CIF-SS OPEN DIVISION:  Once again, Marshall had a dominating performance. But Jaiya Mix, Destiny Agubata, and Kennedy Smith of Etiwanda snatched the win from Lynwood’s grasp.

SWARMING EAGLES:  Lynwood's Jaushlynn Ruffin is boxed in by Etiwanda defenders during their clash in the CIF Southern Section Open Division matchup Saturday night.

By Earl Williams




LYNWOOD —To Etiwanda High girls basketball fans, it must have felt little like the 1965 NBA Eastern Conference Finals when the Boston Celtics radio broadcaster Johnny Most, shouted “Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!’’

With only 10.1 seconds left in overtime against host Lynwood, the Eagles desperately needed a huge stop to secure a 72-71 victory.

In this moment, sophomore point guard Jaiya Mix became Etiwanda’s “Havlicek.’’

Somehow, she tipped the ball away from Lynwood’s Rajah Marshall and dribbled out the clock as Etiwanda’s bench and a crowd of supporters erupted in jubilation.

Seconds earlier, Kennedy Smith had stolen the ball from Lynwood’s guard Jada Turner and scored inside the paint to put Etiwanda up for good.

“They passed the ball inward to her,’’ said Alexandra Castro, an Etiwanda guard. “Our coach told us whenever she gets the ball to double team her. I was in the back row so I came over to help. There was a tip at the top and our girl got it.’


Capistrano Valley Christian photo-1.jpg

   This season, Dominic Freeman, a former Long Beach State swingman and Biola University assistant coach, took over Capistrano Christian High girls basketball team,10-6 overall, and never envisioned that he would lead a team with five core players to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division V-A and to a possible a date  toface Orange County Pacific Christian for the title.
  During this season, there have been times when he didn’t have enough players to practice and to recruit players who competed in other sports to fill in for injured players.
  He managed to lead his cut-and-paste squad to third place in the Express League.  
  Mariah Streeter, a 5-foot-4 freshman guard, ha turned in spectacular performances. She has averaged 17 ppg.  A couple of times, she torched opponents for 30 points. In her last game, she scored 27 points in the third quarter, rallying the Eagles from a 17-point deficit. With seconds left, she nailed the game-winning shot to record a 43-40 victory over Nordoff.
  Beau Allred, a 5-foot-8 freshman guard, has been chairwoman of the boards. She has averaged 18 rpg.
  “She got school record in rebounds for a single game,’’ said Freeman about her 25 rebounds against Downey Calvary Chapel.  Then she duplicated her performance against Newport Christian.
  Macy Manrique, a 5-foot-8 freshaman guard who has been out with an injury, is expected to return to compete against  Louisville in the semifinals at 7 p.m. on the road.  
  “Beau and Mariah have been the driving engine behind our success,’’ Freeman said. “This team has had some key injures and a number of issues all year long. For the last four games, we’ve played with five girls. Since then, we’ve gotten two back. This team does not quit.’’

FLYING HIGH:  After enduring numerous challenges this past season coach Dominic Freeman has  his Eagles soaring at the right time. Tonight, they will tipoff against Louisville High in the CIF Southern Section Semifinal game on the road. If the Eagels win, they'll advance to face Orange County Pacific Christian in the finals. The Express League rivals split their season matchups.

Special to the 'Sports Desk


LYNWOOD STAGE COMEBACK:  Rayah Marshall, a 6-foot-4 McDonald's All-American, scores 16 of her 43 points in the second half to rally the Knights from a 24-point deficit, but comes up short against the Monarchs for the second time in two seasons.

A HANDFUL: Rayah Marshall goes up for 2 of her 43 points against Mater Dei. She also had 16 rebounds. in the losing effort on the road. The Knights got behind as much as 24 points in the game.


By Earl Williams

Sports Editor

SANTA ANA — It must have been like reliving “Ground Hogs’ Day’’ the movie for Lynwood and Mater Dei high girls basketball teams on Wednesday night during the second round of the CIF Southern Section Open Division Playoffs.
  They woke up to this reoccurring nightmare.
  Last year, the Monarchs moved the ball around the perimeter and found themselves open for contest 3-pointers. It was target practice.
  They dribbled the ball around Lynwood defenders like they were statues for uncontested layups, mid-range jumpers in the lane and scored off 50-50 balls, and found themselves up by 20 points entering halftime.
  It appeared to be an easy night, but Lynwood came roaring back. Brilyah Taylor and Jada Turner led the charge.  On Wednesday night, the script was nearly identical.
  In the second half, Knights turned up their defensive intensity several notches and scored off steals, turnovers, and fastbreaks layups. This time Rayah Marshall, a McDonald’s All-American, came to the rescue. Her heroics on both ends had Lynwood in a great position to rewrite the ending of this story.
  However, missed layups, missed free throws, a late bucket by Mater Dei, and free throws by the Monarchs resulted in a 78-70 loss.  Now, the Knights will host Etiwanda Saturday at 7 p.m., a rematch of a regular-season meeting that Lynwood won.

