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Varsity Times Insider: The latest sports news from Southern California's high school teams

Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.

1783 posts
  • Basketball

The Maranatha basketball tournament begins on Monday in Pasadena and runs through the championship game on Saturday night.

There’s four brackets broken down into North, South, East and West.

Damien is in the North and opens against St. Francis at 6:25 p.m.

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Loyola junior center is making progress

It’s summer break, which means it’s time to look back at some of my favorite stories, videos and high school athletes.

The NBA draft takes place on Thursday, and Thomas Welsh from UCLA could be taken. I remember when Welsh was playing basketball at Loyola High in 2012 as a junior and beginning to make real progress. He had just reached 7 feet.

As coach Jamal Adams put it, one of the best qualities for Welsh was his character and work ethic.

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Johnny Tincher of Birmingham is the City Section Open Division player of the year.
Johnny Tincher of Birmingham is the City Section Open Division player of the year. (Eric Sondheimer)

Junior catcher Johnny Tincher of Birmingham has been selected the City Section player of the year in the Open Division.

He was Birmingham’s leadoff hitter and an outstanding defensive player in helping the Patriots win the Open Division championship.

Sophomore Albert Garcia was selected the pitcher of the year.

The CIF announced its 33 academic team champions for the 2017-18 school year.

The Southern Section had 12 teams represented, led by Pasadena Poly, which had four teams win titles. The lone City Section champion was Belmont in competitive sport cheer.

The Southern Section champions:

The final transfer numbers are in for the 2017-18 school year for the CIF Southern Section.

There were 7,289 transfers reported by schools from the largest section in the CIF. Last school year there were 6,999. Santa Ana Mater Dei ranks No. 1 with 74 transfers.

Still to be released are the final transfer numbers statewide. Last school year there were 16,595 transfers around the state. The final number is expected to approach 17,000.

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  • Football

Santa Ana Mater Dei, coming off a 15-0 football season, has been chosen to appear on ESPNU on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. against host Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

It’s part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff weekend.

The Monarchs figure to be on TV several times during the 2018 prep football season.

The Southern Section has released its All-CIF volleyball teams, and the top award winner is senior Brandon Browning of Corona del Mar.

He has been selected the Division 1 player of the year.

In Division 2, Brett Sheward of Orange Lutheran was the player of the year.

  • Baseball

Rosters have been announced for the California Baseball Coaches’ Assn. 49th annual North-South showcase that will take place Saturday and Sunday at UC San Diego.

Among the South selections from the Southern Section and City Section are outfielder Cole Kitchen, El Camino Real; catcher Brian Ghattas, Crescenta Valley; outfielder Kyle Ashworth, Foothill; infielder Danilo Tiotuico, Capistano Valley; third baseman Christian Diaz, Redlands; first baseman Luc Stuka, Corona del Mar; pitcher Evan Fitterer, Aliso Niguel; pitcher Marcus Zofrea, Redlands; and pitcher Sebastian Diaz, Downey.

El Camino Real’s Josh Lienhard is an assistant coach for the South. Chatsworth assistant Chuck Hatfield will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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  • Basketball

The DeMar DeRozan basketball tournament begins Tuesday at Compton High. The War on the Floor tournament begins Wednesday at St. Genevieve, Burroughs and Providence.

Opening games on Tuesday at Compton: Maranatha vs. Long Beach Poly at 4 p.m.; Compton vs. King-Drew at 5 p.m.; St. John Bosco vs. Alemany at 6 p.m.; Mayfair vs. Fountain Valley at 7 p.m.

Bishop Montgomery begins action Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Maranatha.

  • Basketball
Thirteen-year-old incoming freshman scores 27 points for Chino Hills.

Summer has begun, so I decided it’s time to look back and share some of my favorite videos and stories.

First up is seeing 13-year-old incoming freshman LaMelo Ball in his summer debut for Chino Hills in 2015 at Maranatha High.

I had heard stories of how good Ball was in AAU games. Little did I know that coach Steve Baik was going to immediately put him in the starting lineup to join brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo.