Prep Rally: Play of the year sets up state basketball playoffs
Hello, and welcome to another edition of Prep Rally. My name is Eric probeheimer. The state basketball playoffs begin this week after regional links are released on Sunday. But there’s still buzz about the play of the year and the ending that Saturday night was hard to believe.
Saturday night’s Southern Section Open Division championship game at the Honda Center brought an age-old ending.
As a Corona Centennial coach Josh Gilles said, “Regular season, playoffs, that’s the craziest ending ever.”
Aaron McBride, a Loyola Marymount commit, disproved a St. John Bosco pass when time ran out, picked up the ball in midcourt and needed two dribbles to dunk it for a 58-56 Centennial win when the buzzer went off.
Here is the game night report.
McBride finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. “He’s a winner,” coach St. John Bosco Matt Dunn said.
It was a night of championships.
Sierra Canyon won the Southern Section Open Division girls’ title. Here’s the report.
Taft defeated Fairfax to win the City Section Open Division boys’ title. Westchester won the City Open Division girls’ title. Grant won Division I boys in town. Sun Valley Poly won Division I girls in the City.
Eagle Rock won Division II boys in town. Garfield won Division III boys in town.
Santa Ana Mater Dei defeated Etiwanda for the Southern Section Division 1 boys’ title. Long Beach Jordan won the 4A title.
Let the state basketball playoffs begin as the path to Sacramento to play for a March 10-11 state championship at Golden 1 Center begins. It is now a one-elimination tournament. Teams that lost in the playoffs section selected for state will have a chance for a second chance.
The big question in the toughest division is can a team beat the Centennial boys or the Sierra Canyon girls in the Open Division?
Here is a report on the challenges ahead.
Here is the breakdown of regional playoff pairings.
To strengthen other divisions, the CIF fielded only five teams in Open Division for boys and girls. The 16-team brackets begin Tuesday. The semi-finals in the Open Division will take place on Saturday, followed by the regional finals on March 7.
Weather permitting, the eight-team Mission League will begin this week. Each week there are series of three matches. The big games starting are Sierra Canyon vs. Loyola and Chaminade vs. Crespi.
Sierra Canyon is 5-0 under former Chatsworth coach Tom Meusborn. Loyola is 1-3 under former Mira Costa coach Keith Ramsey.
“We’re excited,” Ramsey said. “It will be a challenge. We have our three pitchers ready to go.”
Chaminade (3-0) showed excellent pitching, while Crespi (5-0) won the Easton tournament championship, even though the top pitcher, Isaiah Magdaleno, rested a sore arm.
Harvard-Westlake (3-1) and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (3-0) are considered the league favorites.
Here’s this week’s top 25 ranking by The Times.
Here’s the recap of Tuesday’s games before the rain washed out the weekend games.
Loyola opened his volleyball season with a four-game win over Mater Dei.
Sean Kelly had 28 kills and three aces for the Cubs.
Huntington Beach needed five games to beat Beckman. Liam Phinizy had 22 kills for Huntington Beach in an emotional opener. The Oilers went on to win the Redondo Union tournament championship, beating the hosts 20–18 in the final.
University won the Taft Tournament.
San Juan Capistrano JSerra and Birmingham won the Division 1 Boys’ Soccer Championships in the Southern Section and the City Section and were awarded the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, for the Southern California regional playoffs.
Here is the link to regional links.
Here is the link to the championship results.
Santa Margarita and El Camino Real won the girls’ Division 1 titles in the Southern Section and the City Section. El Camino Real recorded its 15th consecutive shutout in a 4-0 victory over Cleveland.
One of the most intriguing finals was Harvard-Westlake vs. Heart for the Division 2 girls’ title, which was eventually played on a flooded field at College of the Canyons during the pouring rain. Hart won 1-0 but the question was whether the game should have been played as the damp pitch was so bad that the ball wouldn’t roll on the ground.
“I didn’t think the playing conditions were unsafe,” said the Harvard-Westlake coach Richard Simms said. “Nobody slipped and slipped and the players were very respectful in that environment. That was not a playable field in my professional opinion. You don’t play in still water because the ball doesn’t want to roll and football is a game where the ball has to roll.”
QBs are settling in
Spring football practice is just a few weeks away, and it looks like the highly competitive Mission League has finalized the six quarterbacks who will start in the fall after the inevitable transfer window.
Of course, don’t tell that to the coaches who want competition as a quarterback. But players wouldn’t have transferred if they didn’t expect to start, so we’re not going to play any matches. This is how things stand:
Sierra Canyon lost three quarterbacks switching, but bagged the best transfer of all in the class of 2025 Wyatt Becker, passing for 2,192 yards and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Here’s a look at the other five starters from around the league.
Here is the high school football transfer tracker.
Notes . . .
Junior swimmer Theia Salvino of St. Margaret committed to Alabama. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Battle of the Valley All-Star basketball game will take place March 18 in Sierra Canyon. . . .
Mitch Kallick, a club coach and former college coach, is the new girls’ volleyball coach at Harvard-Westlake. . . .
Windward football striking Michael Blevins dedicated to Cal State Northridge. . . .
Three-year quarterback starter Brian Wilson van Ayala has left school and plans to transfer. Eastvale Roosevelt is a possibility. . . .
Todd Quinsey is the new football coach at Whittier. He was head coach at Bassett. . . .
Former Trabuco Hills and Long Beach Poly football coach Jim Barnett died. He won three Southern Section titles at Trabuco Hills. . . .
Pitcher Kalani Santos of Mater Dei dedicated to USC. He is pitching again after an injury. . . .
Oak park ranger Trey McDonald committed to George Fox University. . . .
Foothill and JSerra won the regional girls’ water polo championships in Southern California’s Division I and II, respectively. . . .
The state wrestling championships were completed in Bakersfield and St. John Bosco had two individual winners.
From the archive: Max Fried
Former Harvard-Westlake star maximum baked, 29, kicks off the major league season with the Atlanta Braves as one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball. In 2017, he made his Major League-debut.
He was a first pick of the San Diego Padres in 2012. He underwent Tommy John in 2014. He will soon be a free agent, and when that happens, he will be one of the most sought after pitchers in basketball
Here’s a 2010 story about choosing Fried Sandy Koufax curveball to be his inspiration.
From The Los Angeles Times, an op-ed about why it’s important to add female coaches for youth sports teams.
By SCGA.org, a story about a Sherman Oaks Notre Dame junior golfer who caught the eye of Tiger Woods.
Of the New York Times, a story about a high school basketball player, COVID and the rule book.
From The Los Angeles Times, a story about former Sierra Canyon star Amari Bailey of UCLA.
Tweets you may have missed
Until next time…
Have a question, comment, or something you’d like to see in a future Prep Rally newsletter? Email me at [email protected]and follow me on Twitter @latsondheimer.
Have you been forwarded this newsletter? To sign up and receive it in your inbox, click here.