Los Angeles Preps: Santa Monica

Volleyball: Mira Costa wins Div. 1 title

May, 19, 2012
Mira Costa captured its seventh CIF-Southern Section boys' volleyball title Saturday night by upsetting top-seeded Loyola in the Division 1 final at Cypress College. The Mustangs won an exciting five-set match, 25-18, 25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 15-12.

Loyola (33-2) never faced a two-set deficit all year and nearly completed the comeback.

"We wanted to give them trouble," Mira Costa coach Mike Ninnis told Fox Sports Preps Zone Live. "Things worked out for us."

Third-seeded Mira Costa (32-4) had lost to Loyola twice during the regular season, but won the one that mattered. Loyola, which swept through every set in the playoffs, dodged two match points in the third set.

In the Division 2 final, Oak Park defeated Corona del Mar in four sets to win its first section title. South Torrance beat Warren in four sets to claim the Division 3 title, and Los Angeles Cathedral ousted defending champion Santa Monica in five sets to win Division 4. Chadwick swept Viewpoint in Division 5.

Inland Empire flavor to first ESPN 150

April, 17, 2012
Seven players from Inland Empire schools made the initial ESPN 150 football recruiting rankings, led by the Southland's most coveted prospect Su'a Cravens of Vista Murrieta.

Cravens, a safety, is ranked 15th overall nationally, but first in the state and first at his position. Rancho Cucamonga defensive backs Chris Hawkins (69th overall) and Tahaan Goodman (128th), Moreno Valley Rancho Verde receiver Demorea Stringfellow (74), Redlands East Valley defensive end Kylie Fitts (90), Upland defensive end Joe Mathis (120) and J.W. North tight end Marcus Baugh (127) are the other Inland Empire representatives.

Mission Viejo safety Max Redfield, ranked 31st overall, is the only Orange County player listed.

Alemany receiver Steven Mitchell (136) and Westlake defensive back Dashon Hunt (140) are considered to be the top recruits in the L.A. North region, while Santa Monica receiver Sebastian Larue checks in at 149th overall and is the only rep from the L.A. South.

Hawkins and Fitts have already committed to USC, Hunt is committed to UCLA and Baugh recently pledged for Ohio State.

Click here for the complete ESPN 150 rankings:

Sebastian Larue lands Michigan offer

February, 15, 2012
Santa Monica athlete Sebastian Larue is quickly becoming one of the area's most sought-after rising seniors, and that became even more obvious Wednesday when he was offered by Michigan.

The 5-foot-11 receiver/cornerback/returner added to his long list of scholarship offers that includes Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Houston, Idaho, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Washington.

"It's very exciting," Larue said of the Michigan offer. "I'm just glad my talents are being seen that far across the nation."

Larue boasts a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash, and was impressive in the prestigious U.S. All-American Underclassmen Combine in San Antonio last month. He had 17 total touchdowns as a junior, guiding Santa Monica to an 11-2 record.

"If I feel like a school is the best place for me and I want to go there, then I will commit early," Larue said. "I'm not afraid to do that. If not, I'll wait it out. I'm not going to commit to a school and have to go through de-committing. I want to take my time with the process and make the best decision for me."

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

South: Boys' basketball top 10

February, 12, 2012
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.

L.A. South: Thirteen for '13

February, 7, 2012
With national signing day behind us, we take an early look at 13 rising senior football recruits from south Los Angeles County to keep tabs on for the 2012 prep season:

QB Troy Williams, Harbor City Narbonne -- At this point, any given prospect list is incomplete without Williams, the dual-threat signal caller who already holds offers from UCLA, Arizona State, Nevada, Southern Methodist and Washington. He was the CIF Los Angeles City Section player of the year last season, guiding Narbonne to the Division I championship by passing for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns, and running for 11 more scores. Depending on how the summer goes, Williams can become a national-level prospect.

QB Hayden Rettig, Los Angeles Cathedral - The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rettig had a spectacular start to the 2011 season, passing for 508 yards and six touchdowns in Cathedral's opener, and another 294 yards the next week. But that was it for the highly touted quarterback, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was forced to sit out the remainder of his junior season. Rettig, the younger brother of Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Purdue and Vanderbilt, but will have to prove that his right knee has fully recovered.

WR John Ross, Long Beach Jordan -- The 5-foot-10 Ross was named the Moore League co-player of the year last season after accumulating 994 receiving yards and returning six kickoffs for touchdowns. On defense he intercepted five passes, returning two for scores. Ross has offers from UCLA and Washington, but many more are expected to follow suit.

