunbelt League play and are seeded second in the Division 2A playoffs, their highest seeding in school history. Elsinore advanced to the Division 3AA semifinals last season, eventually losing to Santa Ana Foothill, which is seeded third in same half of bracket. Next up: Wednesday vs. Westminster in a first-round game at Elsinore, 7 p.m.

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Inland Empire: Girls' basketball playoff preview

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
9:19
PM PT
The Southern Section girls’ basketball playoff pairings were released Sunday and a number of top Inland Empire teams are massed in Division 1AA, with a few others scattered elsewhere. First-round games begin Thursday. Here’s a rundown:

Division 1AA

Moreno Valley Canyon Springs enters the playoffs as the fourth-seeded team in this division. The Cougars lost two games during the regular season and one was against second-seeded Long Beach Poly, 64-37, back on Dec. 2. Canyon Springs is led by Nebraska-bound guard Tear’a Laudermill, who is averaging 16.6 points. The division is loaded with other top I.E. teams, including fifth-seeded San Bernardino Cajon, sixth-seeded Etiwanda, eighth-seeded Fontana Summit and ninth-seeded Corona Santiago, all coming off league championships. Summit and Santiago face a potential second-round match up Saturday.

Division 1A

Rancho Cucamonga ended Etiwanda’s 66-game Baseline League winning streak this season but couldn’t hold on for the league title. The Cougars are seeded fourth in this division, two spots ahead of Big VIII League runner-up Corona Centennial. Sierra League champion Chino Hills is seeded seventh and opens Thursday against visiting Redlands East Valley.

Division 2AA

Rialto ended Cajon’s 85-game league winning streak this season and went on to share the San Andreas League title with the Cowgirls. For their efforts, the Knights are the top-seeded team in this division. Rialto has an interesting first-round match up Thursday, hosting at-large selection Santa Margarita, which won the Division 3A title last season. Another team to watch is eighth-seeded Norco.

Division 2A

Indio went 23-2, including 12-0 in the Desert Valley League, and is seeded fourth in this division. The Rajahs only losses came against Division 1AA qualifiers Temecula Great Oak and Temecula Chaparral. Indio’s first-round opponent, Riverside North, finished 4-20 and lost its last 12 games. Citrus Belt League champion Rialto Eisenhower is seeded seventh.

Division 3A

Sunbelt League champion Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon enters as the sixth-seeded team in this division. The Titans open against Murrieta Mesa (3-22). De Anza League champion Yucca Valley is seeded eighth.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball playoff preview

February, 13, 2011
2/13/11
6:30
PM PT
The Southern Section boys’ basketball playoff pairings were released Sunday and Inland Empire teams were seeded high in several divisions. Here’s a rundown:

Division 1AA

Etiwanda lost two games in the final two weeks of the season, causing the Eagles to fall a couple spots in the seeding order. Instead of entering the postseason seeded No. 2, the Eagles are No. 4, one behind Corona Centennial, who they beat back in December. MurrietaValley is seeded fifth, Rialto Eisenhower is seventh and Eastvale Roosevelt is 10th. Murrieta Valley won the Division 2AA title last season and Eisenhower won in Division 2A.

Division 1A

RedlandsEast Valley is seeded fifth after finishing second to Eisenhower in the Citrus Belt League. The Wildcats open Wednesday against visiting Dana Hills, and Pepperdine-bound center Paulin Mpawe should have a strong game against the undersized Dolphins. Victorville Silverado was seeded sixth and received a first-round bye because the Hawks were champions of the Desert Sky League.

Division 2AA

Sixth-seeded Fontana Summit certainly fits the bill of a dark horse in this division. The SkyHawks are playing their best basketball of the season, carrying an 11-game winning streak into the postseason. They played Riverside Patriot on Thursday in a game that would determine the Sunkist League title and posted an impressive 70-31 victory. Other teams to watch are eighth-seeded Victorville Victor Valley and 10th-seeded Ontario Colony.

Division 2A

Elsinore was seeded second after running away withthe Sunbelt League title. The Tigers enter the postseason on a nine-game winning streak and open the playoffs against visiting Westminster, which advanced with an 8-18 record. San Bernardino, which won its first league title since 1993, is seeded sixth and Chino Hills Ayala is 10th.

Division 3AA

Second-seeded Palm Springs posted an impressive 22-1 record during the regular season, its only loss coming by two points against Palos Verdes Peninsula, the top-seeded team in Division 2A.

