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2023-2024 LCCN WINTER ALL-AREA TEAMS – Cerritos Hoopsters, La Mirada Girls Basketball Make History in Action-Packed Winter Season

March 13, 2024

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on X

Feeding off the success that the Cerritos High football team had in the fall, its two basketball teams had seasons to remember. The boys won the program’s first CIF-Southern Section divisional championship while the girls returned to the biggest stage for the second time in three seasons. Also making history was the La Mirada High girls basketball team, which advanced to the semifinals for the first time in school history. Here are the latest members of the 2023-2024 HMG-Community News Winter All-Area Teams.

BOYS BASKETBALL

FIRST TEAM

Julien Gomez (La Mirada High)

Tobenna Ozoagu (Cerritos High)

Shay Pema (Cerritos High)

Gene Roebuck (La Mirada High)

Zion Staples (Artesia High)

SECOND TEAM

Benson Cho (Cerritos High)

Morgan Marks (Whitney High)

Joshua Martinez (Artesia High)

Miles Merchant (Gahr High)

M.J. Smith (La Mirada High)

THIRD TEAM

Osinachi Agaranna (Cerritos High)

Jacob Bayla (Valley Christian High)

Christian Carreon (Whitney High)

Joseph Whittaker (Whitney High)

Joshua Pearson (Gahr High)

HONORABLE MENTION

Bundana Adams (John Glenn High)

Andruw Castellanos (Norwalk High)

Myles Harvey (Valley Christian High)

Justin Rodriguez (John Glenn High)

Michael Torres (La Mirada High)

PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR IN 2024-2025 SEASON

Cayden Del Rosario (Artesia High)

C.J. Okeke (Artesia High)

Jaylen Reed (Artesia High)

Judd Sajise (Artesia High)

Jovell Tate (Artesia High)

Jaylen Barsana (Cerritos High)

Nathan Dawit (Cerritos High)

Nathan Ju (Cerritos High)

Jaden Ribac (Cerritos High)

Demetrius Washington (Cerritos High)

Roman Acosta (Gahr High)

Ethan Carey (Gahr High)

Kingston Nathaniel (Gahr High)

Uchenna Okoli (Gahr High)

Austin Woon (Gahr High)

Jesse Caldwell (John Glenn High)

Samuel Reeves (John Glenn High)

Marcus Reyes (John Glenn High)

Jarrett Cole (La Mirada High)

Jaydin Cox (La Mirada High)

Tristan Partida (La Mirada High)

Chris Perez (La Mirada High)

Emmanuel Castellanos (Norwalk High)

Aaron Reyes (Norwalk High)

Ariel Rodriguez (Norwalk High)

David Zazueta (Norwalk High)

Josiah James (Valley Christian High)

Bryce Shepherd (Valley Christian High)

Alex Cheng (Whitney High)

Jezreel Dela Cruz (Whitney High)

Jack Diancin (Whitney High)

Cailan Hizon (Whitney High)

Peter Poitras (Whitney High)

Player of the Year: What an amazing beginning to his high school career for La Mirada’s Gene Roebuck. At his current pace, the freshman should reach 1,000 points midway through his sophomore season. Roebuck averaged just over 24 points a game and compiled over 650 points. In his first game as a high school player, Roebuck scored 25 points against Torrance High. It would be the first of 20 games through the first 27 games that he scored at least 20 points, including a career-high 44 points against Branson (MO) High in the second game of The Classic at Damien on Dec. 28. His point total was well over 100 more than his teammate, junior Julien Gomez, and was one of two players to record over 100 rebounds. No other area player reached 500 points this season.

