The South Bay enjoyed a long history of success in boys’ and girls’ basketball and this season is no exception. The regular season is a few weeks away from ending as most of the squads prepare for the CIF-Los Angeles City or Southern Section playoffs.
For the boys, there are several teams that will be contending for their league, CIF Section and CIF-State championships. So far, Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Redondo and Westchester appear to be the top South Bay boys’ teams, while Gardena Serra, Bishop Montgomery and West Torrance appear to be the best for the girls.
Last season, Bishop Montgomery High’s boys won the prestigious CIF-Southern Section Open Division championship before falling in the Southern California Regional semifinals to Santa Ana Mater Dei 65-59 before a packed house at Redondo High. The Monarchs defeated L.A. Fairfax for the regional title but lost in overtime to Oakland Bishop O’ Dowd in the state championship game at UC Berkeley. The Knights are already enjoying a 19-0 start that 3-0 in the Del Rey League after wins over Serra, Playa del Rey St. Bernard and L.A. Cathedral. St. Bernard, meanwhile, won the Southern Section Division VA crown after a last place finish at 0-8 mark in the rigorous Del Rey. Westchester made the CIF-L.A. City Section Open Division finals before falling to Western League rival Fairfax. The Sea Hawks are off to a 15-3 start that includes 3-0 in the Bay League after downing Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula 83-59 last Tuesday.
For the girls, Serra, which had a mediocre preseason record due to some key injuries and a tough schedule, is 4-0 in the Del Rey League after downing rival Bishop Montgomery 78-62 on Thursday. The Knights and West Torrance are also having a very good showing but, overall, the competition will be stiff.
Here are the South Bay Top 10 Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams that include how they are doing, so far this season.
Boys: 1. Bishop Montgomery (19-0)—Despite no senior starters, Bishop Montgomery is already nationally ranked by most prep sports publications. It has two of the premiere juniors in the United States in guard Ethan Thompson and forward Jordan Schakel. It also has a highly regarded sophomore in guard David Singleton. They already keyed the Knights to wins over Serra (76-48), St. Bernard (70-57) and Cathedral (99-60). Bishop Montgomery is at Cantwell-Sacred Heart in Montebello in league play Friday at 7 p.m.
2. Redondo (15-3)—Under head coach Reggie Morris, Jr., Redondo enjoyed big success over the past few seasons but this one should be one of the best Sea Hawk teams in recent years. The experienced senior studded Sea Hawks return the likes of guards Leland Green, Cameron Williams, Morgan Means and Elijah Nesbit, along with junior Ryse Williams. All of the Sea Hawks’ three losses were to nationally ranked teams that included to No. 1 Chino Hills 96-80 in the Maxpreps Holiday Classic final on Dec. 30 at Rancho Mirage High in Palm Springs. At Redondo on Tuesday, the Sea Hawks rolled over Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula 83-59. Ryse Williams led Redondo with 22 points. The Sea Hawks visit Palos Verdes Friday at 7:30 p.m.
3. Westchester (13-5)—Westchester is also senior dominated behind San Jose State University-bound forward Keith Fisher. Calvin Fletcher, Dwight Murray, Darryn Everage and Andre Allen are other standouts. On Wednesday at Westchester, the Comets routed West L.A. University 93-52. Westchester visits Palisades Friday at 7 p.m.
4. Inglewood (13-5)—Inglewood should have a close battle with Redondo for the Bay League championship. The Sentinels are led by senior guard Terrell Gomez and senior forward Jordan Bell. Inglewood is 2-1 in league after a close 58-53 home loss to Redondo on Jan. 12, a 68-34 home rout of Palos Verdes and a 55-47 win over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa. The Sentinels are at Peninsula Friday at 7:30 p.m.
5. Narbonne (13-5)—Narbonne High’s boys’ basketball team is rolling in the Marine League after crushing Gardena 79-42 in an uneven battle of 3-0 league record squads on Wednesday. The Gauchos are led by Psalm Maduakor, Anthony Langston and Jamal Hicks. The Gauchos host Wilmington Banning Friday at 7 p.m.
6. Serra (9-11)—Don’t let the 9-11 record fool you on Serra High’s mostly young boys’ basketball team. The Cavaliers played a tough preseason schedule and is in a very hard Del Rey League. They start two freshmen in E.J. Jackson and Doctor Bradley, and a sophomore in Kobe Smith, who was also a standout wide receiver with Serra’s football team this past fall. The Cavaliers bounced back from a 76-48 loss to Bishop Montgomery on Jan. 13 at home to edge Cantwell-Sacred Heart 53-52 last Friday at Serra. The Cavaliers lost in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Showcase to Calabasas 54-50 on Monday at LACES (Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies). Serra visits league rival St. Bernard Friday at 7 p.m.
7. Torrance (13-7)—Torrance High is enjoying a good season and already won its first three Pioneer League games over South Torrance, Lawndale Leuzinger and, on Wednesday, North Torrance, 66-53. Justin Kino and Giovonni Jackson lead Torrance. The Tartars host Centennial High from Compton Friday at 7:30 p.m. in their recently refurbished gym.
8. Mira Costa (12-8)—Mira Costa should be in the thick of the Bay League race, but the injury of star Quenton Jackson might plague the Mustangs for a bit. Mira Costa, though, is hanging in there behind guard Johnny Mims, with a 2-1 league record that includes wins over Palos Verdes (57-48) and Peninsula (49-48) and a 55-47 loss to Inglewood on Tuesday at Mira Costa. The Mustangs visit Morningside in Inglewood Friday at 7:30 p.m.
