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SOCAL EDITION

VOL. 7 ISSUE 125

NOVEMBER 23 2016

Photo by Louis Lopez/CSM via ZUMA Wire)


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Cal-Hi Sports looks at divisional madness plus state football Top 25

Chino Hills boys basketball has a point it intends to prove

The full Boys Preseason SoCal Top 20: Dofight for the top spot

in the magazine

Megan Anderson

Indomitable 20

Clovis

Clovis West has more stars this season than some teams have in a decade. And their team concept spells doom for all challengers. Page 24

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SoCal Boys Hoops Starting 5: Who are the five can’t-miss players

The full Girls Preseason SoCal Top 20: Long Beach Poly is No. 1

SoCal Girls Hoops Starting 5: Star players ready to shine

in the network

a look at the biggest stories from the Cal-Hi SportStars Network

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Section Title Coverage, Regional Bowl Previews & Predictions

Boys Preseason Hoops State Rankings. Top 35 PLUS 20 bubble teams

Udpates & Coverage from CIF State Volleyball Championships

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23 2016 NOVEMBER

N SOCAL EDITIO

NORCAL EDI TION

VOL. 7 ISSU E 125

JOIN OUR TEAM PHONE 925.566.8500 FAX 925.566.8507 EDITORIAL Editor@SportStarsOnline.com Editor Chace Bryson • Chace@SportStarsOnline.com Staff Writer Jim McCue • JimMcCue16@gmail.com Contributors Bill Kolb, Matt Smith, Clay Kallam, Dave Kiefer, Tim Rudd, Trevor Horn Copy Editor Bill Kruissink Photography Bob Larson, Jonathan Hawthorne, James K. Leash, Norbert von der Groeben, Phillip Walton, Doug Guler, Berry Evans, III Marketing/Events Ryan Arter

NOVEMBER 24, 2016

E 125 VOL. 7 ISSU

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It’s All Happening

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K, I feel like we can all agree that I’m not overstating things when I say the 2016 calendar year has had some pretty unprecedented twists and turns. I mean, the Cubs won the World Series for Pete’s sake. (That’s not where you thought I was taking you, was it?) It’s definitely been a wild year of ups and downs. Really though, who saw Brangelina ending? (And should that be considered an up or a down?). While everything after the World Series has felt like a down for some, or more likely a fiery freefall, we here at SportStars are actually excited to broadcast a few ups. Of the two primary pieces of SportStars news I want to share here, the one with the most immediacy is that we have finally made the leap to Southern California. With basketball being a state championship sport followed by fans up and down Interstate 5, we thought our Hoops Preview would be the perfect launching point to begin our SoCal Edition — which can be found exclusively at SportStarsOnline.com. By the way, if you’re reading this column for the first time as part of the SoCal Edition, sorry for the redundancy. And, welcome! Expanding into Southern California is always something we’ve hoped to achieve. The timing was just never right. Now it is, thanks to our ever-growing partnership with Cal-Hi Sports. The Cal-Hi SportsStars Network, or CHSN, is going to power our SoCal Editions. Every NorCal edition will now be accompanied by a SoCal edition, posted exclusively at SportStarsOnline.com. Our next SoCal edition in mid-December will feature more hoops coverage, as well as reporting from the CIF State Volleyball Championships. You’ll also notice that more SoCal content will begin to permeate our social media channels, namely Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To our local, longtime NorCal readers: you’re not losing a single page of content. That’s one thing that was important to us. We wanted to make sure we could add SoCal coverage without it being at the expense of what we already do for NorCal. With so many elite athletes and teams from both ends of the state competing against each other, it’s our hope that NorCal fans will still have interest in the stories and rankings that comprise our SoCal editions. Ditto the other way, too. Finally, we’re also looking forward to a redesigned SportStarsOnline.com, which is expected to debut sometime in early 2017. It’s coming together in the background and should serve as a great new platform to excite our loyal readers and welcome new ones. See — not everything in the last eight weeks of 2016 has to be dismal. In fact, if you’re a high school sports fan, there may not be a better time of year. State volleyball championships, section and state football championships, basketball tournament season and more. Cheer up, fans. We got this. ✪

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Divisional Dizziness W

hether you are a football player still going in the postseason, or a hoopster just starting out, it’s becoming more obvious every season not to pay too much attention to the division number your school is shown for in the playoffs. In these days of competitive-equity postseason brackets in which results from most recent seasons have yet to impact particular divisions — or whether your CIF section still uses enrollment totals to help determine postseason placement — the bottom line is that a team from a so-called lower division can often find itself placed above some from higher ones. Going to the first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football playoff game this year for Manteca proved that point and showed that the athletes themselves can easily get confused with all of the playoff guidelines for determining which divisions teams get placed in. The Manteca players actually felt slighted and disappointed for being in this year’s SJS Division IV playoffs instead of Division III. “The kids don’t want to be down, and they wanted to be in D3, same as Oakdale,” Buffaloes coach Eric Reis said after his team defeated Dixon 42-13 in a first-round game at Gus Schmeidt Field. “They wanted the bigger challenge. “I’ve told them it’s about enrollment, but many still took it as a slight. It’s been a sell job.” To the players, yes it was completely about enrollment in the SJS divisional system. It all depends on which teams qualify for the playoffs and then how many are Div. I, II, III, etc. If strongly favored Manteca does indeed go on to win the section title, the division number won’t have any bearing on where the Buffaloes get placed in the CIF NorCal bowl board when the CIF section commissioners meet Dec. 4 to choose regional bowl matchups. What will continue to be most important, will be factors such as head-to-head results, common opponents, strength of schedule and more. The same will be true for the football teams from the CIF North Coast Section. Division IV-favorite Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa, for example, has been ranked higher than any Div. II or III team throughout the region this season. Even in the CIF Southern Section — where competitive equity-based divisions have greatly diminished the level and scope of first-round playoff blowouts that have become so uncomfortable to follow in many other places of the state — a team from a lower division number can be placed in a higher division. The best example from there is Calabasas football, which is Div. V but may be in a higher SoCal bowl game than CIFSS teams that win Div. III or IV section titles. Then there’s Ventura girls volleyball, which won the section’s Div. II title but has a head-to-head win over NorCal Open Div. top-seed Archbishop Mitty-San Jose. If Ventura were to win the CIF Div. I state title and Mitty wins the Open, it’ll be hard not to rank Ventura higher than Mitty and higher than all of the other Southern Section Div. I teams. For the kids, the best advice is simply to enjoy the ride no matter where it takes you and let the adults worry about the details. “All we know is that we have a max of four games left after tonight, if we were to go to state,” said Manteca junior quarterback Gino Campiotti after the first playoff game against Dixon. “Our guys just love playing football together and we just want to keep playing.” ✪

