Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Page 833

Pondering City ball vs. suburbs/Orange County ball

Saturday night I ended up sitting with a fellow teacher at the Brea-Edison game. He is a former coach himself, and coached a few of the Edison girls in their earlier years. We ended up talking about how basketball playing styles differ between the City Section schools and schools further out, in Orange County and beyond.

Teacher man sees a different game – namely, that city schools play a more athletic brand of hoop. He sees suburban school female players afraid to take the jump shot, hesitant to take contact. City schools, he maintains, just bang more, while suburban school teams have more rules. I told him about how Brea Coach Jeff Sink uses the “five pass before the shot” rule with his squad, and teacher man nodded and said, “yeah, that kinda stuff.”

In general, I tend to agree with teacher man. City schools usually have more bounce, and if a player is good, you know her style if you go to enough games. For example, Chatsworth’s Gennifer Brandon has a huge cache of tricks under the basket to get the ball into it. Kejuana Gardner of Washington Prep grabs rebounds mid-air, in crazy body positions. On the other hand, Brea has 18 players, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you anything special I’ve noticed about any of them (and no, I’m not picking on Brea or saying anything bad about Sink – they’re just an example).

There are two exceptions that I have seen this season to the Orange County/suburban rule: Mater Dei and Cajon. Mater Dei is an extremely athletic team, and two of their top players – Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Alexyz Vailotama – have distinct playing styles. So does Layshia Clarendon of Cajon, which is also an athletic team.

So I’m opening the floor for discussion.

1. Are city teams more athletic than suburban teams? Do they bang harder?
2. Are suburban teams more structured?
3. Which do you think is best, and why?

Last night’s Southern California state playoffs results

Division 1

Cajon 64
Perris 48

Colony 61
Chatsworth 53

Colony at Cajon Thursday

Troy 62
Canyon springs 48

Long Beach Poly 76
Stockdale 48

Troy at Poly Thursday

Divsion 2

Mater Dei 85
Garces 26

Edison 53
West Hills 41

Edison at Mater Dei Thursday

Hanford 90
Bev Hills 65

Brea 67
Mt Miguel 44

Hanford at Brea Thursday

Divsion 3

Foothill 56
Our Lady of Peace 38

Marlborough 60
Roosevelt/Fresno 42

Marlborough at Foothill Thursday

Inglewood 74
Canyon Crest 49

Woodbridge 38
Porterville 20

Inglewood at Woodbridge Thursday

Division 4

Bishops 74
St Jospeph 55

Pac Hills 61
Corcoran 20

Pac Hills at Bishops Thursday

Harvard West Lake 72
Kingsburg 29

MD San Diego 53
Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks 34

HWL at MD San Diego Thursday

Division 5

Bell-Jeff 79
Sierra Canyon 65

Fresno Christian 58
Christian Life 47

FC at Bell-Jeff Thursday

View Park 76
Vincent Memorial 23

Santa Clara 60
Coast Union 46

Santa Clara at View Park Thursday

New Sparks player to be announced Thursday

I got an email a short bit ago from the Los Angeles Sparks, inviting me to a press conference Thursday to announce the “latest player addition to the Sparks team.” It’s at 11 a.m., and I’m at work at that time. But for those who can and want to go, it will be at the Grammy Museum next to the Staples Center, and RSVPs must be made by 4 p.m. tomorrow to Sparks account executive Erica Pacheco at (213) 929-1309.

I hope that since they’re having a press conference, it’s a Big Deal Signing.

Tonight’s first-round scores


Cajon 64, Fairfax 39

Perris 62, Carlsbad La Costa Canyon 55

Chatsworth 66, Fresno Clovis West 62

Colony 65, Washington 35

Troy 50, Ayala 44

Canyon Springs 74, Poway 61

Bakersfield Stockdale 66, Taft 46

Long Beach Poly 63, Santa Monica 35


Bakersfield Garces 55, Los Angeles Wilson 41

Spring Valley Mount Miguel 85, Los Angeles Roosevelt 45


Santa Maria St. Joseph 68, Los Angeles CES 30


Sierra Canyon 75, Cuyama Valley 24

Tomorrow’s games:

Perris @ Cajon

Chatsworth @ Colony

Canyon Springs @ Troy

Stockdale @ Poly

I may hit the Poly game.

