Leland Green has played a key role in Redondo’s fast start this season. The sophomore scored 17 points in the Sea Hawk’s 69-58 win over Alemany on Saturday. Photo by Ray Vidal
Bay League action begins this week but no team has a bigger bull’s eye on its back than Redondo Union’s boys basketball team.
The defending CIF Southern Section Division 2AA and State Division 2 champions begin their quest for a second straight Bay League title on Tuesday when the Sea Hawks host Peninsula in a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Second-year head coach Reggie Morris Jr. knows the road won’t be easy.
“The Bay League is always tough,” Morris said. “Mira Costa will be tough, Leuzinger is always strong and Peninsula and Palos Verdes will be dangerous.”
Redondo (12-3) is ranked No. 2 in the Division 2AA preseason poll followed by Mira Costa who holds the No. 3 spot. Leuzinger is ranked No. 14 in Division 3AA.
“Redondo is King of the Hill right now,” Mira Costa head coach Jeff Amaral said. “The Bay League is tough any season and this year is no exception. I expect Peninsula to be in the thick of things. They have five returning players with lots of experience.”
Redondo’s showdown with Peninsula will showcase a battle between two of the league’s big men. Peninsula’s Stanley Roberts (6-8, 235) will have the daunting task of trying to slow down Redondo’s Terrell Carter (6-8, 265) who has been a dominant force for the Sea Hawks since transferring from Bay rival West Torrance.
“He (Carter) gives us a presence we didn’t have in the past,” Morris said.
Carter is coming off two strong performances. His team-high 20 points and 14 rebounds led Redondo to a 63-56 win over Bishop Montgomery in the championship game of the Sea Hawk Classic.
In Saturday’s Take Flight Challenge game against Alemany, Carter scored 24 points, had 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Despite playing without senior guard and last season’s CIF co-MVP Ian Fox, who suffered an ankle injury late in the third quarter, the Sea Hawks defeated the top ranked team in Division 1A 69-58.
Sophomore Leland Green stepped up with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Morris said facing tough opponents during tournaments has provided a great learning experience for his team. The Sea Hawk’s three losses came at the hands of highly ranked teams.
Redondo dropped its first game of the season at the Chicago Elite Classic with a 55-46 loss to Benet Academy, a team that is ranked 13th in the basketball-talent laden state of Illinois.
In Las Vegas, the Sea Hawks placed fourth in the Tarkanian Classic after losing to the nation’s top ranked team Mater Dei 84-38 and Nevada’s top-ranked team Bishop Gorman 62-53.
“We can get better at executing,” Morris said. “With only two seniors on the team, we’re still trying to find our identity.”
Junior guard Ryan Reeves feels the team is coming into its own.
“Coach wants us to play at a fast pace, but we can play slow just as well,” Reeves said. “If we’re not hitting from the outside, we can throw it to the post. I think adaptability is a key factor of our team.”
Redondo’s second league game is a showdown with rival Mira Costa on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Sea Hawk Pavilion.
After a final tune-up game at El Segundo on Friday at 7 p.m., Mira Costa opens league action Tuesday hosting West at 7:30 p.m.
Amaral said his team has prepared hard for Bay League competition, facing big players and seeing different looks from various teams during tournament and non-league games.
“We have a ways to go to be where we want to be, but we continue to fill gaps with role players,” Amaral said.
Mira Costa faced Santa Monica (No. 12, Div. 1AA) Tuesday evening after suffering a 57-55 loss to Torrance in the South Bay Showdown at Staples Center last Thursday.
Justin Strings led the Mustangs against with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Chase Crandall scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers and grabbed 10 rebounds and Jake Feder added 10 ten points against the Tartars.