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Players to watch in City Section, Southern Section basketball contests

Santa Ana Mater Dei's Stanley Johnson, Chino Hills' Lonzo Ball and San Gabriel Academy's Marcus LoVett Jr. could have big games during the City Section and Southern Section basketball championships.

March 06, 2014|Eric Sondheimer
  • Chino Hills' guard Lonzo Ball practices on Nov. 20.
Chino Hills' guard Lonzo Ball practices on Nov. 20. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

There are going to be lots of trophy presentations and celebration scenes this weekend for the City Section and Southern Section basketball championships.

The City finals begin Friday at Los Angeles Roybal and continue Saturday at L.A. Southwest College. The Southern Section is holding finals on Friday and Saturday at Azusa Pacific and Santa Ana Godinez and on Saturday at Honda Center. There's also a Monday game at Oxnard College.

Here are some players to watch during the days of competition:

Stanley Johnson, Santa Ana Mater Dei: He's the best of the best, a 6-foot-7 teenager in a man's body. Watch him go inside, outside, dunk, dribble, pass, block shots. He's a McDonald's All-American and probably the best player Gary McKnight has coached in 32 seasons.

Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills: UCLA fans are falling in love with Ball, a 15-year-old sophomore point guard who's committed to the Bruins. He has led the Huskies on a 16-game winning streak with unselfishness and tremendous leadership skills.

Marcus LoVett Jr., San Gabriel Academy: If you like versatile, innovative scorers, the 5-foot-11 junior is the player to watch. He's had games of 44 points against El Toro, 42 against Santa Monica Pacifica Christian and 38 against Los Angeles Price. He's got a fall-away jumper straight out of the NBA repertoire.

Kyle Leufroy, La Canada St. Francis: The junior guard is averaging 22 points in helping the Golden Knights reach the 3A championship game. He draws fouls with powerful moves to the basket.

Anthony Ballestero, Anaheim Canyon: Coach Nate Harrison calls Ballestero one of the best point guards in Southern California. He has made 84 three-pointers.

Jalen Harris, L.A. Windward: In the year of the point guard, Windward has a top 14-year-old freshman in Harris, whose poise and instincts have helped the Wildcats reach the 4A final.

Bennie Boatwright, Sun Valley Village Christian: The 6-8 junior is a perfect example of the modern big man. He's a three-point shooter with few peers.

Elijah Stewart, Westchester: There's little doubt that Stewart is the best player in the City Section. He can score from inside or outside and does his best in big games.

Evan Wardlow, Woodland Hills El Camino Real: With long arms and a gift for playing defense, Wardlow is also becoming an offensive contributor. His matchup against Stewart on Saturday in the City Section Division I final should be fun to watch.

Devenir Duruisseau, Sylmar: Averaging 19.3 points and 11.1 rebounds, the 6-8 senior is on the verge of leading the Spartans to the City Division II championship.

Johnnie Vassar, San Juan Capistrano JSerra: Averaging 18.7 points, Vassar is a point guard trying to help the Lions win their first championship in the 4AA final.

K.J. Smith, Westlake Village Oaks Christian: The 6-1 junior has shown flashes of scoring ability, with 25 points against Calabasas and 26 against Malibu.

Jeremy Lieberman, Calabasas: The standout point guard injured his ankle in the 2A semifinals, but nothing figures to stop him from making an appearance Saturday at Honda Center in the 2A final.

Chandler Hutchison, Mission Viejo: At 6-6, the Boise State signee is averaging 18.7 points and is one of the best scorers in Division 1AA.

Lamont Tyler, Villa Park: The 6-10 senior had 15 points in a 1A semifinal upset of Temecula Valley.

Chris Lott, Riverside King: Lott is a guard who has drawn attention not only because he's a good player; he also can to dunk with the best. He had 31 points in the 1A semifinals.

Jordin Canada, L.A. Windward: The McDonald's All-American is the best female point guard in California, if not the nation. She scored a career-high 27 points in the Open Division semifinals against Long Beach Poly. UCLA fans can't wait until she arrives in the fall.

Katie Lou Samuelson, Mater Dei: With two sisters playing at Stanford, the 6-3 Samuelson has to deal with high expectations, and she keeps delivering for a team ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today.

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