Every year, this area produces some of the best high school basketball teams in Southern California and this year should be no exception.
The boys’ basketball season began last month and already several teams have let it be known that they will be contending for spots in the L.A. City and Southern Section playoffs, with several teams setting their goals on the state playoffs that follow the section playoffs
Here is a selected list of local teams that are expected to contend for the playoffs, listed in no particular order.
• Westchester: Coached by Ed Azzam, the Comets’ success is fueled by a potent offense and sound, disciplined defense. Depth is a Westchester trademark, and its talented roster includes Maurice Tutt and Jordan Brinson.
•Manual Arts: Coached by Randolph Simpson, the Toilers, at least for now, have the smallest roster of seven players. That could change after the first of the year. Undeterred, Simpson plans to have his team ready to make a run at a city title.
• Fremont: Coached by George McLin, the Pathfinders have a bushel of guards and rebounding talent that may help elevate them deep into the city playoffs.
• Culver City: Coached by Reggie Morris Jr., it shouldn’t take long for the Centaurs to emerge as a contender for a Southern Section title. Morris has had noted success at Redondo, Leuzinger and St. Bernard.
• Dorsey: Coached by Charleston Jackson, the Dons have a young team of mostly freshmen and sophomores. If it can learn quickly and mature, Dorsey may be competitive enough to make a playoff run. Jackson is only the fourth coach at Dorsey since it won its only city title in 1976 under John Haydel. The other two were Dave Gordon and, most recently, Kevin Gibson.
• Washington Prep: Coached by Jovante King, the Generals compete in the tough Marine League, usually known for its football teams, especially Narbonne. Narbonne is also competitive in basketball, perhaps the league favorite, but Washington is an annual playoff contender in recent years.
• Fairfax: Coached by Steve Baik, the Lions are often in the hunt for a city title and are always regarded as one of the nation’s top teams.
• St. John Bosco: Coached by Matt Dunn, the Braves are off to a positive start as they make an attempt to stay among the elite teams in California.
• Lynwood: Coached by Jason Crowe, the Knights will try to return to the Southern Section playoffs in his first year, led by standout Carl Lewis.
• Serra: Coached by George McCrumby, who took over after longtime coach Dwan Hurt died, the Cavaliers will rely on the leadership of Jamal Briscoe and Jaylan Slaughter to keep the team afloat.
• Inglewood: Coached by William Alexander, who was named to the position after longtime coach Pat Roy resigned recently. Alexander has a challenging job ahead of him. In 26 years, Roy led Inglewood to three Southern Section championships, helped more than 80 players receive college scholarships and coached recently retired NBA standout Paul Pierce, when Pierce was a student at Inglewood.
• Loyola: Coached by Jamal Adams, the Cubs came out of nowhere last year into the Southern Section playoffs. Although Loyola is a shadow of the powerful teams of the 1990s, the Cubs still have key players like James Keefe, C.J. Jones and Neil Owens.
• Crenshaw: Coached by Ed Waters, the Cougars will try to win their third city title in a row. Crenshaw is a deep and talented unit led by Kevin Ebiriekwe and Dominique Winbush.
• View Park: Coached by Jason Porter, the Knights’ quick-scoring, up-tempo offense and swarming defense are this team’s strengths.
• Morningside: Coached by Daniel Campbell, the Monarchs will try to stay above the .500 mark and return to the playoffs like they did in Campbell’s first year in 2015-16.
•St. Bernard: Coached by Mitch Runco, the Vikings have a chance to make a serious playoff run in the Southern Section.
• Price: Coached by Donnell Meekins, the Knights will try to return to the Southern Section playoff hunt, like they did in Meekins’ first year in 2016. In that year, Price won the Division VI title.