DRIVEN: Leah Shaw, who played strong perimeter defense, looks for her shot against Mater Dei..


HOT SHOT: Medina, who can fill up the stat sheet with 3-pointers, scores on a driving layup in the first half of the Crusaders' nail-bitter in the CIF-SS Division III-AA Quarterfinals.
MAGIC TOUCH: Micah Sybesma gave Valley Christian an inside presence as he earned most of his nine points in the paint.

Boys Basketball Playoff Results

AQUINAS 84, LAKEWOOD 80 (OT): Jalen Shores, Chris Willis and the rest of the Lances took Aquinas to the wire but came up a little  short in the quarterfinals of  CIF-SS Division III-AA Playoffs on the road Tuesday night.
CRUSADERS HOLD BIG RALLY: Medina tallies 20 points and Brett Stahl added 17 points to rally the Crusaders to a thrilling victory over Covina in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA playoffs at home Tuesday night in front of a large crowd of supports

By Earl Williams

Sports Editor

CERRITOS — In the waning seconds, senior shooting guard Brett Stahl hit a clutch free throw and two deep shots from the arc.
  His heroics, and that of other Valley Christian High basketball players, propelled the Crusaders to a 62-56 victory over Covina Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA. Now, they will advance to play host Aquinas, which edged Lakewood High in overtime.
“We have had a handful of games where we were down by double digits,’’ Valley Christian coach Josh Zumkehr said. “We were in that spot previously. We are pretty resilient. We got a few shots and made a few stops. We let the crowd give us some momentum.’’
  Stahl, who finished with 17 points, converted free throws to sealed the victory with 3.7 seconds left on the clock.
This stretched the Crusaders’ lead to six points, this put the game out of reach.


QUICK THINKING:  Point guard TJ Waters made it tough for Covina at both ends of the floor Tuesday Night If he wasn't breaking defenders down off the drive and founding teammates for jumpers, he harassed them for nearly 32 minutes.



PLAYING LIKE A PACK OF WOLVERINES: Kiki Iriafen couldn't stop Rayah Marshall from scoring in the paint, but she did limit her rebound put-backs. She blocked her shots, too. The Wolverines' defense also made it difficult for Lynwood to get good looks from the perimeter.

Iriafen wins duel scoring 37 points and grabbing 26 rebounds for a dominating performance, leading the Wolverines to victory against the Knights. Marshall had 27 points in losing effort.




LOS ANGELES— Sometimes, there’s a huge spotlight placed upon you, and you have to seize the moment.
  Kiki Iriafen, a 6-foot-4 McDonald’s All-American from Harvard Westlake High, knew exactly how to do it.
  And there wasn’t a bigger moment in her high school career than Saturday afternoon against Rayah Marshall,  a 6-foot-3 McDonald’s All-American from Lynwood High, in the first game of the CIF Southern Section Open Division Playoffs.
  Iriafen put on a show, displaying an array of offensive skills and dominating the boards. The Stanford signee was practically unstoppable, scoring 37 rebounds and grabbing 26 rebounds.
  At one point, the senior forward even grabbed a rebound on one side of the rim and reversed it to the other side for a layup without any resistance from Rayah Marshall, who watched from the top of the key.
  It instances like this, out huslting her rival, that helped propel Harvard Westlake (20-2) to a resounding victory, 80-54, against Lynwood in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Open Division.


DRIVETIME: Jalen Shores scores 2 of his 26 points in the Lancers', 71-61, victory against Eastside High in the CIF-SS Div. III-AA playoffs on Friday.



COLD SPELL: Lancers' shooters went cold and saw their 30-point cushion dwindled to 10 in the CIF Southern Section Div. III-AA Playoffs

By Earl Williams


LAKEWOOD- A basketball game is never totally over until the clock on the scoreboard ticks to zero. Things can fall apart fast if a team becomes complacent.  It’s a good thing the Lakewood High boys basketball team had built up a 30-point cushion Friday night at home.
  It appeared that they were headed for an easy night against Eastside High of Lancaster in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Playoffs.
  That quickly changed in the fourth quarter. Lakewood (16-4) saw its 30-point lead evaporate and found itself operating in survival mode in the waning minutes of the game, managing to hold on for a 71-61 victory in front of a sizable crowd at home.



