Month: January 2017

Girls basketball

HS Girls Hoops: Fairfax wins Legacy Tourney


Look for Fairfax to be one of the favorites to win a City Section Title.  The Lady Lions are becoming battle tested indeed.

Coaching the right way.  Is there a formula for success these days?  Getting your players motivated to play the game of basketball is a challenge for any coach who’s ever picked up a clipboard.  Nowadays, with so much pressure on coaches to win – at any level from the YMCA, park league, AAU, to the NBA/WNBA, pressure – and stress –  is at an all time high.  How does one keep his/her cool amidst the storm?


Coach Thomas does a tremendous job of keeping his cool and allowing his players to play through their mistakes.  Then does his teaching and scolding behind closed doors…during timeouts and in the locker room.  What you would label a players coach indeed.

We love what we see out of Head Coach Corry Thomas, and several other coaches out there on the Cali’ Hoops Girls BBall Circuit.  Coach Thomas has a different approach:  believe in his girls, let them play through their mistakes and not be quick to pull the trigger, as well as not screaming at them when they make miscues out there on the court. He then does his teaching during timeouts and in the locker room. Taking the bitter with the sweet you feel me.


The guards for the Lady Lions are skilled and crafty. Look for them to continue to develop their togetherness and round out into good playoff form. Image by PopScout.

This was evident when Fairfax lost a very tough game against a powerhouse Windward team, only to bounce back and win the Legacy tournament the next day, beating Legacy by a score of 66-57. BTW… the team took off from the Legacy tourney to play Windward, eventually competing in 5 games in 5 days – with a team that had only been together for a few games.  We don’t like to make excuses  but Good Lord…5 games in 5 days!  They were also able to avenge a previous loss by getting the W over Redondo Union during the Legacy tourney.  We all know how hard it is for NBA teams to win back to back games, let alone 5 games in 5 days.  The Lady Lions went 4-1.  You might want to put an asterisk by this W Windward, knowing now that Fairfax competed in back to back to back games before giving you a run for your money.


Sr. Guard Fatou Semebene shows true skillsets. She rebounds, blocks shots, pushes the rock, and stops and pops. Being a lefty, her game is naturally smooth as a baby’s booty.  She’s what we refer to as a ‘stocking stuffer’. Filling up the stat sheets you feel me.

Character counts and in the long run, Coach Thomas of Fairfax will be blessed by the basketball Gods for showing patience, staying true to his girls, and developing players who know what to expect from their coach on game day.  So many times you never know what to expect from your coach on game day. It’s like a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde type of relationship.  Nice to see some coaches who don’t let the stress of the game change who they are as a person, come tip-off time.

Take a look at some highlights of Fairfax as they take on Windward January 5, 2017 during a close and very competitive game. We spotlight Super Senior Fatou Semebene.The lefty has game, going to work on players at will. She pulls the bow and arrow as well as runs the PG position with size.  Scouts will have to have this young lady on the radar when it’s all said and done. Fairfax plays Uni. tonight at 7pm (Jan 11, 2017).  Look out city section ’cause the Lions are for real.  The Lady Lions will get a test this weekend when they go up against Bishop Montgomery 6pm, Jan. 14 at the West LA Showcase (PopScout will be on hand providing media coverage for the tourney) and then travel to Serra High in Gardena Jan. 16 to take on Brea Olinda at 6:25pm.  We know the Fairfax boys team get much props, and deservedly so, but come out and support your Lady Lions as well.  Get some rest young ladies.

Become Great at what you do.

Girls basketball

Senior Spotlight: Kayla Konrad


Class of 2017 Sr. Kayla Konrad – seen here getting off a pass against Alemany – is the ultimate teammate.  She will play her collegiate ball at UC Davis.  Image taken during the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney.  Image by PopScout.

The Valencia Vikings (12-4) take on Palisades (12-5) today (01/07/2017) at 130pm during the Matt Denning Hoops Classic at Mater Dei.  UC Davis commit Kayla Konrad will try to lead her team to victory and cement herself as a candidate for player of the year.  This young lady has learned to play the game the right way and is the ultimate baller on her team, currently ranked #26 in the State by MaxPreps.. Her motor is always going – Premium Unleaded indeed. She runs the court and moves without the ball better than anyone in the Southern Section.  Passes extremely well and does the dirty work for her team – willing to go after loose balls and rebound with authority.  The lefty is as crafty as they come.  She’ll make an immediate impact on the campus of UC Davis.  Whoever taught this young stud-muffin how to play the game of basketball, we want to say thank you, thank you, thank you.  She’s a joy to watch, showing us a passion and feel for the game that the basketball Gods are sure to reward her, every time she steps on the court. They have no choice. There’s one word that sums up her game:  Special.

