Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Boys Hoops: Summer 10 Classic Recap

Isaiah Pope of Orange Lutheran. 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 Summer 10 Classic June 16-17 at Saddleback Valley Christian of San Juan Capistrano. Here’s Manny’s report:

Orange Lutheran 61, Rancho Christian of Temecula 56

OLu went up against an Eagles team that was without Isaiah Mobley, who didn’t play, but was on the bench to cheer on his team. Despite missing their star player, Rancho Christian fell short by five to a much-improved Lancers team.

Isaiah Pope scored 19 points for OLu while grabbing six rebounds. Cooper Jervis scored nine points to go with his five rebounds before leaving the game with a sprained ankle, but he’ll only be out for two weeks. Joe Bulstma scored nine points, Cade Potter scored seven points and Jordan Montrose added six points.

Evan Mobley of Rancho Christian of Temecula. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Lancers finished 11-17 last season with a 2-8 record in the tough Trinity League, which was good for fifth place. This was the first time since the 2006-07 season that Orange Lutheran missed the playoffs. If they go below .500 again, they could miss the playoffs again. With another tough Trinity League this winter, you never know.

Gone is All-OC team member Chris Williams as well as Zac Phororo. Losing Austin Liles to a football injury didn’t help the Lancers. OLu returns Pope, Jervis, Potter and Montrose, and it also has Tre Anderson, Josh Griffin, Elijah Mojarro and Nick Santini coming back. Orange Lutheran also pick ups Canyon of Anaheim-transfer Bryson King. OLu should be much better with Pope and Potter and battle for third place.

“We are just a year older,” OLu coach Chris Nordstrom said. “That’s the big part of it. Everyone is bit more mature and it’s been good. I liked where we are going. We have a few guys banged up. It has been a good summer so far.”

With Isaiah Mobley not playing, little brother Evan Mobley led the way for the Eagles with nine rebounds and 13 points. Isaiah Knox scored 16 points while Stephen Park added 12 points and Jordan Montgomery scored seven points for Rancho Christian, which only lost one senior to graduation.

“It’s nice to have a lot of our guys back,” Rancho Christian coach Ray Barefield said. “They are real mature with their approach in regards to showing up to the games and practices. The details haven’t been minimized and it’s been showing up in a couple of our wins this summer with some of the better teams. It’s been good. Obviously, it is tough not playing with Isaiah today. It hurts us, but it gives us an opportunity to strengthen the bench and guys get opportunities to step up and get some experience.”

The Eagles return five starters from a team that reached the CIF-SS Division 2A semifinals and made an appearance in the CIF So Cal Regional Division 3 playoffs. The Mobley brothers will be a beast in the post with help from Yousef Johnson, Solomon Davis, Knox, Montgomery, Park and KJ Redfield. Rancho Christian has four key 2018 players, so this should be a big year for the Eagles. Luckily, if they do fall short, they will still have both Mobley brothers for another year.

Vista 80, Crean Lutheran of Irvine 54

Jordan Hilstock of Vista. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Saints jumped to an early lead, but they couldn’t hang on to the lead against a loaded Vista team, which pulled away for a 26-point victory.

Jordan Hilstock led the way for the Panthers with 29 points, including 24 of those from three-point range, while Taurus Samuels added 25 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Morris scored eight points before fouling out. Carter Starnes 10 points and three steals. The big three are back for Vista and hope to get more help from the rest of the squad by the start of the winter.

“We just are getting to play better as a team with what we have right now,” Hilstock said. “We are looking to make a bigger push in the Open Division down in the San Diego Section. We hope to make a deeper run in the regionals and state.”

Vista will be looking for someone to step in and fill the void left by Cameron Henry and Antonio Green, both whom have graduated. It sounds like Starnes will fill one of those roles and hopefully someone else will follow suit. Anthony Anderson will be another piece to replace for Vista, but they have a dangerous trio with Hilstock, Samuels and Morris. Vista will be the team to beat in San Diego, but it won’t be by much with Taeshon Cherry at St. Augustine of San Diego and Miles Norris at Helix of La Mesa. There is never a for sure No. 1 in San Diego and like last season this will be a fun to watch down south.