VICTORY LANE: Jalen Shores scored 28 points to lead the Lancers over the Cardinals on Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the CIF-SS Div. III-AA Playoffs to host  Eastside High Friday at 7.o.m.

By Earl Williams


LAWNDALE — The Lakewood High guards are really good.
  They can carve up defensives like slicing pieces of chocolate cake.
  Lawndale coach Chris Brownlee found this out Wednesday night at home in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Playoffs. They drove the lanes, found teammates for layups, mid-range jumpers, floaters in the paint, and scored off seals.
  In fact, senior guard Jalen Shores was the leader of the pack.
  He torched the Cardinals for 28 points, as Lakewood defeated the host Cardinals, 73-60, in front of a good size crowd of supporters.
  “We just kept grinding,’’ Lakewood coach Duane Cooper said. “We tried to get out on the break a little bit. Jalen got us going (offensively). We were able to hold on at the end.”
  Shores had plenty of help, even when he fouled out the game in the fourth quarter and the game intensifying.
  Clutch shots by sophomore guard Chris Willis, junior guards Bernard Dickerson and Corali’i  Mila,  helped the Lancers fend off the Cardinals.
Dickerson, who had a breakout game offensively, tallied 18 points. Willis added 10 points and five assists, as the Lancers advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Playoffs against Eastside High on Friday at 7 p.m.


UNITED FRONT: Lakewood celebrates its victory against Lawndale High in the first-- round of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Playoffs Wednesday night.  Head coach Duane Cooper called a timeout to provide instructions in the fourth quarter of the 73-60 win on the road.



By Earl Williams

Sportswriter and Editor

GOOD KNIGHTS: Rayah Marshall and Briliyah Taylor combined for 49 points as Lynwood High girls basketball team knocked off the Eagles.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — For 32 minutes, senior point-forward Rayah Marshall kept coming. And coming. And coming.
  And so did the Lynwood High Lady Knights’ intense pressure.
  And there wasn’t anything Etiwanda Coach Stan Delus could do about it.
Oh, he had a wall of players collapse on Marshall. They hacked her, bumped her, pushed her.  It didn’t matter. She scored on them in nearly every way imaginable except a dunk.
  And Etiwanda succumbed to Lynwood, 67-50, in front of a good size crowd of supporters.
  “It’s her time. It’s definitely Rayah’s moment right now,’’ Lynwood coach Ellis Barfield said. “(Organizers) didn’t have the McDonald’s All-American game. They didn’t have the Jordan Brand Classic All-American game. She was invited to play in both of them.
    “She couldn’t go to USA Basketball,’’ Barfield continued.  “It didn’t look like she would have a season at the beginning of the year.   All I keep talking about is the appreciation for the game, the love, and the passion for the game, just bring that. And she has been benefiting from all that. Rayah is a good kid, a good, outstanding leader, and the team definitely depends on her.”


IN SYNC: Briliyah Taylor, Jada Turner, Rayah Marshall offensive output propelled the Lady Knights to a victory on Senior Night.


By Earl Williams


LYNWOOD— A few weeks ago, it appeared as if this season would be one of Lynwood High coach Ellis Barfield's greatest challenges of his storied career. The Lady Knights looked lethargic, with no chemistry.
  Thursday night at home, there was a totally different story. It appeared they put everything together on both ends of the court against a good Sierra Canyon team, one of the elite basketball programs in the state.
     Rayah Marshall, the Lady Knights’ 6-foot-4 McDonald’s All-American, dominated in the paint, scoring 32 points. Senior point guards Briliyah Taylor and Jada Turner, contributed 14 and 11 points, respectively as Lynwood defeated the Trailblazers, 69-59, in front of a sizable crowd of fans during Senior Night.
  “It was a great win for our kids,’’ Barfield said. “Sierra Canyon is a great team. You can’t sleep on them at all.
  “I am proud of our kids because of their leadership,’’ Barfield continued. “Once we began to attack and get into good rebound positioning, we started getting back to our pace of the game.
  “We just needed games, getting battles underneath our belt,’’ he added. “Girls need to get get a feel for the game. Just like a boxer, you have to get back into the ring. Otherwise, you just become a (fan in the bleachers).


GIRLS BASKETBALL: Marshall, a McDonald's All-American and Top USC Recruit, tallied 24 points and 19 rebounds during one of the team's worst defeats on SoCal soil in well over a decade.

By Earl Williams
GARDEN GROVE — Normally, this would have been a game for high school girls basketball fans to mark as a must-see on their calendars. But in a pandemic environment,  there is nothing normal about high school sports.

