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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Cerritos boys basketball honors Evan Leonard prior to 605 League opener

Evan Leonard was honored for his accomplishments before this past Tuesday night’s 605 League opener against Artesia High. Leonard, who is a senior at the University of California, Irvine, was given a framed #14 Evan Leonard jersey as he was surrounded by his parents. Leonard is Cerritos’ leader in points scored (1,806), three-point baskets made (222) and steals (243).

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

One of the best players ever to put on a Cerritos High boys basketball jersey was honored for his accomplishments before this past Tuesday night’s 605 League opener against Artesia High. Evan Leonard, who is a senior at the University of California, Irvine, was given a framed #14 Evan Leonard jersey as he was surrounded by his parents Efrem and Erica, his brothers Elijah and Eric, his grandparents Paul and Marjorie and Tommy and Barbara Jordan as well as others.

Leonard is Cerritos’ leader in points scored (1,806), three-point baskets made (222) and steals (243).

“It was unbelievable,” said Cerritos co-head coach Jonathan Watanabe of the pregame festivities. “Not just because of the athlete he is, but also because of the person he is. He is someone that you could say, ‘hey I want you to be like this guy’. He is very humble; he doesn’t like the spotlight.”

Leonard was also the Suburban League’s Player of the Year in 2016, the team’s most valuable player in 2015 and 2016 as well as a member of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A All-CIF team. In addition, Leonard was the HMG-Community News Player of the Year during his junior and senior seasons.

One of Watanabe’s favorite moments of Leonard came on Feb. 2, 2015 when the Dons were hosting Mayfair High and Leonard went off for a career-high 42 points. Not only did Leonard have a spectacular game, which included connecting on 14 of 15 free throws, but Cerritos ended a 33-game losing skid to the Monsoons in an 86-77 overtime victory.

“I’d have to say beating Mayfair for the first time,” Watanabe said. “When he was going back and forth with [Mayfair’s] Kendall Small, it was an overtime game and he just outlasted him. When it came down to it, we had the better player. To beat Mayfair for the very first time is something that…for him to be able to do that, to check off one of those things where I think we had lost to them 22 times in a row and we finally beat them…it was special.”

While at UCI, he helped the Anteaters win the Big West Conference last season and the school’s first NCAA Tournament win, a 70-64 win over Kansas State University on Mar. 22, 2019.

In other boys basketball action, Gahr High opened San Gabriel Valley League play with a 63-59 win over Downey High this past Wednesday night, improving to 12-7 overall. The Gladiators will visit Dominguez High tonight and Lynwood High on Wednesday. 

John Glenn High lost to Pioneer High 60-31 this past Tuesday in the 605 League opener to fall to 3-14. Losers of 10 straight games, the Eagles will host Cerritos tonight and Whitney High on Tuesday while Norwalk High defeated Kennedy High 53-42 last Friday to move to 11-7. The Lancers will visit Paramount High on Saturday, South Hills High on Monday and Whittier High on Tuesday. 

Valley Christian High, the second-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section’s Division 3A, lost to Maranatha High 72-64 this past Tuesday in the Olympic League opener for both. The Defenders, who lost for the second time in 19 games, host Heritage Christian High tonight and will travel to Village Christian High on Tuesday.

Whitney improved to 7-10 overall after edging Oxford Academy 46-45 this past Tuesday in its 605 League opener. The Wildcats will travel to Artesia today and Glenn on Tuesday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Gahr was trounced by Downey 74-18 this past Wednesday to drop to 3-15 overall. The Lady Gladiators, who have lost eight straight games, will visit Dominguez tonight and Lynwood on Wednesday.

Glenn was defeated by Pioneer 55-39 this past Tuesday night to fall to 10-8 overall. The Lady Eagles will be home to Cerritos tonight and Whitney on Tuesday while Norwalk evened its mark at 9-9 following a 68-25 win at Price High this past Tuesday. The Lady Lancers will be off until Jan. 20.

V.C. posted a 48-25 home win against Maranatha this past Tuesday to improve to 8-10. The Lady Defenders will entertain Heritage Christian tonight before going to Village Christian on Tuesday.

Whitney began 605 League action with a 43-37 over Oxford Academy this past Tuesday and will take its 6-10 overall record into tonight’s road game at Artesia. The Lady Wildcats will also visit Glenn on Tuesday.

BOYS SOCCER

Artesia squeaked by Cerritos 3-2 this past Tuesday in its 605 League opener to improve to 7-3-2 overall. The Pioneers, who are ranked ninth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 poll, will visit Whitney today before hosting Oxford Academy on Tuesday while Cerritos (2-9-1) will be home to Glenn today and Pioneer on Tuesday.

Glenn, which hasn’t been in action since Dec. 20, edged Pioneer 2-1 this past Tuesday for its second win in nine games. After facing Cerritos, the Eagles will go to Whitney on Tuesday.

V.C. got past Maranatha 3-2 this past Tuesday to improve to 8-2-2 as it will visit Heritage Christian today before welcoming Village Christian on Tuesday while Whitney lost to Oxford Academy 5-2 this past Tuesday. The Wildcats (5-4-0) will host Artesia today and Glenn on Tuesday.

GIRLS SOCCER

The 605 League opener for Artesia was not a good one as it was blanked by Cerritos 4-0 this past Tuesday. The Lady Pioneers, winless in 11 games this season, were held without a shot on goal in the first half and had one for the game. Cerritos (3-4-3) got first half goals from junior midfielder Marisa Couto (eighth minute) and sophomore defender Natalie Villa (36thminute) and the other two in the second half from sophomore midfielder Persephone Diep (64thminute) and junior Paola Enciso (71stminute) 

The Lady Pioneers will host Whitney today and visit Oxford Academy on Tuesday while Cerritos travels to Glenn today and Pioneer on Tuesday.

Gahr fell to Downey 2-0 this past Tuesday for its fourth loss of the season. The Lady Gladiators (8-4-2) hosted Dominguez on Jan. 9 and will entertain Lynwood on Tuesday while Norwalk was blanked by La Serna High 6-0 last Saturday to fall to 5-5-2. The Lady Lancers hosted Firebaugh High on Jan. 9 in their Suburban League opener and will travel to Bellflower High on Tuesday before facing La Mirada High on Thursday.

V.C. defeated Maranatha 5-1 in its first game since Dec. 21 and improved to 6-2-2 overall. The Lady Defenders will host Heritage Christian today and will travel to Village Christian on Tuesday.

Whitney (8-3-0) dropped a 3-2 decision to Oxford Academy this past Tuesday and will play Artesia tonight and Glenn on Tuesday, both on the road.

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