Isaiah Johnson of Crean Lutheran of Irvine. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Aiden Gilbert led the Saints with 12 points, Isaiah Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds and Jake Conerty scored 10 points. Derek Bagatourian had six points as he will try to fill the shoes of his big brother, Michael Bagatourian, who led the Saints to three straight Academy League titles. Crean Lutheran returns a young roster led by Johnson and Conerty.

“We are excited with the young players we have back,” Crean Lutheran coach Josh Beaty said. “We have a lot of talent, but it will take some time to figure out how to win and how to keep up in pressure when the game gets difficult because we have been riding on the regular guys for so long and now they aren’t around. When tough moments come, how are we going to respond to that?”

Crean Lutheran will be looking for new leaders now that Bagatourian and Tim Ghita have graduated. Johnson and Conerty should develop in the post, especially in an Academy League where they can outmatch their league opponents. Max Bo is back and will get help from Gilbert. If the Saints develop during the summer and handle their challenges during tournament play in December, they should be ready for league and hopefully the postseason as well. This should be another fun team for their student section, The Blue Zone, to cheer on.

Temecula Valley of Temecula 74, Chaminade of West Hills 68

Kenneth Simpson of Chaminade of West Hills. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

In a back-and-forth game, it was the Golden Bears that pulled out the win over Chaminade.

Josh Ocampo led Temecula Valley with 14 points while Trevor McNabb added 12 points and five rebounds. Nate Jacobson had 10 points and seven boards and Rafael Allen and Dante Navarro each scored nine points for the Golden Bears, who are looking for new playmakers after losing four starters from last season’s Southwestern League title squad.

“We have been getting a little bit better every week,” Temecula Valley coach Kyle Armstrong said. “It is still a long way to go, but it is still a good summer. I think a lot of times with the way we play, continually trying to put pressure on both ends of the court, you’ll get fatigued. It slowed us down a little bit. We are doing better defensively and we are changing the game. With tired legs and missed 3s, those things happen. That’s a good team.”

Gone are Dewayne Holmes, Camden Parenti and Bryce Denham, who were considered Temecula Valley’s big three last season. Navarro, Jacobson and Ocampo return, but will be taking bigger roles this season. Allen and McNabb should fill the rest of that starting lineup, but there is still time to figure out who will start come late November. The Southwestern League will be up for grabs this season with Temecula Valley returning 8 of the 16 players from last season’s roster. This program has had some great runs in the last few seasons and will hope to keep it that way this winter.

The now more-seasoned Eagles squad played Temecula Valley close, but after a victory over Beckman of Irvine earlier in the day, they just ran out of gas. The Eagles return a lot, but it was an incoming freshman, Kenneth Simpson, that lead the way for them 20 points and five rebounds. Dennis Flowers III scored 17 points, Weston Crump scored 12 points and Mateo Pitkin added eight rebounds for Chaminade, which needs the new kid to help them when it comes time to play in a very loaded Mission League.

“Today it was just getting the kids a chance to play,” Chaminade coach Jon Palarz said. “We are without two starters who are injured. Missing our two big kids makes us play offense a little differently, but it is a good experience. It’s all looking good and we are getting better every game.”

For a team that loses four key seniors in Sebastian Lopez, Jack Gallant, Chasen Pender and Dayton Doucette as well as playing without Luke Webb and KJ Martin, the Eagles played pretty well against the defending Southwestern League champs. This could be a boost of confidence heading in the season with another tough Mission League. Simpson will be a huge boost to go along with Martin and Webb. Flowers, Crump and Pitkin will be huge for Chaminade and one of them will end up being the sixth guy off the bench. Expect the Eagles to battle with the three top powers (Alemany of Mission Hills, Crespi of Encino and Harvard-Westlake of Studio City) in the Mission League.

