Alemany, Santa Margarita, El Camino Real pull off upsets in league basketball openers

The Alemany guard duo of Nico Ponce (left) and Brandon Whitney scored 21 and 26 points, respectively, in a 69-61 win over Loyola on Wednesday night.
The Alemany guard duo of Nico Ponce (left) and Brandon Whitney scored 21 and 26 points, respectively, in a 69-61 win over Loyola on Wednesday night.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

There were upsets and near upsets on Wednesday night as league play began in high school basketball.

In the Mission League, two schools that came in as surprise 15-win teams, Alemany and Loyola, went after it, and when the 32 minutes was completed, it was clear that Alemany guards Brandon Whitney and Nico Ponce had proven too much to handle in leading the Warriors to a 69-61 victory. Whitney, called “the best point guard in Cali” by Ponce, finished with 26 points and 10 assists. Ponce made five threes and had 21 points.

“They just play hard,” said Alemany coach Tray Meeks, whose team is 16-4 and takes on league favorite Harvard-Westlake on Friday at Harvard-Westlake. Loyola (15-4) couldn’t overcome the absence of Colby Brooks (foul trouble). Jack Kresich had 15 points.


In the Trinity League, Santa Margarita stunned JSerra 45-43 on a basket by Kaine Roberts with one second left. Ian Martinez scored 23 points for JSerra.

St. John Bosco avoided the upset by rallying for a 71-67 overtime victory over Servite. Randi Ovalle scored 16 points and Wynton Brown 14. Tajavis Miller of Servite scored 40 points.

Mater Dei rolled to a 68-47 win over Orange Lutheran. Harrison Hornery had 18 points.

In the West Valley League, El Camino Real shocked City Section title contender Birmingham 72-67. The Conquistadores made a barrage of threes. Kyle Braun led the way with 15 points. David Elliott had 22 points for Birmingham.

Chaminade had to go to overtime before defeating Crespi 73-70. Kenneth Simpson finished with 32 points and former Crespi player Colin Weems had 13 points. Mike Price led Crespi with 24 points and Steven Jamerson had 20 points. Harvard-Westlake defeated Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 90-65. Mason Hooks had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Shtolzberg scored 26 points for Notre Dame.

Oak Park received 33 points from Clark Slajchert to defeat Simi Valley 66-59.

Village Christian defeated Whittier Christian 90-46. Immanuel Taylor had 21 points.

Benny Gealer scored 22 points as Rolling Hills Prep defeated Sun Valley Poly 58-45.

Grant knocked off University 63-60. Anthony Paratore scored 15 points.

Viewpoint defeated Venice 68-62. Dante Ogbu had 16 points.

Corona Centennial opened league play with a 90-40 win over Corona Santiago. Jared McCain scored 20 points.

Capistrano Valley held on for a 41-40 win over Mission Viejo.

Thousand Oaks advanced to the championship game of the San Fernando Valley Invitational with a 38-30 win over Kennedy.


Oxnard improved to 19-1 after a 78-48 win over Rio Mesa. Kai Johnson scored 20 points.

Despite 23 points from Kyle Beedon, Campbell Hall was beaten by Providence 61-56.