The holiday break is over and for the most part, so is nonleague play in boys' and girls' basketball. This week, league races started to unfold.
Brethren Christian got a start on the other local teams by beginning Academy League play Wednesday. The Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Marina girls' teams all launch their Sunset League schedules Thursday and the boys' league title chase begins Friday. Also on Friday, the Ocean View boys' team opens Golden West League play and the Ocean View girls' team makes its league debut Tuesday.
"League is as wide open as I can remember," said Edison boys' Coach Rich Boyce, whose Chargers are defending Sunset champions. "Every team is playing well and has a shot."
Fountain Valley boys' Coach Roger Holmes agreed.
"This year, more than any other in recent memory, the teams are incredibly balanced. Every team in league can win on a given night and you have to be physically and mentally ready to play 10 close games. It is going to be a tight race all the way through."
Brethren Christian: The Warriors reached the championship game of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic (Small Schools Division) last week, where they fell, 65-58, to LACES (Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies). BC won its three previous tournament games over Desert Chapel (78-28), Joshua Springs (71-49) and Desert Mirage (65-49). Junior post Mamadou Ndiaye and senior guard Billy Bryson of BC were named to the all-tournament team.
The Warriors opened Academy League play on Wednesday and play their next league game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Crean Lutheran in Irvine.
BC, which was 11-5 entering Wednesday's league opener at Whitney, has won three straight league titles.
"We played a tough and challenging nonleague schedule, which should have us very prepared for Academy League play," BC Coach Jon Bahnsen said. "I think our chances are good to repeat for a fourth straight year as league champs. It will come down to continuing to play good defense and also staying healthy."
Edison: The Chargers won their second tournament of the season Friday by defeating Moorpark, 56-50, in the final of the MaxPreps Invitational at Cathedral City. Senior guards Dreon Barlett and Corey Foster scored 52 of the Chargers' points, with Barlett hitting six three-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points. Foster scored 22 and went on to be named tournament MVP.
Edison advanced to the title game by beating Patriot, 54-37, on Dec. 29. Foster scored 22 points, Barlett 16 and senior guard Cade Hernandez had 11 points. The Chargers opened the tournament with a 54-32 drubbing of Los Osos on Dec. 27 and Foster poured in 26 points and Barlett 24 to lead nine Chargers in the scoring column in a 69-24 romp against Desert Hot Springs on Dec. 28.
Edison (13-2) begins defense of its Sunset League championship at home at 7 p.m. Friday against Newport Harbor.
Fountain Valley: The Barons went to Florida last week for the KSA Tournament and won the consolation bracket title. Senior forward Nathan Moss and senior guard Zack Richartz were named all-tournament for the Barons, who are 11-3.
The Barons visit Huntington Beach on Friday (7 p.m.) in a Sunset League opener for both teams.
Huntington Beach: The Oilers finished up play at the Orange Holiday Classic with a 53-27 rout of Esperanza to win the consolation championship at Chapman University in Orange. Four Oilers scored in double figures, led by junior forward Harley Ruder's 13 points. Both Ruder and Blake Skorich were selected to the all-tournament team.
On Monday, Huntington had a tough fourth quarter against visiting Mission Viejo and fell, 71-62. Ruder scored 24 points in the loss.
Huntington (9-6) launches its Sunset League schedule at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Fountain Valley.
"I feel like we really challenged ourselves in nonleague play," Oilers Coach Fabian Luna said. "We have played teams that would win our league, hands down, and competed very well. We feel very confident coming into league play that we are prepared to compete for a league championship."
Marina: The Vikings completed pool play at the Estancia Coast Classic on Dec. 28 and downed host Estancia, 50-43.
Marina (3-7) starts its Sunset League campaign Friday hosting Los Alamitos at 7 p.m
Ocean View: The Seahawks won the Santa Barbara Tournament on Dec. 29 by defeating host Santa Barbara, 61-57. Senior Cristian Rivera led all scorers with 24 points and had six rebounds and senior center Conor Clifford had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
In pool play, Ocean View (11-3) had defeated Leuzinger (59-41), San Marcos (56-39) and got 27 points and 15 rebounds from Clifford in a 70-60 win over Clovis West. Clifford was named tournament MVP and Rivera earned all-tournament honors.
The Seahawks, who last year shared the Golden West League championship with Segerstrom and Loara, will go after another crown starting with a league opener at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Westminster.