Pasadena 69, Villa Park 51

Darius Mason of Pasadena. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Without one of the top players in the state, Bryce Hamilton, in the lineup, the Bulldogs got off to a slow start, but the veterans came alive and led Pasadena to a big victory over Villa Park, which reached the State finals this past season.

Darius Mason led the Bulldogs with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Darius Brown II added 16 points. Davian Brown scored 14 points, Jesse Watkins had 11 points and Kalonji West had 10 points. This team will be deep and loaded and this game was played without their superstar.

“It’s been sporadic,” Pasadena coach Tony Brooks said. “We are getting our gym renovated, so practice times are sporadic. It’s nice to have an experienced team despite that, so we can overcome those problems because we are experienced and we can figure it out. That’s what we did today. We sat in traffic for two hours and playing takes a bit of time, but we finally got into a flow. This is an opportunity for guys that don’t normally play or didn’t normally play this past year to get some experience, grow, learn, get better and find their confidence and poise. I’m happy about that and this time of year all you want to do is give kids experience and some resemblance of a team, but we have a long way to go.”

The Bulldogs lost two seniors who played key roles off the bench to graduation, but everybody else returns. Hamilton will be the guy to look out for, but his teammates don’t look that far off in comparison. Also missing from this game was Lazarus Morris. Add those two players on top of the players in this game and you won’t be seeing Pasadena taking runnerup plaques. Davian Brown is just a sophomore, but he could be taking a starting spot this winter. West and Watkins put up some good numbers last season and hope to improve on that. Mason looks like Hamilton’s go-to guy. You can go on and on about this team. It’s going to be a fun one for the Bulldogs.

Matt Lanzone of Villa Park. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

With Julien Franklin enjoying a family vacation, the Spartans went with a new leader and it was El Toro of Lake Forest-transfer Maxx Hazely, who had nine points and six rebounds. Matt Lanzone led Villa Park in scoring with 13 points, Isaiah Williams had nine points and three steals and Gabe Barrios added nine points as well. It sounded like the Spartans would be in trouble after losing several stars from the CIF State finalist team, but they reloaded with their big man, who will get help from players who are ready to take their new roles.

“I’m excited,” Villa Park coach Kevin Reynolds said. “I think we are going to be really good again. That team we played is really good. That team lost in the CIF section finals and the regional finals and they have everybody back. They have a good group and it is a good team for us to play. I’m excited about our group and I think we have all the pieces that we need. All the pieces and parts, we just need to put it all together and go in the same direction.”

Villa Park needs Franklin to play a major role when he gets back, especially now that his older brother Myles is headed to college. Caleb Banuelos, Imran Takhar, Jason Reed and Daelyn Bams have also graduated. If they had to replace Evan Battey, who didn’t play last season due to being ineligible, it would be Hazely, who will be a big boost in the post with Matt Lanzone. Franklin will get help in the guard position from Williams and Barrios. Riley Schroeder and Mateo Reddick will look to play a big role for Villa Park.

Buena Park 73, Crean Lutheran of Irvine 66

Cam Dashiell of Buena Park. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

The Coyotes are in the process of looking for new and tough post players and they may have found one with the arrival of Lakewood-transfer Kevyn Scott.

Elijah Church-Jones scored 20 points, Cam Dashiell had 18 points, five rebounds and three steals, which is below his average, Scott had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Justan Taylor had nine points and five boards to lead Buena Park, which looks like the favorites in a Freeway League that is filled with rebuilding teams. The Coyotes still need to find new role players with the loss of three key stars.

“Losing Gianni (Michael), Robert (Corner) and Cedric (Dashiell) was big,” Buena Park coach Damien Farmer said. “Some of my younger guys have come along pretty well this summer. They have been pretty physical and kept it under control. When we string together pretty disciplined basketball, we can play pretty tough. We have played man the whole time this summer and they’re manning up pretty well. I’m pretty happy with most of my young guys.”

