Hats off to boys' basketball standouts

As the regular season ends, we recognize those players and teams that exceeded expectations.

February 11, 2010|Eric Sondheimer

With the regular season ending Friday, it's time to recognize players and teams exceeding expectations in boys' basketball this season.

The players:

* Wesley Saunders, L.A. Windward. Averaging 23.5 points, the 6-foot-5 junior has established himself as one of the top college prospects for 2011. He had 43 points against Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula, 32 versus Woodland Hills Taft, 30 versus North Hollywood Campbell Hall and 29 versus Los Alamitos.

* Allen Crabbe, Los Angeles Price. The 6-6 Crabbe has become perhaps the best player in Southern California, if not the state. He's averaging 23 points, close to 11 rebounds and has played at such a high level that there are lots of college recruiters wishing he hadn't signed with California in November.

* Erik Swoope, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake. Yes, the 6-5 Swoope came into this season having earned respect after a solid junior season, but who could have imagined he would dominate Mission League play, with games of 37 points against Los Angeles Loyola and 40 against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. He earned a scholarship to Miami.

* Xavier Johnson, Temecula Chaparral. The 6-6 sophomore is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds while leading his team to a 24-1 record.

* David Nwaba, L.A. University. Playing in the tough Western League, the 6-4 junior had a 40-point performance against Palisades. He's a rebounding machine who's fearless going inside against bigger players.

* Kyle Boswell, Huntington Beach Edison. The senior guard has to be unluckiest player in the Southland. Last year, he suffered a back injury that knocked him out for most of the season. Then, on Jan. 2, he broke his wrist, ending a season that saw him average 23.9 points. He's going to UC Santa Barbara, which might make him the steal of the year if he can stay healthy.

* Tim Davis, Orange El Modena. The 6-4 senior guard is averaging 26.5 points, nearly doubling his average from a year ago, with a 38-point performance against Riverside King and 32 against Brea Olinda.

* Wesley McCurtis, Lancaster Paraclete. McCurtis, 5-8, has made 85 three-point shots, averaging 24.2 points. The senior uses quickness and long-range shooting skills to defy expectations.

* Jahmel Taylor, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. The freshman guard is averaging 17 points and has made more than 60 three-point shots.

* Isaac Hamilton, L.A. Crenshaw. He was supposed to be good as a freshman, but his three-point shooting skills indicate he's headed for big-time status.

* Anthony Holliday, Norwalk. The 6-2 senior guard is averaging 18.4 points, with games of 33 points vs. Lakewood Artesia and 26 points vs. Lakewood Mayfair.

The teams:

* Montebello. The Oilers are 26-1 and no one knows how good they might be. They have a 6-11 junior center and rely on balanced scoring.

* Gardena Serra. Just like its unbeaten football team, Serra has been playing tough competition and more than holding its own. The Cavaliers' only losses have come in close games to Long Beach Poly and Woodland Hills Taft

* Verdugo Hills. The Dons are on the verge of winning their first league championship in basketball since 1959. They are 19-7 overall, 10-1 in the East Valley League and have a 6-7 junior center, Chris Dees, who could get a volleyball scholarship.

* Edison. Despite the loss to injury of Boswell, Edison is 21-4 and ranked No. 3 in Division 2AA. Junior guard Dylan Garrity is averaging 17 points in helping the Chargers hang tough.

* Corona Roosevelt. The only team to knock off Corona Centennial in the Big VIII League, Roosevelt is 16-9 overall and in second place in league. Beware of the Mustangs in Division 1A.

* Los Angeles Santee. The Falcons are 15-3 and could be a contender to win City Section Division III. Junior Dominque Cotton made eight three-pointers in a 34-point performance against Los Angeles Bernstein.

* Reseda. The Regents lost their coach, plus all five starters from their City Section Division II champion team and started the season 0-5. They have gone 17-4 since and clinched the Valley Mission League title under rookie Coach Thermon Moore.

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