St. Anthony basketball off to a hot start

The St. Anthony boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are both off to a hot start this year, with a combined record of 14-2 after just two weeks of play.

The Saints boys’ basketball team (7-0) was a Division 5 also-ran a few years ago before head coach Allen Caveness took over and built it into a legitimate Division 1 program. Caveness’ teams have been known for tough defense and scrappy play, but this year they’re going from being the underdogs to the favorites in the Del Rey League. They’ve already beaten defending league champion Bishop Montgomery this year and impressed by winning the Ryse Williams Pac Shores Tournament, last week.

The Saints are led by Jadon Jones, the son of Milikan legend Derek Jones. Jadon was named the MVP of the Pac Shores, averaging 20 points per game during the tournament.

The Saints girls’ basketball team (7-2) was down last season, but second-year coach Ray Bennett has his squad trending up this year. St. Anthony, ranked in the first CIF-SS Division 2AA poll of the season, is led by seniors Emily Perez and Drew Sharp.

Long Beach Poly Hoops Open This Week

Long Beach Poly is the only school in the city with two Division 1 basketball teams, and both Jackrabbit squads open up play this week.

The Poly boys are in Los Angeles where they’ll compete in the Westchester Tournament, opening play Tuesday night against Renaissance Academy. Fans hoping for a shorter drive to see Poly and star player Peyton Watson can catch them next week in the St. John Bosco Tournament, where St. Anthony and Compton will also compete.

The Poly girls are in Arizona competing in the Nike Tournament of Champions. They’ll open up play Tuesday evening against Westchester.

Cross Country

The Long Beach Poly boys’ cross country team was the last fall sport standing, and the Jackrabbits ran in last weekend’s CIF State Division 1 Final, finishing 11th. Senior Ronan McMahon-Staggs finished 11th with a time of 15:13, an all-time Mike or JJ record for two miles, but Ronan ran three. While the Jackrabbits team is done, Ronan’s season isn’t, he’ll run at the Footlocker West qualifier this weekend, hoping to make the Footlocker Nationals race.

All-CIF Honors

We mentioned in the fall that girls’ volleyball is the top sport going in Long Beach right now, and the All-CIF honors released on Monday certainly agree with us. Long Beach Poly’s Adonia Faumuina was All-CIF in Division 1. Lakewood’s Laura Williams made the list in Division 2, Wilson’s Risa Sena made it in Division 3 and St. Anthony’s Isabella Bareford is honored in Division 4. A trio of Avalon Lancers cracked the list in Division 9: Yuliana Vega, Virginia Soto, and Daniella Moreno.

Even more exciting is that only Bareford is graduating, meaning there’s a ton of talent coming back for the fall of 2020.

CIF Rankings

The first CIF Southern Section soccer rankings are out and there’s big news for Cabrillo’s boys’ soccer team. After winning a historic CIF State Regional championship last year, the first postseason title in school history, the Jaguars got bumped up from Division 2 to Division 1. If the first rankings are to be believed, that’s no problem for the Jags—they’re ranked No. 3 in Division 1.

Game of the Week

On the girls’ side, there aren’t any ranked Long Beach soccer teams, but there is a great three-way race for this year’s Moore League championship between Millikan, Wilson and Poly. The Rams are the defending league champions for the first time since 1985 and will host the Jackrabbits Thursday, at 6 p.m., in the league opener for both teams.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.