Los Angeles Preps: St. Anthony

Eric Cooper leaves Lutheran for St. Anthony

April, 26, 2012
Eric Cooper, who guided La Verne Lutheran to back-to-back state basketball titles in 2010 and 2011 before falling short in the Southern California regional semifinals last season, has accepted the head coaching position at Long Beach St. Anthony.

Lutheran was 25-8 last season behind Arizona-bound forward Grant Jerrett, the state's only McDonald's All-American.

"It's an opportunity to come home to the area I grew up at, a chance to do something out here," Cooper said. "I still have a great team over there at Lutheran. It was a very tough decision, kind of just came about. I prayed about it and it worked out."

Cooper took over at Lutheran in 2007 and quickly built its program into a small-school power, compiling a 132-30 record in five seasons. Cooper's son, Eric Cooper Jr., will also make the move to St. Anthony. Cooper Jr. is an Arizona commit and one of the area's top rising senior guards.

St. Anthony was 17-10 last season and 50-30 over the last three years under former coach Chris Morrison.

"Everything fell in place at Lutheran," Cooper said. "I had good kids who were ready to work and great assistant coaches. That's what made it right."

LA South: St. Anthony's youth
can't match Pinewood's big-game resolve

March, 27, 2010
BAKERSFIELD – Kendall Cooper got in early foul trouble, shots weren't falling, and the physical maturity of a seasoned opponent were too much for St. Anthony.

The tiny Long Beach school, which had never even reached a section title game before this season, fell behind early and had no answer as Los Altos Hills Pinewood scored a 62-44 victory to win the State Division V championship at Rabobank Arena.

Pinewood (27-6) won its fourth section title in five tries; the Panthers' only loss in a title game came last year. The Panthers have been to the state finals four of the past six seasons and they responded to the big stage: They shot almost 50 percent through three quarters in building a 52-32 lead.

Miranda Seto, one of four juniors in the Pinewood lineup. sdcored 17.

St. Anthony coach James Anderson, who guided Harbor City Narbonne to several Los Angeles City Section titles and two state titles – a third was vacated – took responsibility for the loss, perhaps too much so. “If we're missing shots, it's my job to get us better shots,” Anderson said. “I've been here before. The adjustment has to come from me.”

Why didn't the adjustment come? “Off day,” Anderson said. “I did a poor job today.”

Cooper, a 6-foot-3 freshman, played a little over three minutes in the first half as St. Anthony fell behind in the first quarter, 15-8, and at halftime, 34-22, as the Saints shot 28 percent from the field, nine of 32, Pinewood shot 52 percent, 12 of 23, with four three-point baskets.

A 14-4 run by Pinewood to open the third quarter ended any chances of a St. Anthony comeback.

"We're proud to be here," Anderson said. "We talked at the beginning of the season, 'What will the final chapter be,' and it was not in terms of basketball, it was how our team galvanized a small school and brought pride back to the school and our part of Long Beach."

Freshman Jordan Jackson led St. Anthony (25-10) with 11 points. Senior Rina Towne added seven, while Cooper and her sister, junior Jourdan Cooper, scored seven apiece.

“We've got a good future,” said Anderson, in his third season at his alma mater. “We have eight freshmen who are pretty good, 12 kids coming back. We're going to be more athletic net year.”

And, likely, many years to come.

LA North & LA South: St. Anthony girls work the paint in D-V championship game

March, 21, 2010

ONTARIO – The St. Anthony girls basketball team worked the paint and slowly pulled away in the second half of the CIF Southern California Division V championship game, beating Montclair Prep, 48-41, at Colony High School on Saturday.

St. Anthony of Long Beach made some tough outside shots in the first half to keep the game close.

But Kimberly Scamman hit a layup as time expired in the first half to give Montclair Prep a 20-19 lead.

St. Anthony outscored Montclair Prep, 16-10, in the third quarter. St. Anthony’s Kendall Cooper and Paris Lamar took advantage of their size and started scoring in the paint. Cooper scored 16 points and was five-for-nine from the field. Lamar scored four points, all in the third quarter, making her only two shots from inside the paint.

St. Anthony went up by 11 points early in the fourth quarter, but Montclair Prep mounted a comeback after senior Chantel Dooley was hit in the face resulting in a bloody nose. She sat out nearly three minutes before returning to the game with a little over six minutes to play. She was fouled twice and hit three of four free throws to cut St. Anthony’s lead to seven. But that was as close as Montclair Prep would get.

LA North & LA South: St. Anthony girls grind out win over Montclair Prep in D-V

March, 20, 2010
ONTARIO – Easy baskets and points were hard to come by in the CIF Southern California Division V girls basketball regional championship between St. Anthony of Long Beach and Montclair Prep.

But St. Anthony found a way to pour in some easy layups in the second half and pounded out a 48-41 win over Montclair Prep.

“We started finishing,” said St. Anthony coach James Anderson. “If you’re finishing, that makes a big difference.”