ATH Sebastian Larue, Santa Monica -- On film, Larue looks like the Bryce Treggs of the 2013 class. Fast and shifty -- the 5-foot-11 receiver/cornerback/returner boasts a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash -- Larue is lethal in open space. He had 17 total touchdowns as a junior, and already has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Idaho and nearby UCLA.

RB DaVonte Young, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- Young rushed for at least 100 yards in five games last season and, really, would have had more had he not shared carries with departing senior Royce Moore. With Bosco losing standout receivers Bryce Treggs (Cal), Justin Johnson (Fresno State) and Dalis Bruce (Eastern Washington) to graduation, Young will be counted on to supply the offensive firepower.

RB Anterio Bateman, Gardena Serra -- Bateman, an early ESPNU 150 watch list member, figures to be Serra's top weapon next season. An ankle injury forced him to miss action late in 2011, yet he still surpassed the 900-yard plateau and averaged more than nine yards per carry. Health will be key for a successful campaign this fall.

OL Nico Falah, Bellflower St. John Bosco -- The Braves averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game and the 6-foot-4 Falah was in the middle of it. He has scholarship offers from UCLA, Oregon State, Utah State and San Jose State, but it surely won't end there. The Trinity League will be loaded with a bevy of premier offensive lineman next season, and Falah is among that group.

QB Brandon Cox, Pasadena -- Cox passed for nearly 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushed for over 500 yards -- stellar stats that helped him punch a ticket to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine in San Antonio. He has reportedly garnered interest from the likes of Auburn and Oregon, as well as other Pac-12 schools.

RB Gerard Wicks, Long Beach Poly -- Wicks shares the carries with Manusamoa Luuga, so his numbers may not be as flashy as those of other running backs. He could emerge as the go-to guy for the Jackrabbits, especially with the departures of Arizona State-bound receivers Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin. UCLA appears to be the early front-runner in Wicks' recruitment.

DT R.J. Coleman, Mira Costa -- Last season Coleman had the task of filling the void left by the graduation of J.R. Tavai (USC) and he didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Coleman is on the ESPNU 150 early watch list, and promises to be one of the top players in the South Bay.

LB George Frazier, Monrovia -- Much of the publicity surrounding Monrovia's back-to-back CIF championship run centered on mammoth defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), but Frazier deserves his share of credit. The ESPNU 150 early watch list member was the perfect complement to McCarthy's havoc up front, making play after play for the Wildcats. Frazier is an intriguing prospect who should garner plenty of attention.

DB David Price, Long Beach Poly -- The 6-foot-1 safety is expected to spearhead a solid Poly defense that loses lineman Alonzo Williams (Texas A&M) and linebackers Salamo Fiso (ASU) and Matthew Rowe (ASU) to graduation. Price, an ESPNU 150 early watch list member, holds an offer from Southern Methodist.

WR A.J. Richardson, Harbor City Narbonne -- As the favorite target of Troy Williams, Richardson should get his share of opportunities every week. Gauchos coach Manual Douglas also finds other ways to get the ball in Richardson's hands -- and for good reason. He averaged more than 15 yards per reception last season.

Alemany soars past SaMo

January, 28, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Playing four games in six days is a difficult proposition at any level, let alone the high school ranks. Mission Hills Alemany made it through this week's gantlet just fine.

The Mission League-leading Warriors capped their week with an 80-69 victory over Santa Monica in the Fairfax State Preview Classic on Saturday afternoon. Nevada-bound wing Marqueze Coleman had a game-high 35 points for Alemany (20-3).

"This is our sixth straight win and we just want to finish the season off strong," said Coleman, who knocked down six 3-pointers. "Now we've got to finish off league. Our league is tough."

Sophomore Bear Henderson had 21 points and guard Max Guercy added 20.

Alemany, which is 8-1 in league, blew out Chaminade, Loyola and St. Francis earlier in the week. Games against Crespi, Price, Notre Dame and Harvard-Westlake remain on the regular-season schedule.

Ocean League co-leader Santa Monica (14-8) cut a large deficit to four with five minutes remaining, but Guercy took over on drives to the basket.

South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 23, 2012
The south Los Angeles County boys' basketball top 10 power rankings:

1. Long Beach Poly (15-1)
The Jackrabbits had success at the King Holiday Hoopfest in Seattle, handing Rainier Beach (Wash.) its first loss of the season. An important stretch in the Moore League lies ahead. This week: at Long Beach Jordan, Mon.; vs. Cabrillo, Wed.; at Compton, Fri.