Take a look at some footage of Valencia vs Alemany during the 2016 Palisades Beach Invitational Tourney.  Valencia beats Alemany at the buzzer.  Guess who got off the shot in time to win the game for her club?  Like we said, the basketball Gods have no choice but to bless Kayla whenever she steps on the court.

Become Great at what you do.


Weekend Hoops Schedule


Westchester Head Coach Ed Azzam during the Redondo Union PAC Shore Tourney.  Image by PopScout.

Westchester Basketball Challenge
Jan 7, 2017

1:00pm Dorsey vs Highland
2:30pm St. Bernard vs South Gate
4:00pm Santa Monica vs Gahr
5:30pm Westchester vs Bishop Montgomery


Westchester Senior Guard Briana Anugwom.  This young lady is special.  Image by PopScout.

2017 Matt Denning Hoops Classic
Girls Hoops

 10:30am Huntington Beach  vs  Canyon
12:00pm Santa Margarita  vs Sonora
 1:30pm   Palisades  vs Valencia
 3:00pm  Fairmont Prep vs Mark Keppel
 4:30pm  Mater Dei vs Westchester
 6:00pm  La Jolla Country Day  vs Harvard Westlake

 7:30pm  Troy  vs  Windward

Redondo Union Take Flight Challenge
Redondo Union High
Friday January 6, 2017
5:00pm Lynwood vs Bishop O’Dowd
6:30pm Redondo Union vs Camarillo
8:00pm Santa Monica vs Bishop Montgomery


Loyola Sr. PG Khristion Courseault sweet talking his way to the rack against Cassius Stanley.  Image by PopScout.

Redondo Union Take Flight Challenge
Redondo Union High
Saturday January 7, 2017

12:00pm Windward vs Compton
1:30pm Brentwood vs Villa Park
3:00pm Loyola vs Leuzinger
5:00pm Birmingham vs Heritage Christian
6:30pm Redondo vs Los Altos
8:00pm Santa Margarita vs Roosevelt


Sierra Canyon PG Remy Martin. Arizona State Commit.

Sierra Canyon Showcase
Sierra Canyon High
Jan 7, 2017

Chatsworth vs. Simi Valley, 12:30 p.m.
Crenshaw vs. St. Augustine, 2 p.m.
Oak Park vs. Army-Navy Academy, 3:30 p.m.
Bishop Gorman vs. Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 5:15 p.m.
Sierra Canyon vs. Bishop O’Dowd, 7 p.m.
Rancho Christian vs. San Gabriel Academy, 8:30 p.m.


Alemany Jr. Guard Malia Bambrick.

Alemany Showcase
Alemany High
Jan 07, 2017

11:30 am Cleveland H.S. vs. Reseda
1 pm Viewpoint H.S. vs. Pacifica (Oxnard)
2:30 pm West Ranch H.S. vs. Royal
4 pm (girls) Alemany vs. Serra (Gardena)
5:30 pm St. Francis H.S. vs. Canyon
7 pm Oaks Christian H.S. vs. La Canada
8:30 pm Sylmar H.S. vs. Shalhevet


Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Freshman Ziaire Williams.

3rd Annual
Saturday, January 7
at Long Beach Jordan High School

11:00 pm L.B. Cabrillo vs Santa Fe
12:35 pm L.B. Wilson vs Torrance
2:10 pm Lakewood vs Capistrano Valley Christian
3:45 pm Canyon (Anaheim) vs Sunnyside (Fresno)
5:20 pm Etiwanda vs Maranatha
6:55 pm L.B Jordan vs Notre Dame (SO)


Van Nuys Sr. Guard Kevin Hurlic III.

Van Nuys Showcase Event
Van Nuys High School
Jan 7, 2017

2:30pm Renaissance Academy vs. San Fernando
4pm LaVerne Lutheran vs. Santa Clarita Christian
5:30pm Valencia vs. Calabassas
7pm Hart vs. Van Nuys
8:30pm Valley Torah vs. Palmdale Aerospace Academy

Girls basketball

Windward Girls Basketball: Cohesion at its best


 Windward PG pushes the rock during their 61-47 victory over Fairfax.  Image by PopScout.

