Watts Games finale

Semifinal one: Washington Prep 43, Cajon 35

Prep came out flat, and stayed that way. For a long time, guard Cheyenne Bonam seemed to be the only one who was hustling. Even so, the Generals lead the entire game, and withstood a Cajon run at the end.

I’d never seen Cowboys Coach Mark Lehman actually stand up and coach before these Watts Games. Today he took it one step further and publicly humiliated center Jazzmeen Williams. Displeased with her play, he pulled her out of the game a few minutes into the first half and shouted at her to go into the corner and face the wall.

“Seriously!” he yelled.

I found out the name of Cajon’s other big girl whose shot I’d been impressed with last week: Patricia Brown, who will be a junior this fall. I’ll be watching her and Williams.

Semifinal two: Long Beach Poly 34, Narbonne 23

Narbonne lost all but one player coming into the 08-09 season, and it was tough going for a while. But the Gauchos are beginning to show signs of a comeback. The players who had moved up from the JV team now have a year of experience under their belts, and they’re looking better. They have all the right ideas and moves getting the ball to the hoop; they just can’t finish. If they can fix that problem, they’ll be lethal.

Poly lost a lot of people to graduation this spring, and they’re the weakest I’ve ever seen them. But who knows – with Poly, they might just have some girls on vacation.

Washington Prep, in blue, and Cajon, battle in the first semi-final game.

Coach Mark Lehman sent center Jazzmeen Williams, above, to the bench early in the first half, with the admonishment to “sit facing the wall.” Not sure if she made it there, but she sat like this for the rest of the game, and for a while afterwards.

Narbonne, in white, and Long Beach Poly go at it in the second semi. Narbonne is looking much improved from last year, while Poly looks weaker.

In the championship game Washington Prep, in blue, and Poly players watch a shot by the Generals’ Kejuana Gardner go up.

Players scramble for a rebound.

Championship game: Long Beach Poly 38, Washington Prep 23

Prep again wasn’t playing like themselves, and Poly stepped it up from their semifinal game. Prep’s biggest problem in this game was not taking care of the ball, while Poly’s asset was good teamwork in passing the ball to the right people on the floor.

Participants each got a pretty gold medal for their efforts.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Great write up and pictures, as always.

    Sorry to see a coach treat a player that way, especially in a summer event. Could be a frustrating year for Cajon as they might be an average team this year, something the school and coach hasnt seen in awhile.

    LB Poly has 2 or 3 teams during the summer, and they dont often send the top girls to all of the tournaments. I was told the top girls, for Poly, will be playing on Monday in a summer league game at Gahr HS, against Troy HS.

    IM in OC

  2. Bad reporting, but what can one expect from an amateur. Jazzmeen Williams was sitting there before the game just like the picture. She told her teammates and coach that she wasn’t playing due to a headache. Coach called her dad, who told her to play. Jazz went into the game and walked up and down the court refusing to try even though the officials told her to try. Coach took her out and told her to sit in the dark corner of the gym and close her eyes if she had a headache. She refused and went back to the spot she was in before the game. I’d say the coach had great patience. In my old playing days, the coach would’ve smacked the player upside the head. Lousy reporting, but I guess one can expect that from a lousy reporter.

  3. You're crazy. The coach didn't yell. He did use a loud enough voice for her to hear since she was being defiant, uncooperative and basically disregarding and disrespecting the coach, players, team, her parents, the game, etc. After Jazz left the floor, she went right up into the bleachers instead of sitting on the bench. That's when the coach started going off on her. She deserved it and more if you ask me. My daughter would've never been allowed to act this way. I would have beat her in front of everyone. I glad to know that there still is some coaches that will discipline and teach their players right from wrong even if they're a starter.

  4. We don't disagree on the principle of disciplining players; just on the approach.

    Another coach of a team who was at the Watts games also chews her players out loudly in public for mistakes or misbehaviors. I'm not a fan of that approach.

    When you're in school getting your teaching credential, they tell you not to reprimand a high school student in front of his/her peers, but take him/her aside. The same holds true in coaching – at least if you want the best results from the kid.

  5. I watch all four semifinal games and saw every coach reprimanding and shouting at their players. That's part of coaching. Of course they only did it once in a while. When a player walks away from a coach, then the coach has every right to make sure that player knows that they are acting improperly. I don't know of any coach that's going to go over put their arm around a player that has just disrepected them, the team, the game, their teammates, etc. and have a heart to heart with them. I know this player has been taught right from wrong, but some players need to be told off because they think that they can do whatever and get away with it. Maybe next time Jazz will get it and make better decisions because I've never seen a player act out the way she did. She was embarrassing herself, her family and her culture. The coach in my opinion and that of several others did nothing wrong, but in fact told the girl she should go sit in a dark section of the gym and shut her eyes if she had a headache. Lucky, I'm not the coach cause I would've kicked her in the butt and told her to get it back out there and not let her teammates down.

  6. Being soft on a player doesn't always get the best results. In fact, the opposite is probably true. There's a saying fear is a great motivator and why most work, but in this day and age of handouts so many expect something for nothing and want to be babied along. I'd say Cajon's coach is one that gets the most out of his players based on the facts. Two CIF Championships, one against defending champ Poly, Clarendon, California State Player of the Year going to Cal. Burnside 2nd all time leading rebounder going to Arkansas and several more from the past along with numerous deep CIF playoff runs. Most coaches would like to have one season like one of his.