Jim Rael photo

Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa QB Jordon Brookshire could lead his team to an NCS Div. IV title before likely ending up in CIF Div. II regional bowl. 8

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Mark Tennis is the co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports, and publisher of CalHiSports.com. Contact him at markjtennis@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter, @CalHiSports.

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TOP 25 STATE FOOTBALL RANKINGS After games of Saturday, Nov. 19 1. (1) — Mater Dei-Santa Ana 12-0 Sophomore QB J.T. Daniels continuing to post Jake Browningtype numbers and has 4,200 yards and 63 TD passes with perhaps three games left. 2. (2) — Centennial-Corona 11-1 Head coach Matt Logan looking for third straight CIFSS top division title, and will go up against St. John Bosco in semifinals. 3. (3) — St. John Bosco-Bellflower 10-2 QB Re-al Mitchell is super fast. How fast? He was in state track meet as a sophomore. 4. (5) ▲ Rancho Cucamonga 12-0 Jaylon Redd rushed for three TDs and Thomas Graham had a 72-yard pick six in 42-26 win over previous No. 4 Mission Viejo. Cougars to play Mater Dei next. 5. (6) ▲ Narbonne-Harbor City 12-0 Gauchos rolling along in L.A. City Div. I playoffs. They beat Crenshaw 47-7 in quarterfinals. 6. (8) ▲ De La Salle-Concord 10-1 Wins over Monte Vista-Danville and Clayton Valley-Concord seem to indicate Spartans are pushing to higher level they’ll need to be at for chance at another CIF Open Div. title. 7. (7) — Cathedral Catholic-San Diego 12-0 Watch for the Dons to be in CIF Div. I-AA state bowl game. They’ll probably have to beat Narbonne to get there.

Kairee Robinson of De La Salle

8. (9) ▲ Freedom-Oakley 11-0 If the Falcons can knock off DLS in NCS Open final, they’ll play next in CIF Open Division state final. Can’t see CIF going in any other direction for that selection.

17. (21) ▲ La Mirada 10-2 Matadores are top seed in CIFSS Div. III bracket and have only lost to St. John Bosco and Mater Dei.

9. (4) ▼ Mission Viejo 11-1* Loss to Rancho Cucamonga in CIFSS Div. I quarterfinals ended 39-game winning streak.

18. (NR) ▲ Edison-Huntington Beach 12-1 A 42-0 loss to Mater Dei early in the season is now looking like it’s one of the closer games the Monarchs have had.

10. (10) — Murrieta Valley-Murrieta 10-2 No typo. This team had 829 yards offense in wild-and-wacky 65-48 Southern Section Div. II playoff win over Norco.

19. (18) ▼ Clayton Valley-Concord 9-2* Since the Ugly Eagles were pegged higher than Monte Vista for NCS Open Division, a loss to DLS doesn’t change that.

11. (12) ▲ Calabasas 12-0 Coyotes may be Div. V for CIFSS playoffs, but they’ll be much higher on the SoCal bowl board if they win section crown.

20. (20) — Monte Vista-Danville 11-1 Only loss to DLS and will now play Antioch for NCS Div. I title. Unfortunately, NCS Div. I winner doesn’t go on to CIF NorCal bowl games.

12. (13) ▲ St. Mary’s-Stockton 11-1 Jake Dunniway threw for 315 yards and five TDs in playoff win over Pitman-Turlock that set up SJS Div. I semifinal showdown vs. Oak Ridge. 13. (15) ▲ Folsom 11-1 Now that Sac High (Folsom’s lone loss) has been upset in SJS Div. II bracket, no chance the SJS Div. II winner will go higher on NorCal bowl board than SJS Div. I winner. 14. (14) — Helix-La Mesa 9-2 This team only lost to Cathedral Catholic by one score earlier in the season, and may play Dons again for San Diego Open Div. title. 15. (11) ▼ Pittsburg 9-2* Both of the losses by the Pirates were to Freedom. First game was closer, but Pitt has other wins to stay ranked high. 16. (25) ▲ Rancho Bernardo-San Diego 12-0 This is the team that beat Sacred Heart Prep in CIF state bowl final last year. It plays Helix in San Diego Open semis.

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Dennis Lee photo

21. (NR) ▲ Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 10-2 Trojans have a loss to Reed-Nevada, but look dangerous heading into SJS semis opposite St. Mary’s-Stockton. 22. (NR) ▲ Valley Christian-San Jose 11-1 Although it says Open Div. III in CCS, Warriors are ranked higher than any CCS teams in Open II or Open I. 23. (22) ▼ Santa Margarita-Rancho SM 7-5* Two losses to Bosco, one to Mater Dei and one to Mission Viejo. Key playoff win vs. Serra-Gardena. 24. (23) ▼ Serra-Gardena 7-4* Cavaliers were up to No. 9 before their playoff loss to Santa Margarita. 25. (NR) ▲ Elk Grove 11-1 We decided for this week’s rankings to include all final four teams from the SJS Div. I playoffs. * Indicates team’s season is complete.