Jeniece Johnson overcomes staggering circumstances

If this doesn’t inspire you, nothing will:

After the academic year, Oliver drove Jeniece to summer school every day and she started taking classes seriously. She says she also quit smoking and drinking, and separated herself from the people who did. She said she told her friends, “Don’t get mad at me if I stop talking to y’all. I got to do what I got to do.”

Jeniece’s grade-point average during her repeat freshman year had been 0.26, in part because she had been placed in sophomore-level classes. In the 2006-07 academic year, with classes ranging from freshman to junior level, she earned a 2.33. When the season started, she made the team.

From there, her improvement was “dramatic,” Oliver says.

“She went from not being able to make a layup to finishing with either hand. Jump hooks in the post. Running the floor. . . . She had good hands. And any coach will you tell you any post player with good hands can go a long way.”

As Jeniece came off the bench to help H.D. Woodson win its second straight D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship, her transformation extended beyond basketball.

“Before Jeniece had basketball, she was just . . . out there,” said her godmother, Angie Green, with whom Jeniece lived during her sophomore year. “I thought she was going to be lost. And once she got in the mode of basketball, basketball, everything changed. . . . It’s basketball practice, homework, sleep and do it all over again.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/07/AR2009030702116.html

I interviewed Johnson and her teammates on the phone last fall for a piece I was doing on them. Johnson seems like she has it together now.

Brackets are up


Round 1 tomorrow:

Fairfax @ Cajon

Perris @ La Costa Canyon

Clovis West @ Chatsworth

Washington Prep @ Colony

Ayala @ Troy

Poway @ Canyon Springs

Taft @ Stockdale

Santa Monica @ Long Beach Poly

I went through this dance last year, as an assistant coach. Though obviously rewarding, it’s very mentally draining if your team keeps advancing.

Looks like I’m taking a road trip tomorrow after work.

The Zen of losing……..aw, screw it

There were some surprising losses yesterday, to be sure. But none surprised me more than Umpqua Community College‘s loss to Skagit Valley last night in the semifinals of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship. The number-one ranked Riverhawks were picked by many, including me, to take it all this year. They certainly had the record to prove it, as well as the top-scoring players.

But last night Skagit Valley began the game on a 20-2 run, and Umpqua fought hard but was never able to recover from that. The final score was 82-72.

When I got the text I was just leaving the Brea-Edison game, and I gasped loudly enough for people to turn around. It’s funny how even when you’re way past old enough to expect the unexpected, that sometimes you’re still surprised by the unexpected.

But I have to give it up to Umpqua because they set aside their extreme disappointment today, and at 3:37 p.m. they won their game against Clackamas, 81-68. The victory gives them the third-place trophy.

This is one of the keys to success in the game of basketball, is rebounding from heartbreaking losses. We’ve all seen our favorite team go on a losing skid after a key loss. When a team is able to get over a painful defeat quickly, they will be more successful in not only basketball, but life. It’s a sign of maturity. So I give Umpqua props. Third place isn’t first, but it isn’t sixth place, either, which is what they would have got today if they had lost.

Great season, ladies.

Lane and Skagit Valley play at 4:30 p.m. for the NWAACC crown.

About 1500 miles away last night, Texas high school sensation Brittney Griner and her team lost the 5A state championship to Mansfield Summit. Pictures 5 and 6 on this link tell the story:


Highlights, plus brief interview with Griner: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid823425601?bclid=894333136&bctid=14397003001

Congrats to Mansfield Summit.

And earlier yesterday, in the SEC Tournament, Tennessee got blown out by Auburn in the semifinals.

Also yesterday, UCLA fell to Oregon State, 61-58. It’s been a horrible basketball weekend by my standards. In general, it’s not been the best of seasons overall.

