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CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Citrus Belt League 2001-02--(Nov. 2, 2001)

CITRUS BELT LEAGUE
Eisenhower
Fontana
Miller, AB
Redlands
Redlands East Valley
Rialto

The Citrus Belt League (CBL) is considered one of the strongest and toughest leagues in the CIF, frequently on a par with the Moore League in terms of the numbers of prospects who go on to play in college.   In short, there are few leagues that are as competitive as the CBL year in and year out.   And this season will be no different, with Eisenhower being the favorite for a league title.   What follows is a capsule review of each team, and the season schedule for 2001-2002.  The teams are listed in the order of league finish (from first to last) from the 2000-01 season, and not in alphabetical order.

Update: 11/26/01:   The San Bernardino County Sun, which is part of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group chain of local dailies, has, like the other LA Newspaper Group papers, started publishing an internet "Prep Sports" section which is quite nice.   Last week, as a part of their coverage of local teams, the SB Sun published a story by Danny Summers which was principally about Eisenhower, but it also had some information about other CBL teams.  In the article, Ike coach Steve Johnson predicts not only a CBL title, but states that the team's goal this year is a CIF Championship, and with the personnel on hand it's not out of the question.  Here's the story which can also be found at this link.   According to the article: "Already, coach Steve Johnson has determined his team is good enough to win the CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA championship this season. 'I think winning the CIF title is our first goal, not winning the Citrus Belt League,'' said Johnson, whose teams have advanced to at least the quarterfinals for five consecutive seasons.  'It seems like we've had some breakdowns in the playoff games we've lost. I don't know why. Could be concentration. But I think our kids know what it takes to win.''  The 2001-02 prep basketball season begins this week, and the Eagles have an interesting game right off the bat at Perris on Monday.  ''We're going to pick up our defensive intensity this year,'' Johnson said. ''We'll still score points, but our defense will affect a lot of teams.'"

Citrus Belt League Rosters Citrus Belt League Schedules
Eisenhower--10-0, 22-4 (1st)
Returning players should include:

Deonte Nelson  6'-0" Jr. G
John Shields  6'-1" Sr. F
Jarel Perry   6'-1" Jr. G
Sean Marshall  6'-5" Jr. F
Daniel Burke  6'-3" So. F
Johnny Dukes  6'-7" Sr. C
Chris Brandon  6'8" Sr. F
Anthony Jones  6'9" Sr. F
Cory McJimson  6’6” Sr. G/F

Eisenhower graduated several key seniors from last year's championship team, including Alex Acker  6'-5" who was responsible for 18 ppg and Dante Rozan, among others, but they have a couple of the best players in the Inland Empire returning, including Sean Marshall, who is very athletic and a definite D-I prospect, as well as Johnny Dukes who adds some athleticism on the wing.  According to information we've received, Cory McJimson also transferred in from Fontana, and they have Anthony Jones 6'-8" Sr. F, who was there as a freshman but was gone for two seasons.

We've examined the "official" schedule, and it appears to be missing the entire month of November and December dates, so we've got to believe that in addition to the San Diego tournament (the Torrey Pines Tournament, aka the National Prep Classic) that they'll also be in at least one, possibly two other tournaments.  Still a solid contender for a league title.

Update 11/26/01:  The San Bernardino County Sun's "Prep Sports" section (a nice internet site devoted strictly to prep sports, including hoops) published a small preview of Eisenhower late last week.  Here are a couple of excerpts: 

"Eisenhower finished 25-5 last season. The Eagles were 27-2 in 1999-2000. They have again stepped up their schedule to include games against such teams as Concord De La Salle and nationally-ranked Modesto Christian, which lost to Mater Dei in the state title game last season.  The Eagles are big. None of Johnson's previous teams were as big in the middle, or at the guard position, as his current crew. The Eagles have won in the past by running teams into the ground and launching shots from all over the court. This year's group will shoot very few shots from beyond the three-point arc. The senior-dominated team has 6-foot-7 Johnny Dukes at forward, complemented by 6-6 Cory McJimson, a transfer from Fontana. In the middle is 6-8, 275-pound center Anthony Jones. Junior 6-5 shooting guard Sean Marshall will be joined in the backcourt by 6-2 senior John Shields. Senior Idris Moss, a 6-1 quarterback on the football team, also will see significant time at point guard.  Other key players include juniors Jarel Perry (6-3) and Deonte Nelson (6-0)."