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November 23, 2016

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Tournament Season Arrives In Placer Valley, Highlighted By 8th Annual Titan Classic Hoops

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s the high school basketball season is getting underway, Antelope High knows just how to kick into high gear with their annual Titan Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament taking place Dec. 8-10. This year marks eight great years of this highly competitive tournament and 2016 is the biggest year yet! Freshmen, junior varsity and varsity players will be competing and they have nine top-notch teams from each division coming from throughout Northern California and the Bay Area to participate. The team list includes: Antelope, Bella Vista, Davis, Inderkum, Kennedy, Oak Ridge, Saint Mary’s, Woodcreek and Yuba City high schools. Titan Head Coach, Rob Richards explained that this is one of the top Northern California high school basketball tournaments because of the caliber of teams competing. “The quality of basketball is phenomenal,” Richards said. “And the fans won’t be disappointed, as there are several stand-out players competing that will make for some nail-biting games.” All the junior varsity and varsity games will be played at Antelope High located at 7801 Titan Drive in Antelope, and the freshmen bracket will be competing at Wilson C. Riles Middle School at 447 PFE Road in Roseville. Spectator cost will be $6 for adults, and students will pay the discounted price of $3. Mark your calendars because the Titan Holiday Classic promises the best in high school hoops! ✪

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No Guts! No Glory! Wrestling Tourney Returns To Usher Out 2016 In A Big Way

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he 11th Annual No Guts! No Glory! Wrestling Tournament will close out 2016 with a bang! Placer Valley Tourism, in conjunction with Natomas High, is thrilled to bring this incredible tournament back to Hardwood Palace in Rocklin on Dec. 29-30. Year after year this tournament has proven to be one of the largest and most competitive in the state. This year will undoubtedly be more of the same, with a projected 150 teams expected to hit the mats. Varsity, junior varsity and girls divisions will be competing in various weight classes. Natomas wrestling coach Jeremy Arsich explained that this is one of his favorite events of the year. “We love the venue,” he said. “Hardwood Palace has a great layout for this style of tournament and the competition is just outstanding. “Every year some of the best high school wrestlers in the nation compete in No Guts! No Glory! We have state finalists and semi-finalists, and it turns up the heat for all the wrestlers - bringing the best out in every competitor,” added Arsich. Along with the high-caliber competition, the tournament awards are truly top-notch. Special awards are given to all champions, high-quality medals are awarded to top finalists, the top teams in varsity and girls are also given special awards and most outstanding wrestler awards are presented as well. It’s not too late to get your wrestlers signed up. Go to www.noguts-noglory.info to register today! ✪ —All copy and photos provided by Placer Valley Tourism

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he scene was Haas Pavilion for the 2015 CIF boys basketball state championships. Chino Hills was in a dogfight with a tough senior bunch from San Ramon Valley-Danville. The Div. I state title hung in the balance. The game was tight when Chino Hills’ Lonzo Ball heard the whistle. There was a hush over the crowd; Ball kept running towards his bench, as if he didn’t hear the referees’ whistle or the play didn’t happen because he knew what it meant. The junior guard was out of the game — and it was going to be an uphill battle for his teammates to pull the game out. Without its leader, Chino Hills struggled and eventually fell to the tough East Bay Athletic League club, 79-71, in two overtimes. It was a successful campaign, but a struggle for the Huskies to win 24 games on the court because of transfers ruled ineligible, games that had to be forfeited and the freak death of Nnamdi Okongwu in Summer 2014. He was supposed to be the senior anchor in the middle, but his passing due to a skateboarding accident rocked the Chino Hills community. “I never wanted to experience that feeling again,” Ball said of the helplessness in not being able to control the game’s outcome. “I didn’t say much, but everyone knew the mission.” Chino Hills came back in 2015-16 focused behind its senior leader and a better supporting cast. The youngest Ball brother, La’Melo Ball, joined Lonzo and middle brother Li’Angelo in the starting lineup as a 14-year old flashy freshman guard. Junior forward Eli Scott was now eligible, and Okongwu’s younger brother, Onyeka, was another 14-year old talented and wise beyond his years. Chino Hills edged Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth as the preseason No. 1 team in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and opened up No. 11 in the FAB 50 National Rankings. The Huskies were talented and motivated, but no one forecasted what came next. The team rolled to one victory after another, including a win over three-time defending FAB 50 champion Montverde Academy-Montverde (Fla.) en route to winning the City of Palms Tournament in Florida. Subscribe to S360 at SportStarsOnline.com

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Brothers Li’Angelo Ball (left) and La’Melo Ball (above) know whwere Chino Hills belongs in the state’s pecking order. Photos by Louis Lopez/Cal Sports Media/ZumaPress