2. Loyola (15-2)
Despite a rough start in the Mission League, the Cubs can ascend to the top of the standings by handling their business this week. This week: vs. Crespi, Mon.; vs. Alemany, Wed.; at Chaminade, Fri.; vs. Orange Lutheran at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

3. La Verne Lutheran (15-4)
The Trojans beat a Gabe York-less Orange Lutheran team last Monday, but a win is a win. Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett is a nominee for the McDonald's All-American game. This week: vs. Hope Centre, Thurs.; at Westchester, Sat.

4. Gardena Serra (19-2)
The Cavaliers are rolling, having routed three opponents since losing to Price on a waved-off field goal that appeared to beat the buzzer. Great depth on this roster. This week: at Cathedral, Fri.; vs. Fairfax at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

4. Price (13-5)
The Knights have won a pair of close games since losing at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee. This week: vs. Hope Centre, Tues.; vs. Renaissance Academy, Thurs.; vs. Windward at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

6. St. John Bosco (15-4)
The Braves got just one win at the Allstate National Prep Classic in New Orleans over the weekend, but they did stay undefeated in Trinity League play with a close win against Orange Lutheran. Big test against the region's best team looms. This week: at JSerra, Wed.; vs. Mater Dei, Fri.

7. Bishop Montgomery (16-3)
They may not admit it, but the Knights are already eying their Feb. 1 rematch with Serra, which will likely decide the Del Rey League championship. This week: vs. Bishop Amat, Wed.; vs. La Salle, Fri.

8. Windward (13-6)
The busy Wildcats were idle all of last week, taking in some much-needed rest. Nick Stover and Co. pick up the pace again in the Alpha League. This week: vs. Pacific Hills, Tues.; vs. Sierra Canyon, Wed.; vs. Price at Fairfax State Preview, Sat.

9. Muir (18-1)
The Mustangs defeated neighboring rival Pasadena for the first time in over a decade thanks to the clutch free-throw shooting of Jelani Mitchell. The Pacific League rematch is set for Feb. 9 at Muir. This week: at Arcadia, Mon.; vs. Burbank, Wed.; vs. Hoover, Fri.

10. Damien (18-1)
Can anyone slow down the Sierra League-leading Spartans? They've had their close calls and figure to get tested Saturday against the Inland Empire's best squad. This week: vs. Ayala, Wed.; vs. Claremont, Fri.; vs. Etiwanda at Azusa Pacific, Sat.

Ten more, in alphabetic order: Crenshaw (15-4), Compton (11-7), Dorsey (18-6), Downey (16-5), Leuzinger (15-4), Pacific Hills (19-3), Pasadena (13-6), Peninsula (14-5), Santa Monica (13-6), Westchester (12-4)

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

L.A. South: Boys' basketball roundup

January, 17, 2012
La Verne Lutheran beat Orange Lutheran, 61-58, in a matchup between two of the best teams in Southern California. Top senior Grant Jerrett of La Verne Lutheran dealt with early foul trouble but the Trojans earned a hard-fought road victory.

Elsewhere, Kajon Mack had a game-high 32 points to help Gardena Serra (16-2) beat Santa Monica, 63-56, in the finale of the MLK Day Hoops Showdown at Price High School. Daddy Ugbede added 12 points and eight rebounds. Santa Monica stormed back from a large deficit with a 28-point fourth quarter but by then it was too late. Los Angeles Price (13-5) held off Palm Springs, 62-57, thanks to 17 points and 13 rebounds from Skylar Spencer.

At the Los Osos Shootout in Rancho Cucamonga, Damien improved to 16-1 with a 52-47 victory against Ventura. Chris Reyes scored 18 points for Damien. Pacific Hills (16-3) beat Chino Hills, 69-55, behind Marcus Jackson's 22 points. Bishop Amat got past Chino, 51-42, while Glendora blew out Claremont, 68-48.

In another non-league game, Bishop Montgomery (15-3) defeated Valencia, 71-53.

Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings

January, 16, 2012
LA Preps ESPN.com Illustration

There are a few changes to the ESPNLosAngeles.com prep hoops top 20 rankings this week. The cream of the crop remains intact, with some minor shuffling among teams in the middle of the pack.

Toward the bottom half of the poll, however, quite a few programs appear poised to take the next step. Joining the ranks of Southland's premier programs is the ultimate goal, of course.

1. (1) Mater Dei (15-2): The Monarchs will find out just how well they stack up against one of the nation's premier programs. Monday night's opponent, Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King in Springfield, Mass., is no joke. A tough test, indeed.

