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FULL-COURT PRESS

Erik Boal

I already know what you’re thinking.

Here’s that guy again with his stupid grading system, passing unfair

judgement on the local boys’ and girls’ high school basketball teams.

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Some coaches have even gone so far as to confront this reporter in the

past, arguing that there shouldn’t even be grades as it relates to a

team’s performance.

Relax people.

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Just remember this is for entertainment purposes only and that it is

just one person’s opinion and will no doubt be disagreed with.

So here now is the midseason report card for all 17 area boys’ and

girls basketball teams:

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Crescenta Valley -- There have been some rumblings in Falcon country,

saying that CV (11-5) has been a victim of too much individualism during

its recent three-game losing streak.

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But Adam Jacobsen knows that only teams win championships, especially

in the Pacific League.

And although today’s game at Pasadena is the Falcons first in league,

it might also be their most important. Grade: B+.

Flintridge Prep -- After Friday’s win at Rio Hondo Prep, Rebel Coach

Garrett Ohara couldn’t recall when his team had last tasted victory.

Yes, the nonleague portion of Flintridge Prep’s schedule was a

forgettable one, but the Rebels (3-9) -- who now own a two-game winning

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streak -- have put that behind them and are focusing on today’s Prep

League grudge match at Pasadena Poly. Grade: C-.

Glendale -- Steve Snodgress knows his team can finish anywhere between

second and sixth in the Pacific League, but with Hugo Guerrero back after

missing six games because of an injury, the Nitros (8-8) should be closer

to the former than the latter.

Riley Van Patten continues to be one of the area’s most exciting

players. Grade: B.

Hoover -- The Tornadoes (8-7) aren’t ones to make excuses, but a

number of close losses in early December happened during the team’s

grieving period following the death of Vrej Baghdasarian, the father of

junior point guard Armen Baghdasarian.

Kirt Kohlmeier has done a good job of keeping Hoover united in the

face of adversity. Grade: B.

La Canada -- A few games with uncharacteristically poor three-point

shooting have been the only stumbling blocks for the Spartans (12-3) in

an otherwise dominant run through their nonleague schedule.

And Tom Hofman’s squad has been able to do it at both ends of the

floor, burying an area-best 120 three-pointers and limiting opponents to

36.6% shooting and 51.7 points per game.

Junior point guard Billy Hofman has carried La Canada’s offense,

ranking in the top three on the team in seven offensive categories,

including leading the squad in scoring. Grade: A.

St. Francis -- Although the Golden Knights (5-7) are one win ahead of

last year’s pace through 12 games, the chances of them qualifying for the

postseason are a lot more remote this time around.

So much so that Chris Miller’s 22.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game

won’t be enough to rescue John Jordan’s squad. Grade: C+.

Verdugo Hills -- The Dons (4-10) have made major strides since last

year, but whether they can duplicate the same improvement in the Sunset

Six League remains to be seen.

Scott Kemple’s squad hasn’t qualified for the L.A. City Section

playoffs since 1993 and hasn’t won a league title since 1959, so the sky is definitely the limit for Verdugo Hills. Grade: C.

Village Christian -- The Crusaders (5-7) were able to rebound from

losing all three games in their first annual Christmas Classic to post an

important nonleague victory Saturday at Big Bear.

But remember, Patrick Hamblin’s squad was 3-13 entering Alpha League

play last season and fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs,

which means Village Christian should again be able to pull it together by

the time February rolls around. Grade: C+.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Crescenta Valley -- The Falcons (9-7) get bonus points for playing the

toughest nonleague schedule of any local team, including trips to the

Glendora and Mount Carmel Tournaments.

But Bruce Breeden knows his squad will have to maintain certain levels

of consistency and intensity to beat out the rest of its Pacific League

opponents in the race to finish behind Muir.

The Falcons get a big test today against Pasadena. Grade: A-.

Flintridge Prep -- Kenny Fisher’s squad hasn’t recorded that one big

victory yet, but the Rebels (7-6) are in the comfort zone of the Prep

League now, and today’s game at Pasadena Poly would be as good a place as

any to start.

Fisher will probably have extra good-luck charms on hand to help

exorcise the demons of last year’s triple overtime loss in the Pasadena

Poly gym. Grade: B.

Flintridge Sacred Heart -- The Tologs (4-9) enter today’s Mission

League contest against Alemany staring a 35-game league losing streak

square in the face.

But considering Flintridge Sacred Heart managed to win a total of nine

games in its previous three seasons combined, the recent efforts of Ron

Sarber’s squad shows that steps are being taken in the right direction.

Grade: C.

Glendale -- Errol Garnett has endured recurring nightmares through the

Nitros’ nonleague schedule, with most of them centering around his team’s

54.9% effort (178 of 324) from the free-throw line.

Still, Glendale has managed to go 6-10, and providing it goes at least

.500 in Pacific League play, Garnett’s group should qualify for the

postseason. Grade: B-.

Holy Family -- The Gaels (5-6), with their 32 minutes of fun-and-gun

and full-court pressure attitude, are generating a lot of excitement.

The underrated trio of Maribel Go, Rosemary Pascual and Pam Riepele

should be able to keep Matthan Jackson’s squad in the hunt for a playoff

berth in the Horizon League, and no doubt post at least one upset along

the way. Grade: C.

Hoover -- The Tornadoes (3-9) have shown flashes -- specifically in

their 52-32 nonleague win against Louisville -- of playing some really

good basketball, but Jack Van Patten’s squad needs to provide more

offensive support for Arsineh Eskandari.

The person in charge of compiling the Pacific League master schedule

didn’t do Hoover any favors in matching it up with Muir in today’s

opener. Grade: C+.

La Canada -- Many didn’t think it could be done, but Tamar Hill

managed to not only keep an injury-plagued Spartan squad competitive

through its nonleague schedule, but emerge 9-7. However, the bull’s-eye

remains firmly on the back of La Canada, which has a tough road ahead in

its quest to win another Rio Hondo League title. Grade: B+.

Verdugo Hills -- For the second straight season, Dan Nakauchi’s squad

concluded the nonleague portion of its schedule, and the News-Press is

still waiting to hear from the Dons (2-4). Grade: incomplete.

Village Christian -- Fred Largent’s squad took a few lumps during the

past month, but hopefully with Friday’s nonleague win against Frederick

Price, the Crusaders (3-12) can look to turn the corner entering Alpha

League play.

Charlotte Causly remains the area’s most hidden talent, despite

averaging 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Grade: C-.

FULL-COURT PRESS is a weekly high school basketball column that

appears Tuesdays. ERIK BOAL is a staff writer. He can be reached at

637-3225.


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