"We have learned a lot from both our wins and losses," Seahawks co-Coach Jimmy Harris said. "While our scoring average has dipped a bit, our defensive average has improved markedly. We are becoming more consistent with our effort and attention to defense and we have become more cohesive as a team.
Brethren Christian: The Warriors concluded nonleague play last week by winning all four games at the Desert Holiday Classic to win the championship. BC capped its run by defeating Palm Desert, 35-25. Junior guard Sara Hodges scored 12 points and went on to be named MVP of the tournament.
The Warriors previously scored a 34-29 win over Cathedral City and a 46-22 win over Desert Mirage. Brooke Hernandez led all scorers with 13 points in the Cathedral City win. Emily Hammond scored 13 points in the Desert Mirage win.
The Warriors, who were 11-4 entering the week, began Academy League play Wednesday.
"I am very pleased with our play in our nonleague schedule," BC Coach Jeff Wallace said. "We finished third in one tournament and first in the one last week."
Edison: The Chargers won the Orange County Championships it hosted by defeating Long Beach Millikan, 57-46, on Dec. 29. Freshman Katie Lou Samuelson scored 22 points and junior guard Geena Gomez had 12 points for the Chargers. Samuelson was named tournament MVP.
Edison had previously taken down Oxnard (79-19), St. Anthony (78-52) and Etiwanda (50-37) at the tournament. The Chargers (10-2) begin defense of their Sunset League title Thursday with a 6 p.m. game at Newport Harbor.
Fountain Valley: The Barons hosted Northwood in nonleague play Tuesday and suffered a 58-43 loss. Senior point guard Toyen Le scored 14 points and senior forward Carly Ducat had 10 points for Fountain Valley.
Fountain Valley competed last week at the Costa Mesa Tournament and ended their run Dec. 30 with a 56-52 loss to Irvine.
Fountain Valley starts league play at 6 p.m. Thursday hosting Huntington Beach.
Huntington Beach: The Oilers cruised to a big first-half lead on Crescenta Valley on Friday and went on to defeat the Falcons, 59-36, to win the championship of the Costa Mesa Tournament. Huntington hit eight three-point shots and senior point guard Kelsey Minato led the scoring with 19 points.
Huntington's Maya Kennedy was named tournament MVP and Minato was selected all-tournament.
Huntington also rolled to a big first-half lead on Capistrano Valley in a second-round game Dec. 28. The Oilers turned a 37-18 lead at the break into a 62-43 victory. Minato had a game-high 20 points and Kennedy scored 17. The Oilers continued their torrid play by bolting to a 30-12 first-quarter lead on Mission Viejo and went on to defeat the Diablos, 66-53, on Dec. 29. Kennedy finished with 24 points.
Huntington (10-3) starts Sunset League play Thursday with a 6 p.m. game at Fountain Valley.
Marina: The Vikings took fell to Katella, 46-37, in a nonleague game Tuesday. Sophomore guard Melissa Lindquist led Marina with 11 points.
The Vikings completed play Dec. 29 at its own Larry Doyle Basketball Classic. Without the services of two key players, Marina hung tough before Torrance pulled away in the fourth quarter to take a 40-26 victory. Lindquist played three minutes of the first quarter before leaving the game because of illness. Junior shooting guard Jennifer Chau did not play because of illness.
Junior guard Lauren Dorame topped Marina with nine points.
"I thought we played great considering we were without Melissa and Jennifer," first-year Marina Coach Dean Katayama said. "We hustled, played with intensity and came ready to play....it was those 'intangibles' that made it a great effort. The girls didn't give up and we were right there going into the fourth quarter."
Marina (3-10) starts Sunset League play at 6 p.m. Thursday at Los Alamitos.
Ocean View: The Seahawks crushed Bolsa Grande, 41-16, in a nonleague game Tuesday. Mari Shigemasa led all scorers with 11 points.
Last week, Ocean View completed play at the Serrano Holiday Tournament. Seahawks Coach Kim Morris said that junior forward Alexxas Laun had a strong game with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals in a 25-18 win over Desert Christian. Hannah Ferguson was named all-tournament, Morris said.
The Seahawks (7-8) play a 6 p.m. nonleague game Saturday at Fountain Valley. They begin their Golden West League slate at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Orange.
"Most people have discounted us due to a couple of transfers at the end of the summer," Morris said. "But I believe everything happens for a reason and as a result of their leaving, we are a better, more cohesive team and will make a run for the championship. If we fall short in the attempt, we will make life difficult for whichever team does end up in first."