Sunday, December 30, 2007


Let's get the Ball and the Party rollin'!!!

The Marmonte League is comprised of eight schools from the east Ventura County and west Los Angeles County region, which play in the Division I-AA of the CIF Southern Section. It is an extremely competitive league that has a reputation for late season upsets.This year, two things are evident as league play begins. First, Simi Valley is the cream of the crop. They have already won two early season tournaments against largely quality competition. Second, Royal HS has significant challenges both on and off the court. As for the other six teams, it is going to be a dogfight this season to see who places highly in the league standings and advances on to the playoffs.

The Pioneers are coached by Christian Aurand and they led the Marmonte League for much of the season in 2006-07, before a late collapse. There will be no collapse this year. The Pioneers are ably led by two of the top players in the Ventura County, 6' 5" senior forward Mike Meza and 6' 2" guard Lorne Jackson. They were named Tournament Co-MVPs at the recent Winter Slam Jam. Both are returning all-county players with considerable AAU experience. Add to this the fine junior guard, Brad Lewis, who transferred away from Royal and played JV last season. If early competition is an indication, Lewis will average about 15 ppg this year. And, not that they need it, but senior guard Spencer Feist is available as a three-point specialist in a pinch. The only knock against Simi Valley is that they are somewhat undersized and play without a true center.
2007-08 Prediction
1. Simi Valley
Thousand Oaks
Newbury Park

Jahmal Corner, Special to the Daily News
Article Last Updated: 12/12/2007 03:46:37 PM PST
Semi Valley, Sr., G
Keeping Jackson off the free throw line stripe proved easier said than done last season. The 6-foot-2 guard got to the line 186 times, and converted on 82 percent of his freebies. With the ability to put that kind of pressure on the defense, it's easy to see why he's always a threat to throw up big numbers. Jackson averaged 16.6 points a game a year ago., but if opposing teams decide to lay off him to keep him off the free throw line, they might want to think twice: Jackson is a dangerous 3-point shooter, a skilled distributor (5.8 assists per game), and a terror in the passing lanes - he averaged four steals per game last year.
TOP 10
On a mission after having to forfeit its playoff spot last year
Can Holiday lead Vikings to promised land - again
It's been three years between championships for the Wolverines
Jackson and Meza best one-two punch in the Marmonte League

Looking for fourth straight finals appearance
Welcome back, Cavaliers
Could be the surprise team in the region
Peppedine-bound forward Paul George is a must-sse
Best mid-major team in the region.
Cody Anderson and Mark Lewis are Mr. Inside and Outside


Frank Burlison: Playoff preview starts today
Article Launched: 12/25/2007 08:55:01 PM PST

If you're like me and one of the first things you think after Christmas is, "Gee, I wonder how the CIF Southern Section boys' basketball Division I-AA playoffs are going to shape up?" you're in luck.
The National Division of the Max Preps/Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, which gets under way this morning at Torrey Pines High in Del Mar, will go a way in answering that question.
Five of the teams that could attain top-eight seeds in the eventual I-AA field are among the 16 teams in what shapes up as the most competitive post-Christmas prep tournament in California.
Compton, Dominguez, Gahr and Jordan, along with 10-0 Simi Valley, are the I-AA teams in action today.
And they're joined by, among others, Campbell Hall (the defending State Div. IV champion, paced by the best all-around player in the western half of the United States, Jrue Holiday), Pasadena (6-3 senior Keion Bell borders on the dazzling at times), Torrey Pines (one of the best teams in San Diego County, paced by one of the best jump shooters in the country in Santa Clara-bound James Rahon) and Seattle Franklin (ranked No. 1 in Washington and led by 6-0 Peyton Siva, one of the 10 best juniors in the West).

Simi Valley boys' basketball gets early wake-up call
By Ivan Orozco

Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 12/27/2007 11:12:15 PM PST

SAN DIEGO - The Simi Valley boys' basketball team awoke to a series of challenges Wednesday.