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As the calendar turned to 2016, cameras and media attention followed at every turn. After Chino Hills defeated Bishop Montgomery-Torrance in a highly-anticipated state No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, the team turned into a local phenomenon and Lonzo Ball reached Rock Star status. After that win, longtime followers of the state’s basketball scene had a feeling Chino Hills just might do it. “It” was an undefeated mythical national championship season. By the playoffs, “RUN GMZ” (an acronym for RUN Gelo-Melo-Zo) was completely dominant against the best competition California had to offer in the Southern Section and CIF Open Division regional playoffs. The state title game versus De La Salle-Concord felt like a coronation, and when it was all over, The Huskies finished 35-0 as California’s first mythical national champion since a Tyson Chandler-led Dominguez-Compton team in 1999-00. So what’s on tap for the best show in high school basketball for 2016-17? How does Chino Hills replace its lead actor — and director? Although not manifested in the same fashion when Lonzo Ball vowed not to lose again in a Chino Hills uniform, there’s plenty of motivation for the four returning starters. They don’t formally discuss it, but the 2016-17 team wants to show the basketball community it can win without Zo and with a new head coach. Steve Baik stepped down in the offseason to take the job at L.A. City Section power Fairfax and was replaced by former assistant Stephan Gilling. The former Long Beach State player has to find a way to successfully replace 23.9 points per game, 11.3 rebounds, 11.7 assists, 5.1 steals, 2 blocks, and a new state record 25 triple-doubles by a point guard who earned every credible national player of the year honor. It’s a daunting task, but Gilling is confident it can be done because of the increased physicality of the returnees and a deeper bench. “It’s the same motivation and nearly the same goal — to repeat and go undefeated,” said 6-foot-8 junior Andre Ball, who is the new fifth starter and the first cousin of the two brothers who remain. “We’re not paying attention to what people are saying. We’re going to stay humble, go out and do what we do. Just like last year.” What people are saying is the show won’t be on the marquee at the end of the season. Chino Hills opens the season ranked No. 3 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, behind Bishop Montgomery, which returns all five starters, and Sierra Canyon, which returns four and adds 6-foot-10 Marvin Bagley III to the lineup. Gilling thinks his team will be just fine in the end, although he admits there was an adjustment period his team dealt with in the off-season. “Lonzo was great …he was our engine,” Gilling said. “We struggled with it (realizing he wasn’t there) in the summer, but we got over it quick. Gelo stepped up with that mindset that next year it’s his team and he has to be a leader. Our four returners are bigger and stronger than last year.” Andre Ball, who was injured half of last season and never found his groove in the rota14

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tion, sees another factor that will play in Chino Hills’ favor – more playing time to go around. That, he said, has led to more spirited practices. Okongwu, last year’s Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year, agreed with that assessment. He notices player’s desire to start and a hunger for playing time. Last season, Chino Hills rarely substituted. Lonzo Ball successfully played with four fouls on many occasions, while Okongwu often battled Div. I-bound big men three years older and was rarely in foul trouble. The 18 100-point games (which tied a state record according to Cal-Hi Sports), 75-foot passes and highlight dunks were great, but the discipline displayed with two 14-year-old starters was an underrated aspect of Chino Hills’ success. This team won’t be on a tightrope and Gilling believes Gelo Ball will have some 50-point games as the offensive focal point. Melo Ball is three inches taller, while Scott has improved his perimeter game. Add in Okongwu’s selfless approach, sparkplug Ofure Ujadughele, a 6-foot-3 junior transfer from Millikan-Long Beach, Andre Ball’s increased confidence and expected production, and the contributions of role players such as 5-foot-9 sophomore Phaquon Davis, and it’s apparent this team will win tons of games. In fact, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see the Huskies repeat as CIF Open Division champs. The games will still be faced-paced and exciting, but wins will come with less reliance on a single player. “I think they will be more physical this year because Eli, Gelo, Dre and O are all much bigger and stronger,” Baik said after watching them during fall leagues. “Andre Ball and the transfer from Millikan (Ofure) makes them really deep. Ofure is really good.” Okongwu is as blunt in summing up the 2016-17 Huskies as he is graceful and humble in his spirited approach to the game. As he learned off the court over the past two years, life goes on — and so will this new-look Chino Hills team. “We just lost one player,” he said. “One player can’t change the entire makeup of a team. We’re all Div. I players, we just have to do more work and we’ll be perfectly fine.” ✪

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5. Crespi-Encino (33-4) The Celts graduated just five seniors from a 16-man roster that won 33 games a season ago. One of those seniors was current USC freshman De’Anthony Melton, who won’t be easy to replace, but plenty of talent returns. Junior point guard Brandon Williams (15.8 points per game last season) will lead a talented backcourt that includes fellow junior Taj Regans. If Crespi has any big questions marks it’s post presence.

6. Fairfax-L.A. (30-5) Returning Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass selection Ethan Anderson will lead a young and talented roster for new coach Steve Baik, who came over from Chino Hills to become the Lions first new coach in three and a half decades. He replaced legendary Harvey Kitani (754 career wins)

David Singleton 1. Bishop Montgomery-Torrance (28-3) Five returning starters and a ridiculously talented backcourt gave the Knights the edge when picking No. 1. Last year’s CIF SoCal Open Div. runner-up (to mythical national champ Chino Hills) has all the attributes of a team poised for a state title run. The Knights can score inside, outside and play relentless defense. The backcourt has 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard Gianni Hunt, and a pair of 6-foot-4 wings who are both Mr. State Basketball candidates: Oregon State-bound Ethan Thompson and David Singleton, who holds offers from Arizona State, Gonzaga, Oregon, USC and UConn. The teams depth and athleticism gets a good test right out of the gate when it faces Preseason NorCal No. 2 Bishop O’Dowd in the NorCal Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 26 at Newark Memorial High. 2. Chino Hills (35-0) Yes, the Huskies are replacing a consensus national player of the year in Lonzo Ball, but every other major contributor for last year’s mythical national champion is back. That was enough for us. Brothers Li’Angelo and La’Melo Ball return after combining to average 43.6 points per game last season. Fellow returning starters include the versatile Eli Scott and last year’s Cal-Hi Sports Freshman of the Year, 6-9 post Onyeka Okongwu. Nobody should be surprised if the Huskies spend a long stretch of this season in the No. 1 spot. 3. Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth (26-5) Trailblazers are talented enough for the top spot, but haven’t proved to be quite as consistent. That said, they’ll have every chance to prove it this season behind four returning starters, Arizona State-bound PG Remy Martin, San Diego State-bound guard Adam Seiko, UCLA-bound post Cody Riley and three-year starting guard Terrance McBride. They have also added 6-10 junior post Marvin Bagley III, who is regarded as one of the top recruits in the nation for the 2018 class. Plenty of tests dot the Blazers schedule, so it won’t take long to find out how ready Sierra Canyon is for primetime. 4. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (27-5) The Monarchs are just one year removed from being in the Open Div. final, where Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland needed overtime to vanquish them. A good amount of experience returns for this team, including 6-7 senior forward Justin Sueing and lauded 6-0 junior point guard Spencer Freedman. There’s no shortage in size for this group as they also boast 6-9 junior Michael Wang and 6-5 junior swingman Harrison Butler.

