Madubugwu, Wilson key American stars in South Bay All-Star Classic

Gardena High center Promise Madubugwu puts up a dunk for the Americans in last Friday's South Bay All-Star Boys' Basketball Classic. Madubugwu had 12 points to lead the Americans over the Nationals 121-115. (Photo by Joe Snyder)

By Joe Snyder

For the first time in five seasons, the South Bay Athletic Association was able to stage their All-Star Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Classic at El Camino College.

Under a new format, the same as in football that was held two months ago, it was between the American and National All-Star teams. The Americans were able to sweep both games. In the girls’ contest, the American stars rolled over the Nationals 112-80. The American boys outlasted the National squad 121-115. Both contests had 12-minute quarters enabling better chances that all players saw action.

The boys’ game had good local atmosphere as Gardena High center Promise Madubugwu and Serra’s Jeremiah Wilson each scored 12 points. Madubugwu had three spectacular dunks among those points. Wilson also had several key baskets. Kai Bradley of Pioneer League tri-champion North Torrance, with eventual CIF-Southern Section Division VAA finalist and Southern California Regional playoff team El Segundo and El Segundo Wiseburn-Da Vinci, saw some action scoring three points, on his three-point basket in the second quarter that sparked the Americans to a 65-57 halftime lead.

Madubugwu, who is undecided on his college decision, helped the Panthers win the Marine League title and the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I quarterfinals where the Panthers fell to host Fairfax 58-46 last month. Wilson helped the Cavaliers finish fourth in the highly competitive Del Rey League. Serra advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division III AA playoffs before falling short of Ventura St. Bonaventure 67-64. Serra managed a spot in the Southern California Regional Division III playoffs but lost to host Thousand Oaks 73-53.

Keying the Americans was San Pedro Mary Star’s Christian Taite with a game-high 20 points. Ezekiel Henry of Carson added 19 points. Shane Biscaya from El Segundo chipped in 11 points.

For the Nationals, Serra’s Devin Shell was the game’s third highest scorer with 15 points, 13 of those in the second half that helped the National team take a pair of brief leads. Leading the Nationals was Manhattan Beach Mira Costa’s James Reach with 19 points. Gavin McKinnon (El Segundo) contributed 18 points. Rolling Hills Estate Peninsula’s Keith Williams and James Anderson had 14 and 13 points, in order.

In the girls’ contest, North Torrance’s Leyna Miyake was one of the keys for the Americans with 16 points, the team’s third highest scorer behind leader Madison Watts (Lawndale Leuzinger) with 33 points and Mariah Blake (Westchester) with 23. Center Bailey Enomoto of North also saw some action for the Americans.

For the Nationals, Bella Roosa of CIF-Southern Section Division IVA semifinalist Torrance put in 12 points, the team’s second leading scorer. Reese Noa of North finished with eight points. Leading the Nationals was Redondo High standout Ella Zimmerman with 22 points. Zimmerman keyed the Sea Hawks to their third consecutive Bay League title and the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs where they fell to host Studio City Harvard-Westlake, the eventual Division I finalist and CIF-State Division II champion, 50-47 after taking a 10-point lead (46-36) into the fourth quarter. The Wolverines outscored Redondo 14-1 in the final period.

The Lady Saxons also advanced to the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals where they fell to Corona Santiago. North won the Pioneer League for the second straight season at 10-0.

No players from Gardena, the CIF-L.A. City Section Division IV champion, nor Serra played as both squads were very young. Head Panther coach Tracey McNeil hopes Gardena will do well in a higher division and go further in the CIF-State playoffs next season.

The all-star contest was canceled the past four seasons beginning with 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


North, Serra split league games; Gardena blanked by San Pedro

North Torrance and Serra split their two league games last week.

The Cavaliers won their first Del Rey League game and snapped their five-game losing streak with a 6-3 home win over Pasadena La Salle on March 20. At Arcadia Regional Park last Friday, Serra lost to the Lancers 3-1.

Keying the Cavaliers in their win over La Salle were Daniel Johnson II who went 3-for-4 with one run batted in and Mac Emmersed, who was 2-for-3, drove in three runs and scored once.

Serra takes a two-week spring break but has non-league games at Peninsula High in Rolling Hills Estates today at 3:15 p.m. and Banning in Wilmington next Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Cavaliers resume Del Rey at Bishop Amat in La Puente on April 9.

North also won its first Pioneer League game at home against Wiseburn-Da Vinci from El Segundo 6-1 on March 20. The Saxons fell to the Wolves 14-3 last Friday at Entradero Park in Torrance.

Winning pitcher Makoto Nakawake pitched a one-hitter with 10 strikeouts and four walks in North’s win over Wiseburn-Da Vinci. Colin Anderson went 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs. Isaiah Aguilar was 2-for-3 with two RBI’s and one run.

Last Friday, Ethan Rhodes sparked the Saxons by going 2-for-4 including a double and one run.

North visited cross town rival South Torrance on Wednesday and host the Spartans Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Gardena failed to get a hit in its 10-0 loss to host San Pedro in a Marine League game on March 20.

The Panthers will face Fremont in the Dennis Gilbert RBI (Revival of Baseball in the Inner Cities) Tournament today at 10 a.m. at the Urban Youth Baseball Academy at Compton Community College. Gardena plays Roybal on Friday at the same time. The Panthers resume league action on April 8 versus host  Banning in Wilmington.


Pitching keys North softball team to three Pioneer League victories

North Torrance High’s softball team’s two freshmen pitchers proved dominant as the Saxons rolled over defending Pioneer League champion Torrance, Lawndale and South Torrance last week.

At Torrance on March 19, Isis Jones pitched a complete game three-hitter as the Saxons blanked the Tartars 5-0. A day later at North, Imus Covanubia hurled a one-hitter in the Saxons’ 19-0 blowout of Lawndale. Jones came back with a one-hitter as North crushed South Torrance 14-1 last Friday at North.

The Saxons also had very balanced offense. Against always tough South, Julieta Roa went 3-for-4, drove in two runs and scored three. Jaeyn Tait was 3-for-3 with two RBI’s and two runs. Priscila Iniguez went 2-for-2 with four RBI’s and one run.

Against the Cardinals, Iniguez was 3-for-5 with four RBI’s. Roa went 4-for-5, drove in one run, and scored three. Asia Anetema had a double and drove in four runs.

Iniguez went 2-for-4 with three RBI’s and one run in North’s key win over the Tartars. Roa went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.

North had a Pioneer League showdown at West Torrance on Wednesday. The Warriors are coming off winning the Torrance National Tournament, one of the top prep softball classics in California and even the United States, on March 16.  The Saxons host another very good team in El Segundo Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Gardena has enjoyed success the past few seasons, that included back-to-back CIF-Los Angeles City Section titles in 2019 (Division III) and 2021 (Division II), but have a whole new team this year with virtually no experience and it showed as the Lady Panthers are 0-3 including a 17-2 home Marine League loss to Harbor City Narbonne last Thursday.

In its opener on March 13 at Gardena, the Panthers were shut out by Huntington Park Marquez 21-0 and, also at home on March 18, Gardena fell to Downtown Los Angeles Santee 35-2.

The Panthers’ next Marine game is at Banning in Wilmington next Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.

Serra’s games have not been reported.