PREVIEW: Peninsula area basketball scene looks stacked with prep talent - Palos Verdes Peninsula News : Peninsula Newspaper - Sports

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PREVIEW: Peninsula area basketball scene looks stacked with prep talent

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Posted: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 3:46 pm | Updated: 5:21 pm, Wed Dec 27, 2017.

Knowing how tough the Bay League schedule can be, Peninsula High boys basketball coach Ryan Quinlan scheduled a grueling nonleague slate to challenge his 2017-18 Panthers.

Having already participated in two tournaments and currently in a third (the Covina Christmas Tournament), the Panthers have compiled a 5-6 record (through Tuesday).

“We’re playing strong nonleague opponents and participating in competitive tournaments to prepare us for league, and hopefully playoffs,” Quinlan said. “I know we’ll be playing our best basketball when league starts.”

Last season, Peninsula earned a second-place Bay League finish and made it to the CIF Southern Section Division 1A semifinals before falling to Pasadena.

Looking to build off last years strong finish, Peninsula returns junior Wony’a Singleton, a second team All-CIF and 1st team All-Bay League selection last season.

Quinlan sees this years group as inexperienced, outside of Singleton and three returning seniors, including George Babek. But that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying this years group.

“They are a talented group to coach,” Quinlan said. “They are eager to learn, motivated to improve individually and collectively each day in practice.”

Peninsula opens 2018 with a nonleague game Jan. 5 at home against Torrance before playing at Mira Costa Jan. 9 in both teams league opener.

Palos Verdes

Coming off a 16-win season, third-year coach Brian Edelman isn’t buying stock in what last years team accomplished. Instead, he’s focused on showing basketball fans in the South Bay what happened in the 2016-17 wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

“Last season was really big for us,” Edelman said. “My big thing this year is consistency. We want to prove to people that last year’s improvement means were not a once every five-year thing.”

In its 13 seasons since the school reopened in 2002, PV has won 15 or more games five times, while dropping 20 games five times. (The program’s first season was the 2004-05 season.)

“We want to be a program that’s always in the South Bay conversation,” Edelman said. “So far, this team is buying in, and I can already say they’ve been battling in practice more than any team I can remember.”

PV (3-6) returns senior forward Erik Moore and junior forward Jack Engstrom, along with senior guards Riley Yang and Aaric Geerdts.

Edelman has composed a tough nonleague schedule to prepare the Sea Kings for the rugged Bay league schedule.

PV has already competed in the Artesia and Dwan Hurt (Gardena-Serra) tournaments, and is currently in San Diego competing in the Chula Vista-Spartan Classic. 

“The competitiveness is high with this group, and I think that will help us pull through some tough games down the road,” Edelman said.

PV opens 2018 with games against Whittier Christian (Jan. 4) and Canyon of Anaheim (Jan. 6), before kicking off its league schedule Jan. 9 at Inglewood.

“We’ve started off slow due to injuries, so the expectations have changed,” Edelman said. “I’m trying to get us some court time together to get a rhythm before league. Things have gone far from the plan, so far.”

Chadwick

Chadwick coach Steve Norberg knows how tough the Prep League is, and he’s at the Las Vegas Invitational to see what the Dolphins are made of.

“(The Las Vegas invite) will help this team get experience before Prep League starts in January,” Norberg said. “Our league is strong, but I expect is to compete for the top spot as long as we continue to develop as a team.”

The Dolphins (5-2) are led by junior guards Duke Lindsey and Alex Rosso, along with sophomore forward Oryan Hamlin.

“Our program is built with all underclassmen,” Norberg said. “We have a talented, but inexperienced group that’s improving every day.”

Chadwick kicks off the new year and its league slate Jan. 5 at Rio Hondo Prep.

Rolling Hills Prep

Coming off a CIF State Division 5 championship and a 29-win season, the RH Prep basketball team is picking up where it left off.

The Huskies are off to a 5-1 start behind wins over Torrance, Gardena and Mira Costa, and will look to continue their strong start at the Damian High School Classic this week.

“One of the keys to this seasons start is our experience from last year,” RH Prep junior Chris Koon said. “We know what it takes to get to Sacramento, so we’ve been really working hard to imitate that culture and teach it to all the new guys as well.”

Alongside Koon, RH Prep returns seniors Alex Garcia and Colin Au, as well as sophomore JT Tan. The Huskies, and storied coach Harvey Kitani, also boast a pair of talented freshman in 6-5 forward Jalen Cole and 6-8 center Brandon Clay.

“As a unit, we’ve been improving every day and everyone individually has improved, too,” Koon said. “Last year, Alex was a scorer but his scoring is on another level this year. Our big man, JT, has improved his post game, which is key for us in order to have that big inside presence.”

RH Prep kicks off 2018 against Lennox Academy Jan. 5, and will test itself with a visit to Redondo High Jan. 6. The Huskies close out the regular season hosting Vistamar at L.A. Harbor College Jan. 7.

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