Carl Buggs says that Jasmine Dixon is the best freshman player in Southern California. It's hard to imagine the Long Beach Poly coach's being wrong.
Dixon, a 5-foot-10 forward, took a step toward proving her coach's point Friday in a 57-36 victory over Moore League rival Long Beach Wilson. Dixon scored a game-high 20 points and had 15 rebounds for the top-ranked Jackrabbits.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday January 21, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
High school basketball -- In a Sports article on Tuesday it was reported that Piedmont, the No. 1-ranked girls' basketball team in the state, would play Saturday at Long Beach Poly. The game is at Piedmont.
"She's aggressive, and when she's in the game, something's going to happen," said April Phillips, her Georgia Tech-bound teammate. "I see a lot of potential. She reminds me of myself, actually."
Dixon and the 6-foot Phillips may provide as good a 1-2 punch inside as any duo in the Southland. If nothing else, it may be the best small 1-2 punch in the interior, given that Ventura has 6-5 sophomore Kali Bennett (17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds) and 6-3 junior Caitlin Kearns (7.2 points, 6.1 rebounds).
Dixon says her long-term goals are to be the best player in the country and win four state titles. Wilson Coach Paula Clear expects Dixon "will be one of the best post players to ever come out of this area." Buggs agrees.
"Around the basket, she's tenacious," he said. "She knows how to read angles and go after the ball. Her basketball instincts are at a real high level for a ninth-grader.... She plays the game around the basket like a polished veteran."
Long Beach Poly has another league test Wednesday at Long Beach Millikan, and then on Saturday will play host to Piedmont, the defending state champion. Piedmont is led by 6-3 twins Courtney and Ashley Paris, who will stretch the frontcourt limits of any opponent. Piedmont is ranked No. 1 in the state, Poly is No. 3. When they played at the Nike Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22, in Chandler, Ariz., Piedmont won, 44-42.
At Santa Barbara San Marcos tonight in a makeup game, Ventura Buena plays for the first time in 19 days. Previously scheduled for last Tuesday, the game -- along with a game Thursday at Goleta Dos Pueblos -- was postponed by last week's rain and the La Conchita mudslide, which prevented the team from traveling to Santa Barbara.
Cristina Lopez made her return to the Santa Ana Mater Dei lineup on Saturday after sitting out nine games because of a shoulder injury. Although Lopez provided a team-high 11 points, the Monarchs lost a nonleague game to Lake Forest El Toro, 54-44, behind the 26 points of guard Robin Smith.
"Lopez's return helped the offense," Mater Dei Coach Geri Campeau said, "but confused us on defensive rotations, which got us out of sync and gave El Toro confidence."
El Toro (15-3) has won 11 in a row since its 67-61 loss to Norco. The Chargers' next big test is Thursday, when they play host to San Clemente in a South Coast League game.
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THE TIMES' RANKINGS
MARTIN HENDERSON'S GIRLS' BASKETBALL RANKINGS
(Records through Sunday)
*--* Rk. Team Rec. Sec.-Div. LW 1 L.B. POLY 14-2 SS-Div. I-AA 1 2 NORCO 16-0 SS-Div. I-AA 2 3 TROY 16-2 SS-Div. II-AA 3 4 ROSARY 13-2 SS-Div. III-A 4 5 VENTURA 15-1 SS-Div. I-A 5 6 CANYON SPRINGS 15-3 SS-Div. I-A 6 7 LYNWOOD 13-4 SS-Div. I-AA 7 8 BISHOP AMAT 21-0 SS-Div. III-A 8 9 HART 14-4 SS-Div. I-AA 9 10 L.B. WILSON 14-4 SS-Div. I-AA 10 11 BUENA 12-4 SS-Div. I-A 11 12 SAN CLEMENTE 12-3 SS-Div. I-A 13 13 TEMECULA VALLEY 15-3 SS-Div. I-AA 14 14 PERRIS 11-6 SS-Div. II-AA 15 15 RIVERSIDE NORTH 11-6 SS-Div. II-A 16 16 ETIWANDA 16-3 SS-Div. I-AA 17 17 MILLER 15-2 SS-Div. I-AA 18 18 KEPPEL 16-3 Div. II-AA 19 19 REDONDO 13-3 SS-Div. II-A 20 20 NARBONNE 9-7 City 21 21 JURUPA VALLEY 13-5 SS-Div. I-A 22 22 COR. CENTENNIAL 12-5 SS-Div. I-A 23 23 SYLMAR 8-6 City 24 24 MATER DEI 11-5 SS-Div. II-A 12 25 LOS OSOS 11-5 Div. I-AA 25