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2021 predictions: Eric Sondheimer peers into the crystal ball

Bishop Alemany guard Nico Ponce.
Mission Hills Bishop Alemany guard Nico Ponce shot 111 three-pointers last season.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

It’s time to peer into my crystal ball see what 2021 has in store for the Southland’s high school athletes (and a few former ones), coaches and fans:

The San Juan Capistrano JSerra baseball team will be so good that the Dodgers will invite players to scrimmage against them at Dodger Stadium.

Bronny James’ sophomore basketball season at Chatsworth Sierra Canyon will feature a dunk so spectacular that “SportsCenter” will make it a breaking news segment.

A booster club will have a mask-burning celebration this summer to raise funds for the depleted football budget.

LaVar Ball will be mic’d and allowed to offer live commentary as his sons LaMelo and Lonzo play in a Jan. 8 NBA game that becomes a social media event.

Pole vaulter Paige Sommers of Westlake Village Westlake will break so many state records that the local deli will name a pastrami sandwich after her.

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Former West Hills Chaminade and Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya will become one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood.

Former Irvine Beckman shortstop Matt McLain, who turned down $2.6 million from the Diamondbacks in 2018 to attend UCLA, will look like a genius when he becomes a first-round draft choice again and gets millions more to sign after enjoying three years of playing college baseball.

Georgia Tech will come out the big winner in college football recruiting when Sierra Canyon quarterback Chayden Peery proves himself far better than any of the Internet recruiting gurus predicted.

T.J. Ford, a 310-pound freshman tackle at Chaminade with forearms so big he could get into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson, will be the object of recruiting battles between high schools and colleges.

The Studio City Harvard-Westlake freshmen baseball duo of Bryce Rainer and Duncan Marsten will be so impressive as pitchers that fans will seek autographs as if they are Jack Flaherty, Lucas Giolito and Max Fried.

Corona Centennial football coach Matt Logan, a resident of Huntington Beach, will be offered big bucks to leave for a private school job in Orange County.

Proud father Eric Karros will be in the bleachers when son Jared throws a shutout for UCLA and son Kyle hits a home run for the Bruins.

Former Temecula Rancho Christian center Evan Mobley of USC will be an NBA lottery pick, along with former Sierra Canyon guard Ziaire Williams of Stanford.

Former Vista Murrieta 400-meter runner Michael Norman will win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, then come home and be saluted in a parade.

The football trio of Bellflower St. John Bosco’s Rayshon Luke, Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Domani Jackson and L.A. Loyola’s Ceyair Wright will become the fastest 100-meter runners in the state.

After appearing on the December cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids, sophomore basketball standout Juju Watkins of L.A. Windward will become so popular that young girls and boys will line up after games to ask for autographs.

Lincoln Melcher of Burbank Burroughs will release his frustration from COVID-19 quarantine by winning a Southern Section individual golf championship.

Junior guard Nico Ponce of Mission Hills Bishop Alemany will make 10 three-pointers in a game, then go home, study and get an A on his AP chemistry exam to help maintain his 5.0 grade-point average this semester.

Former Westlake Village Oaks Christian standout Maya Brady will lead UCLA to the NCAA softball title and hit a home run so far during the World Series that uncle Tom Brady will offer an autograph to the person who retrieves the ball.

Guard Jake Goldberg will make five threes in a basketball game for La Canada Flintridge St. Francis, causing his father, Kaj, to interrupt his weather broadcast on KTLA with breaking news, “It’s raining threes in La Canada Flintridge.”

Left-hander Gage Jump of JSerra will strike out 18 in a baseball game.

Right-hander Thatcher Hurd, a 6-foot-4 pitcher who transferred from Acalanes near the Bay Area to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, will be the newcomer of the year.

Oklahoma-bound catcher Sophia Nugent of Los Alamitos will be the most feared hitter in high school softball.

Shlomo Bass of Fairfax, who is 6-6 and 285 pounds, will be the best Israeli-born football player in California.

Ontario Colony will have the greatest home-court advantage in basketball for teams playing on outside courts because of the nearby cow farm (you need to experience the smell).


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