Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Boys Hoops: CdM Shootout Recap

Samuel Pereira of Fairmont Prep of Anaheim. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

So Cal Sidelines writer Manny Alvarez got an early look at some of the top boys basketball teams in So Cal at the CdM Shootout at Corona del Mar High of Newport Beach a few weeks ago. Here’s Manny’s report:

Fairmont Prep of Anaheim 72, Peninsula of Rancho Hills Estates 68

The Lady Huskies will have some company on the Fairmont Prep hardwood this winter.

Led by Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Montebello-transfer Abel Jimenez and his 15 points and four steals, the Huskies got past Peninsula with some emerging stars for the upcoming season. Daniel Chatman scored 13 points, Samuel Pereira had 12 points and four steals, Jeffery Atobra had 11 points and eight boards, Mathiello Barros had 10 rebounds and nine points and Mawutur Nogoson added eight points. A new look Fairmont Prep squad could be a no contest in the Express-Gold League.

“They brought me in from JSerra Catholic High School last year,” Fairmont Prep coach Joedy Gardner said. “Last season was my first year and this season, we brought in some international kids. We have some international flavor. We did win league last season and got to CIF-SS (playoffs). We are just building our program. We are very young. We had two seniors last year. We have a kid, Pape Sesay, who is 6-9. He was not here. He’s with Dream Vision. He’s an incoming freshman. We have a couple transfer, Abel is coming from Cantwell-Sacred Heart. We’re young. Both our bigs are sophomores. This is a fresh team, but it is going to take a little bit of time for us to gel and get some chemistry. Every team we play has running plays and out of bounds plays. We are just motion, playing basketball and having fun. We are winning some games, but it is not really about the winning, it is about learning to play together.”

If Fairmont Prep hasn’t gelled yet, then this team is going to be scary and fun to watch when it does. The Huskies have a coach that has faced tough challenges when he coached JSerra in the brutal Trinity League. The Express-Gold League is nowhere near the caliber of the Trinity League and that will make this run for Gardner easy if the pieces fall into place. The Huskies biggest challenge in league could end up coming from Southlands Christian of Walnut, but they should handle that.

Wony’a Singleton of Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Hopefully, Fairmont gets battle-tested in nonleague play. This kind of reminds me of Saddleback Valley Christian of San Juan Capistrano, a team that dominates its and looks for a tough nonleague schedule. The Huskies have the potential to be another SVC. What will help the Huskies is Jimenez, who is coming from a team that plays a tough schedule and went to the CIF-SS quarterfinals last season. Chatman and Pereira will be key players on the court for Fairmont along with Sesay in the post. This will be a very exciting team to watch come December.

Peninsula returns one starter and that returning starter shined, but Panthers need other players to step up around him. Regardless, Wony’a Singleton led the Panthers with 21 points and six rebounds while Caleb Hall scored 19 points. JD Plough scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards for Peninsula, which is hoping to be more than just one-dimensional team.

“We have our kid, Wony’a, but we have to get other guys involved,” Peninsula coach Ryan Quinlan said. “This can’t be the Wony’a show. They’re coming along offensively, but we have a long way to go defensively. We are coming. We have a really good young team.”

Peninsula won 20 games last season and finished in second place in the Bay League, which features Redondo Union of Redondo Beach. The Panthers were a game short of the CIF-SS finals, but this will be a different season for Peninsula with only one starter back. Singleton only has four varsity teammates back, so this has the looks of a rebuilding season. Singleton will hope to get help outside of Hall and Plough this season because he’s the guy to stop. Redondo Union will be tough to catch up to, but Peninsula could stay in the top half of the Bay League, battling with Inglewood, Palos Verdes of Palos Verdes Estates and Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach for second and third place in league. This seems like a good year to rebuild for the Panthers.

Riverside Poly 54, Corona del Mar of Newport Beach 53

Lamont Butler of Riverside Poly. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Bears only had one lead in the game, but it was the lead that mattered most. Lavele Johnson’s put back with 3 seconds left gave Poly the lead. After a CdM timeout, Jack Garza threw up a quick 3-pointer, but missed. Ben Coffman went up for a quick put back and made it, but time had expired, giving Poly the victory.

Lamont Butler led the Bears with 15 points and five rebounds, Tobin Kund scored 10 points, Trent Thornton grabbed eight rebounds to go with six points and Johnson scored six points, including the last two to win it for the Bears. Poly, which lost a senior after losing a star freshman to Centennial of Corona mid-season. Butler is the Bears superstar and they will need him in a very tough Inland Valley League.