Update 11/27/01:   Today's edition of the Riverside Press Enterprise contained the paper's Riverside and San Bernardino region team previews and player profiles written and compiled by PE staff writer Damian Secore (who can be reached by phone at 909-782-7595
The original preview capsules can be found at this link, and there's also a separate overview piece too,  but we've excerpted the portion pertaining to Eisenhower:  

There is a special feeling that comes with playing for an established prep basketball program. A winning tradition and positive regional notoriety attract Division I colleges, top-notch tournament invitations and transfers to keep the talent flow consistently high. Why else would Tyson Chandler leave his hometown San Bernardino to play at Compton Dominguez instead of San Bernardino Pacific? Had Chandler stayed, he probably would have won as many CIF Southern Section and state titles at Pacific as he did at Dominguez. Rialto Eisenhower is close to creating this type of identity. Though Coach Steve Johnson never has won a CIF title in his nine years at the school, he's been in the playoffs every year, made two semifinal appearances and reached the quarterfinals four other years. The two-time Citrus Belt League champion Eagles hold a 23-game CBL winning streak. "If there's anything I think we've built, it's consistency," Johnson said. "We've won a lot, and the expectations just keep growing. Your first goal going into the year is not so much a league title anymore but a CIF title." Johnson's success has opened the door to loftier schedules. He is scouring to find the most competitive, high-profile tournaments, even when that results in rigorous travel. Eisenhower will play in the Mission Prep Classic in San Luis Obispo Dec. 19-22. Johnson could come home to the San Bernardino Kiwanis Tournament, but he'd rather drive down to play with more elite programs in the San Diego Prep Tournament Dec. 26-29. One-day invitationals are becoming fashionable. Eisenhower plays in one against Modesto Christian Jan. 5 at Lynwood High and has another pending.  "More people have heard about us," Johnson said. "I think it's getting like that a little bit in Southern California because of the different tournaments we've gone to. I don't like to get carried away on the travel, but if you've got a pretty good team, you almost have to. We could be in the Kiwanis Tournament, but I don't know if that accomplishes what we need to do."  Where there is a buzz, kids are quick to find it. Alex Acker played the past two seasons at Eisenhower after transferring from San Bernardino Cajon. Cory McJimson has transferred to Eisenhower from CBL rival Fontana.  "I'm not looking to go out and get kids," Johnson said. "But you don't turn kids away. You start winning, and they realize that." Last season, the Eagles completed their second straight perfect CBL season, went 25-5 and earned the No. 2 seed (for the second consecutive year) in the Division 1AAA playoffs before losing in the semifinals.   Instead of moping, Eisenhower played countless hours in the gym and got bigger. The Eagles will start Anthony Jones (6-foot-8) at center, Johnny Dukes (6-8) and McJimson (6-6) at forward and Sean Marshall (6-5) at guard.  Johnson said his center from four years ago -- Jason Perry -- was 6-2. That was also about the time when Johnson remembers his program stepping up a notch.  "I think it happened a few years ago (1997) when Trenell (Eddings) was a sophomore and we get to the semis and lose to Long Beach Poly," Johnson said. "The next year we get to the quarters and lose to (Lakewood) Artesia in a game we could have won, and there we have a chance to beat a team that was nationally ranked."  Eisenhower has done almost everything possible to become one of those household names in Southern California. All it needs is that CIF championship.

 

 

Eisenhower
Coach: Steve Johnson

D 07 Etiwanda
26-29 @ San Diego Tourn
J 04 @ Perris
05 @ Concord De Lasalle
08 @ *Redlands East Valley
11 @ *AB Miller
15 *Redlands
18 *Rialto
22 @ *Fontana
25 *Redlands East Valley
29 *AB Miller
F 01 @ *Redlands
05 @ *Rialto
07 *Fontana

Fontana--8-2, 18-8 (2nd) "Steelers"

New coach, many transfers
Also gone:  Aaron Gipson 5'-9" Sr. G (transferred....again, back to Etiwanda), and Cory McJimson 6'-6" Sr. F.  transferred to league rival Eisenhowser.

Returning players should include:

Joseph Horzen 5'-11" Sr. G
Gold Okolugbo 6'-1" Sr. F
Trayvon Williams 6'-5" Jr. F
Michael Ephraim 6'-1" Sol. F
Ira Graham 5'-9" So. G
Josh Okoebor 5'-11" Sr. F

Newcomers:

Marcus Thomas 6'-1" Sr. G

In addition to a new coach, Fontana lost 7 seniors from last year's roster so they'll be looking to newer and younger players to fill the gaps. If Trayvon Williams is still there Fontana could be a contender for a league title, but it will be tough.  We've also heard some interesting things about Marcus Thomas, a guard who apparently played last year in Australia, but who has returned back to Fontana for his senior season.  At least that's what we hear, but we'll wait to see how things work out before making any grand statements. Fontana's tournament schedule doesn't look as ambitious as in prior years, and the team will be staying local, but the December 4 game against Villa Park should be one to catch if you anywhere near Fontana.