9. Peninsula (10-10)—Under first year head coach Ryan Quinlan, a former successful mentor at Narbonne a few years ago, has Peninsula in contention despite a 1-2 start in the Bay League. The Panthers have two good players in seniors Mickey Babek and Evan Malone. Peninsula had tough but stayed with a highly regarded Redondo team, down by just three points at halftime, before seeing the Sea Hawks pull away for an 83-59 win. The Panthers host Inglewood Friday at 7:30 p.m.
10. Morningside (13-7)—Morningside High’s boys’ basketball team is also under first year head coach Daniel Campbell, a nephew of former National Basketball Association Los Angeles Lakers star Eldon Campbell (a 1986 graduate of Morningside) and he has the Monarchs excelling that included a championship of the San Pedro Pirate Shootout Classic when they edged Peninsula 60-57 in overtime on Dec. 30. The Panthers, however, avenged that defeat with a 65-49 Bay League opening win at Peninsula on Jan. 12. Morningside was routed by host and powerful Redondo 80-49 on Jan. 15. Morningside has been led by Brandon Anyuanwu, Charles Wright and Charles Akanno. The Monarchs recorded their first league win over Palos Verdes 62-58 on Tuesday. Morningside hosts Mira Costa Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Others to watch: North Torrance, Leuzinger, Hawthorne Executive Prep Academy of Finance, Culver City, St. Bernard, Gardena.
Girls: 1. Serra (12-8)—Serra had only an average showing in the preseason due to a tough schedule that included some nationally ranked teams but the Lady Cavaliers are off to a 4-0 Del Rey League start that included a key 78-62 win over rival Bishop Montgomery on Thursday. Briana Johnson led Serra with 28 points. Johnson is a returning senior all-CIF Southern Section player who committed to University of Denver. Sophomore Delauna Thomas, freshman Alexis Tucker and returning senior Brooke Bayman are also standouts on Serra’s balanced squad that could contend for the CIF-Southern Section and California State Open Division or Division I championships. The Cavaliers were CIF-State Division I runner-ups last season. Serra faces Long Beach Millikan in the Narbonne Showcase Saturday at 9 a.m. in Harbor City.
2. Bishop Montgomery (11-10)—Last season, Bishop Montgomery won the CIF-Southern Section Division IVAA crown and the Knights have beaten some very good squads that include non-league wins over defending Southern Section Division IIAA champion Redondo and Division IIIAA champion North Torrance. Last Tuesday, the Knights lost to St. Paul 58-54 and to Serra.
3. West Torrance (14-5)—Last season, West Torrance won its second straight CIF-Southern Section title with a IA title over a very good Troy High team from Fullerton. The Lady Warriors are under first year head coach Bill Atkinson and are off to a good start. Last Monday, West topped Cheviot Hills Notre Dame Academy 58-54 in the Verizon for Cure Showcase. The Warriors visit South Torrance, last year’s Southern Section Division IIA champion, Friday at 6 p.m.
4. North Torrance (7-9)—North Torrance won the Pioneer League and CIF-Southern Section Division IIIAA crowns last year and already have a 46-43 home win over West Torrance last Friday. The Saxons defeated Torrance 54-38 on Wednesday. North hosts a surprising Leuzinger, which upset South Torrance 64-52 Wednesday at Leuzinger, Friday at 6 p.m.
5. Redondo (11-7)—After winning the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA title and advancing to the Southern California Regional Division II final before losing to Alhambra Mark Keppel last season, Redondo lost several key players but return some as well, including Kyra Hamlin. The Sea Hawks downed Peninsula 60-36 on Tuesday to increase their Bay League record to 3-0. Redondo visits Palos Verdes Friday at 6 p.m.
6. Mira Costa (11-8)—Mira Costa is off to a 3-0 Bay League start after crushing Inglewood 64-20 last Tuesday at Mira Costa. Junior Allie Navarette is a returning dominating player for the Mustangs. Mira Costa visits Morningside Friday at 6 p.m.
7. Carson (13-6)—Carson started slow playing in some premiere tournaments but the Colts are favored to dethrone power Narbonne for the Marine League title and already defeated the Gauchos 55-38 on Dec. 15. On Wednesday, the Colts routed Banning 77-20 behind 15 points by sophomore Kynsli Schwehke. Carson hosts San Pedro Friday at 7 p.m.
8. South Torrance (15-4)—Last season, South Torrance won the Southern Section Division IIA championship and is off to a good start despite losing to an improved Lawndale Leuzinger team 64-52 Wednesday at Leuzinger. Kristy Takahashi is a top returning starter for the Spartans, who host cross town rival West Torrance Friday at 6 p.m.
9. Narbonne (9-9)—After numerous successful seasons since the early 1990’s, Narbonne appears to be in for rebuilding that includes three freshman starters. The Gauchos visit Banning Friday at 7 p.m.
10. El Segundo (11-8)—El Segundo High should contend for the Ocean League crown that includes an upset win over defending four-time champion Culver City. The Eagles are 3-0 in Ocean play after downing Hawthorne 39-26 on Wednesday at El Segundo. Quin Adams sparked El Segundo with 13 points and Ani Fanau added nine points and 14 rebounds. The Eagles visit Lawndale Friday at 6 p.m.
Others to watch: Lawndale, Peninsula, Torrance, San Pedro, Leuzinger, Culver City, Westchester.