Coach of the Year: It was a long time coming for the longest tenured area head coach, but Cerritos’ Jonathan Watanabe capped off an emotional season with a CIF-SS Division 4AA championship, the first in the history of the boys basketball program. Watanabe, who just completed his 22nd season as a head coach for his alma mater, guided the Dons to a 22-11 season after the Dons went 14-16 last season and lost in the second round of the playoffs. At one point, Cerritos won 15 straight games on its way to a 60-51 win over Yeshiva University of Los Angeles in the title game. Watanabe now has a career record of 341-275.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

FIRST TEAM

Jirah Domingo (La Mirada High)

Keilani Ganancial (Norwalk High)

Onyeka Nwanze (Cerritos High)

Haylie Wang (Whitney High)

Kylie Wang (Whitney High)

SECOND TEAM

Hannah Burgoyne (Valley Christian High)

Cameron Lacorte (Cerritos High)

Mia Rivera (Cerritos High)

Alyssa So (Whitney High)

Simarpreet Sogi (Gahr High)

THIRD TEAM

Jael Arreguin (La Mirada High)

Mailee Dizon (Cerritos High)

Madelyn Macaraeg (Whitney High)

Ella Mims (Gahr High)

Ambar Multani (Cerritos High)

HONORABLE MENTION

Destiny Aguilar (John Glenn High)

Janii McGarrah (Norwalk High)

Rhean Pasqual (Norwalk High)

Maya Reamer (Artesia High)

Jordin Shaw (La Mirada High)

PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR IN 2024-2025 SEASON

Ashlee Chung (Artesia High)

Kimberly Ixta (Artesia High)

Jasmine Ramirez (Artesia High)

Kendall Savage (Artesia High)

Kalana Nguyen (Cerritos High)

Jordin Pulley (Cerritos High)

Kishan Saberon (Cerritos High)

Miya Scammahorn (Cerritos High)

Megan Wallace (Cerritos High)

Sophie Watanabe (Cerritos High)

Chloe Beard (Gahr High)

Karen Barrocan (Gahr High)

Rachel Fredenburg (Gahr High)

Jody Colbert (Gahr High)

Christine Ho (Gahr High)

Maritza Corona (John Glenn High)

Jennifer Medina (John Glenn High)

Erissa Ramos (John Glenn High)

Natalie Zepeda (John Glenn High)

Destiny Elmore (La Mirada High)

Emily Gonzalez (La Mirada High)

Hailey Medrano (La Mirada High)

Simran Sahota (La Mirada High)

Nayeli Tamayo (La Mirada High)

Katlyn Moreno (Norwalk High)

Anahi Rodriguez (Norwalk High)

Monica Ruiz (Norwalk High)

Chayse Chambers (Valley Christian High)

Liana Lopez (Valley Christian High)

Aniyah Peoples (Valley Christian High)

Jocelyn Tani (Valley Christian High)

Jenna Van Kampen (Valley Christian High)

Gracie Verhoef (Valley Christian High)

Sarai Carter (Whitney High)

Cheyanne Cheung (Whitney High)

Kiera Kato (Whitney High)

Rachel Moyher (Whitney High)

Allie Yamaguchi (Whitney High)

Player of the Year: After being sidelined all last season, Cerritos senior Onyeka Nwanze made the most of her senior season, leading the area with 608 points in 34 games, good for an average of 17.4 points per game. She also averaged 17 rebounds a game, four assists a game and blocked four shots a game and finished her high school career with over 1,250 points in three seasons. Against Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High in the first round of the Division 3AA playoffs, Nwanze tied her career high of 39 points she poured in against Segerstrom High on Nov. 24, 2021. She also had a 34-point performance at Pioneer High on Jan. 9 this past season.

Coach of the Year: After finishing with a losing record in her first three seasons, La Mirada head coach Victoria Luong has put the program back on the map. The Matadores finished the season at 22-7, the best in school history, and finished in second place in the Mid-Cities League with an 8-2 mark. Although it lost to Colton High in the Division 5AA semifinals, the farthest the program had ever been, La Mirada advanced to the Southern California Regionals for the first time and defeated Gardena High 55-35 before falling to Division V finalist Montgomery High 75-41.