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The 11th Collision Scholastic Hoops Jam is a little more than a month away on April 25, but the rosters are slowly taking shape as the best teams of Southern California make their way through the state regional tournament this week.
The Southern Section just got bolstered by the addition of Bishop Montgomery senior Justin Cobbs, the defending Division II-A co-player of the year. The Minnesota-bound Cobbs, who scored 47 points in his team's CIF semifinal loss to Inglewood, and his Knights earned the No. 1 seed in the Division IV regional bracket and will host a semifinal game tonight.
In the Division V bracket, Collision signees Darius Morris and Anthony Stover of No. 1 seed Windward are looking to add more hardware to their school's trophy case after they won the school's first CIF title last week.
Leuzinger head coach Reggie Morris, Jr., who will coach the Southern Section roster, has his team in the Division II bracket and looking to regroup after a disappointing loss to Thousand Oaks in the Division II-AA final.
It's the same fate that his City Section counterpart Derrick Taylor is facing in the Division I bracket, regrouping after losing to Westchester in the City finals.
Speaking of the City, the roster has been steadily building the last few weeks. City champions Westchester will send two representatives in seniors Dominique O'Connor and Deshun McCoy to join league rival Solomon Hill of Fairfax, who has committed to USC.
The Coliseum League will be represented by All-City, DePaul-bound forward Tony Freeland (Fremont) and Manual Arts forward Gaellan Bewernick, who led the league in scoring (25.5) and rebounding (17.2 while finishing second in the City in both categories.
As far as the girls, Marlborough seniors Taylor Ball and Talia Caldwell didn't end their careers with a fourth CIF title but they reached the Division III bracket of the regional tournament.
They're going to be key cogs of what Southern Section coach Mel Sims of Chino Hills Ayala has called the best team that he's fielded. One can assume that an early candidate for the roster will be Cajon guard Layshia Clarendon, who was inexplicably left off the McDonald's All-American roster.
Clarendon, a leading candidate for State Player of the Year, and teammate Darshae Burnside led Cajon to a CIF title over two-time defending champion Long Beach Poly and has the Cowboys for a regional title as the No. 1 seed in the Division I bracket.
City Section coach Victoria Saunders has her work cut out for her but if anybody can build a roster of talented young ladies to match the Southern Section, it's her. Last year, her team engineered a 20-point comeback against Sims' squad, which featured 11 Division I signees.
Although they fell short, Saunders got her players to take pride in representing the City and that unity, mixed in with finding some great players, is why she and her squad shouldn't be counted out this year.
Mark April 25 on your calendar and make sure you're at El Camino College for what promises to be another classic all-star game as the best of the City and Southern Section face off at Collision XI. For more information, call (310) 924-7851