Update 11/27/01:   Today's edition of the Riverside Press Enterprise contained the paper's Riverside and San Bernardino region team previews and player profiles written and compiled by PE staff writer Damian Secore (who can be reached by phone at 909-782-7595
The original preview capsules can be found at this link, and there's also a separate overview piece too,  but we've excerpted the portion pertaining to Fontana:

FONTANA

Coach: William Harris

2000-01 record: 18-8 (reached Division 1AAA quarterfinals).

Outlook: Harris, a five-year Fontana assistant, begins his first year as a high school head coach with young talent. Cory McJimson transferred to Eisenhower and point guard Aaron Gipson left to Etiwanda. Trayvon Williams hasn't practiced with the team in a week and a half and may transfer or not play this season. That would leave senior Gold Okologbo (6-3) as the go-to guy. The team was not involved in summer leagues.

 

Fontana
Coach: William Harris

N 30 Rancho Cucamonga
D 04 Villa Park
11-15 @ Murrieta Valley Tourn
26-29 @ San Gorgonio Tourn
J 08 *AB Miller
11 *Redlands
15 @ *Rilato
18 @ *Redlands East Valley
22 *Eisenhower
25 @ *AB Miller
29 @ *Redlands
F 01 *Rialto
05 *Redlands East Valley
07 @ *Eisenhower

Redlands--5-5, 15-10 (3rd) "Terriers"
(new coach, graduated 6 seniors)

Returning players should include:
Adrian Alsobrooks 5'-10' Sr. G
Steve Parsha 5'-9" Sr. G
Diamond Geary 6'-2" Sr. F
Dameion McCoffin 6'-1' Sr. F
Mavarre Bell 6'-5" Sr. F
Bobby Kaura 5'-11' Jr. F

Redlands is starting over after more than 20 years with Randy Genung at the helm and the team will be taking it a bit easier than some of the more difficult schedules Redlands used to play in prior year, although both the Arlington and Glendora tournaments ought to provide some tough competition early in the season.   Redlands is a team in need of some height in the frontcourt and some good ballhandlers, something that has been missing of late.

 

Redlands
Coach: Brad Scott

D 04 @ Arlington Tourn
10 @ Glendora Tourn
18 @ Rancho Cucamonga
26 @ San Gorgonio Tourn
J 03 @ Moreno Valley
04 @ Colton
08 *Rialto
11 @ *Fontana
15 @ *Eisenhower
18 *AB Miller
22 *Redlands East Valley
25 @ *Rialto
29 *Fontana
F 01 *Eisenhower
05 @ *AB Miller
07 @ *Redlands East Valley

Rialto--4-6, 15-11, (4th)  "Knights"
Returning players should include:

Getano Johnson 5'-7" Sr. G
Luther Hall 5'-9" Jr. G
Kenny Autry 5'-9" Sr. G
Daniel Green 5'-9" Jr. G
Daryl Diggins 6'-3" Jr. F
Chris Fuller 6'-0" Sr. F
Rylan Vernon 6'-2" Sr. F
Sean Green 6'-3" So. F
Daryl Sconiers  6'1" Sr. G (transfer from Chaffey)
Lee Smothers  6'2" Sr. G

Rialto will be playing an upgraded schedule this year, participating in the Ocean View Tournament of Champions and at the JW North Tournament.  Whether they'll have the talent to make an impact will be something only time will tell.

Update:  11/26/01--According to the SB Sun's small preview,  other than Eisenhower, "everybody else in the CBL appears destined to play for second place, with A.B. Miller and Rialto being the best of the rest. Rialto is led by senior 5-11 point guard Jemar Davis, who played at Eisenhower as a sophomore and Pacific as a junior.
''On a given night anybody can be beat,'' Knights coach Scott Perong said. ''Maybe one night Ike will get beat. But you gotta think that the rest of us are playing for second and third place.  'Four years ago we finished fourth in the CBL with 20 wins and didn't make the playoffs. Twenty wins this year would probably get us second place.'"

Update 11/27/01:   Today's edition of the Riverside Press Enterprise contained the paper's Riverside and San Bernardino region team previews and player profiles written and compiled by PE staff writer Damian Secore (who can be reached by phone at 909-782-7595
The original preview capsules can be found at this link, and there's also a separate overview piece too,  but we've excerpted the portion pertaining to Rialto HS:

RIALTO

Coach: Scott Perong

2000-01 record: 15-11 (lost in Division 1AAA first round).

