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Rattling the cage

League hoops is four weeks away, but the boys and girls are making waves

Posted: December 16, 2008 10:04 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Even though the league slate hasn't started yet, Foothill basketball is off to a strong start.

A total of eight boys and girls teams have a winning record, with two more that are just a game under .500.

One of them will have a chance to separate itself from the rest of the pack Thursday.

The Canyon girls team is off to a 6-3 start after upending Blair of Pasadena 66-51 Tuesday evening, but the Cowboys entertain The Bishop School, an undefeated squad based out of San Diego that's winning by an average of 30 points a game and has size to spare.

The starting backcourt features two Big Ten-bound players in Northwestern commit Igna Orekhova and Penn State signee Gizelle Studevent.

"They're a team that lets you know where your team is," said Canyon head coach Stan Delus. "It's definitely going to be a test for us because they're really, really talented. Hopefully our speed and our quickness will be able to help us."

On the boys' side, Canyon just finished hosting its annual tournament and the Cowboys finished 2-2 and fell in the consolation game. Senior Mike Edwards was named to the all-tournament team.

The MVP of the Canyon Classic hailed from tournament champion Valencia.

That was sophomore Lonnie Jackson who is averaging a shade under 25 points per game for the Vikings.

No Foothill player has scored that many points per game this decade.

Valencia is off until Jan. 3.

The Vikings girls team won the Valencia High Five Classic with a spotless 4-0 mark, which included a 79-75 overtime victory over rival Saugus in the championship game.

The Vikings are currently 2-0 through two days of the Burroughs tournament and 6-0 on the season.

"We're going to see a test (today against Montclair Prep)," said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. "But so far, the progress has been good. I think we have five girls averaging double figures (in points) and some good bench play, too."

The Golden Valley girls have won three in a row after dropping their season opener.

The tandem of Jasmine Jefferson and Deaja Plummer is developing into a potent post combination.

The Golden Valley boys are the only undefeated Foothill League boys squad and the high-powered Grizzlies are averaging 75.8 points per game. So far, Golden Valley is the only team to defeat Marmonte League power Simi Valley, and did so at Simi Valley's own tip-off tournament.

The Grizzlies went on to win the tournament.

The rest of the league has taken notice.

"They're incredibly athletic," said Hart boys head coach Tom Kelly. "They have the whole package."

Kelly's team hasn't done too bad itself. The Indians are 4-2 and finished third at the Moorpark Tournament, and will take part in this weekend's 32-team San Fernando Valley Invitational, where it finished third a year ago. Hart will host the Hart Holiday Classic from Dec. 26-30.

"If our guys will buy into defending and rebounding, we can go as far as we want," Kelly said.

The Hart girls, on the other hand, have struggled to start the season. But they have plenty of chances to turn things around.

The Indians will head to the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions this weekend and the Bell-Jeff Tournament after Christmas.

The Saugus girls went 3-1 at the Valencia High Five Classic, but just 1-3 at the Gold Coast Tournament, with a loss to Beverly Hills sandwiched in between.

Fortunately for the Centurions, the guard-forward combination of Nicole Hicks - who leads the Foothill League with 17.3 points per game - and Gabby Conn makes them a threat every night.

On the boys' side, Saugus split four games at the season-opening Simi Valley Tournament, but its two losses came by a combined seven points. The Centurions are currently taking part at the La Canada Tournament and will participate in the Chaminade Tournament starting a week from Friday.

The West Ranch boys know a thing or two about close losses, too, dropping contests to Culver City and Palisades by a total of three points at the Beverly Hills tournament. Senior guard David Franklin is second behind Jackson in league scoring at 22.7 points per game, and the front line boasts three 6-foot-5 seniors in Kulwinder Singh, Hakeem Bradley and Geoff Petersen - all of whom will be counted on as the Wildcats take part in the San Fernando Valley Invitational.

West Ranch's girls team finished with a 1-2 record at both the Falcon Classic and Gold Coast Tournament, and has several individual non-league matchups scheduled before Foothill League play kicks off in January 13.


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