Prep Rally: A recap of a great high school basketball title weekend

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Prep Rally. My name is Eric Sondheimer. The high school basketball season has wrapped up in Sacramento with 12 state championships. Let’s look at the facts.

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Etiwanda coach Stan Delus guided the Eagles to the Open Division girls basketball championship with a 69-67 win over Archbishop Mitty.

(Eric Sondheimer/Los Angeles Times)

14,034 turned out Friday and Saturday for the CIF state basketball championships at the Golden 1 Center, and they were treated to lots of emotion and good basketball.

Valencia coach Bill Bedgood wipes away a tear

Valencia coach Bill Bedgood wipes away a tear as he discusses his decision to step down from coaching duties for his son Bryce (left).

(Eric Sondheimer/Los Angeles Times)

Here’s a look at some of the stories of two teams winning championships, with the coach’s son playing a starring role.

There were two incredible Open Division finals. On the boys side, Harvard-Westlake dominated, with junior guard Trent Perry, the Mission League player of the year, setting a division record with 10 assists. In the Open Division girls, Etiwanda and Archbishop Mitty engaged in the most exciting game of the weekend, with Etiwanda winning on a buzzer beater shot by Jada Sanders.

In Division I boys, Caleb Foster led Sherman Oaks Notre Dame to the title. In Division I girls, Oakland Tech beat Corona Santiago. Valencia IV. won the Class V boys and Jason Crowe Jr. led Lynwood to the Class V boys title.

Los Osos III. Grade 4 girls won and Shalhevet IV.

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It was the strangest week of the baseball season. St. Margaret’s begins a three-game Trinity League series sweep against last week’s ranked Orange Lutheran. Next up was Mater Dei taking two games against No. 2 JSerra. Harvard-Westlake Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Chaminade also went down in Mission League games. And Sierra Canyon and Crespi had to stop their tied games twice because of darkness.

There really isn’t a certain No. 1 team, but Santa Margarita (6-1) has inherited that ranking from The Times after last week’s upset. Coach Chris Malec said the Eagles had lost 17 straight games against Orange Lutheran over the years and the key was playing good defense (a mistake) and getting his pitchers to throw strikes. Blake Wilson is hitting .500 this season for the Eagles.

“They’ve had a great program for a long time and for us to win the series was a great week,” Malec said.

Now Santa Margarita faces JSerra in a three-game series this week, so the competition won’t get any easier.

There were many individual performances. Valencia’s Ricky Ojeda struck out 19 against Saugus. La Mirada sophomore Donald Murray had an 18-goal performance. Cypress’ Luke Matlock struck out 11 with no walks against La Palma Kennedy. Camarillo’s Boston Bateman struck out 13 with no walks against Oak Park. South Hills’ Sterling Patick threw a shutout against Gahr and it’s 4-0.

Crespi's Diego Velazquez threw a six-hitter in Saturday's 2-0 win over Chaminade.

Crespi’s Diego Velazquez threw a six-hitter in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Chaminade.

(Eric Sondheimer/Los Angeles Times)

Crespi’s Diego Vazquez, a sophomore, has 16 hits and is batting .516 while also going 2-0 on the mound.

This week’s big series is a three-game Mission League matchup between Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame. The home opener is set for Wednesday night under the Notre Dame lights. Harvard-Westlake will have pitchers Thomas Bridges and Bryce Rainer to go against Justin Lee and Oliver Boone. Barring weather issues, Harvard-Westlake hopes Duncan Marsten can make his debut on the mound Friday (he was scratched by rain last week).

Granada Hills won its West Valley League opener against City Section favorite Birmingham 1-0. Unsurprisingly, Birmingham have never won a league title under manager Matt Mowry. He prefers City titles.


There’s a clear No. 1 team in softball heading into March, and that’s undefeated Norco (11-0), which won the Dave Kops Tournament from Bullhead City, Ariz., beating Los Alamitos 13-8 in the championship game.

Sophomore Kimberly Neal went 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for Norco.

Oaks Christian is 8-0-1 and won a championship in Las Vegas. Rylee McCoy went three for three with two RBIs as the Lions beat Reno 11-1. Justine Lambert hit a home run.’s top 10 softball teams from The Times last week:


2. WHO








10. HOPE

The Oxnard Unified School District had five openings for football coaches and announced five on Friday.

Hueneme is getting former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame offensive coordinator Jake Goossen-Brown, who won the South Sectional title at Morro Bay and was the Mission League’s leading quarterback at Notre Dame last season.

Oxnard named alumnus Lonnie McCowan as its new head coach. He was an assistant coach at Ventura College.

Del Sol, a new school to open, hired Hueneme assistant James Nelson, who played at Buena, Ventura College and Texas El Paso.

The Channel Islands hired Rashad Dunn, who coached at Georgia last season.

Camarillo promoted offensive coordinator Nate Anderson, who had been a top assistant since the retiring Jack Willard.


Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills

Granada Hills’ Dijon Stanley 400 has come out hot early in the track season.