Last week, my high school team didn’t make it to the City finals.

Have you had one of those years when all your favorite teams didn’t quite get there?


Southern Section championships, March 7

Colony (white uniforms) and Canyon Springs during play.

Colony 76, Canyon Springs 59

I came in at the half, and Colony was up 35-34. But it didn’t take them long to begin breaking away. By the 5:27 mark in the third, they had pulled ahead 41-35, and they never looked back.

Canyon’s defense kept them within at least 10 until about five minutes to play, when Colony stepped on the gas. The main reasons why were senior forward Jazmyne White and senior forward/center Camille Buckley. The two made a nice tandem, switching off between outletter and scorer. White finished with 12 points and Buckley, 30. Junior guard Te’onna Campbell added 17.

Brea Olinda 62, Edison 40

Edison deserves kudos for playing with so much heart and intensity. In a smaller pond, they’d be a dominating basketball team. But in the end, they were no match for Brea, who has waves and waves of skilled players.

Brea’s Jonae Ervin is such a hustler. She finished with 12 points, and I’d love to see the rest of the stats. She was everywhere. Junior guard Kelsey Harris started going off in the fourth quarter. I counted four threes…..again, I’m looking forward to when the stats are put up on maxpreps. Sophomore Justine Hartman added 10.

Senior point guard Jonae Ervin lets another one fly, for the bucket. She finished with 12 points.

Coach Jeff Sink stands in front of Brea’s long, long bench.

Edison’s short bench.

After sending in his second complete set of reserves, Coach Jeff Sink chills in the last few moments of the game.

The game was a blowout, so normally-intense Brea Coach Jeff Sink didn’t need to yell so much. There was no Diet Coke on the scorer’s table for him, no frantic gesturing; just a few yells and a couple intense timeouts. Heck, his wife could have even come to this game.

I like the “crazy” Sink better.

I was sitting next to a teacher who knows three of the Edison players. He answered my question from last time I was at Mater Dei – he said he was told the cameras in the ceiling are used by coaches to diagram their shots. If that’s true, wow. To have those kinds of resources at your disposal……..

The cameras in the ceiling at Mater Dei. I feel better knowing they’re probably for shot diagramming than some freaky Big Brother security thing.

But wait a minute……if the ceiling cameras are for shot diagramming, what are these cameras for?

I don’t know if the security at this game was from Mater Dei, or from the CIF, but they acted like asses. To cap it off, after the game was over, they were trying to herd people out of the gym. The woman in charge of the section I was sitting in was being unecessarily rude about it, using sarcastic and mocking comments to attempt to get people to move (As a high school teacher I can tell you, this is not the way to get people to start walking).

In my younger years I would have said something to her, but last night I just gave her my most withering teacher look. She did a double-take and then looked away before looking at me again. Then she shut up. I swear to god.

(Future) celebrity sightings: Mater Dei super sophomore guard Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

On an unrelated note, here is a great video of Friday’s Cajon-Poly game, courtesy of a reader:


Eyewitness account: Cajon def. Poly

My secret homey from the OC was at the game last night, and had this recap:

The line score was
Cajon 16 – 14 – 9 – 13 =52
LBP 11 – 8 – 8 – 17 = 44

Clarendon had 28 points.

Burnside had a lot of blocks and was able to out-rebound most of the Poly players all night.

Clarendon did have a couple of flops, but nothing like the MD game. She also took her time at the foul line late in the game, so that the Poly fans started a 1-10 count to make the refs call a delay on her.

I thought the refs could have called a lot more blocks on Poly when they were guarding Clarendon but they let the flow of the game go on if the bump wasnt affecting the flow of the game.

Poly had no real outside shooting game last night and that had to be due to the loss of Kelli Thompson/UNLV. She is coming back from a wrist injury and tried some shots, including an air ball that was way off target.

Strange site and something I thought might be ilegal was that (former Jackrabbit) Jasmine Dixon (Rutgers-next year UCLA) was allowed to sit on the end of the Poly bench.

Both teams brought a big group of fans.