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7. Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (21-7) The top-ranked San Diego school to start the season, the Dons boast the best player in the section in expected-McDonald’s All-American Brandon McCoy. The 7-0 center is among the most recruited players in the nation after posting 21.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.6(!) blocks per game a year ago. He’s a perfect centerpiece for an already talented group.

8. Santa Margarita-Rancho SM (18-12) The Eagles return three of their top four scorers from last season, including seniors Kaden Rasheed (15.8 points per game last season) and Andrease Jackson (12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds). Jake Kyman, a 6-7 sophomore, could be one to watch this year after posting 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds a game as a frosh last year.

9. Centennial-Corona (23-9) UCLA commit Jalen Hill leads the way for a more well-rounded Huskies team this season. The 6-9 senior is a four-year starter who averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a season ago. Centennial’s top two scorers from 2015-16 graduated, but seniors such as Paul Viela, Isom Butler and 6-5 UC Davis-bound Gio Nelson, appear poised to step up.

10. Alemany-Mission Hills (24-9) A talented guard-oriented team led by last year’s All-State Underclass selection Ernie Sears and UC Santa Barbara-bound Brandon Dante Davis, got a big boost this season with the arrival of Kenya-native Fred Odhiambo. Odhiambo is a 6-10 junior transfer from Pennsylvania who will make an immediate impact for the Warriors.

11. Santa Monica (29-3) 12. Long Beach Poly (24-11) 13. Foothill Christian-El Cajon (25-5) 14. Roosevelt-Corona (23-9) 15. Oak Park (28-7) 16. Birmingame-Lake Balboa (22-10) 17. St. Augustine-San Diego (24-8) 18. St. John Bosco-Bellflower (21-10) 19. Ridgeview-Bakersfield (28-3) 20. Westchester-L.A. (26-7)

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★★★★ Beginning in January a new boys Top 20 drops every Monday at SportStarsOnline.com

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ETHAN THOMPSON Bishop Montgomery-Torrance, Senior POSITION: Shooting Guard HEIGHT: 6’4” COLLEGE DESTINATION: Oregon State 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists THE RUNDOWN: Thompson Leads the state’s preseason No. 1-ranked team along with Next 5 selection David Singleton. He will almost certainly be in the running for Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball honors with a strong start to the season. A skilled offensive player, and one of SoCal’s best outside shooters, he also shines on the ball defensively. Will likely join his older brother Stevie Jr. and father (L.A. Crenshaw ’85-‘86) as a two-time All-State choice. He will join both of them in Corvallis next fall, where his dad is an assistant.

MARVIN BAGLEY III Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth, Junior POSITION: Power Forward HEIGHT: 6’10” COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: Did not play high school basketball. THE RUNDOWN: Yes, he didn’t play for the Trailblazers last season, but the versatile big man is one of the most talented players to land in SoCal in recent memory, and is considered the No. 1 prospect nationally in the 2018 class by national recruiting services. Sierra Canyon is one of the favorites to win the CIF Open Division state title and has four Division I-caliber seniors in its starting lineup, but Bagley is its most talented player. He was the 2014-15 AZCentral Big Schools State Player of the Year as a mere freshman at Corona del Sol-Tempe (Ariz.).

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LI’ANGELO BALL Chino Hills, Senior POSITION: Small Forward HEIGHT: 6’5” COLLEGE DESTINATION: UCLA 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists THE RUNDOWN: How can you leave the leading scorer on the 2016 mythical national championship team off the SoCal Starting 5? You can’t, as “Gelo” consistently put up big scoring numbers for the 35-0 CIF Open Division champs. A returning 3rd-Team All-State Elite selection by Cal-Hi Sports, Ball has done a good job improving his perimeter skills and will be looked upon to fill the senior leadership void left by his brother Lonzo (UCLA).

JAYLEN HANDS Foothills Christian-El Cajon, Senior POSITION: Point Guard HEIGHT: 6’3” COLLEGE DESTINATION: UCLA 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists THE RUNDOWN: After his junior year at Balboa School in San Diego, Hands returns to a CIF program and is a Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball candidate. Hands rates high because he’s the most explosive PG, not only in SoCal, but on the West Coast. Armed with a sweet-shooting stroke, Hands is also a McDonald’s All-American candidate after a strong showing on the adidas Gauntlet grassroots circuit.

BRANDON MCCOY Cathedral Catholic-San Diego, Senior POSITION: Center HEIGHT: 7’0” COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 21.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.6 blocks THE RUNDOWN: A cinch choice as the only returning player to earn 1st-Team All-State Elite honors from Cal-Hi Sports, which also named him State Junior of the Year. McCoy is a big-game player, as he went for 28 points vs. T.J. Leaf (UCLA) and Foothills Christian, and 23 points and 14 rebound in an upset regional playoff victory over Sierra Canyon. Expect to see him on the 2017 McDonald’s All-American team.

