The mood surrounding the Inglewood High School girls' basketball team wasn't too good after the Southern Section office handed some sanctions their way.
Their promising season appeared to derail after they had to forfeit 14 games in the wake of ineligible players. But don't throw a pity party for Coach Tony Scott and his bunch just yet.
"At first, they were shocked at the number of games we lost but I told them that there's still a lot of basketball left," Scott said.
The forfeits eliminated all of their tournament games prior to the start of Ocean League play so winning the league is the Sentinels' only chance of reaching the postseason.
As of press time, they are 6-14 but 4-0 in the league, including a win over last year's champion Santa Monica at home.
There's already been precedent for that this year as Lakewood's football team forfeited their pre-league games due to an ineligible player. They wound up tied for second in the Moore League and made it all to the Pac-5 semifinals before losing to Long Beach Poly.
With their fate still in their hands, Scott said that his team is just focused on playing basketball and reminding folks that they are still of one of the region's best, not proving people wrong.
"All that's important is winning the league outright and if we do that, we feel like we'll get a favorable seed in the postseason," he added...
Chatsworth may be the overwhelming favorite to win the City Section girls basketball title but after close losses to rival Taft and Long Beach Poly last week, the door may be open for someone to sneak in.
One of those teams is Washington (17-3), as the Lady Generals haven't lost a step despite only returning three players from last year's squad.
In his eighth year, head coach Ricky Blackmon has his squad poised for another strong run in the City playoffs as well as their first non-shared Marine League title, having shared league with Narbonne last year.
"We're playing our best basketball at the right time of the season," Blackmon said.
Junior Kejuana Gardner, in her third year on varsity, leads the team in scoring with 14.7 points to go along with 8.7 rebounds while classmate Taylor Gipson is right behind her with 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.
"The light's clicked on for [Gardner] and she knows what it's going to take to get to where she wants to go," Blackmon said.
The ex-factor, though, is 6-2 sophomore center Reshanda Gray, who is averaging a double-double (12.1 ppg and 10.5 rebounds) in her first varsity season.
Gray could be the counter for Chatsworth's 6-3 forward Gennifer Brandon should the teams meet in the City playoffs, although it might be a lot for her to shut down the Cal-bound senior who is averaging 20.4 points and 17.6 rebounds.
The Lady Generals will be in non-league action at home against Lynwood Saturday at 5 p.m. as the game will take a backseat to the teams raising awareness for breast cancer.
Blackmon and Lynwood coach Ellis Barfield planned the game during the summer after the teams faced off during the Watts Summer Games. With last week's passing of North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, who valiantly fought the disease for two decades, the meeting now holds greater significance.
Fans are encouraged to make donations and a portion of the proceeds will go to Kay Yow/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Cancer Fund...
I think it's time for View Park Prep to petition to be admitted into the Championship Division playoffs in the City Section.
This isn't a knock on the City but it's just speaking on how tough the Lady Knights are and have been despite their school size.
Since starting Coliseum League play last year, the girls' basketball team has gone undefeated in the last two seasons and is currently 6-0 (16-7 overall) heading into their game at Fremont tomorrow.
The Lady Knights haven't lost a league game since the program started in the 2005-06 season and after winning two Small Schools titles, it'd be good to see how far they could get in the regular bracket.
And lest you think the Coliseum League is having a down year, Dorsey (13-4, 5-1) could earn a favorable seed in the playoffs depending on how they fare in their rematch with View Park on Feb. 6.