Division 3A

Palm Desert, which finished runner up to Palm Springs in the Desert Valley League, is the highest-seeded I.E. team in this division at No. 7. The Aztecs face an interesting first-round match up against visiting Lakewood Artesia, once one of the elite programs in Southern California but now just fourth-place team from the Suburban League.

Inland Empire: Boys basketball games of the week

February, 3, 2011
2/03/11
3:00
PM PT
Upland (14-9, 3-4) at Etiwanda (23-1, 7-0), Friday, 6:30 p.m. – With the return of last season’s Baseline League co-MVP John Gilliam, who would have thought Upland would be scrambling for a playoff spot heading into the last two weeks of the regular season? But the Highlanders have dropped four of their last six league games and face a tough stretch run.

Rialto Eisenhower (14-7) vs. Los Angeles Fairfax (14-8) at Santa Ana Mater Dei, Saturday, 2:30 p.m. – Eisenhower coach Steve Johnson said last month that he planned to use this Nike Extravaganza game as a measuring stick to find out how far his team has progressed. The Eagles lost to Fairfax, 56-33, on Dec. 21, the start of four losses in five games, but seem to have righted the ship. Ontario Colony is also entered in the showcase. The Titans play Huntington Beach Ocean View at 11 a.m.

Big Bear (15-7, 6-2) at Twentynine Palms (16-6, 7-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. – Twentynine Palms senior forward Zach Hill went for a season-high 22 points in leading the visiting Wildcats to a 59-54 victory against Big Bear three weeks ago in their first DeAnza League meeting. One more and they’ll clinch at least a share of the league title. A loss will likely create a three-way tie for first with Desert Hot Springs (13-9, 6-2).

Eastvale Roosevelt (15-5, 9-1) at Corona (15-6, 7-3) – Corona led by six points entering the fourth quarter when these teams met Jan. 10 but ended up losing, 57-49. Much of Roosevelt’s damage in that game was done by junior guard Shawn Joseph, who scored a season-high 17 points. With a win, the Mustangs can lock up at least second place in the Big VIII League and remain within a game of first-place Corona Centennial (19-3, 10-0).

Redlands Adventist (16-4, 9-2) at Bloomington Christian (16-6, 10-1), Tonight, 6 p.m. –In this small-school special, second place will be on the line in the Victory League. Redlands Adventist is ranked second in Division 6A, and Bloomington Christian is No. 15 in Division 5A. Bloomington Christian won the first meeting, 51-37. Bermuda Dunes Desert Christian Academy sits in first at 17-2, 11-0.

Looking ahead:

San Bernardino vs. San Bernardino Cajon at Cardinal City Arena, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
4:29
PM PT
Some losses are more understandable than others. Etiwanda lost to a highly ranked opponent at a Saturday night showcase, while Moreno Valley Rancho Verde fell to a familiar foe from the Inland Valley League. The latter is much less acceptable. Victorville Silverado lost its rematch against Victorville Victor Valley, keeping both out of the top 10, while Fontana Summit and Redlands East Valley earned second chances to prove they belong.

1. Etiwanda, 22-1 (1) – The Eagles let one get away Saturday night against Los Angeles Loyola and lost, 70-64, at Fairfax High in L.A. No shame in losing to the Lions, however, they came into the game ranked No. 2 in Division 1A and looking to avenge a loss to Etiwanda in late December. Next up: Tonight at Glendora, 6:30 p.m.

2. Corona Centennial, 18-3 (2) – Gelaun Wheelwright had a week to remember. The Weber State-bound guard combined for 51 points in Big VIII League road victories against Riverside King and Riverside Poly, making 20 of 28 field-goal attempts, including seven of 13 from beyond the three-point stripe. Next up: Tonight vs. Riverside North at Centennial, 7:30 p.m.

3. Murrieta Valley, 19-3 (3) – The Nighthawks didn’t blink Wednesday while taking down Temecula Chaparral, the defending Southwestern League champion. Justin Gudger scored 18 points and Austin Quick had 13 in the 62-43 victory. Next up: Wednesday vs. Temecula Great Oak at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

4. Ontario Colony, 15-8 (5) – The Titans had a much easier time against Chino Don Lugo the second time around. After winning by just three points at Don Lugo on Jan. 5, Colony blew out the visiting Conquistadors in the second half Wednesday and won, 94-65. The Titans have won 59 consecutive Mt. Baldy League games. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chino at Colony, 6:30 p.m.