The Windward basketball team was able to withstand a solid first half by Fairfax but eventually their conditioning, team unity, and execution of plays were just too much for the Lions to overcome.  These girls are in the best conditioning you are going to see from a team that’s currently ranked #5 in the State and #14 nationally per MaxPreps.  It looked as though they were just getting started when the game was over.  They have a pregame ritual that’s off the chain – getting everyone lose and in the mindset to play the game.


Their ability to run their offensive sets and play as a team will be enough to push them over the hump, during close games, where teams aren’t that polished in those areas.  I was a bit hard on these young ladies (and the referees) from the stands because of my ties with City Section teams (Crenshaw High ’88). After watching Windward perform on the court, you get much props and due respect from PopScout. Coach Nygaard and her coaching staff are doing a tremendous job preparing these girls for battle.  It’s like taking an AP class in basketball you feel me.

Take a look at Windwards’ full game highlights against Fairfax Jan 05, 2017.  I also threw in their pregame warms up to give you an idea where they stand, with regards to pregame preparation. PopScout has seen some of the top teams in the State such as Etiwanda, Alemany, Harvard Westlake, Fairmont Prep, Valencia, and Serra. We’ll be heading out to the Matt Denning Tourney at Mater Dei this weekend to get a birds-eye view of some of these stud-muffins in action. So far, no one comes mentally and physically prepared for a game as Windward.

Become Great at what you do.

Boys High School Hoops

Cassius Stanley is Showtime.


6’6 Soph. Guard Cassius Stanley is showtime for Harvard Westlake.  Image by PopScout.

Cassius Stanley is indeed a human highlight reel.  The kid can change the game with his supernatural ability.  Take a look at a few clips of him in action against Loyola during their 61-54 W.  It was a sold out crowd on hand and Stanley didn’t disappoint, treating us with some monstrous dunks to move the crowd.  Eric B and Rakim would be pleased.  You can see the human highlight reel in action tonight, Jan 06, 2017 against St Francis at 7pm at Harvard Westlake.  Tickets are a hot commodity in Studio City, you feel me,  so you best come early to get your seat.

Become Great at what you do.

Boys High School Hoops

Alemany Warriors: Front Court Running Mates


Sr KJ Warren is formidable at 6’5 245 lbs.  He adds that needed dirty work.

In a time when Southern CA basketball is dominated by guards and an up and down style of play, it’s nice to see teams who can rely on their bigs to get the job done.  Alemany is one that benefits from a post presence and a dynamic frontcourt tandem.  KJ Warren is a 6’5 245 forward who brings grit and toughness to his squad.  PopScout likes to refer to him as the junkyard dog – keeps the house(paint) protected from burglars (opponents) and cleans up the mess (hits the boards and loves to bang).


Jr Center Fred Odhiambo works on his form before a league game January 2, 2017.

6’11 210lbs Center Fred Odhaimbo is his running mate, having the ability to post up and clog up the middle with his 6’11 frame.  Blocks shots and just frankly is a match up nightmare for teams who like size on their frontcourt.  Fred is still getting adjusted to the speed of the game and learning the tendencies of his teammates.  Potential is there, as he’s shown to be a real factor for Alemany and their quest for another State Title come March Madness.

Here are a few highlights of two in action from their league game January 2, 2017 against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.  KJ Warren didn’t suit up in the loss to Centennial during The Classic @ Damian Tourney, so Centennial may want to put an asterisk by that victory.  Look for Alemany to continue to gel and be up to par for Open Division play and a great State playoff run.

Become Great at what you do.

Girls basketball

Girls Hoops: Julia Macabuhay is Special

What makes up the characteristics of a true point guard?  Is it their ability to run the team and stay poised under pressure?  is it there ability to break down the defense and make good decisions?  Or is it their ability to play unselfish and make everyone around them better?  Maybe it’s their ability to be a second coach on the floor? It’s all of the above and much more.


Looking for a true point guard ?  Then look no further than La Salle Jr. PG Julia Macabuhay.  Image by PopScout.

Jr. PG Julia Macabuhay is as close to a pure, true point guard as you are going to see in a long, long time.  This young lady has all the intangibles to be a top recruit for the class of 2018. Her pedigree… (just to name a few good things she does on the floor):  Handles off the chain (and we do mean off the chain).   IQ on the court off the chart (AP classes you feel me). Plays unselfish as they come, showing a willingness to get her teammates involved on every possession  – if need be.  Can put her team on her back and make buckets when it counts.  Has the ability to shoot from 3pt land, pulling the bow and arrow. Stamina that allows her to play an entire game, while still being super effective for 32 minutes of play.


