The New Southern California Basketball

CIF-SS Large Enrollment Division Preview:
Mt. Baldy League 2001-02--(Nov. 9, 2001)

Alta Loma
Rancho Cucamonga

The Mt. Baldy historically features some of the strongest teams among the large-enrollment division schools, and last season, first place Ontario was a semifinalist in Division I-AAA, losing only to eventual section champion Upland, the No. 1 seed from the Baseline League.   Etiwanda, the No. 2 team in the league, entered the playoffs unseeded, but mad eit to the second round, and ultimately lost to No. 2 seed Eisenhower of the Citrus Belt League which made it to the semifinals before losing to finalist Capo Valley.   No. 3 Chaffey was unseeded as well, but also made it to the Division I-AAA playoffs, but lost in the first round to Ayala, the Sierra League's No. 2 team.   Alta Loma made it to the playoffs for the first time since 1997, and was a wild-card entry as the No. 4 team in the league, and lost to Esperanza, which in turn lost to Diamond Bar in Division I-AAA. Neither Rancho Cucamonga, nor Montclair made the playoffs last season, so we know very little about who is returning this season.   The top three teams should be again considered the favorites, but Alta Loma is poised to make a run this year, and will challenge last year's favorites.

What follows is what we know about the teams thus far this season, which means we're looking at old rosters and trying to predict who will be returning and which younger players will be stepping up.  The schedules are accurate as far as we know. We encourage coaches to send us their official rosters (via e-mail, not on the message board, please) and any other information about their teams so we can update the previews and rosters as the season progresses.

Mt. Baldy League Rosters Mt. Baldy League Schedules
Ontario--10-0, 22-5 (1st)   "Jaguars"

Returning players for 2001-2002 are anticipated to include:

Marcel Mack  6'-3" Jr. G
Cameron Munoz  6'-3" Sr. G
Marcus Mack  6'-3" Jr. G
Chris Taylor  5'-8" Jr. G
Sean Sears  6'-1" Jr. F
David Dunn 6'-5" Sr. C
Desmond Crews  5'-7" Jr. G
Dan Nobles  6'-3" Jr. F/C
Kyle Sears  6'-3" So. F/C
Jerrell Smith 6'-7" Jr. C 

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times Inland Valley edition:

Coach: Rich Johnson (first year at Ontario; first year overall) [replaces Jerry DeFabiis]

Top returners:
*David Dunn (6-4, F/C, Sr.);
*Marcus Mack (6-2, G, Jr.);
*Marcel Mack (6-3, G, Jr.);
*Chris Taylor (5-7, G, Jr.);
Dan Nobel (6-5, C, Jr.)

Top newcomers:
Jerrell Smith (6-7, C, Jr.);
Desmond Crews (5-8, G, Jr.)

"Outlook: First of all, this is not the same Ontario team that went unbeaten in the Mount Baldy League last season. It's unclear yet which will hurt more, the loss of Marlon Mitchell to graduation or the loss of Coach Jerry DeFabiis. But the cupboard is not bare for Johnson. The Mack twins are a force and the offense will revolve around them and Dunn, who was a DeFabiis favorite. Newcomers Smith and Crews are also expected to play increased roles."


Coach: Rich Johnson

D 3-8 @ Fullerton Tourn
11-15 @ Murrieta Vly Tourn
18 Upland
20 @ Claremont
26-29 @ Nogales Tourn
J 09 *Rancho Cucamonga
11 @ *Montclair
16 @ *Etiwanda
18 *Chaffey
25 @ *Rancho Cucamonga
26 @ So. Calif Classic
30 *Montclair
F 01 *Etiwanda
05 @ *Chaffey
07 *Alta Loma

Etiwanda--6-4, 14-11 (2nd)  "Eagles"

Returning players for 2001-2002 are anticipated to include:

Gary Clark  5'-10" Jr. G
D'ornoir Flax  6'-1" Sr. G
Eric Vasquez  5'-7" Jr. G
Tim Houtz  6'-0" Sr. G
Haron Kaisa  6'-0" Jr. G
Jacob Johnson  6'-5" Sr. F
Art Drumwright  6'-1" So. G
Chris Wright  6'-4" Sr. F
Doug Shadwick  6'-2" Sr. F

The LA Times published their Mt. Baldy League preview on 11/21/01, and here's what they had to say:

"Top returners: *Jacob Johnson (6-4, F, Sr.); *D'ornoir Flax (6-1, G, Sr.)