2. (2) Long Beach Poly (12-1): The Jackrabbits are also on the road Monday evening and face Seattle Rainer Beach at the King Holiday Hoop Fest in the Pacific Northwest. Moore League play resumes on Wednesday against host Long Beach Wilson.

3. (4) La Verne Lutheran (14-4): Right around this time next year, Eric Cooper could be one of the top point guards that the Southland has to offer. In the meantime, the junior figures to offer a preview of what's to come against Orange Lutheran on Monday night.

4. (5) Crespi (17-1): There are no easy games in the Mission League. Nevertheless, the Celts have made things appear to be rather simple with four consecutive wins. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake loom Tuesday and Thursday.

5. (6) Loyola (14-2): With Jacob Hazzard in the midst of some hot shooting, the Cubs are a legitimate threat. The senior guard and grandson of UCLA legend Walt Hazzard is averaging 11 points per game and hitting 43 percent of his attempts from three-point range.

6. (9) Taft (14-3): Can anyone in the Los Angeles City Section stop the Toreadors? Not likely. Chances are, they run the table until a highly anticipated showdown against Loyola Los Angeles on Feb. 4 at the Nike Extravaganza. Until then, it's business as usual.

7. (10) Etiwanda (17-1): The only thing standing between the Eagles and an unblemished record is an 11-point loss to La Verne Lutheran in early December. And now, 14 impressive victories later, there does not appear to be any signs of this group slowing down.

8. (7) Windward (13-6): An upset loss to Compton last week is difficult to explain. At home, no less. The Wildcats do not have any time to think about what could have been, though. Los Angeles Pacific Hills looms as another potential stumbling block on Jan. 24.

9. (11) St. John Bosco (13-2): Brothers Isaac and Daniel Hamilton have emerged as one of the more potent one-two combinations around. Another opportunity for the siblings to make a statement comes Wednesday at home against Orange Lutheran.

10. (4) Orange Lutheran (12-4): Gabe York recently had an appendectomy, and as expected, the Lancers have been lost without their standout senior guard. Things do not figure to get better anytime soon, with York expected to be out for as many as three weeks.

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MLK Day Hoops Showdown schedule

January, 15, 2012
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: Basketball roundup

January, 13, 2012
There was a bevvy of notable league basketball games in south Los Angeles County on Friday.

In the Western League, Palisades (9-8) withstood a furious charge by Fairfax and held on for a 64-60 victory. Fairfax (10-6) trailed by 26 early in the second half but pulled to within two in the final seconds before missing the go-ahead 3-pointer. Lions guard Landon Drew scored a game-high 19 points in a losing effort.

After a three-week layoff, Long Beach Poly (12-1) opened Moore League play by routing Lakewood, 74-30. Junior forward Roschon Prince had 25 points, getting to the free-throw line 26 times.

Loyola (13-2) is back in the Mission League race after beating Harvard-Westlake, 64-54, in front of a full house at Cal State Los Angeles.

In the Alpha League, Windward (13-5) beat Brentwood, 80-72, to gain the edge atop the standings. And despite the loss, Brentwood (12-3) proved its legitimacy. Pacific Hills (14-3), the league's other contender, was idle.

In the Ocean League, Santa Monica (11-5) beat Culver City, 67-61, despite 27 points from Centaurs guard Keilan Horton.

St. John Bosco (13-2) improved to 3-0 in Trinity League play with a 78-69 win at Santa Margarita. Top junior prospect Isaac Hamilton had a game-high 30 points. The Braves get the chance to make a statement when they host Orange Lutheran next week.

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

L.A. South: Boys' basketball Top 10

January, 9, 2012
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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Title Thursday for L.A. North

December, 29, 2011
It’s been a busy and productive week for some of the top boys basketball teams from the L.A. North region. Here is a look at some of the tournament championship and semifinal games tonight involving those teams:

Chaminade vs. Eastside Catholic in the championship game of the Chaminade tournament. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Canyon vs. Ventura in the championship game of the Ventura tournament. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Oaks Christian vs. Cleveland of Reseda in the semifinals of the Oaks Christian tournament. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. Etiwanda vs. Santa Monica in the other semifinal. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

Village Christian vs. St. Francis in the semifinals of the La Salle-Temple City tournament. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Crespi vs. Washington Prep in the semifinals of the Sea Hawk Beach Classic at Redondo Union High School.

Woodland Hills Taft vs. Windward in the semifinals of the Torrey Pines tournament

Alemany vs. Modesto Christian in the semifinals of the Modesto Christian tournament. Bakersfield vs. Weston Ranch is the other semifinal at the Modesto Christian tournament.