5. Rialto Eisenhower, 14-7 (6) – After losing to Richmond Salesian, the Eagles took out their frustrations on Yucaipa in the form of a 93-47 victory last Tuesday. They still haven’t earned the respect of Southern Section voters, however, who have them pegged way down at No. 11 in Division 1AA. Next up: Tonight vs. Redlands East Valley at Eisenhower, 6 p.m.

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Inland Empire: Boys' basketball games of the week

January, 27, 2011
1/27/11
2:21
PM PT
Victorville Victor Valley (18-3, 6-1) at Victorville Silverado (15-1, 7-0), Friday, 6:30 p.m. – This rematch couldn’t come soon enough for Victor Valley, which got smashed in its own gym by Silverado, 81-51, in a Desert Sky League game Jan. 12. These teams are a lot closer than that score would indicate. Silverado is ranked No. 6 in Division 1A, the Jackrabbits are No. 6 in Division 2AA.

Etiwanda (21-0) vs. Los Angeles Loyola (15-5) at the Fairfax HS State Preview Classic, Saturday, 8 p.m. – This would be one of the most anticipated match ups of the showcase season except for the fact these teams met less than month ago. Etiwanda, ranked No. 2 in Division 1AA, defeated Loyola, ranked No. 2 in Division 1A, 70-61, in the final of the Oaks Christian tournament Dec. 30. The players to watch are Byron Wesley of Etiwanda, a 6-5 wing who has signed with USC and averages 18.3 points a game, and Julian Harrell of Loyola, a 6-5 junior wing who is averaging a team-high 16 points.

Murrieta Valley (18-3, 5-0) at Temecula Valley (14-6, 3-2), Friday, 7 p.m. – The Nighthawks gave Murrieta Valley a tough time when they last met Jan. 12, especially 6-8 senior post player Josh Richardson, who had career highs of 26 points and 21 rebounds in the 67-61 loss. Murrieta Valley will need to count on its tallest player, 6-6 junior Jackson Helms, to keep Richardson out of the paint.

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Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 25, 2011
1/25/11
6:47
AM PT
Etiwanda and Corona Centennial survived close calls to maintain their leading roles in the top 10, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos took tumbles and Eastvale Roosevelt and Ontario Colony actually bettered their positions with losses.

1. Etiwanda, 20-0 (1) – All they do is win, win, win. The Eagles knocked off a pair of ranked opponents last week, holding off similarly athletic Colony, 66-62, in a showcase event Saturday at Azusa Pacific. Etiwanda also passed another road test in the Baseline League, defeating Los Osos, 68-55. Next up: Today at Mira Loma Alta Loma, 6:30 p.m.

2. Centennial, 16-3 (2) – Roosevelt tried to sneak up on the Huskies in a Big VIII League game Thursday, but point guard Michael Caffey was ready, scoring 25 points in the 59-56 victory. It was the second-highest scoring game of the season for the Long Beach State recruit. Next up: Today at Riverside King, 7:30 p.m.

3. Murrieta Valley, 17-3 (3) – Justin Gudger was held to a season-low nine points in a 69-34 victory last week against Murrieta Mesa, but those things happen when you lead, 21-3, after the first quarter. Gudger, who averages 20.4 points, was undoubtedly saving himself for this week’s pivotal Southwestern League games against Temecula Chaparral and Temecula Valley. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chaparral at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

4. Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, 17-3 (4) – Similar to the Mustangs’ football season, just not a lot of opponent’s to get excited about in the Inland Valley League. Next up: Wednesday at Moreno Valley Vista del Lago, 7:30 p.m.

5. Colony, 12-8 (8) – It’s tough to gain ground in the rankings with a loss but the Titans played Etiwanda as close as anybody this season and are better than their record indicates. They also won Mt. Baldy League games Friday and Monday to run their league-winning streak to 56 games. Next up: Wednesday vs. Chino Don Lugo at Colony, 6:30 p.m.

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Inland Empire: Boys' basketball Games of the Week

January, 13, 2011
1/13/11
2:41
PM PT
Etiwanda (16-0, 2-0) at Upland (12-4, 1-1), Friday, 6:30 p.m. – Upland, ranked No. 5 in the Inland Empire by ESPNLA, may have got caught looking ahead to No. 1 Etiwanda, losing a Baseline League game Tuesday against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, 68-63. This game will feature last season’s league co-most valuable players, Upland guard John Gilliam and Etiwanda wing Byron Wesley.

Rialto Eisenhower (9-6, 1-0) at Redlands East Valley (14-3, 1-0), Friday, 6 p.m.– Eisenhower is the three-time defending Citrus Belt League champion but they figure to be tested by the size of Redlands East Valley, led by Paulin Mpawe, a 6-foot-9 post player who signed with Pepperdine. Mpawe scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds Tuesday in a 96-92 victory against crosstown rival Redlands.