"Top newcomers: Aaron Gipson (5-10, G, Sr.); Chris Wright (6-4, C, Sr.)

"Outlook: Coaches around the Mount Baldy League have pegged the Eagles as the team to beat. Kleckner doesn't seem to mind, of course. Johnson is a force underneath the basket, but has also shown the ability to work at the perimeter. The addition of Gipson gives Etiwanda a proven scoring threat from the guard position. Gipson, who started at Etiwanda and led the team to a quarterfinal playoff game as a sophomore before transferring to Fontana, is expected to push the pace up the court, opening up numerous scoring opportunities."


Coach: Dave Kleckner

N 27 @ Arlington
D 10-15 @ Glendora Tourn
18 Fontana
26-29 @ San Gorgonio Tourn
J 04 @ Eisenhower
09 @ *Chaffey
11 @ *Alta Loma
16 *Ontario
18 *Montclair
21 *Rancho Cucamonga
25 *Chaffey
30 *Alta Loma
F 01 @ *Ontario
05 @ *Montclair
07 @ *Rancho Cucamonga

Chaffey--5-5, 11-13 (3rd tie) "Tigers"

Returning players for 2001-2002 are anticipated to include:

Danny McGhee  6'-2" Sr. G
Richard Naeata  5'-6" Jr. G
Rashad Fox  6'-2" So. F
Eddie Kilgore  6'-2" Jr. F
Nnamdi Neandu  6'-1" Jr. F
Jonathan Spinks  6'-2" Jr. F
Daryl Sconiers  6'-4" Sr. C--transferred to Rialto)
Alex Tamayo  6'-4" Sr. C
Anthony Wilkerson  6'0" Sr. G

Here's what the LA Times had to say in their Mt. Baldy League Preview published 11/21/01:

"Coach: Darren Gilbert (second year at Chaffey, second year overall)
"2000-01 record: 11-13, 5-5
"Top returners:          "
"Top newcomers:      "
"Outlook:      "

Honest to goodness, that's what the paper published!. So evidently they didn't find out anything we didn't either.  Maybe the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin will have a bit more helpful info.   Or better yet, maybe someone from the team will wake up and provide some info to the media.

Coach: Daren Gilbert

N 27-30 @ San Gorgonio Tourn
D 03 Calremont
07 @ Bloomington
11-15 @ Rancho Cucamonga Tourn
18 San Gorgonio
20 Garey
26-29 @ Covina Tourn
J 09 *Etiwanda
11 @ *Rancho Cucamonga
16 *Alta Loma
18 @ *Ontario
22 @ *Montclair
25 @ *Etiwanda
30 *Rancho Cucamonga
F 01 @ *Alta Loma
05 *Ontario
07 *Montclair

Alta Loma-5-5, 13-12 (3rd tie) "Braves"

Rasheed Austin  6'6" Fr. F
Marcus Carter 6'3" Fr. G
Junior Denson  5’10” Jr. G
Maurice Newton  6'6" Jr. G/F
Sir Fleming  6’0” Sr. G
Terrence Hundley  6’1” Sr. G
Dejuan Patterson  6’2” Sr. G

Alta Loma HS "Braves
Head Coach: Guy Thomas (2nd year)
2000-'01 season record: League: 5-5 (T-3rd) Overall: 12-15

CIF Wild Card lost to Esperanza (last post season appearance:1997)

2001-'02 Team Roster
Returning varsity players:4 (*)
Pos. Name Ht. Yr
* PG: Lionel "Jr" Denson 6'0 Jr
* SG: Terrell Cade 6'2 Sr
* SF: Chris Campbell 6'3 Sr
* SG: Ruben Luna 6'1 Sr
PG: Sir Wayne Fleming 6'1 Sr
SG: Terrence Hundley 6'1 Sr
SG: Eric Weddle 6'0 Jr
SF: Ryan Cumberland 6'2 Sr
SG: De Juan Patterson 6'2 Sr
SG: Benny Tayco 6'0 Sr
SF: Scott Strohman 6'3 Jr
SF: Adrian Warren 6'2 Jr
C: Maurice "Mo" Newton 6'5 Jr
SF: Marcus Carter 6'4 Fr
C: Rashad Austin 6'6 Fr