Here are some highlights from games played on Wednesday night:

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Underdog Culver City still dancing

December, 7, 2011
Culver City looks like the team of destiny.

No one expected the Centaurs to make it past top-seeded Gardena Serra in the first round, let alone make it to Friday night's Western Division championship game at Arroyo Grande.

The team's three representatives were all smiles Monday morning at the CIF-Southern Section championships luncheon in Long Beach. But don't think they're happy just to have made it this far.

"We've taken that underdog role through this playoff run," senior receiver Alex Jackson said. "We're the Cinderella team."

The dance began with a complex waltz against local giant Serra. Culver City (10-3) came away with the surprise of the playoffs.

"It was a big win for us," senior captain Kevin Porche said. "Serra had been there many times before but we played hard."

Then, after a second-round blowout of Santa Maria Righetti, the Centaurs drew Ocean League rival Santa Monica, which had taken league and beaten Culver City 17-14 in November.

"We wanted the revenge," said senior quarterback Lukas O'Connor, who has passed for 3,002 yards and 32 touchdowns. "They beat us on our senior night and we wanted to beat them to get to the championship."

Said Jackson: "It was good that Santa Monica got the Ocean League title, but it was bigger for us to get to the divisional championship."

Now the Centaurs, making their first title game appearance in 33 years, travel up the coast to face Arroyo Grande (12-1), which aims to avenge last year's championship loss to Serra.

And if everything goes right, you can bet they'll dance on the bus ride back to Culver City.

All 170 miles.

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

L.A. South: Boys' basketball Top 10

December, 6, 2011
Loyola, Long Beach Poly and La Verne Lutheran are ranked in the preseason POWERADE ESPNHS Fab 50 national rankings, and they lead the way in our opening edition of the south Los Angeles County boys' basketball top 10:

1. Loyola (4-0)
Key players: PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright, SG Justin Childress, SG Jacob Hazzard, SF Julian Harrell (Penn)
Last season: The Cubs went 25-6 and won the CIF-Southern Section Div. I-A championship before losing by two to eventual state champion Mater Dei in regionals.
Why they're here: Jackson-Cartwright, only a sophomore, is already considered the top point guard in the state. Mix in the shooting of Childress and Hazzard -- as well as the versatility of Harrell -- and the Cubs have a lineup that few can match.

2. Long Beach Poly (3-1)
Key players: SF Roschon Prince, PF Jordan Bell, PG Chris Croom, SG Reuben Strickland
Last season: The Jackrabbits posted a 30-2 record and captured the Division 1AA title in Anaheim before losing to eventual state champion Mater Dei in regionals.
Why they're here: Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer lost his top two to graduation -- state player of the year Ryan Anderson (Boston College) and Alexis Moore (USC) -- but there's more than enough talent left. Prince and Bell might be the best one-two combination in the county.

3. La Verne Lutheran (4-0)
Key players: PF Grant Jerrett (Arizona), SG Eric Cooper Jr. (Arizona), SF McKay Anderson, SG Cameron Osorno
Last season: The Trojans overcame off-the-court adversity, finishing with a 25-5 mark and a second consecutive state championship.
Why they're here: Jerrett, a long and lean power forward, is arguably the top prospect on the West Coast. Coach Eric Cooper Sr. returns nine letter-winners from last year's team, including son Eric Cooper Jr., a sharp-shooting junior who makes teams pay for double-teaming Jerrett down low.

4. St. John Bosco (4-0)
Key players: SG Isaac Hamilton, PF Anthony January (UTEP), SF Darryl Matthews, SG Daniel Hamilton
Last season: The Braves finished 21-9 and were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 4AA playoffs.
Why they're here: New coach Derrick Taylor, who built Woodland Hills Taft into a City Section power, has the Braves thinking about the Trinity League crown. Getting past defending state champion Mater Dei won't be easy, but Bosco has Isaac Hamilton, a transfer from Crenshaw who is one of the nation's top juniors.

5. Price (3-1)
Key players: PF Skylar Spencer (San Diego State), PG Chance Murray, SG Chris Sandifer
Last season: The high-flying Knights went 24-8 and fell just short against La Cañada in the CIF-SS Division 3AA championship game.
Why they're here: Yes, Price lost guard Askia Booker (Colorado) and ultra athletic forward Norvel Pelle to graduation but don't dismiss coach Michael Lynch's bunch. Spencer is another high-soaring scorer who's lethal in fast break opportunities, and Murray, a junior, already has a scholarship offer from UCLA.

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