La Verne Damien (14-1, 1-0) at Chino Hills (14-3, 1-0), Friday, 6:30 p.m. – Chino Hills is the four-time defending Sierra League champion but the Huskies will have their hands full against Damien and 6-7 junior forward Chris Reyes, a first-team all-league pick last season who is averaging 16.4 points and nine rebounds.

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Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

January, 4, 2011
1/04/11
12:06
PM PT
The holiday tournaments have come and gone and the Inland Empire certainly left its mark. Etiwanda, Fontana Summit and Elsinore won titles, while a number of other teams had solid showings. With the league schedule beginning this week for most teams, look for the season to kick into high gear.

1. Etiwanda, 14-0 (1) – The Eagles won the Westlake Village Oaks Christian tournament last weekend, stomping La Jolla Country Day, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, Sacramento and Los Angeles Loyola along the way. Next up: Friday vs. Rancho Cucamonga at Etiwanda.

2. Corona Centennial, 10-3 (2) – The Huskies finished fifth last week in the featured National Division at the Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines. The highlight of their run was a three-point victory over Woodlands Hills Taft, which came in ranked No. 2 in the state by ESPN RISE. Next up: Today vs. Riverside Poly at Corona Centennial.

3. Murrieta Valley, 11-2 (3) – The Nighthawks finished 2-2 in the Senator’s Division at the Holiday Classic, beating North Hollywood Campbell Hall and Long Beach Wilson, but losing to Santa Maria Righetti and San Diego St. Augustine. Next up: Today vs. La Puente Bishop Amat at Murrieta Valley.

4. Rancho Verde, 11-3 (5) – The Mustangs went 2-2 at the Oaks Christian tournament, getting victories against small-school power Los Angeles Price and Inglewood, and losing to Etiwanda and tournament host Oaks Christian. Rancho Verde only lost to Oaks Christian by five points, while Upland lost to the Lions by 25. Next up: Friday at Riverside Arlington.

5. Upland, 11-3 (4) – After dropping the opener of the Oaks Christian tournament to the tournaments hosts, the Highlanders reeled off victories against Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Concord De La Salle and Pacific Palisades. The win against De La Salle was especially impressive, considering the Spartans are annually one of the top teams from Northern California. Next up: Friday at Mira Loma Alta Loma.

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Inland Empire: Boys' basketball top 10

December, 15, 2010
12/15/10
11:48
PM PT
The boys’ basketball season is two weeks old and the Inland Empire preseason rankings are holding strong, for the most part.

In a matchup of the I.E.’s top two teams, Etiwanda knocked off Corona Centennial, 68-64, on Dec. 4 in the championship of the Rose City Classic in Pasadena.

Here’s an updated top 10, with some key results and upcoming matchups.

1. Etiwanda, 7-0 (1) – In addition to the Eagles’ win against Centennial, they also knocked off tournament host Pasadena, 71-56, in a semifinal. Next up: Thursday vs. A.B. Miller at the Inland Empire Challenge.

2. Centennial, 6-2 (2) – The Huskies’ other loss was by four points to San Diego Lincoln, ranked 46th in the nation by ESPN RISE in the final of the Santa Monica tournament Saturday. Etiwanda is ranked No. 49 by the same publication. Centennial beat a talented Compton team, 81-76, in a semifinal. Next up: Thursday vs. Riverside King at Centennial.

3. Murrieta Valley, 8-0 (3) – Knocked off some decent competition, including Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (59-41), Elsinore (69-47) and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (68-57). Next up: Tuesday vs. Elsinore at Murrieta Valley.

4. Upland, 6-1 (5) – Fell to tournament host Mission Viejo in final of the Diablo Inferno tournament on Dec. 4. Earlier in the tournament, the Highlanders posted wins against Orange County mid-sized powers San Juan Hills and Corona del Mar. Up next: Thursday vs. Redlands East Valley at the Inland Empire Challenge.

5. Rancho Verde, 8-1 (7) – Beat Riverside Arlington, 57-44, on Saturday in the final of the Riverside Poly tournament. Also knocked off Redlands and Moreno Valley Canyon Springs en route to the title. Next up: Thursday vs. Moreno Valley Vista del Lago at Rancho Verde.