But the Pioneers didn't let having to leave their school at 6:30a.m. the day after Christmas and having to face the top-ranked team in San Diego County after a 2 1/2-hour drive faze them. The Pioneers began the 18th Annual Holiday Classic with an 82-76 come-from-behind win against host Torrey Pines of San Diego and kept their undefeated season intact. The obstacles that come with a morning of traveling didn't keep Simi Valley from flexing its muscles in the tournament's National Division, which features nationally-ranked teams such as Dominguez of Compton, Campbell Hall of North Hollywood - ranked No. 10 in the West by USA Today - and Franklin of Seattle, the top-ranked team in Washington.
"We definitely had a lot to overcome," Pioneers coach Christian Aurand said. "We don't have the slick type of guys that standout. We don't pass the eye test. Our guys, they're silent warriors and great competitors that don't give in no matter the task." A team perhaps without the same size as other teams in its division, The Pioneers (11-0) - ranked No. 19 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports - rallied for a 13-4 run with 3:51 left behind the efforts of its young guards and senior standout Lorne Jackson. Junior guard Brad Lewis tied the score 74-74 with consecutive field goals - a 3-pointer and a put back of Danny Cox's missed jump shot.

That's when Jackson a senior, helped seal the game with eightconsecutive free-throws after the Falcons (8-2) ran out of fouls to give. Jackson finished with a team-leading 34 points, including three 3-pointers. He also was 13 of 14 from the free-throw line.

Simi Valley moves on to face Campolindo of Moraga at 5:25 p.m.

Simi Valley 82, Torrey Pines 76

Lorne Jackson scored 34 points, Brad Lewis had 21 and Michael Meza added 17 for Simi Valley. James Rahon scored 38 points and Connor Johnson added 11 for Torrey Pines.

National Division Championship

Dominguez 84, Simi Valley 83
Myron Green led Dominguez, ranked No. 6 by The Times, with 20 points, while Jordan Hamilton added 15 points. Lorne Jackson paced No. 21 Simi Valley with 39 points, followed by Michael Meza with 18 points and Brad Lewis with 16 points.

Simi Valley 85, Compton 59

Brad Lewis had 25 points, including six three-pointers, Lorne Jackson had 25 points and eight assists and Michael Meza added 21 points for Simi Valley (13-0). USC-bound guard Demar Derozan led Compton (10-4) with 17 points, giving him 103 points in three tournament games.


MaxPreps HC Day 3: A Contrast to Collide in Finals Saturday, December 29, 2007
For video and audio streaming of National Division games CLICK HERE at
By Mitch Stephens

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - One school is a nationally renowned basketball power, a six-time state champion from the tough streets of Compton. Notable alums from Dominguez High School include MC Ren, member of the rap-group N.W.A., NBA stars Tayshaun Prince and Tyson Chandler and former five-time All-Star, the late Dennis Johnson.

The other school is considered an academic juggernaut, ranked the 555th best high school in all the land according to a recent MSNBC Top 1,000 ranking and it nestles in the safe Santa Susana Mountains adjacent to the San Fernando Valley. In fact, Simi Valley, established in 1920, is considered the first high school in the valley. Baseball is its game with Tim Laker, Jeff Weaver and Jared Weaver on current Major League rosters.

As stark as its contrasts historically, there’s no denying one commonality in the here and now:

Dominguez and Simi Valley are the two best boys basketball teams in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines.

The two squads put on dizzying displays in Friday semifinal finals victories, Dominguez with a convincing 76-53 stranglehold on defending state Division IV champion Campbell Hall (North Hollywood) and Simi Valley with a crushing 85-61 hurt on Compton, a game that it led by 40 points late in the third quarter.
Tonight’s championship game in the National Division, the top of the four-division, 54-team tourney, is at 8:35 p.m.

“Those guys can ball no doubt about it,” Dominguez coach Russell Otis said. “They’ll make us work.”

Said Simi Valley coach Christian Aurond: “We’re just happy to be in this position and have this opportunity. Our guys have shown great heart, they play hard and they play smart. We’ll just try to keep that going.”