Team Profile:
Guard oriented, uptempo style, good perimeter shooters,

Coaches' Comments:
Following a very successful summer which included wins over such powers as Eisenhower, Ocean View and Upland (just to name a few) along with a tremendous off season weights program has really boosted the confidence level of the team. The Braves won 29 games this summer, most without a post player so the addition of Mo Newton and Rashad Austin in the middle has provided some added reason for optimism heading into the season. Our team goals are to finish better than .500 in league and advance deeper into the playoffs.

11/21/01:  The LA Times published their Mt. Baldy  League preview, and here's what they had to say about the Alta Loma Braves:

"Outlook: The dean of discipline at Alta Loma High has been working to instill exactly that in the basketball program. It seems to be working. In Thomas' first season on the bench, Alta Loma's victory total jumped from six to 13. Look for another sizable increase with the addition of four talented newcomers. The crop is led by freshmen Carter and Austin, who turned heads during fall camps with their defensive presence under the basket."


Alta Loma
Coach: Guy Thomas

N. 17 Diamond Ranch (scrim)
24 Alumni Game

D 01 @ Villa Park
4-7 @ San Dimas Tourn
10 @ Servite
11-14 @ Upland Tourn
18 @ Canyon Springs
26-29 @ Nogales Tourn
J 05 Capistrano  Valley
09 *Montclair
11 *Etiwanda
16 @ *Chaffey
18 @ *Rancho Cucamonga
25 *Ontario
29 @ *Montclair
30 @ *Etiwanda
F 01 *Chaffey
05 *Rancho Cucamonga
07 @ *Ontario

Rancho Cucamonga--3-7, 9-17 (5th)

We've only heard about one up and coming young player who is anticipated to be on the roster this season:

Travis Washington 6'-5" So. F

We have a complete schedule at right.

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times Inland Valley edition:

Coach: Bill Burke (second year at Rancho Cucamonga; fifth year overall)

2000-01 record: 9-17, 3-7

Top returners:
*Justian Hamilton (6-6, C, Sr.);
*Marquette Brown (6-3, F, Jr.);
Adam Steinmetz (6-5, F, Jr.);
Angel Acuna (5-11, G, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
Travis Washington (6-6, C, Soph.);
Mike Hamilton (6-6, C, Jr.);
Devion Ford (6-1, G, Jr.);
Eric Vasquez (5-9, G, Jr.);
Jordan Dunagan (6-1, G, Soph.)

"Outlook: Burke blames part of last season's troubles on inconsistent guard play on both ends of the floor. The coach is hoping the additions of Dunagan and Vasquez, a transfer from Etiwanda, will raise the level of play from the back court. With its tremendous size, Rancho will be able to compete with any team in league. But the Cougars can't afford to turn the ball over as freely as they did a year ago."


Rancho Cucamonga

Coach: Bill Burke

N 27 Nogales
30 @ Fontana
D 4-8 @ Arlington Tourn
11-15 Rancho Cucamonga Tourn
18 Redlands
20 @ Moreno Valley
26-29 @ Covina Tourn
J 09 *Ontario
11 *Chaffey
16 *Montclair
18 *Alta Loma
21 *Etiwanda
25 *Ontario
30 *Chaffey
F 01 *Montclair
05 *Alta Loma
07 *Etiwanda

Montclair--1-9, 10-16 (6th)

Montclair didn't make the playoffs, and thus we have no current roster information nor a media info sheet.  We do have a schedule, at right.

Update 11/21/01 from the LA Times Inland Valley edition:

Top returners:
*Demetris Walk (5-11, G, Sr.);
*Quincy Fields (6-1, F, Sr.);
Brian Schaar (5-9, G, Jr.);
Quentin Moore (6-6, C, Sr.);
Saul Jenkins (6-0, G, Sr.)

Top newcomers:
David Lee (6-1, G, Sr.)