(Steve Galluzzo)

Dijon Stanley leaves nothing to chance in his final months as a high school student. The Granada Hills senior is headed to Utah to play track, but before he leaves, he’ll let the fans get excited about what he does in the 400 meters.

In the opening month of the track season, Stanley is already showing that he will be firing at times rarely seen. In the 400 last weekend in Irvine, he ran 46.40, a national best and one of the fastest 400 meters ever by a City Section athlete. With continued improvement throughout the season, a run in the 45s is more than possible and Dorsey’s attempt to set the City Section record that has stood since the days of David Gettis is well within reach.

Long Beach Poly’s Xai Ricks ran a 47.74 at the Redondo Nike Festival.

Cajon’s JeyQuan Smith led the way in the 100 meters with a time of 10.49 seconds in Vista Murrieta.

Carson freshman Christina Gray entered Redondo Union’s girls 100 with a win in 12.06. The Colts may have the best women’s sprint team in the state.

The CIF is expected to finalize guidelines this week for the start of seven-on-seven in girls soccer, sections that will help determine how to proceed with the inaugural season this fall.

Brian Seymour, CIF associate executive director, said sections will have options on how big the field is, from 80 to 40 to 70 to 30, and whether the championships are to be played one day or a week of games. The game can have four quarters of 12 minutes. It is still to be determined how many matches will be accepted. Will soccer be more like having an 11+ week limit or will it be more like volleyball with 28+?

Each section will decide if there are enough teams to make the tournaments. The People’s Section plans to hold a tournament.


Mira Costa’s boys lacrosse team posted a 10-9 win over South Sectional champion Corona del Mar in perhaps the biggest win in school history.

Sophomore Nick Marsh had three goals and an assist and goaltender Simon Ferris made 13 saves.

Corona del Mar entered the Division II coaches poll at No. 2 behind Mater Dei.

Notes . . .

Troy Beverly is out as basketball coach at West Covina. . . .

Adam Conover has resigned as Muir girls basketball coach. . . .

Daniel Barlage is Norco’s new football coach. He has been an assistant at Riverside City College. . . .

Former LA Roosevelt football coach Jose Casagran has come out of retirement to coach Monrovia. . . .

Marcus Adams Jr. of Narbonne. basketball standout committed to Kansas. . . .

Sierra Canyon’s Juju Watkins was selected as the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year from California. . . .

Steve Tolbert has stepped down as Campbell Hall boys basketball coach, setting the stage for potentially big changes on the North Hollywood campus, including the transfer of Bryce James from Sierra Canyon. Stay tuned. . .

For the 2024-25 relegation cycle, Calabasas and Westlake will leave the Marmonte League for football, replacing Oxnard Pacifica and Camarillo. . . .

Simi Valley Grace Brethren will return to 11-man soccer this fall competing as an independent. . . .

Daniel Hernandez is the new football coach at Ocean View. He was the offensive coordinator of San Paulo. . . .

Nick Sainato is out as the boys basketball coach at El Toro. . . .

Dan Murphy has resigned as Palm Springs football coach. . . .

Agoura pitcher Makai Moody committed to Cal Lutheran. . . .

After serving as interim head coach, Chris Segesman has been named head girls water polo coach at Mater Dei.

From the Archives: Kyle Karros

Brothers Jared (left) and Kyle Karros at UCLA in 2022.

Brothers Jared (left) and Kyle Karros at UCLA in 2022.

(Eric Sondheimer/Los Angeles Times)

Kyle Karros is the third standout draft pick out of UCLA’s Mira Costa, and he’s off to a great start. He is batting .359 with four home runs and 19 RBI.

He is the son of Dodger first baseman Eric Karros. His brother, Jared, a pitcher, signed with the Dodgers after playing against UCLA.

Here is a 2018 story about the Karros brothers.


From, why a daughter quit sports and what parents of teens need to know.

Highlights from Crenshaw’s Daiyan Henley from

From the Los Angeles Times, a story by Bill Plaschke about an autistic and deaf basketball player made the team at Cerritos College.

You missed the tweets

Unstoppable Triton Surfing again winning their 6th straight NSSA State Championship (14 in 17 years for Head Coach John Dowell)!! Ben Brantell Boys’ Short Board Indiv Champ and Sierra Downer 2nd on the Girls’ Side!! Results below. 👍💪🏄‍♂️🏄‍♀️@ocvarsity @latsondheimer

— Triton Athletics (@SCHSTritons) March 6, 2023

I never spoke to Bronny James in four years covering Sierra Canyon. Here is a top secret video shot as an eighth grader at Cruczata. To university positions.

— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) March 9, 2023

Our deepest condolences to the family of Joseph Frazier who passed away tonight. Coach Frazier was the greatest inspiration to a generation of our basketball players, coaches and families.

— Calabasas HS Boys Basketball (@Coyotes_Hoops) March 9, 2023

Until next time…

Have a question, comment, or something you’d like to see in a future Prep Rally newsletter? Email him at, and follow him on Twitter at @latsondheimer.

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