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  • Basketball
Junior scores 21 points in win over SO Notre Dame

Crespi lost most of its top players to graduation, but coach Russell White has his team at 18-3 and is celebrating a 64-63 double overtime win over Chaminade on Friday night in its Mission League opener.

Kyle Owens, the only starter back, had 26 points and 12 rebounds. Ellis Kahn made six threes and finished with 24 points. Weston Crump, Keith Higgins Jr. and Abe Eagle each scored 15 points for Chaminade.

Loyola defeated Alemany 62-55 for its 10th consecutive victory. Neil Owens led the Cubs with 13 points. Brandon Whitney led Alemany with 19 points.

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BOYS BASKETBALL

Antelope Valley 76, Victor Valley 69

Artesia 58, Oxford Academy 48

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BOYS' BASKETBALL

Adelanto 73, Ridgecrest Burroughs 63

Anaheim Canyon 68, Westminster 47

  • Basketball
Coach Gary McKnight watches as his Santa Ana Mater Dei team takes on Palm Springs on Jan. 2.
Coach Gary McKnight watches as his Santa Ana Mater Dei team takes on Palm Springs on Jan. 2. (Eric Sondheimer)

Much of the attention in the first two months of the basketball season has focused on Sierra Canyon and Rancho Christian as the teams to beat in the Southern Section, but don’t count out defending Open Division champion Santa Ana Mater Dei.

The Monarchs are 16-1 with a starting lineup of all underclassmen, and their front line measures 6-9, 6-9 and 6-8. In other words, don’t count out coach Gary McKnight, who found a way to beat Sierra Canyon last season.

“It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “They’re really jelling as a team.”

Loyola’s soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches national poll.

San Luis Obispo is No. 10.

In the girls rankings, JSerra is No. 1. Los Alamitos is No. 3 and Upland No. 5.

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Sophomore guards Kenneth Simpson Jr. (left) and Keith Higgins Jr. have led Chaminade to a 15-3 record going into its Mission League opener.
Sophomore guards Kenneth Simpson Jr. (left) and Keith Higgins Jr. have led Chaminade to a 15-3 record going into its Mission League opener. (Eric Sondheimer)

Mission League basketball action begins on Friday with three outstanding openers: Sherman Oaks Notre Dame at Harvard-Westlake, Crespi at Chaminade, Alemany at Loyola.

All could be overtime games. There’s that much parity in the league. St. Francis, at 16-2, has a bye.

There’s a big change this season. Teams are playing each other only once. There will be a tournament at the end of the season, with the top four teams playing for the right to play in a championship game and the bottom three teams playing in a round robin format.

  • Basketball
Jordan Brinson of Westchester was named Beach Ball Classic MVP on Monday. Last season he was trying to score against Kirk Smith of Fairfax.
Jordan Brinson of Westchester was named Beach Ball Classic MVP on Monday. Last season he was trying to score against Kirk Smith of Fairfax. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

New Year’s Eve in Myrtle Beach, S.C., proved to be quite a moment for the Westchester High basketball team on Monday night.

The Comets (13-1) held on for a 42-41 win over Ky. Scott County in the championship game of the Beach Ball Classic.

Jordan Brinson, who scored 19 points, was named tournament MVP. Kaelen Allen made two free throws in the final 30 seconds to give Westchester the lead. Then the Comets played good enough defense to pull out the victory.

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“Nobody told me to lose weight," Daniel O'Neil said. "I just wanted to do it for myself.”
“Nobody told me to lose weight," Daniel O'Neil said. "I just wanted to do it for myself.” (O'Neil family)

When Daniel O’Neil showed up at Grant High as a freshman, he was 5 feet 7 and weighed 236 pounds. He was a benchwarmer on the freshman-sophomore basketball team.

Three years later, he’s 6 feet and 175 pounds. His loss of weight was a major reason he was able to make a school-record 11 threes last week and finished with 44 points in a game against Palmdale.

“I used to eat a lot,” he said. “Nobody told me to lose weight. I just wanted to do it for myself.”

As a sophomore, he started going with his father to the gym in the morning, stopped eating carbohydrates and drank a gallon of water each day. The weight began to come off. No more breaded chicken.

He was 200 pounds by his junior year and gained quickness and stamina.

Now he can help teammates who are overweight.

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There always seems to be questions whether someone really moves residences and tries to transfer.

The Southern Section has put together a new checklist that will be the standard whenever a parent moves and a school must approve the transfer for an official change of residence.

This way, both the school and the parent will be protected.

  • Basketball

Westchester (10-1) has advanced to Monday’s championship game of the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., after pulling out a 47-45 win over Texas North Crowley on Saturday night.

Kaelen Allen scored 14 points and Jordan Brinson and Jeremiah Turley added 12 apiece.

Sierra Canyon 66, Florida University 52: The Trailblazers won the Les Schwab tournament in Oregon. Scotty Pippen Jr. made six threes and had 26 points. Cassius Stanley added 16 points.