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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Artesia, Cerritos boys basketball to battle for top spot in 605 League

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on X

Note: Results of games played on Jan. 24 came after press time. Girls soccer in the 605 League plays at the opposite location of boys and girls basketball and boys soccer. All basketball records are as of Jan. 22.

The two strongest boys basketball programs in the brief history of the 605 League will meet on Jan. 24 with first place on the line, and possibly the league title. Cerritos High visited Artesia High, hoping to sweep the Pioneers for the first time since 2021 and the ninth time since 2014.

Five days into the new calendar year, Cerritos (13-10, 6-0) escaped with a 50-47 victory on its home court, rallying from six points down with 1:31 left in the third quarter to go up by six points with 1:41 remaining in the contest. Artesia won the advantage on the glass with 41 rebounds. However, 10 players scored for Cerritos, which shot 10 of 41 from three-point territory and five of 15 two-point baskets. 

Senior Zion Staples, who took a bad fall 23 seconds into the game and sat out the remainder of the first half, led the Pioneers with 12 points while senior Joshua Martinez added 11 points. Cerritos, which is ranked fifth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA poll, was led by seniors Shay Pema (12 points) and Osinachi Agaranna (nine points).

Artesia (15-8, 5-1) hosts Whitney High on Friday, visits Pioneer High on Tuesday and goes to Oxford Academy on Thursday to wrap of the regular season while Cerritos hosts Pioneer on Friday, entertains John Glenn High on Tuesday and goes to Whitney on Thursday. 

In other 605 League games with playoff implications, both in basketball and soccer, the Whitney boys basketball team began the week in third place, a game behind Artesia and two behind Cerritos. The Wildcats (13-8, 4-2) visited last place Glenn on Jan. 24 and will be home to Oxford Academy on Tuesday.

In girls basketball, if there are no hiccups along the way, Cerritos (14-9, 6-0) and Whitney (16-7, 5-1) will vie for the league title on the last day of the regular season. Cerritos defeated the Wildcats 64-60 on Jan. 17 behind 28 points from senior Oneyka Nwanze and another 13 from senior Mia Rivera. Whitney dropped to 16th in Division 2A and got 20 points each from senior Kylie Wang and freshman Alyssa So. In addition to the final four league games on tap, Cerritos will visit Laguna Beach High on Saturday while Whitney goes to Orangewood Academy on Saturday.

In boys soccer action this past Tuesday, Artesia (15-0-3, 6-0-1) tied Cerritos (5-9-3, 3-1-3) 1-1, which snapped Artesia’s streak of 13 straight games of not allowing a goal. Cerritos is tied with Oxford Academy (3-1-3 in league) for second place after the Patriots tied Pioneer (3-3-1 in league) 2-2. Artesia, ranked fourth in Division 2, has now yielded four goals the entire season. 

In girls soccer action, it remains Cerritos (11-4-1, 5-0-0) on top with Artesia (12-2-2, 3-1-0), ranked ninth in Division 7, in second place and Oxford Academy a game behind. Cerritos will also face San Pedro High on Monday.

GATEWAY LEAGUE

The La Mirada High boys basketball team, tied for 13th in Division 1, is 18-7, 5-0 and pretty much locked up the league title with an 85-77 win at Lynwood High last Friday. The loss dropped Lynwood two games behind the Matadores with three to play. La Mirada hosts Mayfair High, which is tied with Lynwood, on Jan. 24 and will visit Dominguez High on Friday before ending the regular season on Feb. 1 against Downey High at home.

The Gahr High girls basketball team has a solid 17-5 overall mark and is ranked fourth in Division 4AA. But the Gladiators are in fourth place with a 1-3 mark as it hosts Lynwood on Jan. 24 and last place Warren High on Friday, visits Downey on Tuesday and entertains Paramount High on Feb. 1.

The La Mirada girls soccer team, sitting in third place, got past Mayfair 3-2 in overtime this past Tuesday to improve to 4-8-5, 2-2-2 with a home game against fourth place Gahr (Jan. 25) and a visit to league-leading Downey (Feb. 1) left on the regular season docket.

MID-CITIES LEAGUE

The La Mirada and Norwalk High girls basketball teams are in great shape to capture second and third place respectively. La Mirada is 15-4, 5-1 and ranked third in Division 5AA. The Matadores host league-leading Mayfair on Jan. 24, travel to Dominguez on Friday, welcome Norwalk on Tuesday and entertain Bellflower High on Feb. 1.

Norwalk (10-13, 4-2) goes to Bellflower on Jan. 24, with the Buccaneers two games behind the Lancers, visits Mayfair on Tuesday and Firebaugh High on Feb. 1.

OLYMPIC LEAGUE

Both Valley Christian High soccer teams are in the top three in league and will make the playoffs. The boys visited Heritage Christian High this past Tuesday and were 4-11-3, 2-2-1 while the girls (9-5-2, 4-0-1) were a half game up on Whittier Christian High for first place before their home game with Heritage Christian. The boys will host first place Whittier Christian on Monday and visit fourth place Village Christian High on Wednesday with the girls at the opposite site against the same teams. The Defenders will also host Ontario Christian High in a non-league doubleheader on Friday.