“For us, we spent June on individual development,” Poly associate head coach Justin Downer said. “We don’t go over a lot of zone offense and defensive concepts, which is frustrating, especially when you go up against a guy like (DJ) Rodman. We aren’t used to facing a caliber player like that. He’s a great player. For us, it is all about faking it and giving it our best effort through five days of development and four days of weights. That’s our focus and I’m proud of our guys effort. We are just going to keep getting better every day.”

DJ Rodman of Corona del Mar of Newport Beach. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Bears are coming off a roller coaster season. Riverside Poly got off to a great start, but lost star freshman DJ Davis, who transferred to Centennial of Corona midseason. The Bears did have another star freshman in Butler and he is back. Kund, Thornton and Johnson should provide some big help for the Bears in one of the toughest leagues in the Inland Empire. Poly knows it has to face a brutal Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley squad and a JW North of Riverside team that returns four starters.

The Sea Kings went to their star guy as expected and he delivered once again. DJ Rodman led CdM with 28 points and seven rebounds. Ben Coffman had seven points and six rebounds and Jack Garza grabbed seven boards with his five points for the Sea Kings, who return a lot of experienced players this season, but hope to find some more weapons this summer.

“We are trying to see who can step up in the season,” Rodman said. “We are seeing who fits well with the program.”

The Sea Kings only lost one starter in Mitch Haly and their sixth man in Chase Garbers, who is playing quarterback for Cal. CdM will have Rodman back and he has gotten better this summer. Coffman is another key returner along with Kevin Kobrine, John Humphreys and Shan Dharod, who are all back for CdM. Garza will try and battle for a starting spot, but if he doesn’t start, he will be a key man off the bench. This will be a scary team in Orange County, which is bad news for the Pacific Coast League. CdM returns the most in the PCL with Northwood of Irvine returning two key starters, Woodbridge or Irvine losing their top three scorers and University of Irvine only returning two starters. Beckman of Irvine does return four starters, but the Sea Kings will be too strong for them. CdM with Rodman is going to be a force this winter.

Redondo Union of Redondo Beach 74, Foothill of Santa Ana 49

Quinn Collins of Redondo Union of Redondo Beach. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Seahawks lost three key seniors and will begin the season with a new head coach for the third consecutive year. So far, Redondo Union is off to a good start.

Big man Quinn Collins led the Seahawks with 19 points and 12 rebounds, Zekiah Lovett scored 12 points, Josh Maduno had nine points and six rebounds, Mike Solimando had nine points and Jayden Winfrey scored six points for Redondo Union. The Seahawks lost six seniors and are looking for the returning roster to step into the roles of three of the key open spots.

“We really just started a couple weeks ago,” Redondo Union coach Ali Parvez said. “I’m fortunate to be taking over a program that has a great culture and great people in the community. When I came in, we hit the ground running. That was one-and-a-half practices. We don’t have a set offense and we haven’t talked about defensive rotations. We are just giving the kids a chance to play and we are getting our players to play. As good as Zekiah and Quinn were, Jayden was our sparkplug. I think he did a great job of getting in there with our second group and really getting us going. We were pretty flat in the first half. I thought Jayden was a great sparkplug. Quinn and Zekiah being consistant really helped us out.”

The Seahawks are coming off their fifth straight CIF So Cal Regional appearance, but are also going in with their third coach in three years. Parvez is familiar with Redondo Union, coaching at Leuzinger from 2010-2015. Parvez will have Lovett and Collins back with help from Winfrey, Maduno and Solimando. Redondo Union lost six seniors, including three starters. Despite losing Jailen Moore, Tyler Murrell and the late Ryse Williams, the Seahawks remain the favorites again in the Bay League and have a good shot at a sixth straight trip to the So Cal Regionals.

Brandon Green of Foothill of Santa Ana. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Knights are looking for a new leader, but return four starters, so it shouldn’t be a difficult task. Brandon Green led Foothill with 11 points and Brooks Mallory added nine points. Despite the tough loss, Foothill returns some starters, but will need some role players off the bench.

“The guys are working hard,” Foothill coach Zach Johnson said. “We are really trying to push the tempo a little bit, so they have been working really hard. They are doing what we ask of them and they’re running through walls. That is all you can ask for.”