  7. To the last two posters: thanks for an intelligent discussion that's absent of unnecessary name-calling.

    I'm not at all saying be soft on players. It especially doesn't work well with the kids of today. I'm just saying that overt displays of yelling are too Bobby Knight for me. But that's a style issue. Obviously some people like Bobby Knight, and he had his share of wins.

    I've seen way worse displays than that of Williams Saturday……but that's why I'm writing a book about my South LA teaching experience.

  8. Well everyone has their opinion, but a coach, yourself, really shouldn't be criticizing another one that's had a great deal of success. That's really not ethical. I'll bet there are plenty of coaches around that would disagree with your coaching style. By the way, where were you a head coach and how many CIF titles did you win? Writting a book is good if it helps others, I believe the Cajon Coach has written a couple of them. Now I know Los Angeles a little and over half those kids never graduate from high school and I don't believe it's the teachers fault. It's society like a previous poster mentioned. Unless you're tough on these kids and put them in the right programs then they're going to act out. I wish there were more vocational programs like in other countries because for sure most of them will never ever graduate from college.

  9. I guess I don't understand why all the sensitivity to criticism. I'm not questioning Mark's record or coaching abilities – just his style. And ultimately, who cares? I'm sure Mark doesn't lay up nights worrying about what I've said.

    Brea Coach Jeff Sink responded in this space earlier this year to my criticism of him, and he did so in a playful manner. I was very impressed by that, because his record speaks for itself. He is obviously a mature individual that is secure in himself.

    I am also open to criticism. You can disagree with what I do or write, and I'll take it into consideration.

    If you're serious that Mark Lehman has written books, please post the titles, as I'd like to read them.

    "The problem with kids today" is a whole other topic, which would require pages and pages and pages. It's a complex issue rooted in lack of family/child neglect, societal/neighborhood/peer pressure in urban areas, and the general depersonalization of society. Vocational programs are one solution, but there needs to be a complex, comprehensive approach to helping youth.

    If you all want, I can start a post on that subject and open the floor for discussion. It would be interesting to hear others' opinions. And it would be relevant because basketball players are effected, just like other kids.

  10. It never ceases to amaze me that when one chooses to criticize another, then it comes back in return, they can't take it. There's a saying "what goes around comes around" I'd say if you don't want to hear something critical and negative about yourself, then don't dish it out to others. One poster in response just asked a couple of questions, but didn't get an answer. I looked up the last poster's question and found out that the coach has published two books and they are available on amazon.com if that same poster really wants to read the. It's amazing what goggle can do now adays.

  11. I'm not writing to get involved in a argument, but when I see someone criticize another about a situation they really haven't even investigated, that seems a little ridiculous. Personally, I know Coach Lehman and what he does for players. He bents over backwards to help them. I've never known another coach who comes close to doing what he does for teenagers. I could write a couple of books about it. For someone to say he raised his voice too loud, a matter of opinion and print it, is childish. If you were that concerned, you should have spoken to him about it and I'm sure he would've listened to you. This should've been the point you were trying to get across. Instead it looks like you just wanted to blast him on a blog site. Also, where was your positive comments about him. Didn't they teach you in college the best way to motivate adults is to be positive and the best way for them to learn is to take them aside and speak to them one on one or does this only work for children?

  12. 1. I've never heard anyone suggest that it's appropriate for a fan of another team to approach a coach and tell him they're concerned with the way he's treated his players.

    2. Feel free to elaborate for as long as you like on some of the good things Lehman has done for his players. I'll even blog them if you like.

    3. They didn't teach us how to motivate adults in teacher education.

  13. You requested some of the good things Coach Lehman has done, well, that’s all I can provide because he’s done so much that I’ve probably forgotten most of it, but here’s from memory. He’s a great motivational speaker (has even done many for other groups), buys the players motivational tapes, videos and books like Leslie Leslie’s last one, makes sure players have a way to practice and home, although he requires all to participate in fund raising, he raises most of the funds, provides each of them with good in/out door basketballs, an extended overnight tourney trip every year and pays all expenses, free tutoring, weekly grade checks and communicates with teachers and parents of players struggling, new shoes, new practice and all game gear, colored game program, an top notch summer program/camp with out of the area tournaments included, tries and places players in college programs, makes sure they’re in courses that make them division one ready, works well with college and travel ball coaches, gives out academic college scholarships to graduating senior players, extensive publicity in all pertinent media outlets including all those on and off campus, free trips to doctors, chiropractor, sports clinics, etc., academic home instruction, organization of several tournaments, films all games, evaluates and analyzes them with players, individual player skills, guest speakers, highly visible recognition for good player performance, made a storage space into a nice team room, up to date performance charts for players, banquets, celebrations and get togethers throughout the year, team bonding, etc. etc. etc. and the beat goes on. Oh, yeah, he'll also demand respect and raise his voice if needed so the player behaving inappropriately will get the message clearly.

  14. Making the semi-finals of the Los Angeles Watts Games like Cajon did means your team is above average or at least was playing like it. The did pretty good considering they were missing two starters. Cajon just won the Cal State San Bernardino Tourney yesterday. Pretty good start for an average team. Is it the coaching or the players succeeding in spite of it or a combination of both?

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