Basketball is back in the Southland

Let the games begin.

After months of being seemingly dormant, gyms all over the Southland were buzzing once again Monday afternoon as the high school boys’ basketball season tipped off with some of the premier players around, and programs, gathering at numerous high-profile tournaments.

Long Beach Poly, Compton, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, Santa Monica and Fairfax are among the many marquee schools in attendance at the week-long Redondo Tournament in Redondo Beach. And while Boston College-bound Ryan Anderson and Long Beach Poly are considered the odds-on favorite to win the title, the Jackrabbits figure to be tested early and often.

There will be no shortage of talent at the Pasadena Tournament the next couple of days and Norvel Pelle from Los Angeles Price headlines things. ESPNU ranks the 6-foot-9 senior as the nation’s No. 15 power forward. He’ll play for former UCLA coach Steve Lavin at St. John’s in the future.

Don’t be surprised to see Etiwanda’s tandem of Byron Wesley and Jordan Daniels give Pelle & Co. all they can handle at the Pasadena Tournament. It’s also worth mentioning that Corona Centennial’s combination of Michael Caffey and Dominque Dunning pose as legitimate threats.

For those in the Ventura County area, checking out this week’s action at the Simi Valley Tournament is a good idea. Making the trip will be worthwhile given the fact senior Lonnie Jackson, one of the state’s top shooting guards, will be in uniform for Valencia. The host Pioneers plan on countering with Jonathan Davis, a senior power forward heading to George Washington.

We’d be remiss if we didn't mention the Westchester Tournament, annually one of Southern California’s more competitive showcases. This year, of course, is no different. Los Angeles Washington and Mission Hills Alemany could make some noise. Ultimately, however, Woodland Hills Taft and the host Comets appear poised to meet in the finals later this week.

There you have it hoops fans, plenty of hardwood options to choose from. And keep in mind, most tournament title games are scheduled for either Saturday afternoon or evening. In the meantime, enjoy life, high school boys’ basketball is officially back.