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1830 posts
  • Basketball
High school senior holds own

It's still not known where Marvin Bagley III will be playing next basketball season, but it's pretty clear he has become too good for high school.

Even though he's still listed as a high school senior, the former Sierra Canyon center had 18 points and 20 rebounds playing for Los Angeles in a 101-94 win over Seattle in a special Drew League game on Wednesday night.

The Drew League is made up of pros and ex-pros. In other words, he's playing against men. It's a summer experience that has taught him plenty.

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  • Basketball

The City Section has lost another elite coach.

Torino Johnson, who guided Palisades to four City Section championships in girls' basketball, has resigned to become an assistant coach at Cal State Los Angeles under Cheryl Miller.

Johnson took over the Palisades program in 2007-08 and turned it into a City Section power.

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The City Section has reached a verbal agreement with ION Media for exclusive TV rights to its championship events, Commissioner John Aguirre said Wednesday. A final deal must be approved by the City Section's Executive Committee and Board of Managers.

An agreement with Spectrum ended this past year. Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable, was paying the section $75,000 and had rights to all sporting events. ION Media, which owns and operates more than 60 television stations and is on channels 305 and 306 on Direct TV, will be paying $25,000 for championship rights only, Aguirre said.

If ION decides not to broadcast a championship event, it would become available to other bidders.

  • Basketball

Coach Harvey Kitani has finalized the schedule for his Rolling Hills Prep State Preview Classic set for Jan. 27 at Cerritos College.

The basketball tournament will begin with Long Beach Jordan facing Crean Lutheran at 9:30 a.m.

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

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In a commissioner's message released Tuesday, Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said playoff attendance has "decreased significantly" the last three years since the Southern Section returned more than $500,000 to schools to help them pay membership dues as a result of a surplus.

"We all need to make a concerted effort to increase attendance," Wigod wrote.

In a phone call, Wigod said the Southern Section is financially sound, with a more than $80,000 profit last year. But a significant decrease in attendance for the football and basketball playoffs the last three years is a concern.

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For the second consecutive year, high school football participation at the 11-player level decreased by more than 3,000 students in California, according to the California Interscholastic Federation's annual sports participation survey released Tuesday.

In 2015, there were 100,205 participants, a drop of 3,520. In 2016, there were 97,079, a drop of 3,126. Eight-player football increased by 196.

"I don't think it's a concern but reflects concerns by parents and reflects a national trend in youth sports," said Roger Blake, executive director the CIF. "Kids are still playing sports. They're just playing other things."

Kevin Rooney in 2008.
Kevin Rooney in 2008. (Irfan Khan)

Monday marked the 38th season as football coach at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame for Kevin Rooney, who shows no signs of wanting to slow down while conducting his team's first practice.

He's even added a first: a goatee.

"I need more white hair on my face to make me look younger," Rooney said.

  • Football
Former Bengal Chad Johnson
Former Bengal Chad Johnson (MCT)

Venice's football team has a new receiver. Sophomore Chad Johnson Jr. is the son of the former NFL standout who is known as Ocho Cinco for his No. 85 jersey with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"He's a very humble kid," said Venice coach Angelo Gasca, who knew Johnson's father when he played at Santa Monica College.

Johnson Jr. is 6 feet 3 and also a promising baseball player.

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Granada Hills is about to get its third baseball coach in three years. After Reggie Smith Jr. was dismissed for using profanity, his replacement was also recently let go.

Now the girls' golf program is facing a major change. Steve Thompson, who guided the team to seven consecutive City Section championships, is no longer the coach.

Thompson has been in a dispute with the school. He had been a physical education teacher at Granada Hills.

  • Football

2016 was not a good season for the Oaks Christian defense. The Lions gave up 55 points to Chaminade, 62 points to Alemany and 70 points to Murrieta Valley.

Coach Jim Benkert starts practice this week with a new defensive coordinator, former Hamilton Coach Kelvin Moore. The Lions are expected to switch to a 3-4 alignment.

But the biggest change could occur when Oaks Christian decides to rush Bo Calvert on one side at defensive end and Kayvon Thibodeaux from the other side. Calvert is a USC commit moving from safety to defensive end/outside linebacker. Thibodeaux is a junior transfer from Dorsey who also will play defensive end/outside linebacker.