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SPORTS DIGEST: St. John Bosco defeats Mater Dei; awaits state title game

The St. John Bosco Braves gained revenge for an earlier loss Dec. 2, defeating the Mater Dei Monarchs, 42-28, for the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title at Anaheim Stadium.

The win ended Mater Dei’s hopes for an undefeated season and put St. John Bosco in the Open Division state championship game against Concord De La Salle Dec. 17 at Sacramento State University.

With the win, St. John Bosco moved up to second place in MaxPreps national rankings, behind Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.

The Braves loss to Bishop Gorman, 35-20, in September. Bishop Gorman won its eighth straight Nevada state championship last weekend and has currently won 54 straight games.

The three L.A. City division champions also qualified for the state playoffs.

Senior running back Kameron Denmark runs out of a Dorsey tackle Dec. 3 in the L.A. City Division 1 championship game. Narbonne defeated Dorsey, 42-34 Dec. 3 and faces Cathedral Catholic of San Diego in the state 1AA Division playoffs Dec. 9. (Photo by Nick Koza)

Senior running back Kameron Denmark runs out of a Dorsey tackle Dec. 3 in the L.A. City Division 1 championship game. Narbonne defeated Dorsey, 42-34 Dec. 3 and faces Cathedral Catholic of San Diego in the state 1AA Division playoffs Dec. 9. (Photo by Nick Koza)

Narbonne defeated Dorsey, 42-34, Dec. 3 at El Camino College to win the Division I title. The Gauchos, 14-0, will now face St. Diego Cathedral Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the state Division 1AA semifinals.

In Division II, the Los Angeles High Romans crushed an undefeated Hawkins High squad 36-6 Dec. 3. The Romans (11-3) now advance to face another undefeated team, Sierra Canyon in the Division 2A semifinals Dec. 10 at Granada Hills High.

Franklin High defeated Reseda, 27-18, to win the City Division III title. The Panthers host Rancho Christian from the San Diego Section at 7 p.m. Dec. 9.

BASKETBALL BONANZA: I usually don’t pay too much attention to college basketball until March, but both the UCLA and USC teams are making me take notice with early season successes.

UCLA climbed to second in the national polls this week are scoring an upset win over then-top-ranked Kentucky, 97-92, Dec. 3. The Bruins take a 9-0 record into their Dec. 10 game against 7-2 Michigan at Pauley Pavilion.

After a dreadful season a year ago, the Bruins are back, being sparked by two freshmen, point guard Lonzo Ball and forward T.J. Leaf.

Leaf led the way against Kentucky, scoring 17 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and collecting five assists.

UCLA guard Aaron Holiday brings the ball up the floor against Kentucky. The Bruins extended their record to 9-0 with an upset win over Kentucky, 97-92, Dec. 3. (Courtesy photo)

UCLA guard Aaron Holiday brings the ball up the floor against Kentucky. The Bruins extended their record to 9-0 with an upset win over Kentucky, 97-92, Dec. 3. (Courtesy photo)

The Bruins trailed by nine early against the Wildcats but took a 49-45 lead at halftime and never trailed in the second half.

It has been 10 years since UCLA started a season 9-0. In 2006-07, the Bruins started 14-0 and went to their second of three straight final fours.

With a strong freshman class, UCLA was expected to bounce back from last year’s 15-17 record.

USC’s 8-0 start is a little more surprising than UCLA’s 9-0 mark.

The Trojans were 21-13 last year, 9-9 in Pac 12 Conference play, which included three wins over the Bruins.

But two players coach Andy Enfield was counting on to be productive for the Trojans this year, guard Julian Jacobs and forward Nikola Jovanovic, declared early for the NBA draft and two other players transferred.

Enfiled has still managed to put a quality team on the court with junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin, sophomore forward Chimezie Metu and forward Bennie Boatwright, who injured a knee last week and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.