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Inland Empire: Boys basketball preview

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
12:43
AM PT
Top 10

1. Etiwanda – The Eagles return five of their top seven players from a team that lost by three points to Mater Dei in the Southern Section Division 1AA final. Byron Wesley, a 6-foot-5 small forward who has signed with USC, is one of the top players in the state. Running the point will be Jordan Daniels, undersized at 5-8 but a lightning-quick ball handler who is drawing interest from mid-major colleges.

2. Corona Centennial – The Huskies finished 25-5 last season, losing by six points to Etiwanda in a section quarterfinal. Dominique Dunning, a 6-4 wing who has signed with New Mexico, was the Big VIII League most valuable player last season and a first-team Division. I-AA selection. He’ll have plenty of support with the return of second-team senior guards Michael Caffey and Gelaun Wheelwright.

3. Murrieta Valley – The Nighthawks return their top three players from last season’s team that won the Division 2AA title. Justin Gudger, a 6-4 senior forward, averaged a team-high 17 points and six rebounds and was named the Division 2AA player of the year. Austin Quick, a 6-3 senior guard, averaged 14.1 points before missing the postseason with a knee injury, and 6-1 senior guard Mark Tarabilda averaged 8.1.

4. Redlands East Valley – The Wildcats return their top three scorers, leading rebounder and top two assist leaders from a team that finished 17-11 last season. Paulin Mpawe, a 6-9 senior center who signed with Pepperdine, averaged 9.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks while earning first-team all-Citrus Belt League honors. Another first-teamer, 5-11 senior guard Terrell Todd, averaged a team-high 16.7 points, and 5-7 senior guard Greg Dishman averaged 10.1 points and 3.9 assists.

5. UplandJohn Gilliam, a 6-2 senior guard, returns after leading the 21-9 Highlanders to the Division 1AA quarterfinals. He averaged a team-high 21.2 points last season, and was named the Baseline League co-most valuable player and a Division 1AA first-team selection. Myles Pearson, a 5-11 junior guard also returns. He averaged 9.7 points last season and a team-high 2.7 assists.

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And so it begins, March Madness, at the high school level.


Fans of boys’ basketball, regardless of whether it’s diehard or causal, we highly recommend that you head down to the Honda Center at some point Saturday and sneak in a game, or two, of the Southern Section championships taking place in Anaheim.


All told, six title games will take place at the venue over the course of the day. The early session, in particular, has some interesting matchups. Plenty will be at stake, namely a championship trophy, the one piece of hardware everyone covets.


That said, let’s take a look at who’s who and what to expect.


DIVISION 3A

For those up at the crack of dawn, Gardena Serra (29-2) and Compton Centennial (25-5) are set to tip-off at 9 a.m. The showdown promises to be an entertaining affair, worth waking up a tad bit early for. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to see Deonte Burton. The 6-foot-1 senior for the Apaches is as dynamic as they come, a tremendous scorer who’s considered one of the West Coast’s top unsigned prospects. Serra is no slouch and counters with the talented backcourt tandem of Vaughn Autry and Keith Shamburger. The guard play figures to be the difference in this one.

DIVISION 2AA



Shortly thereafter, Murrieta Valley (26-4) and Compton (18-12) take the court, scheduled for 10:45 a.m. The Knighthawks have made a rather remarkable run to the finals, upsetting top-seeded Summit and fourth-seeded Alta Loma en route to the championship game. It doesn’t appear as if anyone can stop them. The Tarbabes would like to think otherwise. Cliff Sims Jr. & Co. come in with plenty of confidence after shocking second-seeded Edison in the semifinals. When all is said and done, one of these Cinderella teams is going to realize its dreams.

DIVISION 2A



No one in Southern California is hotter than top-seeded Rialto Eisenhower (27-5), which enters its 12:30 p.m. game against Pasadena (24-6) with 18 consecutive victories. Picking your poison against the Eagles is tricky given the fact that they have several players capable of scoring in double digits. Focusing attention on any one individual could prove costly. For the Bulldogs to remain close, Steven Adams will have to play a prominent role. Make no mistake, all signs point to the 6-foot-9, 230- pound post player being capable. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

DIVISION 1A

Santa Monica (24-6) is another one of those teams that was supposed to be on the outside looking in at this stage. The eighth-seeded Vikings didn’t stand much of a chance against fourth-seeded Colony or top-seeded Chino Hills. But low and behold, here they are, in the 2:15 p.m. championship game against Leuzinger (23-6). Amir Garrett might be an underclassman, but the 6-foot-6 junior certainly doesn’t play like he has limited experience at the varsity level. If he approaches his averages, 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, the Olympians should take home the title.

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