THE NEXT 5 ›› JEMARL BAKER Roosevelt-Eastvale | Shooting Guard | 6’4” | Senior ›› ONYEKA OKONGWU Chino Hills | Power Forward | 6’9” | Sophomore ›› CODY RILEY Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth | Small Forward | 6’8” | Senior ›› DAVID SINGLETON Bishop Montgomery-Torrance | Guard | 6’4” | Junior ›› BRANDON WILLIAMS Crespi-Encino | Guard | 6’1” | Junior

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November 23, 2016

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go the dis A Pair Of Scenic And Fun Running Events Highlight The Onset Of 2017 In The Redding And Shasta Lake Region

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ffectionately referred to as “26.2 With A View,” the Redding Marathon returns for another year of distance running among some of Northern California’s most scenic landscapes and landmarks. January 15 is the date circled by several distance running enthusiasts who will line up near the Shasta Dam for the start of the Redding Marathon, an event that features a breathtaking 26.2 mile jaunt across some of Northern California’s finest landscape. Competitors can take a free bus to the start of the Redding Marathon. Enjoy the warmth of the Visitor‘s Center located near the start of the race and be ready for an 8 a.m. start. Runners enjoy a scenic journey downstream along the Sacramento River on paved running trails. Watch for bald eagles, osprey and other wildlife. Athletes competing in the Redding Marathon will cross over the Shasta Dam, through an old railroad tunnel and across the historic Diestelhorst Bridge, the Ribbon Suspension Bridge and to the finish line located on the famous Sundial Bridge. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding. Opened on July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as access to Redding‘s Sacramento River Trail system. Not quite prepared for marathon distance? That’s fine. Take part in the three-leg marathon relay, or participate in the Sundial 5K which begins at 9 a.m. Also, for those serious runners, it’s worth noting that the Redding Marathon is an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Competitors can register online right now at reddingmarathon.org

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CLIKAPUDI TRAIL RUNS Just two weeks before the Redding Marathon takes place, outdoor enthusiasts can spend New Year’s Day taking part in the Clikapudi Trail Runs which occurs along the shores of Shasta Lake. The Trail Runs offer a variety of distances: a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. Races begin at 10 a.m. at the the Jones Valley Boat Ramp approximately 10 miles north of Bella Vista. The trail is a seven-mile loop on the south shore of the lake. Runners begin on a one-mile stretch of road to the trail crossing where 5K runners turn right, and 10K and half-marathon runners go left. The road portions of the race feature gently rolling hills. The 5K portion of trail is relatively flat single track and the 10K portion is mostly flat with three medium climbs along the way. All races have a 1:30 p.m. cut-off time and half-marathon participants must finish the first lap by noon or they will only be given credit for a 10K. Walkers and hikers are each welcome in the 5K and 10K. Registration is open and greatly favors those who sign up early. Competitors who register before Dec. 1 will receive the greatest discount ($17 for 5K, $22 for 10K and $33 for half-marathon). Registering between Dec. 1-30 will still save you some money ($24/$33/$44). Prices will be $30/$40/$50 on Dec. 31 and race day. Visit shastatrailruns.com/clikapudi/ to sign up now. ✪

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stance ›››› Hiking & Biking Trails Sacramento River Trail Turtle Bay East Trail Sacramento River-Rail Trail Fisherman’s Trail Hilltop to Sundial Bridge Trail Arboretum Loop Trail Buenaventura Trail

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Upper Sacramento Ditch Trail Lower Sacramento Ditch Trail Chamise Peak Trail Flanagan Trail Hornbeck Trail Francis Berg Trail (FB) Whiskeytown Area Trails

Mule Ridge & Swasey Trails Cloverdale Loop Piety Hill Loop Clear Creek Greenway Trail Parkview Trail John Reginato River Access

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Salt Creek Trail Middle Creek Trail Blue Gravel Mine Trail Westside Trails Lema Ranch Trails Churn Creek Trails Clover Creek Trail

November 23, 2016

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With Four Returning Starters From A 30-Win Team, Division-I Talent Across The Floor, And An Unselfish Team Concept — Clovis West Is In Control Story by Mark Tennis | Photos by Samuel Stringer

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perfect game for the Clovis West-Fresno girls basketball team would be 15 points each for all five starters, plus another 15 off the bench for a total of 85, all while holding a quality opponent below 50. And if there’s ever been a Golden Eagles team that coach Craig Campbell can consistently get that type of performance from, it’s the one he’s been assembling for the 2016-17 season. Clovis West returns four starters from last year’s team that finished 30-4 and at No. 8 in the final state rankings. There’s also the addition of a key transfer, and the continued improvement of an all-state freshman, that has a buzz of excitement that’s never been higher since Campbell arrived 12 years ago from Reno. “It’s definitely another level (of media attention) and definitely a special group that deserves it,” said Campbell, whose team received a No. 10 preseason national ranking from USA Today just two hours before he talked on the phone to Cal-Hi Sports and SportStars. “This group really does say, when I tell them we’re going to do something for three days, ‘Why not four?’ Their talent and coachability is what has taken them to the next level.” Megan Anderson, a 6-foot-1 senior wing who has signed with San Jose State, is the team’s top returning scorer at 13 points per game. Also headed to SJSU is 5-foot-6 senior point guard Danae Marquez, who was the team’s floor leader (8.6 ppg, 3.3 assists) and the Fresno Bee’s Player of the Year. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, and like us on Facebook!

The other two returning starters are 5-foot-9 senior guard Sarah Bates, who is bound for UC Santa Barbara after averaging 12.9 points per game as a junior, and 6-foot, athletic wing Bre’yanna Sanders, who is headed to Arizona State after averaging 11 points last season. Campbell’s daughter, Maddie, is earning multiple Div. I college offers as well. She came off the bench as a freshman last year, but did enough against the team’s toughest opponents to earn a spot on the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Freshman team. The only player to graduate was athletic forward Aysha Kirkland, who is now at Alcorn State. Joining the fold partly to replace her will be 6-foot forward Tess Amundsen, who transferred in from Clovis North-Fresno. Amundsen has signed with Boise State and was one of the top scorers in the CIF Central Section as a junior. “It’s cool, awesome and humbling to be in national rankings,” Marquez said. “But like I tweeted, we also have to ignore the hype. We don’t want to lose sight of what we want to do by the end of the season.” Added Bates when asked what the girls might actually do to stay focused and not become over-confident: “It’s just good for us to stay together, do things together. At the end of the day, it’s only the rankings at the end that matter.” The Golden Eagles begin their season by hosting their own tournament on Dec. 1-3 where top competition could come from traditional NorCal powers Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills and

