LA City and Southern Section playoffs preview

This thoughtful post on socalhoops.com is supposedly from Los Angeles Daily News writer Jack Pollon. Even if it’s not, it’s right on the money, and thought-provoking:

RLS
City Section Division I
1. Taft of Woodland Hills
2. Washington Prep of Los Angeles
3. Carson
4. Narbonne of Harbor City
Locals in the draw: Chatsworth, Kennedy of Granada Hills

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Narbonne. The Gauchos are always tough and just got back Kim Pickett,
a transfer from View Park Prep of Los Angeles, who was nursing an
injury that kept her out of almost all Marine League games.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Monica Jackson, Chatsworth, Sr. An absolute scoring machine that can
turn a game in a matter of seconds. Jackson averaged around 30 points
per contest and is capable of putting the team on her back in crunch
time.

OUTLOOK
The division is wide-open as a number of teams can win it all. Look
for Taft and Washington to be there at the end but don’t count out
Narbonne or a talented Fairfax of Los Angeles team, led by freshman
John’ea Thompson.

Division II
1. El Camino Real of Woodland Hills
2. South East of South Gate
3. Granada Hills
4. Roosevelt of Los Angeles
Locals in the draw: Reseda, Eagle Rock, Grant of Van Nuys, Arleta,
Van Nuys, Panorama.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Grant. The Lancers came back from a horrendous start to their season
by sharing the East Valley League championship with Poly of Sun
Valley. If Grant can get by Reseda and No. 3 Granada Hills, it could
end up in the championship game.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Vanessa Aguilar, Grant. The senior, who became eligible after
transferring back to Grant from Hart of Newhall has flirted with
quadruple-doubles the last two weeks. Aguilar is another player like
Jackson that can put a team on her back for long stretches.

OUTLOOK
El Camino Real is about the closest thing to a lock in the playoffs.
The Conquistadores won the West Valley League for the first time
since 1999 and would be a favorite in Div. I. ECR can get its fingers
sized for rings now.

Division III
1. Monroe of North Hills
2. Birmingham of Lake Balboa
3. Huntington Park
4. Garfield of Los Angeles
Locals in the draw: Sylmar, Poly of Sun Valley, North Hollywood, San
Fernando, East Valley of North Hollywood

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Birmingham. The Patriots own victories against Taft and Chatsworth
and could give the West Valley League three City champions in one
season if Taft or Chatsworth get it done in Div. I and ECR or Granada
Hills takes care of business in Div. II.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Ayisat Afolabi, Monroe. The freshman fit right in to coach Quincy
Brooks’ system and meshed with upperclassmen Ani Avanessian. Afolabi
routinely had double-doubles while leading the Vikings to an
undefeated Valley Mission League season.

OUTLOOK
Monroe and Birmingham should be in an all-valley final. Can Monroe
beat a battle tested team or will Birmingham’s strength of schedule
and experience prevail.

Small Schools
TOP FOUR SEEDS
1. View Park Prep of Los Angeles
2. L.A.C.E.S
3. Huntington Park College Ready academy
4. Douglass of Los Angeles
Locals in the draw: Sherman Oaks C.E.S., Northridge Academy, Vaughn of Sun Valley.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Ea Shoushtari, L.A.C.E.S. Shoushtari averaged 17.5 points per game, 4.5 assists and four steals. Along with Taylor Holeman, Shoushtari is part of one the best guard duos in the City regardless of division.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Sherman Oaks C.E.S. It owns a victory against a depleted Campbell Hall team but that is good enough to not be overlooked in this division.

OUTLOOK
Book View Park Prep and L.A.C.E.S. in the final. The two teams are heads and shoulders above the rest of this field. By a lot.

SOUTHERN SECTION GIRLS
TOP FOUR SEEDS
Div. I-AA
1. Long Beach Poly 23-2
2. Santiago of Corona 24-2
3. Troy 22-1
4. Etiwanda 21-6
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Palmdale, Quartz Hill, Knight of Palmdale

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Cajon of San Bernardino. Cajon finished 24-3, won the San Andreas
League and only need to get by Etiwanda to reach the semifinals.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Lindsay Scherbert, Great Oak. Scherbert averaged 27 points per game
and has been selected to the McDonalds All-American game and the Nike
Women’s Basketball Coaches Association all-star game in San Antonio.

OUTLOOK
Long Beach Poly is 23-2, the top-ranked team in the division and you
can never bet against coach Carl Buggs in the playoffs. Poly has
superstar Ariyah Crook-Williams and owns an impressive victory
against nationally-ranked Whitney Young of Chicago. The Jackrabbits have won four consecutive state titles and boast six Div. I-bound players.

Div. I-A
1. Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley 23-3
2. Santa Monica 20-6
3. Ayala of Chino Hills 19-6
4. Summit of Fontana 22-5
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Crescenta Valley of la Crescenta, Valencia

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Ayala of Chino Hills. The Bulldogs went undefeated in the
Sierra League and feature talented seniors Ariel Marsh, UCLA-bound Rhema Gardner and Krishawn Tennies. Sophomore Jillian Alleyne is not bad either.
Ayala also owns an impressive victory against Chatsworth.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Cassie Pappas, Crescenta Valley, Sr. Pappas is a scoring machine who
doesn’t force anything and makes her teammates better. Pappas led the
Falcons (22-5) to second place behind Muir of Pasadena in the Pacific
League.