St. Anthony’s Kendall Cooper finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in a physical game that included a Montclair Prep player getting hit in the face and ending up with a bloody nose.

“They’re a real good team and we knew it was going to be a fight,” Anderson said. “It was more scrappy, it was tight and we had to fight. I like this win more than the first one.”

St. Anthony beat Montclair Prep to win the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championship. St. Anthony won by 10 points and had an 11-point lead at halftime in the Division 5A championship game.

In the Division V Southern California regional final, Montclair Prep had a one-point lead at halftime and St. Anthony didn’t start pulling away until the end of the third quarter.

The St. Anthony girls basketball team went on a 14-2 second-half run to build an 11-point lead en route to winning the CIF Southern California Division V regional championship over Montclair Prep.

St. Anthony went on an 8-2 run to close out the third quarter and go up by five points, 35-30. With 27.4 seconds left in the third quarter, Montclair Prep’s Chantel Dooley was hit in the face, resulting in a bloody nose.

Dooley, Montclair Prep’s leading scorer and rebounder and the lone senior on the team, sat on her team’s end of the court for several minutes as safety personnel tended to her. She sat out the final seconds of the quarter and the first couple minutes of the fourth quarter.

She returned at the 6:09 mark of the fourth quarter and was fouled twice. She made three of four free throws and helped cut St. Anthony’s lead to seven with just under three minutes to play in the game.

St. Anthony took advantage of its height, dumping the ball inside to Paris Lamar and Cooper, both listed at 6-foot-4. Lamar scored all four of her points in a two-minute span to end the third quarter. She also had nine rebounds.

“It made a big difference,” Anderson said. “I told them we got to get the ball inside. I think we made a good adjustment.”

LA North & LA South:
Montclair Prep girls up by one at halftime

March, 20, 2010
ONTARIO – Montclair Prep’s Kimberly Scamman hit a layup as time expired to give her team a 20-19 halftime lead over St. Anthony in the CIF Southern Califorinia Division V regional championship game at Colony High School.

Montclair Prep had a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter in a physical, low-scoring affair. St. Anthony of Long Beach committed nine fouls in the first quarter. Montclair Prep had five fouls.

Montclair Prep held St. Anthony scoreless for nearly three minutes to start the game. Montclair Prep didn’t score its first points until the 6:38 mark of the first quarter. Jasmine Martinez hit a layup and was fouled. She converted her free throw to give her team a 3-0 lead.

LA North & LA South: Opportunity returns
for Montclair Prep girls' team

March, 19, 2010
Opportunity doesn’t normally knock more than once, especially during playoff time in high school basketball. For the Montclair Prep girls' basketball team, opportunity is knocking for the second time in a championship game.

Montclair Prep is going up against top-seeded St. Anthony of Long Beach in the CIF Southern California Division V regional championship game at Colony High School in Ontario on Saturday. It will be a rematch of the CIF Southern Section Division 5A championship game. St. Anthony won the Division 5A championship, 57-47, over Montclair Prep.

To avenge that loss, Montclair Prep coach Bob Webb said his team will have to shoot better from the free-throw line and overcome a considerable size disadvantage.

St. Anthony has two players who are 6 feet 3, freshman Kendall Cooper and senior Paris Lamar. Webb said his team needs to get creative to avoid letting St. Anthony grab easy rebounds.

“We have to find a way to put two people on one, make them move for a rebound,” Webb said. “We have to limit the amount of offensive rebounds.”

Sounds easier said than done when Montclair Prep’s tallest player, Leslie Finau, is listed at 5-10. Chantel Dooley, the lone senior on the team, comes in at 5-9, and brings up another issue for Montclair Prep: experience.

This is the furthest a Montclair Prep girls' basketball team has advanced in the CIF state playoffs. Webb gave his players the day off from practice Monday and had some easy workouts Tuesday and Wednesday. He wasn’t planning on working his team out too hard Friday afternoon, the day before the regional championship.

“I hope they’re ready,” Webb said. “It’s another opportunity to go a step further and do something that hasn’t been done before.”

LA North & LA South: Montclair Prep,
St. Anthony girls on road to a rematch

March, 13, 2010
The Montclair Prep girls basketball team is on a road to a rematch against St. Anthony of Long Beach in the CIF Division V state playoffs.

Montclair Prep of Panorama City plays View Park in the semifinals of the Division V Southern California regionals tonight.

St. Anthony is in the other Division V regional semifinal. Montclair Prep and St. Anthony met in the CIF Southern Section Division 5A final. St. Anthony beat Montclair Prep, 57-47. Since then, Montclair Prep has rattled off wins against Fresno Christian and Calvin Christian in the Southern California regionals.

St. Anthony, the top-seeded team in the bracket, had a first-round bye and beat Central Valley Christian, 69-38, in the second round. St. Anthony plays St. Bernard in the semifinals tonight.