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  • Football
Sophomore Mason White of Birmingham was only 13 last season, so he couldn't play varsity football.
Sophomore Mason White of Birmingham was only 13 last season, so he couldn't play varsity football. (Jim Rose)

It's time to offer an early evaluation of the top teams in City Section football. Scrimmages are set for this week, with zero week games on Aug. 25.

1. Narbonne. The Gauchos ended summer play with a dud. The passing game was inconsistent, and players hardly looked motivated. Things better change with pads on because nonleague games against Gardena Serra, Long Beach Poly and Corona Centennial will require an improved performance. Running back Jermar Jefferson is a highly regarded transfer from Redondo who should take heat off quarterback Jalen Chatman. The offensive line should be outstanding. The defense has the best City Section linebacking trio in Raymond Scott, Darien Butler and Julian Lewis.

2. Dorsey. The Dons gave Narbonne a scare in last year’s final and will embark on a challenging nonleague schedule that starts with Calabasas on Aug. 24. Their focus is on getting back to the final. There’s top individual players in running back Charles Mincy Jr., defensive end Tim Mosley and tight end Isaiah Smalls.

  • Basketball

The advantage that Westchester’s basketball team has right now over the rest of City Section schools is the play of its big men.

Kaelen Allen has become a force inside. He scored 21 points on Monday as the Comets (19-4) cruised to a 65-34 Western League win over Palisades.

Fairfax defeated Hamilton 84-45. Robert McRae finished with 22 points and Kirk Smith 13. Daisone Hughes scored 40 points in University’s 70-67 win over Venice.

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  • Baseball
Junior Carter Kessinger (left) and sophomore Lucas Gordon form a potent one-two starting punch for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
Junior Carter Kessinger (left) and sophomore Lucas Gordon form a potent one-two starting punch for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. (Eric Sondheimer)

With seven returning starters from a 23-9 team, including standout pitchers Lucas Gordon (sophomore) and Carter Kessinger (junior), Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is gearing up to be one of the top baseball teams in Southern California.

Yes, Hunter Greene is gone and off to pro baseball, but the Knights are loaded with some of the best young players in the Southland.

Everything starts with Gordon, a USC commit who’s not only a standout pitcher but will provide plenty of hitting support. Kessinger was the big surprise last season, going 6-1 as a sophomore. As soon as Notre Dame identifies a No. 3 pitcher, watch out.

  • Basketball

Bishop Montgomery and Etiwanda are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the latest Southern Section Division 1 boys’ basketball poll.

Here’s the link to the complete rankings.

In girls’ basketball, Windward and Harvard-Westlake hold down the top two spots.

The one-day Rolling Hills State Preview Classic is set for Saturday at Cerritos College. There will be eight boys’ basketball games beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The schedule:

LB Jordan vs. Crean Lutheran, 9:30 a.m.; Heritage Christian vs. Brentwood, 11 a.m.; Durango vs. Maranatha, 12:30 p.m.; Loyola vs. Rolling Hills, 2 p.m.; Wasatch vs. Taft, 3:30 p.m.; Corona Centennial vs. Oak Park, 5 p.m.; Fairfax vs. Bishop Montgomery, 7 p.m.; Santa Monica vs. Chino Hills, 8:30 p.m.

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  • Baseball
Cole Kitchen can hit

It’s a month before the prep baseball season begins, and teams are in full winter mode playing weekend games.

El Camino Real hosted a talented Ayala team on Saturday. Ayala should battle Simi Valley and Damien for supremacy in Southern Section Division 2. And ECR will once again challenge for a City title.

The Conquistadores have two top young players to watch. Junior Cole Kitchen should be one of the best hitters in the City Section. And sophomore pitcher Adam Christopher has grown to 6 foot 2 and will team with seniors Bryan Golnick and Jack Whisnant to give the Conquistadores the required trio to make it and win at Dodger Stadium.

  • Basketball
David Singleton scored 22 points in Bishop Montgomery's 64-61 win over Westchester.
David Singleton scored 22 points in Bishop Montgomery's 64-61 win over Westchester. (Nick Koza)

With 16.5 seconds left, unbeaten Bishop Montgomery held a three-point lead over Westchester on Saturday night. The Knights needed one last defensive push to improve to 19-0.

On the bench, injured guard Gianni Hunt was jumping up and down higher than some cheerleaders, letting everyone know he was close to returning from a broken ankle. But this was one last chance for the Knights to show how good they were without him.

Westchester inbounded the ball and got up four three-point shot attempts. None made it through the net. Game over. Bishop Montgomery won 64-61.

BOYS' BASKETBALL

ACADEMY LEAGUE

St. Margaret’s 70, Whitney 59

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  • Basketball
Carl Lewis (left) of Lynwood scored 53 points against Dominguez.
Carl Lewis (left) of Lynwood scored 53 points against Dominguez. (Nick Koza)

Taft, playing without head coach Derrick Taylor (ejected in the last game), rose up and knocked off defending City Section Open Division champion Birmingham 67-66 in overtime on Friday night to create a three-way tie for first place in the West Valley League.

Assistant Aaron Courseault filled in and guided the Toreadors to the upset. Brandon Wilson scored 25 points and Kihei Clark 18 for Taft.

Devonaire Doutrive scored 28 points and Christian Koloko added 11 points and 15 rebounds for Birmingham.

  • Basketball
Charisma Osborne leads win over Sierra Canyon

In Southern California girls’ basketball, there’s little doubt who is the best player. That’s L.A. Windward junior Charisma Osborne, who can score, pass, rebound and defend like few others.

The big question, though, is whether Windward’s supporting cast is good enough to carry the Wildcats to a championship. On Friday night, facing No. 3 Sierra Canyon, the No. 1 Wildcats broke open a one-point game at the outset of the third quarter and cruised to a 66-42 victory at Sierra Canyon.

Osborne finished with 17 points, but it was the contributions of teammates that helped Windward turn a 20-19 halftime edge into a 43-30 edge through three quarters.

The CIF Southern Section has released playoff groupings for spring 2018 for baseball, softball, boys’ volleyball and boys’ tennis. Under the section’s competitive equity model, playoff divisions are determined by a program’s performance over the last two seasons rather than by enrollment.

Softball: Click here


Boys’ volleyball: Click here

Boys’ tennis: Click here

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