I have seen Clarendon play and win two SS CIF championships in two straight years. She has done this with Burnside and then three other girls that are nowhere near as talented as their teammates nor much of the championship competition they have faced. I dont know if K. Lewis of Mater Dei or Christiana Marinacci of Foothill could do the same job as Clarendon has done. To me she is the player of the year for the Southern Section.

Thanks, IM. Not sure if Mosqueda-Lewis could do the same job for MD right now, but she’s a sophomore. By the time she’s a senior, she’ll be all Clarendon is now and then some.

Game story link: http://www.presstelegram.com/preps/ci_11858149

City Section Championship: Chatsworth 60, Taft 49

On the strength of a fourth-quarter surge, the Chatsworth Chancellors beat league rivals Taft to win the City Section Championship last night, 60-49. After evenly trading baskets for three quarters, Chatsworth broke away in the fourth, lead by All-American Gennifer Brandon and junior guard Monica Jackson.

The 6-foot-3 Brandon not only made big plays under the hoop all night, but she dribbled the ball the full length of the court twice – once taking it to the rack herself and the second time, outletting to a teammate for the bucket. It was remniscent of the multi-skilled Candace Parker, who is 6-foot-4. Brandon, headed to Cal next year, finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Jackson, with 15 points and five rebounds, seemed to be in the right places at the right times, all the time. But it was her sometimes-dazzling moves that seemed to impress the crowd most. In the fourth quarter, she stole the ball and then spun around under the hoop, away from her defender, for the layup. Chatsworth fans were on their feet, and it was that bucket that put the Chancellors up 44-39 at the 5:34 mark, and began their run. Brandon, who had scored only six of her points in the first half, put in more than that in the fourth quarter; she seemed hungry for the win.

Taft, fighting valiantly behind their crew of good shooters, suddenly began to miss shots in the last period. Junior guard Rmanii Haynes lead her team with 10 points and 10 assists.

First quarter, 17-14 Taft
Second quarter, 26 all
Third quarter, 37-36 Chatsworth
Final, 60-49

Chatsworth won the title this year after losing in last year’s finals to Narbonne High School. Chancellors coach Michelle Chevalier had also lost to Narbonne in the same game in 2003, when she coached for Sylmar. And ironically, it was a game against Narbonne this season that kicked Chatsworth out of a slump, igniting them to a 17-4 season finish:

Nine games into the season, the Chancellors were just 5-4, riding a three-game losing streak at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. Not exactly a running start.

It would only take one game to get back on a roll though, and in a weird twist of fate, that opponent was Narbonne, the team that had ruined Chatsworth’s season twice a year before.

On Dec. 22, the Chancellors defeated the Gauchos 49-34 – since then, they’ve gone 17-4.

Link: http://www.dailynews.com/preps/ci_11849042

Good pics of both teams on this link: http://www.dailynews.com/preps/ci_11858243

On the other side of the Los Angeles metro area……………..

Cajon did indeed beat Poly last night. Strangely, OCvarsity.com has no story on arguably the biggest game and upset of the Southern Section tournament so far. I am dying to know how it went down, who scored what and what went wrong for Poly. Tidbits on socalhoops indicate that both Darshae Burnside and Layshia Clarendon of Cajon were in foul trouble in the second half, but kept Poly down 8-10 points when one or the other was on the bench. OCvarsity.com better get off their cans and post a story about this upset of the defending state champions by basically two players.

Down the road at the Mater Dei-Beverly Hills game, MD sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 41 points in her team’s 81-42 route. This isn’t the first time Mosqueda-Lewis has come close to outscoring an opponent on her own. It’s ridiculous.

Is there anyone to stop Mater Dei this year? I think not. This piece says MD is ranked third in the nation. If they’re third, who could be first and second? I’d like to see those teams.

Link: http://www.ocvarsity.com/articles/dei-mater-first-2327773-player-points

Tonight’s games at Mater Dei High School:

Colony vs. Canyon Springs, 6:30

Brea Olinda vs. Edison, 8:15

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