Julia checks the clock for time while keeping her dribble alive.  Julia has true PG skillsets  with a basketball IQ that’s off the charts.  This young lady understands the role of a PG.

PopScout has seen quite a few games this year on the Women’s CA Bball Circuit (JC and High School).  Julia has to be one of the best of the best at running the show.  She may not get the notoriety  she deserves from playing at La Salle (CA Division 3), but if I were a scout, I would definitely be taking a long look at this young lady. She is the full package indeed.  A true joy to watch for those who appreciate the game and understand the role of a PG.

Here are some highlights of this young lady in action against Flintridge Sacred Heart.  The game was played January 3, 2016 at La Salle.  La Salle was able to come away with the victory by a score of 54-47, primarily because of the play and leadership of Julia.  Keep perfecting your craft young lady.  Game recognize game you feel me.

Become Great at what you do.


2017 Matt Denning Hoops Classic Schedule


Palisades PG / LMU commit Chelsey Gipson. 5 Star / 95 Scouts Grade by ESPN.

Matt Denning Hoops Classic Girls Schedule
January 7, 2017 – Mater Dei High

Canyon vs Huntington Beach 10:30
Sonora vs Santa Margarita 12pm
Palisades vs Valencia 1:30pm
Fairmont Prep vs Mark Keppel 3pm
Mater Dei vs Westchester 430pm
La Jolla CD vs Harvard Westlake 6pm
WIndward vs Troy 7:30pm


Troy High – Cal Commit, 98 Grade / 5 Star Senior Kianna Smith.  Image by PopScout

Boys High School HoopsRedondo Union Tourney

Redondo Union Take Flight Challenge

Schedule for the 4th Annual Redondo Union Take Flight Challenge


Cal commit Jemarl Baker.  Image by PopScout

Friday January 6, 2017

5:00pm Lynwood vs Bishop O’Dowd

6:30pm Redondo Union vs Camarillo

8:00pm Santa Monica vs Bishop Montgomery

Saturday January 7, 2017

12:00pm Windward vs Compton

1:30pm Brentwood vs Villa Park

3:00pm Loyola vs Leuzinger

5:00pm Birmingham vs Heritage Christian

6:30pm Redondo vs Los Altos

8:00pm Santa Margarita vs Roosevelt

Boys High School Hoops

The Classic @ Damian: Oak Park… Family Affair


5’11 Freshman PG Clark Slajchert is a sharp shooter who likes to pull the bow and arrow.  Image taken at the 2016 The Classic @ Damian Tourney.

Family Affair

Growing up playing in the driveway with your brother, then having the opportunity to play with him in high school, must be a ‘sweet thang’.  We’re all aware of the Ball Brothers setting the standard for families bringing their A game, but what about others who’ve gotten the opportunity to suit up and represent their Fam’?  The Slajcherts out of Oak Park are putting up some very good numbers.   During The Classic @ Damian Tourney, the two showed why they’re legitimate ballers and ones to watch as the season unfolds.


6’4 Jr Guard Wes Slajchert – seen here playing D against Birmingham High –  shows the ability to shake and bake and get his shot off.  Image by PopScout.

Wes is a Jr 6’4 Guard who has nice skillets.  Running the show for his ball club while making good decisions with the rock, he handles the PG duties with authority. Has the handles and skills to get his shot off at will and shoots over smaller defenders with his 6’4 frame. The kid is athletic enough to be considered a premiere guard for the Class of 2018.  His brother Clack is right behind him as a Freshman stud, learning the tricks of the trade from big bro’ Wes. Clark currently stands at 5’11 (I’m sure he’s waiting on that growth spurt you feel me), who has the ability to pull the bow and arrow, stretching defenses with his sharp shooting abilities. Clark will definitely benefit from playing the best of the best as only a Freshman and playing alongside his brother in the backcourt. The Eagles have played a brutal schedule thus far (10-6), going up against Roosevelt, Sierra Canyon, Long Beach Poly, Birmingham, Alemany, and Santa Margarita.  Good Lord!  Oak Park is sure to be battle tested come post season play and will definitely learn a lot from playing against tougher competition, than they would by beating up on crumb-cake opponents.

Take a look at footage from The Classic @ Damian Tourney. Oak Park goes up against a very stout Birmingham squad and almost comes away with the W.  Stay in the lab and continue to lean on each other young soldiers.  PopScout thinks you guys have something special.

Become Great at what you do.