"Outlook: The key to the Cavaliers' season is finding a way to win close games. Montclair was betrayed by losing six league games by seven points or less last season. Blades' toughest job in fall camp was restoring the confidence of a veteran team that has been bullied around by league opponents for a half-decade. Montclair can be competitive this season, but its chief concern is a lack of size. The Cavaliers gave up about 20 offensive rebounds a game in 2000-001."

Coach: Bill Blades

N 26 West Covina
27 Claremont
30 @ Chino
D 3-8 @ Arroyo Tourn
10-15 @ Sonora Tourn
19 @ Pomona
27-29 @ KSA Tourn
J 03 Jurupa Valley
09 @ *Alta Loma
11 *Ontario
16 *Rancho Cucamonga
18 @ *Etiwanda
21 *Chaffey
25 *Alta Loma
30 @ *Ontario
F 01 @ *Rancho Cucamonga
05 *Etiwanda
07 @ *Chaffey

The LA Times also apparently hasn't given up entirely on prep sports coverage, and their Inland Valley Edition featured a nice preview of the Mt. Baldy League, a sort of overview focusing on the top players and teams in the league.  While it covered both boys and girls teams, we've excerpted only those portions pertaining to the boys' teams.  If you want the stuff about the girls, visit the Times' site (check the archives early, since this might not be available for long....we looked again a day after we first saw it and couldn't find it anywhere....).

Anything can happen in new-look Mount Baldy
* Etiwanda teams look strongest, but newcomers give league a balanced feel.

By Joel Hood /

Fresh faces and some old acquaintances dot the Mount Baldy League basketball landscape. In some cases, first-year coaches have taken over veteran teams with the hope of returning them to league prominence. Other teams will be reborn with freshman talent as a new wave of stars prepare to take over the league.

Etiwanda High's boys' team will receive a boost by the return of senior point guard Aaron Gipson, who started for the Eagles as a sophomore and led the team to a league title and CIF quarterfinal playoff appearance.

Gipson, who transferred back to the Eagles from Fontana High, is a deft ball handler with ability to penetrate the lane. His presence will remove some of the scoring demands on 6-foot-4 forward Jacob Johnson and 6-1 shooting guard D'onoir Flax. Coach Dave Kleckner said poor play at the point-guard position last season kept Etiwanda from seriously challenging Ontario for the league title. The experience and court-savvy of Gipson to distribute the ball and accelerate the pace of the offense gives the Eagles a more dynamic look. Most league coaches label Etiwanda as the Mount Baldy's unquestioned favorite.

"We're certainly more athletic [than last year], but that doesn't mean we're going to change our system," Kleckner said. "We want to run a controlled offense and avoid taking the quick shot each time down the court."

The Eagles' chief contenders will be talented Rancho Cucamonga and Alta Loma.

In its first season under Coach Bill Burke, Rancho Cucamonga was turnover-prone and struggled with shooting consistency, finishing fifth. The Cougars' downslide was expected since the team lost five starters to graduation after a 26-3 showing in 1999-2000.

A taller, more experienced Rancho team takes the court this season. In addition to returning key starters like 6-6 Justian Hamilton at center and 6-3 Marquette Brown at forward, the Cougars have a host of talented newcomers, led by 6-6 sophomore Travis Washington and 6-5 junior Mike Hamilton. The key position for Rancho will be point guard, where Etiwanda transfer Eric Vasquez is expected to take control.

Alta Loma is in a similar situation, hoping to find the right blend of young talent and veteran leadership. Although the Braves return a pair of starters with point guard Lionel Denson and forward Terrell Cade, Alta Loma's title aspirations could rest on how quickly a pair of freshmen, 6-4 guard Marcus Carter and 6-6 center Rashad Austin, adapt to their offensive responsibilities.

Defending champion Ontario returns three key starters: 6-4 forward David Dunn and the twin-brother tandem of Marcus and Marcel Mack. The new face that will be most closely watched is that of new Coach Rich Johnson, the Rancho Cucamonga grad who replaces Jerry DeFabiis. Johnson said DeFabiis, who still teaches at Ontario, has helped him feel comfortable in his new role and has provided advice on how best to deal with certain players.

Chaffey and Montclair will slug it out with the league's heavyweights and try to steal some games, but the Tigers and Cavaliers start the season considered playoff outsiders.

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