OUTLOOK
The top four seeds are all capable but Santa Monica, behind standouts
Thea Lemberger (UCLA commit) and Moriah Faulk is the pick to win it all.

Div. II-AA
1. Brea-Olinda of Brea 26-2
2. Villa Park 20-7
3. Edison of Huntinton Beach 20-4
4. Ventura (22-4)
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: West Ranch of Stevenson Ranch, Royal of Simi
Valley, Canyon of Canyon Country, Thousand Oaks, Burroughs of Burbank

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Canyon. The Cowboys finished 19-6, won the Foothill League and have
flourished under the direction of new coach Chuck Johns, an Indiana
transplant. Brooke Lemar is a talented guard headed to Southern
Illinois.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Bonnie Samuelson, Edison. The junior scoring machine is one of the
best in the state having gone over 30 points nine times.

OUTLOOK
Brea-Olinda is the best team, is ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation and it owns an impressive victory against Mater Dei of Santa Ana.

Div. II-A
1. Mater Dei of Santa Ana 24-1
2. Diamond Ranch 20-1
3. Woodbridge 23-5
4. Laguna Hills 22-3
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Rio Mesa of Oxanrd, Camarillo,
Newbury Park, Moorpark, Westlake

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Beverly Hills. The Normans (17-11) finished third in the tough Ocean
League behind Inglewood and Santa Monica but were still seeded No. 5 in this division. Inglewood and Santa Monica are both seeded No. 2 in their divisions.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Kaleena Lewis, Mater Dei, Jr. Lewis does it all for the one-loss
Monarchs, scoring and handling the ball. At 6’3, Lewis was one of the
most coveted underclass recruits in the country until committing to Connecticut and was named the Orange County Register’s player of the week three different times.

OUTLOOK
Nobody can beat Mater Dei. The are simply that good. Many teams will
try, including No. 2 Diamond Ranch of Pomona but it lost to Alemany
of Mission Hills, not a good loss if you are trying to beat one of
the nations best.

Div. III-AA
1. Agoura 26-0
2. Inglewood 22-5
3. Bishop Amat of La Punete 19-6
4. Buena of Ventura 18-8
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: None besides Agoura

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Agoura. The Chargers best players are seniors Brittany Oster and
Sasha Borenstein and sophomore Kylie Cunningham. Agoura has a
sparkling record but hasn’t been tested too many times and it will be
interesting to see if the Chargers came come through in a tough road
game if they are behind.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Hazel Ramirez, Inglewood, Sr. The steady floor-leader averages 13
points per game, shoots over 40% from the floor and 86% from the
free-throw line.

OUTLOOK
It is very rare for a team to undefeated so look for Inglewood or
Bishop Amat to challenge but Agoura has answered every question thus
far this season and it could be the magical year for a team that won
its first league championship in school history.

Div. III-A
1. Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita
2. Barstow 20-2
3. Muir of Pasadena 17-7
4. Bonita of La Verne 21-3

LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Calabasas, Littlerock.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Santa Barbara. The Dons finished second in the Channel league but
have victories against powers Ventura and Buena of Ventura.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Victoria Yutronich, Palos Verdes, So. This ultra-talented guard
averages 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a
block.

OUTLOOK
This divison is not very scary so don’t forget about Pacific League
champion Muir of Pasadena. The Mustangs might have the chemistry and
experience to win it all.

Div. IV-AA
1. Harvard-Westlake 26-1
2. Bishop Montgomery of Torrance 22-6
3. Orange Lutheran 19-5
4. La Canada 23-3
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Antelope Valley of Lancaster, Alemany of Mission
Hills, Chaminade of West Hills, Oak Park, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Antelope Valley. The Antelopes went 24-2 and have the sections
biggest one-season turnaround after going 4-21 last year. A.V. went
20-76 in the four season prior to this one. Yvette Bennett and Quartz
Hill transfers Keoina Matthews and Destini Price have transformed
Antelope Valley along with fiery coach D.J. Hein.

PLAYER TO WATCH
N.C. State-bound Kody Burke, Notre Dame, Sr.; Princeton-bound Nicole
Hung, Harvard-Westlake, Sr.; UCSB-bound Nicole Nesbit,
Harvard-Westlake, Sr; Lauren Varney, Oak Park, Sr.; Trinidee Trice,
Alemany, Sr.; Angelica Sahagun, Alemany, Sr., Courtney McCutchan, La
Canada, Sr. Take your pick of local standouts.

OUTLOOK
This division is Harvard-Westlake’s to lose. The Wolverines have only
lost to Mater Dei, are ranked No. 5 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and
are ranked No. 1 in the state in Div. IV.