      Late Saturday night, Orangewood Academy High girls basketball team added to its impressive collection of wins when the Spartans hosted Lynwood.
     They soundly defeated the Knights, 59-47, in front of a good-sized crowd of supporters.
     Hannah Stines and Keyla Romo led the Spartans with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Kristal Caldwell and Amaya Lacy added 13 and nine points, as Orangewood improved to 5-2 overall and 4-0 at home. The Spartans led 30-20 at the half and never looked back.
    “I am disappointed. I am disappointed,’’ Lynwood coach Barfield said. “We got into it with some of the officials. We got into it with some of the players. … It got into the kids' heads. It looked like we were just going into the motions. Other people thought we were playing hard. I didn’t think we were playing hard. I felt mental, we took ourselves out of the game. We were lethargic on defense and weren’t playing together. It was good for us. We need more. We need more competitive games because, at this time of year, these private schools are like 15 and 20 games into the season.’’
    The Knights, who played only their third game of the season and who hasn’t had much court time, managed to stay close to the Spartans throughout the first half thanks to All-American point-forward Rayah Marshall.
    Even though coach Leslie Aragon’s plan was to try to limit her touches. Marshall, a USC signee, rose above defenders at will scoring on mid-range jumpers, drives to the hole, rebound put-backs, and deep shots from the arc. She finished with 24 points and 25 rebounds. Newcomer Jaushlyn Ruffin, an undersized power forward, tallied 11 points for the Knights, who dropped to 1-1 on the season. Two of their games were canceled.
  “We wanted to keep a body on Rayah at all times and make it harder for her,’’  Leslie Aragon said. “She is possibly a future pro. We wanted to protect the ball against the full-court pressure. We were pretty good in the full-court but struggled in the half-court.
  Throughout the game, the length of the Spartans frustrated the Knights, whose guards struggled to get off shots from the perimeter and turned the ball over multiple off times when trying to make entry passes into the post.
  Entering the 9:30 p.m. contest, the Spartans were battled tested. They fell Corona Centennial, 58-45, defeated Long Beach Poly in a nailbiter, 60-54, suffered a two-point loss to Fairmont Prep, 46-44, and had an impressive win against Windward, 59-51, the latter win came earlier in the season.
  “This Lynwood team will look different in a month from now. They just got into the gym. They just got cleared. Coach Ellis Barfield has been the national coach of the year before.  He’ll have them ready. I saw him rip into them. They will be a totally different team when they get into condition. For us, it’s a great win. Gym time or no gym time, it’s still Lynwood.”



EARTH-QUAKING DUNKS:  Hardy, who had “Trouble” written on the sides of his customized green van, makes  an unbelievable dunk from behind the backboard against Santa Clara during a WCAC game between 1976-1978.  The legendary Long Jordan Panther was known for doing acrobatic dunks like this in high school. 

IUSF'  ATHLETIC HALL-Of-FAME:  In 2017, Hardy was inducted. The Dons went on an incredible run to a WCAC regular season title , to a No. 1 ranking in the AP National Poll and to 29 consecutive victories.

 He was an AP Honorable Mention All-American in 1977 and 1978.  He made the 1976 West Coast Athletic Conference All-Freshman team.

OVERSEAS TOUR:  Hardy forged a successful basketball career on the other side the pond. He played pro ball for teams from the Philippines to Italy.

By Earl Williams

Sportswriter and Editor

James Next to his Car in Italy.jpg

LONG BEACH — How many basketball players have you ever witnessed elevate a basketball above the square for an earth-quaking dunk while having to duck his head to avoid hitting the back of a backboard during a game?
   Well, it really happened folks. The story isn’t a myth.   James Percivell Hardy did it.  And he wasn’t playing a game of horse.  In the basketball archive at the University of San Francisco, there is a vintage black and white photo of the 2017 USF Athletic Hall-of-Fame inductee posterizing Santa Clara players during a West Coast Athletic Conference game. Hardy, who died from a heart attack at age 64 on Dec. 29, gave basketball fans in San Francisco, Long Beach, and around the world a plethora of unforgettable highlights for generations of fans to talk about.    




James Hardy and Catherine McLamb enjoyed a meal.  The couple has known each other for at least 50 years. They met when the legendary basketball phenom moved to the Carmelitos Housing Projects in North Long Beach.


By Earl Williams

Sportswriter and Editor

LONG BEACH -- Catherine McLamb grew up in the Carmelitos Housing Projects, a place many people in North Long Beach, in the 1970s, called the “Bricks.’’  She met James Percivell Hardy, who died from a heart attack on Dec. 29 at age 64, when he was 13 years old.  At 8, she used to be at the Hardy’s house visiting family members more than her own home. She was considered a goddaughter.
     Hardy, who became a high school basketball phenom, thought of her as a little sister.  Later, the 1975 Parade All-American, went on to play college basketball at the University of San Francisco, the New Orleans Jazz (now Utah), and overseas.  He got married and had children. She did, too.  

