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Boys' basketball: King leads Dominguez by 13 at half

Riverside King sure knows how to start. And finish.

The Wolves scored the first seven points of the game and the final 12 points of the first half to take a 39-26 lead over Compton Dominguez at intermission tonight in a Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal at Rancho Verde High.

San Diego State-bound forward Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points and forward Tony Snell had 12 for second-seeded King.

Dominick Lacoste scored nine points for third-seeded Dominguez, including seven consecutive points during one stretch of the second quarter to pull the Dons to within 27-26. But King reeled off the final 12 points of the half to take control.

--Ben Bolch

Boys' basketball: Etiwanda 32, Mater Dei 28

Can the No. 1 team in the nation go down tonight? Well, Santa Ana Mater Dei finds itself trailing, 32-28, at halftime to Etiwanda in a Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal game at Fontana Miller.

Etiwanda went on a 16-4 run to take a 25-20 lead in the second quarter behind senior guard Jordan Finn, who made two three-pointers and has three on the night. Finn, who's headed to Air Force, is playing a terrific game.

Mater Dei (29-0) is missing open shots and allowing Etiwanda to score on offensive rebounds. This is one intense game, with a packed gym. Etiwanda (25-4) is playing tough man-to-man defense and has made 13 of its 25 shots while outrebounding the taller Monarchs, 19-8.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Boys' basketball: King takes early six-point lead

Riverside King scored the game's first seven points and leads Compton Dominguez, 21-15, at the end of the first quarter in a Division I-AA semifinal at Rancho Verde High. San Diego State-bound forward Kawhi Leonard has seven points for the Wolves.

--Ben Bolch

Boys' basketball: Mater Dei 16, Etiwanda 11

Santa Ana Mater Dei, 29-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation by several publications, has taken a 16-11 lead against Etiwanda after one quarter of its Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal playoff game.

The Monarchs' guards, USC-bound Gary Franklin Jr. and UCLA-bound Tyler Lamb, have both started well. Franklin has made a pair of three-point baskets and has scored 10 points. Lamb has scored four points.

Etiwanda has done a good job against Mater Dei's 6-10 Wear twins.

There's a huge crowd that's packed the gym at Fontana Miller, with no seats left in the bleachers. Both coaches are already working the officials.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Boys' basketball: Almost time for King-Dominguez

The last time I covered a boys' basketball playoff game involving Riverside King, the Wolves were winning a Division II state title in Sacramento in 2002 behind the play of Marvin "Sweet Pea" Lea.

So guess who was one of the first people I saw nearly seven years later upon entering the gym this evening at Rancho Verde High?

That's right, Lea himself, whose dreadlocks are now shoulder length but I bet his jumper is still as smooth as ever. The former Pepperdine guard came over and hammed it up with King players, coaches and fans.

Lea is getting ready to cheer on second-seeded King (25-2) in its Southern Section Division I-AA semifinal against third-seeded Compton Dominguez (25-5). The winner will play the winner of the semifinal between Mater Dei and Etiwanda next weekend.

Should be a good one.

--Ben Bolch

Baseball: Verdugo Hills opens with 11-1 victory

Verdugo Hills, the defending East Valley League champion, opened its baseball season Friday with an 11-1 victory over University in the Roosevelt tournament.

Matt McCallister went three for three with a home run.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Girls' water polo: Saturday's championship matches

The CIF-Southern Section girls' water polo finals will be held Saturday at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center at Heritage Park in Irvine. He's a complete schedule of matches:

DIVISION I
No. 1 Corona del Mar (26-1) vs. No. 2 Dos Pueblos (27-3), 8 p.m.

DIVISION II
No. 2 Montebello (19-10) vs. No. 1 Laguna Beach (24-2), 3:45 p.m.

Continue reading »

Girls' soccer: Tuesday's semifinal playoff schedule

Now that the quarterfinals are over, here's next week's CIF-Southern Section girls' soccer semifinal matchups. All games are scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday unless otherwise noted.

DIVISION I
No. 4 San Clemente (23-4-2) at El Toro (18-4-2)
No. 3 Aliso Niguel (22-2-2) at No. 2 Los Alamitos (18-3-7)

DIVISION II
Saugus (18-3-3) at Redlands (17-6-4)
Yucaipa (25-1-4) at Harvard-Westlake (15-4-3)

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Boys' basketball: Pacifica Christian reaches Final Four

The road to the Final Four is a short one at Pacifica Christian.

Only four years after the school opened its doors, the Eagles' boys' basketball team has reached the semifinal round in Division VI-AA. The school has already won a Southern Section girls' volleyball title and now hopes to further solidify its status as a fledgling small-school athletic power.

Third-seeded Pacifica Christian will play second-seeded Valley Torah at 8 p.m. Saturday at Culver City High after defeating sixth-seeded Capistrano Valley Christian, 64-38, in a quarterfinal.

Check out this video of the Eagles' victory over CVC.

-- Ben Bolch

Boys' basketball: Updated City Section playoff schedule

Now that the CIF City Section Division II and Small Schools Division finals are set, here's a revised playoff schedule:

DIVISION I
Semifinals, Saturday at Galen Center
No. 1 Westchester (28-2) vs. No. 4 Cleveland (20-7), noon
No. 3 Taft (24-3) vs. No. 2 Fairfax (25-3), 2 p.m.

Note: Championship is March 6 at 8 p.m. at Galen Center.

DIVISION II
Championship, March 7 at Roybal
No. 2 L.A. University (23-9) vs. No. 1 Reseda (22-7), 4 p.m.

SMALL SCHOOLS DIVISION
Championship, March 7 at Roybal
No. 2 View Park (16-18) at No. 1 Los Angeles CES (15-17), noon

More information regarding championship games and ticket prices here.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Surprise! Renardo Sidney commits to USC

Six-foot-11 high school basketball phenom Renardo Sidney did a good job keeping his college decision under wraps.

In fact, it was wrapped so well it took him about 2 1/2 minutes to open a box containing a baseball cap featuring the logo of his choice -- the USC Trojans.

The packaging was his mom's idea, an endearing touch that paired well with a heartfelt message from Sidney to his Fairfax High teammates and a speech from a doting Godmother who admonished the media to be respectful of her little, er, big boy.

"Inside that body -- that talent that God has given these kids -- is a human being," said the Godmother in front of the crowd gathered in Fairfax's gym. "So try to get your facts right."

It was a real All-American scene -- warm, loving, hyped up, and with a little suspicion and gossip swirling in the air.

Sidney actually is an All-American, making it three straight seasons Tim Floyd has lured one to play for USC.

He almost wound up in Westwood, as multiple sources indicated that Sidney was leaning toward UCLA on Monday. That fell through on Wednesday -- Sidney said that even he wasn't sure exactly what happened -- and by Thursday he had made up his mind to play for the Trojans.

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