Div. IV-A
1. Bell-Jeff 22-5
2. St. Joseph of Santa Maria 22-4
3. Oaks Christian of Westlake Village 22-4
4. Windward of Los Angeles 15-9
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Louisville of Woodland Hills, La Reina of
Thousand Oaks, Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, Malibu, Village Christian
of Sun Valley, Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada-Flintridge, L.A.
Baptist of North Hills

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Sierra Canyon. A lot of attention has been paid to the top four seeds
but the Trailblazers are on the cusp of greatness. Coach T.J. Knox
guided Sierra Canyon to a Div. VI-A championship a year ago and has a
talented roster of underclassmen.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Brianna Barrett, Oaks Christian, So. Barrett might be the quickest,
most athletic player in the division but still needs to work on
consistency with her shot and decision making in the open-court. She
is being recruited by most PAC-10 schools and a few others nationally.

OUTLOOK
Bell-Jeff has played the toughest schedule by far, has a victory
against Oaks Christian and received a first-round bye but can it get
through four more tough games getting every other teams best
performance?

Div. V-AA
1. Serra of Gardena 20-6
2. Valley Christian of Cerritos 18-6
3. St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs 17-10
4. Santa Clara of Oxnard
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Viewpoint of Calabasas, Holy Family of Glendale
Milken Community of Los Angeles, Flintridge Prep of La Canada,
Providence of Burbank.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Campbell Hall. The Vikings had another stellar season only losing to
Sherman Oaks C.E.S. and Montclair Prep. Sophomores Lauren Holiday,
Nicole Tolbert and Alexa Brown are a year older and ready to make
some noise.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Lauren Holiday, Campbell Hall, Freshman. The younger sister of
Philadelphia 76’ers guard Jrue Holiday and one of the best female
athletes in Southern California. Holiday averaged close to 10 points
per game, over 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

OUTLOOK
Serra has wins over some very good large schools and has the
athleticism and depth necessary to win the championship. A first
round bye also helps the cause keeping the Cavaliers one game fresher
than the rest of the field.

Div. V-A
1. St. Anthony of Long Beach 17-9
2. Montclair Prep of Panorama City 18-6
3. Pasadena Poly 20-3
4. Chadwick of Rancho Palos Verdes 15-9
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Vasquez of Acton, Glendale Adventist Academy of
Glendale, Buckley of Sherman Oaks.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Mojave. The Mustangs (19-1) come in with a stellar record of 19-1 but
we will see if strength of schedule becomes a factor. Mojave is
relatively unknown so no team wants to travel to the high desert.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Michelle Miller, Pasadena Poly, So. Miller is another scoring
machine, who routinely went over 30 points several times, including a
46-point effort against Mayfield. Miller is basically the life-blood
of Poly’s hopes so if she is taken out of the game, Poly goes down.

OUTLOOK
St. Anthony is year older andhas outstanding freshman Kendall Cooper
in the post. Montclair Prep has Long beach St.-bound Chantel Dooley
with Kim Scamman, Lindsey Anderson and Alex Taylor. Expect the top
two seeds to be in the final.

Div. VI-AA
1. St. Bernard of Playa del Rey 14-13
2. Orangewood academy of Garden Grove 22-2
3. Hillcrest Christian of Granada Hills 13-8
4. Desert Christian of Bermuda Dunes 16-4

LOCALS IN THE DRAW: Holy Martyrs of Encino, Highland Hall of
Northridge, Newbury Park Adventist.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Hesperia Christian. Last season it reached the 6-AA championship but was overwhelmed against Sierra Canyon. A year later and a year older might be the difference.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Raechelle Davis, Orangewood Academy. Davis averaged 23 points per game but attempted nearly 25 shots a game. Seven times, she attempted over 30 shots in a game, including a Kobe Bryant-like 40 shots in a season opening victory against San Fernando Valley Academy of Northridge.

OUTLOOK
St. Bernard has a talented roster, played a tough schedule and has a grizzled-veteran coach in former St. Mary’s Academy of Inglewood head-man Bo Corona.

Div. VI-A
1. North County Christian of Atascadero 15-5
2. Lake Arrowhead Christian 15-3
3. Calvary Baptist of La Verne 16-7
4. A.G.B.U. of Pasadena 9-2
LOCALS IN THE DRAW: San Fernando Valley Academy, West Valley Christian of West Hills.

TEAM TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Calvary Baptist. Coach Lincoln Dial’s squad is on a 13-game winning streak since losing four consecutive games at the Oaks Christian tournament after Christmas. In an example of why there are too many divisions this is the sore thumb. Calvary Baptist lost to Agoura 55-6, Horizon of San Diego 61-19 and Sierra Canyon 56-10 but is the No. 3 seed.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Sammy Roupe, West Valley Chr., Sr. Roupe, the daughter of coach Ken Roupe, averages 21 points per game, 10.5 rebounds and four assists. Roupe only had one game scoring in single digits.

OUTLOOK
Despite dropping to a No. 6 seed, West Valley Christian might be the best team simply because they played a tougher schedule than most other schools in the division.

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