Recognize Greater LA

Updated: November 20, 2008, 4:22 PM ET

Boys' Basketball - Mater Dei

The Monarchs very well could have the best starting five in the country. Coach Gary McKnight has an embarrassment of riches on his hands this year, as all five of his starters are major Division I players. Six-foot-10 twin brothers Travis and David Wear, who will play at North Carolina next year, lead the way. Fellow senior Andy Brown has committed to Stanford, while junior playmaker Gary Franklin pledged to USC. Junior Tyler Lamb, the program's first transfer in the past five years, has verballed to UCLA, where he could square off against Franklin. But there's no need to worry about selfishness with this crew. "None of them worry about what they average, even though they could each average 30 points per game for whatever school they went to," says McKnight, who has won seven state titles in his 26 years as coach. Last year, McKnight's crew went 35-1 and won its second consecutive Division II state title. This year, the team moves up to Division I and plays one of the toughest schedules in the country. So the Monarchs, who entered the year ranked No. 2 in the country in the preseason ESPN RISE FAB 50, will have to rely on more than their starters to win it all. Leading the way off the bench are senior Connor Hughes, junior Tommy Stangl, freshman Eli Stalzer, junior Mike Pierce, sophomore David Brown and junior Collin Krahe.

Girls' Basketball - Brea Olinda

The Ladycats got bounced in the Southern Section quarterfinals last year, but since they return all five starters from that squad, expectations are high. Super sophomore center Justine Hartman sets the tone in the middle. The ESPN RISE All-Area choice is arguably the state's best player in the Class of 2011. She'll have plenty of help thanks to fellow All-Area picks like junior guard Kelsey Harris, senior guard Jonae Ervin and senior forward Kendall Rodriguez.

Boys' Soccer - Ventura

The Cougars lost in Southern Section Division II semifinals last year, 1-0, to eventual champ Peninsula. But Ventura have enough returning weapons to finish the job this year. Leading the way is senior defender Omar Aranda, who was first team All-Southern Section last year. While Aranda locks things up in the back, scoring responsibilities fall to senior forward Kory Kindle, a third team All-Southern Section pick in 2008.

Girls' Soccer - La Mirada

The Matadores earned a share of the Southern Section Division III championship last year after tying Mayfair in the finals. But while Mayfair graduated the DIII Offensive Player of the Year and all four of its All-Southern Section picks, La Mirada returns three out of its five selections, plus the DIII Defensive Player of the Year, junior Natalia Ledezma. Other stars back for the Matadores include junior forward Jasmine Herrera, junior midfielder Lauren Nanez and senior midfielder Tatiana Cortez.


After making the Division I semifinals last year, Cubs are looking for title.

Last year's Division IIA quarterfinalists return star junior guard Anthony Brown.

Senior Mariah Nogueira is one of the nation's best and junior Genessee Banks provides support.

Senior defender Bryan Hudson returns to Division I contender.