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.
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.”
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.