USC guard Elijah Stewart, the former Westchester High standout, slam dunks to help ensure the Trojans' 91-84 victory over BYU Dec. 3 in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Hoophall LA Tournament at Staples Center. With an 8-0 record, USC is off to its best start since the 2000-01 season. Eighth-ranked Gonzaga defeated No. 15 Arizona, 69-62 in the first game of the tournament doubleheader. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

USC guard Elijah Stewart, the former Westchester High standout, slam dunks to help ensure the Trojans’ 91-84 victory over BYU Dec. 3 in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Hoophall LA Tournament at Staples Center. With an 8-0 record, USC is off to its best start since the 2000-01 season. Eighth-ranked Gonzaga defeated No. 15 Arizona, 69-62 in the first game of the tournament doubleheader. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

Elijah Stewart, the former L.A. City player of the year from Westchester, is leading the Trojans in scoring and the Trojans also are getting contributions from Louisville transfer Shaqquan Aaron and freshman guard De’Anthony Melton.

The Trojans host Pepperdine at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Galen Center. Their next big test could come in the Las Vegas Classic tournament Dec. 22-23. Pac 12 play starts the following week against the Oregon schools.

Los Angeles could have two undefeated teams going into conference play this season.

FISHER EXTENDED? The news came out early Dec. 4, before any of the day’s football games had begun.

The Rams had extended the contracts of both head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Ed Snead for another two years.

The funny thing is, though, the Rams didn’t make the announcement. The information was all of a sudden just out there. In fact, no one in the Rams hierarchy has said anything about the extension.

Rumors about the extension have been floating around since the start of the season. The Rams just haven’t had a good time to announce it, although in hindsight, they should have announced it four weeks into the season when the Rams were a surprising 3-1.

Now, with a 4-8 record, the Rams are on the verge of the worst season in Fisher’s five-year tenure.

Will the Rams really keep him around two more years? Doubtful.

The Rams have to know that Los Angeles will not support a 4-8 team, even if the team has returned home after a 21-year absence.

I’m not sure the Rams’ 4-8 record in entirely Fisher’s fault because I don’t know how much say Fisher has on player personnel decisions.

I do know that something is dreadfully wrong in the Rams’ talent evaluation process. In 2014, the Rams drafted offensive tackle Greg Robinson with the second overall pick out of Auburn.

Two weeks ago, Fisher, fed up with too many penalties by Robinson, benched him for a game. He was back in the lineup Dec. 4 against New England, but Robinson has yet to produce like the second pick in the draft should.

This year the Rams traded six draft choices to move up to pick Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the draft. Goff couldn’t get off the bench for the first half of the season.

Fisher had some Los Angeles credibility from his playing days at USC and it was reasonable for the Rams to keep him for this first year back home.

But if he stays, the team needs to shore up its talent evaluators to stock the roster with quality players, particularly on offense.

And it might be wise to find a real offensive coordinator, also. Might I suggest Norv Turner.

BALLPARK MUSEUM: The Dodgers have opened a pop-up museum of baseball memorabilia in the left-field reserve level team store.

The museum includes the Hall of Fame’s “Picturing America’s Pastime” photo exhibit of 51 framed photographs representing its collection of approximately a quarter-million images.

It also include items on loan from famed collector Gary Cypres’ extensive collection related to Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres and Ebbets Field artifacts.

Artifacts from the Dodgers’ historical collections also are on display, including a baseball signed by the 1953 National League All-Star team, Shawn Green’s broken bat and Mike Piazza’s catcher’s equipment. Items on loan by former Dodgers include Fernando Valenzuela’s 1981 National League Cy Young award.

The exhibit also features Vin Scully items, jerseys, game-used bats and a display honoring Dodger shortstop Corey Seager, the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year; manager Dave Roberts, the 2016 National League Manager of the Year, and pitcher Clayton Kershaw, the 2014 National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner.

The museum is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 9-11, 16-18, 23-24, 26-31; Jan. 2, 6-8, 13-16, 20-22, 27-29; Feb. 3-5, 10-12, 17-20, 24-26; and March 3-5. Admission is $10.

 

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