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Carondelet-Concord. They’ll next travel to Hawaii for the Iolani tourney, and then just before Christmas, head to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions. Judging by some of the preseason rankings, it’s likely that Clovis West will be placed in the top bracket at the Nike TOC, which is the one St. Mary’s-Stockton won last year en route to being No. 1 in the nation until it suffered an upset loss in the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinals to Pinewood-Los Altos Hills. And speaking of the Open Division, that’s been a sore spot for Campbell since the advent of the division for the 201213 season. He’s glad this year’s team will probably have the chance to go far in that division, but has difficulty understanding some of the guidelines. “If the intent is to have the 16 best teams in the state, then I’m all for it,” he said. “But when they put a cap on the Southern Section for just four teams, then everyone knows there are a lot of the 16 best teams that aren’t in it. “For some years, we’ve felt like the sacrificial lambs. But last year we deserved to be there. What’s hard is for everybody in it to see other teams hanging state championship banners in their gym who aren’t in it.” Still, Campbell and his girls know that to add credence to the perception that a team from Fresno can be truly be among the top five in the state, wins will be required over some of those other top teams. “We know we haven’t done anything amazing yet,” Bates said. “But we have a great group, great coaches and will just trust the process.” In last year’s SoCal Open Division, Clovis West defeated Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth in the quarterfinals before losing to Long Beach Poly in the semifinals. The Jackrabbits then lost to eventual CIF Open Division champion Chaminade-West

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Hills. In the season before, Chaminade ended Clovis West’s season with a 79-40 win. There is a possibility for this year’s Open Division that a team from the CIF Central Section could be placed in the northern bracket instead of the southern. If the Golden Eagles do as well as many analysts think they’ll do, however, they probably would stay in the south. “It would have been nice to know about this before we set up our schedule,” Campbell said. “We set it up thinking we’d be in the south. Now we won’t know for sure until that Sunday when the brackets come out.” Perhaps the Golden Eagles’ best attribute is their willingness to share the ball. Since Campbell arrived from Reno High (where he won one Nevada state title and was runner-up three times), balanced scoring has been a trademark. Most Clovis West leading scorers often only average 13 to 15 per game. “Our success as a team overshadows a team that may have someone who scores 30 or 35 points per game,” Marquez said. “We know we’re all capable of doing something like that. But if we become selfish, we wouldn’t have the success we’ve had.” Three of the players — Anderson, Marquez and Sanders — also have been playing together in Campbell’s AAU program since they were in the fourth grade. Bates joined them as a freshman. “It’s really a culture we’ve created for sharing, making the extra pass and defense,” Campbell said. “In practice, our kids earn more points for a deflection and assist than a basket. And if everybody is a threat, then when a lot of teams try to take out our first or second options, that just makes us harder to defend.” Perhaps the last thing they’ll share together is a state title. ✪

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Bre’yanna Sanders

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1. Long Beach Poly (27-5): The Jackrabbits missed going to the CIF Open Division title game on a 3-point buzzer-beater in a SoCal Open Championship loss to Chaminade. Otherwise, they might have added a second CIF Open title and seventh state championship for Coach Carl Buggs. Instead, they finished No. 4 in the final Cal-Hi Sports rankings and now have some unfinished business with what on paper is a better team than last year’s. Poly returns its three top scorers plus a whole slew of role players who always seem to step up year after year. USC-committed senior Ayanna Clark (13.4 points per game, 9.9 rebounds) is the biggest piece back along with senior guard Jasmine Jones (13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals) with senior Danae Miller (10.1 points) holding down the point.

Four seniors were freshmen on the Long Beach Poly team that celebrated a 2013-14 CIF Open Division Title.

2. Clovis West-Fresno (30-4): The Golden Eagles lost 53-44 at Long Beach Poly in the SoCal Open semifinals, and just like the Jackrabbits, they return practically everyone. Besides the loss to Poly, the Central Section’s top team had two losses to St. Mary’s-Stockton and a 2-point loss to Arizona-No. 2 Hamilton-Chandler. Coach Craig Campbell returns two girls that made the SportStars SoCal Top 10 preseason list, UC Santa Barbara-bound Sarah Bates and Arizona-committed Bre’yanna Sanders, as well as San Jose State-bound Megan Anderson who just missed the top 10 list.

3. Mission Hills-San Marcos (29-4): Washington-bound Khayla Rooks returns after averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds last season. And although second-leading scorer Madison Adams graduated, coach Christopher Kroesch picked up a jewel with the arrival of 5-10 junior Hailey McCoy from Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills where she averaged 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. Kroesch is not taking the team out of the San Diego area until the MLK Showcase at St. Mary’s-Stockton where they face Oak Ridge and Salesian. 4. Windward-Los Angeles (20-6): Former Stanford star and Wildcats coach Vanessa Nygaard has had solid teams since taking the helm in 2012 and already has a very solid 100-21 record in four years. Last year’s Southern Section Open Div. semifinalists should be a team to be reckoned with next season as well with reining Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year Charisma Osborne returning along with several other top underclass players.

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5. La Jolla Country Day-La Jolla (24-6): Had incoming freshman sensation Te-Hina Paopao not suffered a late summer knee injury, the Torreys would be No. 2 in these rankings. Instead they still make the top five based on the return of Cal-committed senior Alaysia Styles (17.7 points, 9.4 rebounds), who has improved her game immensely since last season, and is currently the ESPN No. 8 rated wing in the country. Other top returners include juniors Jayda Villareal, Kiera Oakry, Bianca Notarainni and Kendal Ellenbeck.

6. Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth (23-8): Coach Alicia Komaki returns just about everyone including SportStars SoCal preseason top 10 and Long Beach State-bound Alexis Griggsby. Komaki and her girls are the top team from the San Fernando Valley by a hair over Chaminade and could make some noise this year.

★★★★ Beginning in January

a new girls Top 20 drops every Tuesday at SportStarsOnline.com

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Melissa Wright 7. Chaminade-West Hills (31-4): How good will the Eagles be after losing the dynamic Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist duo of Valerie Higgins (USC) and Leaonna Odom (Duke)? The answer is certainly a question mark. For Chaminade to do well, seniors Melissa Wright and Isabel Newman will need to play like they did in the CIF Open title game victory over Miramonte-Orinda.

8. Bishops-La Jolla (25-8): Everything for the Knights starts with Destiny Littleton, arguably the top girls player in the state to open the year. Her averages last year were videogameish (35.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 2.9 assists). Fellow senior Isabel Aguirre (142 3-pointers last season) also returns, along with a youth movement that includes five freshmen.

9. Troy-Fullerton (26-6): The Warriors get the nod to start as the top team in Orange County. Coach Roger Anderson will have some solid players returning but loses a lot as well. Leading the way will be the junior duo of leading scorer Kianna Smith who averaged 14.7 points and 3.3 assists last year, and Naomi Hunt (10.6 points, 6.9 rebounds).

10. Ventura (23-10): Veteran coach Ann Larson has had some good teams, but this year’s team — with every major contributor back from the Southern Section Div. I-AA champions — may be her best. The top returners are 6-1 senior forward Aubry Knight, 6-2 senior center Barbara Rangel and guard Savannah Page, all of whom averaged double figures last year.

11. Alemany-Mission Hills (24-11) 12. Harvard -Westlake-Studio City (21-11) 13. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (27-6) 14. Valencia (22-5) 15. Oaks Christian-Westlake Village (22-9) 16. Brea-Olinda-Brea (29-4) 17. Fairmont Prep-Anaheim (21-9) 18. Palisades-Pacific Palisades (24-9) 19. Etiwanda (18-11) 20. Serra-Gardena (22-10)

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November 23, 2016

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KHAYLA ROOKS ALAYSIA STYLES La Jolla Country Day-La Jolla, Senior POSITION: Wing HEIGHT: 6’3” COLLEGE DESTINATION: California 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 17.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.6 steals THE RUNDOWN: No one in California had a better showing during the NCAA viewing periods since last season ended than the girl they call “Birdy.” Some of that had to do with incoming freshman Te-Hina Paopao who won’t be with her this season after suffering a knee injury. Even so, behind the explosive, long, athletic, rimattacking ESPN No. 8-ranked wing, the Torreys are still going to be one of the top teams in Southern California. The loss of Paopao will likely lead to Birdy handling the ball a lot more.

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Mission Hills-San Marcos, Senior POSITION: Forward HEIGHT: 6’1” COLLEGE DESTINATION: Washington 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 20 points, 12 rebounds THE RUNDOWN: She had a tough summer after her father, former Arizona and 12-year NBA star Sean Rooks passed away just prior to the July NCAA viewing period. However, the runner-up to Littleton for San Diego Section Player of the Year is moving on in her career, and by recently committing to Washington she will be following in the Pac-12 footsteps of her father and 7-foot-2 older brother Kameron Rooks, a junior at Cal. Lineage is fine but Rooks has carved out her own spot after leading the Grizzlies to a SDS Open Division title with a victory over La Jolla Country Day and then a win over Windward-Los Angeles in the SoCal Open Division playoffs before an eventual loss to CIF Open Division-champion Chaminade-West Hills.

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AYANNA CLARK Long Beach Poly-Long Beach, Senior POSITION: Post HEIGHT: 6’3” COLLEGE DESTINATION: USC 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 13.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.8 blocks THE RUNDOWN: Not only is Clark the best big girl in Southern California and the entire state, ESPN rates her as the No. 1 post in the nation and No. 17 player overall. Clark has immense strength and when she gets the ball in the block it’s almost automatic — and a big reason she shot 60-percent from the field last season. Despite her physicality she only fouled out twice last year. With her leading a solid core of returners, Poly is by far the best team in Southern California and one of the favorites in this year’s Open Division.

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JASMINE JONES Long Beach Poly-Long Beach, Senior POSITION: Forward HEIGHT: 6’1” COLLEGE DESTINATION: LoyolaMarymount 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals, 1.8 assists THE RUNDOWN: The Long Beach Press Telegram made her its choice for Player of the Year over Ayanna Clark based on its assessment of her allaround game, and it’s hard to argue. She only appeared in 21 games last season due to sit-out rules following her transfer from Torrance West, meaning she missed the major tournaments like the Nike TOC and the West Coast Jamboree where the Jackrabbits won the Platinum Division without her. Despite missing time, the ESPN No. 13 ranked forward still came through big time for the Jackrabbits.

DESTINY LITTLETON The Bishop’s School-La Jolla, Senior POSITION: Guard HEIGHT: 5’9” COLLEGE DESTINATION: USC 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 35.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 steals, 2.9 assists THE RUNDOWN: If the former Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year, State Sophomore of the Year and this past season’s State Junior of the Year and Ms. Basketball State Player of the Yearfavorite stays healthy, she will almost assuredly break the Cal-Hi Sports alltime scoring record of 3,837 points set in 2004 by another player from the CIF San Diego Section, Charde Houston of San Diego High. The reigning CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year comes into the season 903 points short of Houston, meaning she still needs to average in the low 30’s this season to break the record.

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THE NEXT 5 ›› JAYDA ADAMS Mater Dei-Santa Ana | Guard | 5’10” | Senior ›› SARAH BATES Clovis West-Fresno | Guard | 5’9” | Senior ›› ALEXIS GRIGGSBY Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth | Guard | 5’8” | Senior ›› DANAE MILLER Long Beach Poly-Long Beach | Guard | 5’8” | Senior ›› BRE’YANNA SANDERS (ABOVE) Clovis West-Fresno | Wing | 6’0” | Senior

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Profile for Sport Stars Magazine

SoCal Issue 125 Nov. 23, 2016  

SoCal Issue 125 Nov. 23, 2016  

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