A new era has begun at Foothill after Rusty Van Cleve stepped down as head coach after 15 seasons. The new coach, Nick Johnson, has four starters back, but will need to find a new leader after losing Paulo Araujo to graduation. Returning for Foothill is Green, Mallory, Jacob Jang and Brennan Hellmers. Conrad Peper will be a key role player off the bench, but the bench is not deep. The Knights need to find some bench players by the time Crestview League play rolls around.

Fullerton 69, La Quinta of La Quinta 55

The Indians ran into a team in search for a new leader after losing him by way of transfer and it showed in the second half of a 14-point victory.

Gabe Kubaski led the way for the Indians with 18 points and Stone Sinek had 16 points and eight rebounds. Lonnie Murillo scored 12 points, Walt Wheeler grabbed 10 rebounds to go with his five points and Bubba Pyrel added eight points for Fullerton.

Last season was a down year for the Indians in a loaded Freeway League, but this upcoming season will be a down year in the Freeway League, which could benefit Fullerton. Sonora of La Habra is in rebuilding mode, Sunny Hills of Fullerton lost four starters, La Habra lost everyone on its roster to go along with a new coach and Buena Park lost a few key starters. The only team that returns three starters in the league is Troy of Fullerton. The Indians return Sinek, the coach’s son, and Wheeler. Kubaski will be a big plus for Fullerton. Murillo and Pyrel will take on bigger roles this season, but even though the league is down, Fullerton still has work to do to stay up with Buena Park and Troy, the two league favorites at the moment.

With their leading scorer gone to another school, it was Jacob Conradi taking charge and leading the Blackhawks with 24 points and five boards. Dominic Escobar had 15 points and eight rebounds and Tommy Mooney had six points and nine rebounds for La Quinta, which is looking to stay on top in the Desert Valley League.

“We just have to learn,” La Quinta coach Ty Thomas said. “We are right there, but we have to learn how to win games. That’s it. That is why we’re playing a lot of games this summer. We are getting kids as much reps as we can. I have to find out and see who will step up and be the point guard for us. We just have to learn. This is the spot we are in. We have the ball and we have to have a good possession and we have to have good defense. There is a certain way we can play and we have to stay in the winner’s circle. That’s what the summer is for. It is what it is. As long as we learn, I’m OK, but the second they stop learning, we are not OK.”

La Quinta only lost one starter to graduation in Marcelo Zepeda, which is a tough loss, but the biggest loss was losing Pierce Sterling, who transferred to Notre Dame of Riverside. The Blackhawks do return Mooney and Escobar, who started as a freshman. Christian Sanchez also returns for La Quinta and he will get help from Conradi. La Quinta will have to find new role players if they want to compete for another league title. Palm Springs returns all but three seniors and they will be in the hunt for the DVL this winter, but the Blackhawks are hoping to put up a fight.

Lehigh of San Jose 50, Western of Anaheim 37

After a rebuilding year that featured a last-second coaching change, Western is hoping to bounce back and it helps to have a coach who has coached a program to the CIF-SS finals.

Ian Haguisan led the Pioneers with 12 points, Dat Le scored nine points and David Velarde added seven points for Western, which hopes to gain experience by playing some tough teams like Leigh to prepare for a run at the Empire League League title like they did a couple seasons ago. Although the goal is the same on everyone’s minds, the team is having a hard time staying on the same page.

“The progress has been very slow due to the fact that I still work at Brea Olinda High School,” Western coach Darryl Hilliard said. “We have played about a dozen games and have had only six practices. When you have a new team, new coach and you played more games than you practiced, you don’t have a chance to teach certain things. The mistakes that we made were not mistakes of us not being disciplined and not being organized. It was just a lack of understanding each other. It’s a new system, it’s a new coach, so the language is different. It’s really unfair to the kids, but we scheduled these games and we have to play.“

The Pioneers only lost four seniors and return three incoming sophomores, so Western remains young. Last season was tough after Joseph Aihara was let go as the head coach right before the season began. The Pioneers fell into last place, but hope to turn over a new leaf and bounce back to the top of the Empire League. Le, Velarde and Haguisan will be the Pioneers big three this season. Cypress lost four starters, but Tustin returns three starters and Valencia of Placentia returns its top two scorers. Western has a big challenge to get back in the mix.

Dylan Johnston scored eight points with seven rebounds and Connor Smith also added eight points for Leigh, which went 21-5 overall while playing in the Central Coast Section.

(NOTE: Report news and notes to So Cal Sidelines basketball writer Manny Alvarez via email (, text (714-234-8506) or Tweet (@SoCalSidelines))

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