Buena Park returns its one-two combo at the guard position with Dashiell and Church-Jones, but they lost Michael along and two big men with the graduation of Corner and Cedric Dashiell. Scott will be the guy in the post for the Coyotes while Taylor could go either way. With Sonora in rebuilding mode and Sunny Hills and La Habra losing plenty of seniors, Buena Park will be the favorite in the Freeway League. The Coyotes lost their top assistant Aaron Riekenberg, who took the head coach job at La Habra after helping Buena Park during its run to the CIF-SS semifinals this past season.

Jake Conerty led the Saints with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Isaiah Johnson had 19 points and 12 boards. Max Bo scored 10 points and Derek Bagatourian added eight points and nine rebounds for Crean Lutheran. No one likes to lose, but the Saints would rather lose now and especially against a team like Buena Park. Crean Lutheran will be relying on their three sophomores at the post and their two junior guards.

Ayala of Chino Hills 58, Temecula Valley 50

The Bulldogs had a dismal season last year after losing so much from their 2016 CIF-SS championship team. This season they return a lot and in this game they were led by Christian Curl, who scored 26 points. Shane Hunter had 11 points and eight boards, Dillon Aiono had eight points, 10 rebounds and four steals and Malikye Armendariz scored eight points for Ayala, which should be a much-improved team this season and even more so with the addition of Hunter.

“Shane Hunter came to us this summer,” Ayala coach John Mounce said. “We got a little bit bigger with more athleticism. That helps us right off the bat. We have three starters back. We have a little bit more experience. Certainly, we will be a little bit more better starting off with that. Now, it is a matter of putting it together, guys understanding what they can and can’t do and how we play. The rebounding is still an issue, but it is a little bit better, especially late in the game.”

Curl may be small, but he is a flashy guy who moves to the basket quickly. Aiono and Hunter should provide rebounds at the post for the Bulldogs. After a last-place finish in the Palomares League, Ayala should be the league favorites with Bonita of La Verne losing Joe Quintana and Claremont losing a couple key stars. The Bulldogs are back!

Nate Jacobson led the Golden Bears with 15 points and six boards and Josh Ocampo added 15 points as well. Dante Navarro scored seven points for Temecula Valley. The Southwestern League looks improved, which means the Golden Bears will have company come winter.

Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley 68, Villa Park 47

Tory San Antonio of Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

Tory San Antonio had 21 points and six rebounds, Anthony Thomas had 11 points and 10 boards and Jaxon Turner scored 13 points to lead Rancho Verde, the defending CIF-SS champions, which is looking to repeat despite losing two key seniors.

“We have a good core of our guys back,” Rancho Verde coach Brandon Baker said. “We have three sophomores that played a lot of minutes last year when they started. We also have some good guys from JV that are going to help us this year. We have played some really good teams this year. We took care of Damien (of La Verne), Etiwanda, teams like that. We are used to the competition and the high level of play. This tournament is really good every year. We come here for the high level. We play teams like Villa Park that are really well-coached and really good every year. I just have guys that play really hard, do their job, practice in the gym and working out.”

Ajani Kennedy and Damien Reedy have graduated, but Rancho Verde does return three key starters. Outside of the two starters that are gone, only another two seniors from the bench are missing. Most of the roster is back for Rancho Verde, which should make the same amount of noise as it did last season. The big three for the Mustangs are all juniors, so they aren’t going to go away soon, but it will help if someone can step up and play a big role outside of the three stars. There is experience coming back, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

With Franklin and Hazely out of the lineup for their second game of the day, Matt Lanzone had to take the load and led the Spartans. Lanzone had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Mateo Reddick scored 12 points, Isaiah Williams and Gabe Barrios each scored seven points and Riley Schrader grabbed seven rebounds for Villa Park. Despite going 0-2 on the day, this was the time Villa Park needed the rest of the roster to get some experience, just in case they are in a situation where the Spartans don’t have Franklin and Hazely in the lineup in the future. Villa Park should be an easy favorite in the North Hills League this season.

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

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