Outlook: A Division 1AA semifinalist two years ago, Rialto has rebuilt well. Rialto should be the most up-tempo team around, though the rotation is only nine deep. The athletic but smallish Knights are led by sophomore forward Sean Green (6-3), complemented by senior guards Kenny Autry (5-11) and point guard Jemar Davis (a transfer from Pacific). Mike Robertson, a 6-4 transfer from Cajon and Los Angeles Westchester, could start.

 

Rialto
Coach: Scott Perong

N-28/D-1@ JW North Tourn
D 04 Pacific
10-15 @ Ocean View Tourn
18 Victorville
J 02 @ Cajon
04 @ Temecula Valley
08 @ *Redlands
11 *Redlands East Valley
15 *Fontana
18 @ *Eisenhower
22 *AB Miller
25 *Redlands
29 @ *Redlands East Valley
F 01 @ *Fontana
05 *Eisenhower
07 @ *AB Miller

Miller, A.B.--3-7, 15-11  (5th)  "Rebels"

Corwin Ragland  5'-9" So. G
Emile Brown  5'-11" Jr. G
Jacob Ramirez  65'-1" Sr. G
Greg Pruitt  5'-5" Sr. G
Jamie Simon  5'-8" jrf. G
TJ Smith  6'-0" Sr. G
Davake Ware  6'-1" Sr. G
Jeremiah Ward  6'-0" Jr. G
Kyle Jacobo  6'-2" So. F
Victor Michel  6'-0" Sr. G
Mike Duron  5'-10" Sr. F
Van Howard  5'-11" So. F
Marcus Allen  6'-5" Sr. F
Rodney Harris  6'-1" Jr. F
Jonathan Littleton  6'1" Fr. G

AB Miller is playing a schedule that looks to be appropriate for the players on the roster and those returning, and while they didn't finish last year as highly as they might have, this year should see them improve.  The Las Vegas Tournament they are slated to attend is not the Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic, which occurs earlier in the month, but the slightly smaller Las Vegas Christmas Tournament.  They have a couple of solid players, includng Marcus Allen, and the Rebels have a deep roster.  Just how deep is the big question.

Update 11/27/01:   Today's edition of the Riverside Press Enterprise contained the paper's Riverside and San Bernardino region team previews and player profiles written and compiled by PE staff writer Damian Secore (who can be reached by phone at 909-782-7595
The original preview capsules can be found at this link, and there's also a separate overview piece too,  but we've excerpted the portion pertaining to Fontana's AB Miller HS:

AB MILLER

Coach: John Romagnoli

2000-01 record: 15-11 (lost in Division 1AAA first round).

Outlook: The starting lineup is composed of five guards -- none over 6-foot-1. The two returning starters are senior Jacob Ramirez (6-1), the team's leading scorer at 18.5 ppg last year, and junior Jeremiah Ward (6-0) is expected by Romagnoli to be among the top three point guards in San Bernardino County. Senior Victor Mitchel (6-0) averaged 8.5 ppg as a sixth-man last year and is improved on offense. The rotation is 10 deep. Rebounding, particularly on defense, is the major concern.

 

Miller, AB
Coach: John Romagnoli

N 27 @ Rancho Verde
D 03 @ San Bernardino
5-8 @ Riverside Kiwanis Tourn
11-15 @ Rancho Cucamonga Tourn
18 Pacific
21 Valley View
26-29 @ Las Vegas Tourn
J 08 @ *Fontana
11 *Eisenhower
15 *Redlands East Valley
18 @ *Redlands
22 @ *Rialto
25 *Fontana
29 @ *Eisenhower
F 01 @ *Redlands East Valley
05 *Redlands
07 *Rialto

Redlands East Valley 0-10, 5-21 (6th)
roster information not available.

REV didn't make the playoffs and thus we don't have any idea who is returning.  No media info sheet, no roster.  We at least have the schedule and it appears they'll be in three local area tournaments, including Cathedral City's "Desert Classic" Tournament, which usually attracts quality competition.  The way we look at it, this team has nowhere to go but up,and they're looking no doubt to improve on an 0-10 league performance.

Redlands East Valley
Coach: Bill Berich

N 27-30 @ San Gorgonio Tourn
D 3-8 @ Cathedral City Tourn
11 @ Cajon
12 Yucaipa
18 Corona
19 @ San Gorgonio
26-29 @ San Bernardino Tourn
J 08 *Eisenhower
11 @ *Rilato
15 @ *AB Miller
18 *Fontana
22 @ *Redlands
25 @ *Eisenhower
29 *Rialto
F 01 *AB Miller
05 @ *Fontana
07 *Redlands

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