Nobody is buying Simi Valley’s “aw-shucks” act any more.

At 13-0 after Friday’s shellacking of Compton, the Pioneers are for real.

They play an unorthodox style, one patterned after a Clovis West squad it got schooled by in Aurond’s first year nine years ago and most recently recognized at nearby Pepperdine University.

The Pioneers, without a player taller than 6-foot-4, trap and pressure at every moment and try to get the game revved up at to a Porsche’s pace. They’ll give up some easy hoops but push the ball immediately down court behind their stellar senior point guard Lorne Jackson and try to get defenses spread and confused.

Once foes are scattered, Simi Valley attacks with lethal 3-point shooters like 6-2 junior Brad Lewis, who drilled six of them against Compton en route to 25 points and Jackson, who had five en route to a game-high 28.

The team’s third big gun is physical 6-4 forward Michael Meza, who slashes through the key and can score from inside or outside. He had 19 on Friday and averages 21.5 points on the year.
Jackson, a truly savvy, sound and sometimes spectacular point, is the team’s leading scorer at 22.2 points to go along with team highs in rebounds (6.8), assists (5.6) and steals (4.5).

“He’s the real deal,” Torrey Pines coach John Olive said after Jackson scorched his team for 34 in an 82-76 first-round loss. “He does it all.”

Lewis is a flat-out shooter and averages 19.2 points per game. The Pioneers average 83.5 points per game and have been remarkably consistent, scoring at least 71 points in every game. Other than Jackson, Lewis and Meza, however, no one averages more than 5 points per game.

“We call them our three-headed monster,” Aurond said.

The Pioneers, who do claim UCLA and NBA standout Don McLean as one of their own, were flat out monstrous against Compton (10-4), which seemed utterly confused and flabbergasted by the defensive pressure.

Simi constantly trapped, double-teammed and generally grounded high-flying Demar DeRozan, who finished with just 17 points after scoring a combined 86 the previous two games.

Jackson did most of the work on DeRozan, who didn’t get off his fifth shot and second bucket until 6:30 left in the second quarter.

By then, the Pioneers had zoomed and bombed their way to a 37-14 lead and this one was done.

The barrage began after Compton took its only lead 4-3, when Lewis drilled a 3-pointer. After a Compton free throw, Jackson (nine assists) fed Spencer Feist for a layup.

Jackson then drilled a 3-pointer, Meza hit two free throws and after a Compton bucket, Meza nailed two more free throws and Jackson and Danny Cox canned back-to-back 3-pointers.
After Edgar Garibay scored a layup and Kyrie Armstrong drilled a 3-pointer for Compton, Lewis drained two more 3-pointers and a lay-up and Meza sliced through the lane for a couple of lay-ups and this one was finished: Simi Valley 33, Compton 12 at the end of the first quarter.

“We couldn’t have drawn it up or done it any better,” Jackson said. “To beat one of the best teams in the state like that and hold down one of the best players in the country. …Incredible.”

It will take an even more incredible effort, however, to stay with Dominguez, which is an entirely different beast.
The Dons (10-1) flexed its collective muscle and got a poetic 26 points and 11 points from one of the country’s top juniors, 6-7 Jordan Hamilton, to handle one of the state’s top teams in Campbell Hall (10-4). But first things first. They got a red hot and tenacious Simi Valley team tonight. The Pioneers aren’t going to change their attack against the battle-tested Dons.

“No way,” Jackson said. “We know how good they are and we know their tradition. But we’re going to just keep trying to do what we’ve been doing. It’s worked pretty well so far.”

Maxpreps Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team National Division: James Rahon (Torrey Pines); Michael Proctor (Desert Vista); Chris Jones (Newark Memorial); Jack Trotter (Campolindo); Peyton Siva (Franklin); Cameron Nettles (Gahr); Demar DeRozan (Compton); Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall); Lorne Jackson (Simi Valley); Michael Meza (Simi Valley); Bryce Cartwright (Dominguez); Myron Green (Dominguez); MVP–Jordan Hamilton (Dominguez).