     In 2009, they found love.  He had traveled all over the world looking for a lady who could make him a happy home.McLamb had been there all the time. The couple got married and blended their families. He raised her children as if they were his own. “James always wanted to have a family,’’ McLamb said. “We have always been in contact with each other. He was finally able to get back to his true love.
 “He used to tell people, ‘I married my sister’,’’ she fondly recalled.



By Earl Williams


   For three years, Aliyah Pollard has turned in outstanding performances on the hardwood and in classrooms at Los Angeles Center For Enrichment Studies (LACS). There, Currently, the 6-foot point-forward recorded a weighed 3.468 GPA. Her NCAA Core GPA is 3.430.

   This past year, her schedule was loaded with AP Classes. She also managed to have time to serve as Student Athletic Club President, Black Student Union Cabinet Secretary, and as a volunteer for LA Best, which helps kids with homework.  In the summer, she also volunteers with ESY, a special education program.

   The First-team All-western Conference selection managed this while leading the Unicorns to the CIF Los Angeles City Section 2020 Division II title. Pollard was named Player Of The Year.


By Earl Williams


LONG BEACH - Larry Tarrell Matthews loved to shoot high school sports in the CIf Southern Section, especially basketball, football and track. You'd often see him aiming his 35MM cameras at athletes from the baslene of basketball courts. His brothers James and Jonnie Ray would position themselves on opposit sides of courts with their professional cameras.

You'd see the trio and their crew at track meets, too. they were dedicated sports photojournalists.

In fact, Larry's love for sports started years ago. He was quite a hurdler at Poly High in the mid-1970s. His blazing speed earned him and some of other Jackrabbits invites to the Arcadia Track and Field Invitational, a premier event back in those days.

   Larry, who passed unexpectedly on July 24 - a firm believer in Jehovah, was born to Johnnie Paul and Nanni Mae Matthews on April 22, 1958 in Long Beach, Calif.


By Earl Williams


LOS ANGELES—  Normally, Rayah Marshall usually host her block parties inside the baseline of hardwood floors at Lynwood High School and around the CIF Southern Section.
   At 6-foot-4, Marshall, a McDonald’s All-American candidate, slaps shots left and right during the heated battles.  That’s not all.
   She isn’t just a center for the Knights. She is a hybrid who plays ever position on the floor, a Candace Parker and Brianna Steward type.
    This past Saturday, she hosted another kind of block party under the backdrop of the Los Angeles Coliseum and not too far from the doorsteps of USC.



By Earl Williams


LYNWOOD, CALI.--Lynwood High point guard Jada Turner stands only 5-foot-4. However, the senior is definitely hard to miss. Her defense intensity is off the charts. 

   She plays up-in-your-face lock-down defense. She is a thief. Over the course of the season, she not only stole the ball from point guards but their confidence as well. She averaged nearly two steals per game.  
   Turner, a sprinter in youth track, appears to go from 0 to 60 in 1.5 seconds with the ball.  Against Mater Dei, she tallied 10 points and two seasons.  Her defense intensity and sprinter’s speed served as a catalyst for the Knights’ comeback from 20 points only to loose by two.
   Here are other athletes who stood out and will likely return for the 2020-2021 season.


By Earl Williams


LYNWOOD, CALIF. --Rayah Marshall has all the physical tools in her box to become the next Candace Parker, Ellana Delladon or Brianna Steward of players.  
   These are the most versatile, hybrid athletes the WNBA has ever seen,
able to play nearly every position on the hardwood.
     Of course, Marshall will have to really polish
her game before she reaches that platitude.


By Earl Williams


LYNWOOD, CALIF. -- If you are playing with Briliyah Taylor on Lynwood High girls basketball team, you better have your hands ready. Her precision passes will nail you in the chest or face. Ouch is right.

  The 5-foot-7 senior is a pass-first and shoot-second floor general. Her poise, court vision and decision-making are what separates her from many of her peers.


By Earl Williams


LYNWOOD, CALIF. -- The Lynwood Jr., Knights, a youth football and cheer organization, celebrated multiple titles in November of 2019.

  The 10-under and 11 Under teams achieved their feats in the Division I while the 12-Under won its title in Division II.

   This season, the Jr. Knights  were expected to make their debute in the Snoop Dogg league before the season was cancelled due to the conorvius pandemic.