Venice, 10-7 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-6 League at the start of the week, plays host to Los Angeles, 5-11 and 1-5, at 4 p.m Friday.
The Gondoliers will be looking to keep a strong hold on third place in the league and a chance to move into second place. They are only a game behind second-place University.
Venice coach Bill Louie said his team will have to be strong on the boards and improve its shooting, both from the field and the free-throw line.
Louie said that he would like to counter Los Angeles' deliberate style of play with a fast break, but "our team is not fast enough, and because other teams run zone defenses, we have to run a zone offense and that slows us down."
Los Angeles Coach Kevin Crider calls the Gondoliers the most talented team in the league. "They have the most individual talent at all the positions, but they do not shoot well from the outside or rebound well."
He said his team will have to shoot well from the field and the free-throw line, something he said his team has not done well this year.
The Gondoliers are coming off a six-point loss to Jordan last week. Louie said his team's inability to grab rebounds in the fourth quarter enabled Jordan to open up a lead. The Gondoliers were forced to commit fouls in order to get the ball back, but Jordan sank their free-throws and won, 69-63.
The Gondoliers are lead by Anthony Denmion, averaging 18.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game, Oliver Lange, 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds, and Victor McCain, 14.6 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Crossroads at Chadwick
Coach Elliott Turret and his Crossroads team, 7-0 in the Delphic League, 13-7 overall, go to Chadwick, 4-0 in the Prep League and 9-8, and renew an old rivalry at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Crossroads has faced Chadwick five times in the last four years, beating the Dolphins once in a CIF semifinal game, splitting two CIF championship contests with them and defeating them once for a state regional championship.
Turret's Roadrunners will try to avenge last year's CIF 1-A Championship loss to Chadwick. He said his players will have to take care of the ball against the Dolphins' aggressive man-to-man defense and play strong defense themselves.
"We can't give up many easy baskets (or) uncontested lay-ups or easy back-door plays," he said. "We must put full-court pressure on them the entire game and stay out of foul trouble."
Turret said that Chadwick is a very good outside shooting team and a patient team on offense that runs when they have the opportunity. Also of concern to Turret is stopping 6-6 senior James Johnson.
Chadwick Coach Tom Maier calls Crossroads a very solid and experienced team that has a lot of size and plays aggressive pressure defense.
"We will try to beat the pressure off the break and take advantage of it and score quickly, or set up a half-court game," Maier said.
For the Roadrunners, Rudy Henry, a 6-6 sophomore reserve is out with a knee injury but could return later, depending on how far his team goes in the playoffs, Turret said.
The leading scorers for Crossroads are Marc Rudolph, averaging 16.4 points a game, Keith Davis, 16 points, and David Wolfe, 14.4 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds.
Bel-Air at Yeshiva
The Yeshiva Panthers, 14-3 overall and 6-1 in the Westside League at the start of the week, meet the Bel-Air Prep Bruins, 11-7 and 5-1, at 9 p.m Saturday at the Westside Jewish Community Center in West Los Angeles.
Yeshiva Coach Scott Rice said that strong rebounding was chiefly responsible for his team's last win, a 90-31 rout of Clearview.
"Just about everything went right in the game, and it's always nice when we have a height advantage because it's usually not the case. But when we do, we do a better job of rebounding," said Rice. He also credited his quick second team with opening up the lead. "When I put my second string in, they really like to run."
Rice said that Bel-Air runs a structured, half-court offense that relies on getting the ball inside to Derrick Thornton, and a tough zone defense.
When the teams met earlier, Yeshiva won, 72-64, and Panther swing-man Steve Hobb scored 34 points against a zone. But Hobb is spending this semester on a study-tour of Israel and won't play any more this season.
Rice expects Bel-Air to run a zone again, and said he hopes to break it with the outside shooting of David Gottlieb and Danny Laks. Rice will welcome back David Harrison, who has been out with a sprained ankle, to the starting line-up.
Rick Weber, Bel-Air athletic director, said Yeshiva was "incredible in the last game. We will have to keep them off the boards."
Rice said his team will have to rebound as they did against Clearview and shoot well from the outside to bring the Bruins out of their zone. He said Bel-Air doesn't have as much bench strength as Yeshiva and that could play a key role in the game.