Local basketball teams gain experience in tournament play
By Randy Angel
Leading up to the opening of the Bay League season on January 9, 2018, local basketball teams are not only preparing just for the league race, but for deep runs in the CIF playoffs by playing in various high-caliber tournaments.
Mira Costa’s boys team begins competition in the 12-team Corona del Mar Beach Bash against Costa Mesa on Tuesday and plays Santa Margarita on Wednesday. The Mustangs will host Beverly Hills in a non-league game Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.
Coach Jeff Amaral’s Mira Costa team went 2-2 in its own Pacific Shores Tournament, defeating Gardena 62-53 and Torrance 58-55 before losing to Rolling Hills Prep 57-46 and West Torrance 69-59.
Lucas Hobbs led the Mustangs in scoring with 47 points (11.8 average per game) including seven 3-pointers. Playing in only three games Morgan Clark averaged 13 points per game and also had seven trifectas. Tommy Waller averaged nine points per game and recorded 17 rebounds, 12 assists and six steals in the tournament. Henry Householter averaged 8.3 points per game and posted 20 rebounds.
“We had strong teams in the tournament including three CIF champions in Brentwood, Rolling Hills Prep and West Torrance,” Amaral said. “Also competing was LA City champion Gardena and runner-up Carson.”
Amaral considers his Mustangs are an up-tempo with a lot of skill and resiliency.
Key players include Clark, a senior who is a three year varsity player and two-time captain and point guard Waller. Newcomers include juniors Householter (postman) and Hobbs (guard).
Redondo’s boys team (3-1) opened the season with a third-place finish in its own Ryse Williams Pacific Shores Tournament.
Leading the team in scoring were Zekiah LoVett and Quinn Collins, who averaged 20.8 and 16 points per game, respectively. Eleven of LoVett’s baskets were 3-pointers and Collins had a team-high 26 rebounds.
The Sea Hawks play at Camarillo Tuesday at 7 p.m. before heading to Las Vegas to compete in the Tarkanian Classic Dec. 20-23. Redondo will be playing in the Orleans Division opening with Durango (Nev,). Other teams in the bracket include Timpview (Utah), Sheldon, Foothill (Nev.), Crean Lutheran, Grandview (Colo.), GW Carver (Ala.) Southwind (Tenn.), East (Utah), Coronado (Nev.) Maranatha, Prestonwood (Tex.), John Muir, Chaparral (Colo.) and Camarillo.
Redondo’s girls team will also be competing in the Tarkanian Classic starting with a game against Bingham (Utah) on Wednesday, Dec. 20
In their own Battle at the Beach tournament, the Sea Hawks lost to Serra 68-50, beat Lynwood 59-55 then fell to Bishop Montgomery 55-46 and to West 52-47.
Mira Costa’s girls squad begins competition in the Segerstrom Tournament Monday against Cypress and Wednesday versus Corona del Mar.
In the Keppel Gary Houston Invitational, Mira Costa defeated Bassett 49-16 before losing to Eagle Rock 39-18, Arcadia 53-41 and El Rancho 47-32.
Mira Costa returns six varsity players from last year’s team, which reached the Division 1A CIF quarterfinals and won a share of the Bay League title.
The team will be led by three guards – Kelli Toyooka, Haley Herdman, and Kira Escovar – who have played a big role in the team’s success over the last two seasons.
“All three have made significant contributions in the backcourt, and will be instrumental this season,” Mira Costa head coach John Lapham said. “Two other varsity returners, Juliana Chen and Nicole Matsumoto, will likely start and will be counted on for scoring and rebounding. Kiley Knight, the last returning varsity player, is expected to play a big role when she returns from an ankle injury in January.”
Joining the team as a foreign exchange student is Gloria Bianchi, a 5’3” guard from Italy. Other varsity players moving up from the JV team are Kaylee Lo, Kim Waller, Christine Garrison, Skylar Herdman, Alyssa Toyooka, and Ella Erich.
“While we lost a lot of talent to graduation, we think the returning players should give us a good opportunity to compete for the Bay League title and make another deep run in the CIF playoffs,” Lapham added.
Schedules and results are available at maxpreps.com.
by Randy Angel