CdM, foe have a history

Danny Cheek said the Corona del Mar High boys' basketball team played Lutheran of La Verne in the summer.

The two teams square off again tonight at 7 at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. More is at stake this time around.

The winner moves on to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs, a place Cheek has never been to with the Sea Kings. Cheek said Lutheran is not giving him much of a chance to get there in his final high school season.

"Because of the team we have, they're going to expect to run all over us when we get there," Cheek said. "We've got to come out with a lot of energy.

"We beat them [in the summer]. We already beat La Verne Lutheran."

Cheek does not have to repeat himself to believe CdM can knock off Lutheran again.

The Northern Arizona University-bound senior cannot wait to face the Trojans one more time and get past them in a meaningful contest. Tonight's quarterfinal matchup between fifth-seeded CdM (19-9) and fourth-seeded Lutheran (20-4) is one of the section's marquee games.

Expect an up-tempo game in which each team reaches the high 70s. Coach Ryan Schachter is OK with a high-scoring affair, within limits.

"I like to hope we can get stops," Schachter said.

"They're one of the top teams in the state. They've got four Division I recruits."

One of those touted players is Bruce English, one of five starters back from a team that claimed the CIF Southern Section Division V-AA and CIF State Division V titles last season.

Cheek said the assignment of defending English might be his. He is looking forward to it as well as lifting the offense. Cheek is averaging 15 points per game.

Cheek said the two guards know each other from a summer camp, where Cheek and English were teammates.

"That's probably who I'm going to wind up checking in the game," Cheek said of English, who is averaging 12.1 points per game.

Cheek's length at 6-foot-4 should create problems for the 6-1 English, a senior, who has signed with Loyola Marymount.

English is not the Trojans' leading scorer. They have other threats, starting with 6-9 junior Grant Jerrett, who has committed to Arizona.

Jerrett averages 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. He is one of four Trojans averaging double figures. The other two are point guard C.J. Cooper (14.4), a UTEP recruit, and shooting guard Cameron Osorno (10.2).

The Trojans also have 6-4 sophomore Eric Cooper Jr., who has committed to Arizona. The Trojans are loaded, but the Sea Kings feature three standout seniors in Cheek, 6-6 forward Marcus Bradley and point guard Clayton Ragsdale.

The trio is used to playing upper-echelon teams.

The three have led the way for CdM, which has played a tougher schedule than Lutheran. The Trojans' top opponent this season has been top-seeded Price of Los Angeles. The Knights beat the Trojans, 80-65, at a showcase at the University of La Verne last month.

The Sea Kings have faced four teams ranked in the top 20 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports: No. 2 Long Beach Poly, No. 5 Taft of Woodland Hills, No. 9 Loyola of Los Angeles, and No. 13 Westchester of Los Angeles. ESPN RISE ranks Long Beach Poly No. 19 in the nation and Taft No. 43.

Bradley, a transfer from Beaumont, is the Sea Kings' top scorer at 20 per game. He is nearly unstoppable in the paint, using his size and athleticism to attack the rim.

Cheek said the Sea Kings are going to need balanced scoring and energy to advance out of the quarterfinals, which they were unable to do last season at home, losing to Gahr of Cerritos.

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