GHS wins Marine League boys’ basketball title

Gardena's Darrell Franklin gets pressured by a San Pedro player as he attempts a basket in last week's Marine League boys' basketball game. The Panthers defeated the Pirates 56-48, then clinched the league crown with a forfeit win over Banning on Friday. Gardena began the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I playoffs at home against Granada Hills Kennedy High on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Snyder)

By Joe Snyder

Gardena High’s boys’ basketball team closed out its regular season play on a good note by winning the Marine League championship, but it did not even need to play last Friday’s league finale at Banning in Wilmington.

That was because the Pilots had a player shortage forcing them to forfeit the contest to the Panthers. Two days earlier at San Pedro, Gardena was able to hold off the Pirates for a 56-48 win that cinched, at least, a tie for the Marine crown.

As in several other league games, the Panthers (18-9 overall, 8-2 in Marine) jumped off to a quick lead of 16-5 after the first quarter, 26-14 at halftime and 39-26 after three periods but had to hang on. Gardena led by as many as 16 points but San Pedro managed to get as close as seven points before key baskets and free throws by Willie Denham, Dwayne Boston and Promise Madubugaub put the game away for Gardena.

The 6-foot-10 Madubugaub was a key factor for the Panthers with 20 rebounds, six blocked shots and 15 points.

“With our big kid, we had an advantage,” Gardena head coach Ernie Carr said. “We needed it to close games.”

Boston led the Panthers’ scoring with 18 points. Darrell Franklin added 10 points. Denham scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter.

Wayne Simpson led San Pedro with 17 points.

Gardena moved on to open the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I playoffs at home against John F. Kennedy High from Granada Hills on Wednesday at home. The Panthers are seeded fifth in Division I while the Cougars are 12th. If Gardena wins, it will either visit No. 4 Fairfax or host league foe and No. 13 Carson Friday at 7 p.m. The semifinals are on Feb. 16 and the finals on Feb. 24 at the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toro Dome in Carson.


North finishes as Pioneer tri-champion with Wiseburn-Da Vinci and El Segundo

North Torrance High’s boys’ basketball team pulled off a three-way tie for the Pioneer League championship with El Segundo Wiseburn-Da Vinci and El Segundo after stifling cross town rival West Torrance 45-29 in their league finale last Thursday at North.

All three teams finished Pioneer play at 9-3. North ended its regular season at 19-8 overall. The Saxons began the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA as the sixth seed by hosting San Marcos High from Santa Barbara on Wednesday. West was at St. Monica Prep in Montrose. The second round is on Friday. Championship games are on Feb. 23 or 24.

On Jan. 30, North had a poor shooting night in a 47-40 loss at Wiseburn-Da Vinci.

Serra lost both Del Rey League games last week. At Serra on Jan. 29, the Cavaliers fell to Long Beach St. Anthony 70-55.  At St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey on Jan. 31, the Cavaliers fell to 4-6 in Del Rey action with a 72-62 loss.

Despite the loss to the St. Pius X-St. Matthias, the undefeated Del Rey champion at 10-0, Serra had a game-high 30 points from Kayleb Kearse.

Serra entered the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIAA playoffs as an at-large team but seeded third. The Cavaliers started on the road to Indio High on Wednesday.

North easily won the Pioneer League in girls’ basketball crown at 10-0 after a 64-37 home win over West Torrance last Thursday. Two days earlier, the Lady Saxons won by forfeit over Wiseburn-Da Vinci. In a first round game against the Wolves, North enjoyed an overwhelming 78-4 victory.

North had a first round bye and begin the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs in the second round at home against either South Bay rival Lawndale Leuzinger or Los Angeles Marlborough Saturday at 7 p.m. The Lady Saxons are 22-5 overall.

Gardena’s girls ended the Marine League at 6-4 with a pair of home losses to champion San Pedro, 48-33, on Jan. 31 and Wilmington Banning 36-29 last Friday.

Despite the losses, the Lady Panthers enter the CIF-L.A. City Section Division IV playoffs as the top seed beginning on Saturday between the winner of tonight’s first round action against Sun Valley Prep or Math and Science College Prep. Game time is 7 p.m.

Serra’s girls closed the Camino Real League with a split on the road. On Jan. 30, the Lady Cavaliers fell to co-champion La Puente Bishop Amat 61-37. Last Thursday, Serra closed the league with a 49-35 win over host Bishop Conaty-Loretto in L.A.

Ryleigh Boagni led the Cavaliers (6-6 in league and 13-13 overall) with 12 points, followed by Kaioia Snelson with 11 in their win over Bishop Conaty-Loretto.

Serra, which finished fourth in CRL play, begin the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. at Oakwood Academy in North Hollywood. If the Cavaliers win, they play on Saturday at the same time in the second round.


Local talents shine in Lions All-Star football classic

Numerous local prep senior football players had strong showings in last Saturday’s Lions All-Star Classic at El Camino College.

In the end, it was the West all-stars that topped the East 34-22, behind Carson running back Jerry Misaalefua and he showed why he was named the Daily Breeze South Bay Player of the Year in leading the Colts to the Marine League co-championship with Gardena and the semifinals of the CIF-Los Angeles City Open Division semifinals before falling to eventual champion Lake Balboa Birmingham.

Misaalefua rushed for 81 yards and three touchdowns in his final high school game. All three of his TD’s came in the second half. After the West led 13-7 at halftime, Misaalefua helped the West break open the contest on runs of two and eight yards that gave the West a 27-7 lead with 2:01 left in the third quarter.

After the East bounced back with 15 unanswered points, behind Culver City quarterback Sammy Silva, Misaalefua helped the West put the game away with a 3-yard TD run with 1:55 remaining in the contest.

The East cut the West lead to 27-15 on a 35-yard scoring pass from Silva to Narbonne wide receiver Elijah Brown that was followed by a two-point conversion run by Gardena running back Keyshawn Hood. The East got within five points with 4:11 to go in the game on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Silva. That touchdown was set up by a long punt return from Gardena’s Johann Wallace.

The East scored first with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter when Silva tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to his Culver City wide receiver Keenan Carter that was followed by an extra point kick from Torrance’s Christopher Ramirez.

The West came back and cut the East lead to 7-6 on a 35-yard TD pass from South Torrance quarterback Matt Espinoza to his Spartan teammate wide receiver Kyle Brown. The point after touchdown attempt from Charlie O’ Connor (Mira Costa) was no good. The West took a 13-7 lead on a 48-yard TD pass from Espinoza to O’ Connor with 5:30 left before halftime.

For the East, Serra defensive tackle Jaden Ping (Serra), Rhyon Taylor (Gardena), defensive backs Matai Tofaeono and J.D. Noa (North Torrance) and linebacker Trysten Henry (North Torrance) made key plays.

Gardena was co-Marine League champions with Carson but was declared league champions after its 27-7 home win over the Colts on Oct. 20. The Panthers lost to host Garfield 42-6 on Nov. 11 in the L.A. City Open Division semifinals in East L.A. The Cavaliers finished second (behind champion Chatsworth Sierra Canyon) in the Mission League. Serra lost in the Southern Section Division II semifinals to Anaheim Servite 28-20. North won the Pioneer League but lost in the first round of the Southern Section Division VIII playoffs to Covina Charter Oak 21-14 in overtime on Nov. 4.