1. As far as south Los Angeles County boys' basketball teams are concerned, Saturday's showcase event at Mater Dei was not named the Nike Extravaganza. It was more like the "Nike Extermination." Fairfax continued its downward spiral, losing to Rialto Eisenhower, 53-39. Things didn't get any better for the others. Western League power Westchester took the court next and lost to Orange Lutheran, 66-63. Not even Long Beach Poly, the state's top-ranked team, could shake the bug, losing to Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 58-53, a few hours later. Los Angeles Price completed the drought by falling to host Mater Dei, 67-65, in the finale. Ouch.
2. Damien (22-2) is a win away from claiming its first Sierra League title in 10 years. There's great balance on this team, which heads into the final week of the regular season ranked No. 3 in the CIF-SS Division 3A poll behind Harvard-Westlake and Crespi. Senior guard Gian Demano is the spark plug; highly touted forward Chris Reyes is the scorer. Don't be surprised if the Spartans make a deep run in the playoffs.
3. Here's an interesting tidbit: Price was not the only school to benefit from a meager showing at the Oaks Christian Tournament in late December. Price's three losses at the end-of-the-year invitational have been well documented. So were the Knights' eight subsequent victories -- that is, before they fell Saturday night at highly rated Mater Dei. The other team is Pasadena (18-6), which went through hardship at Oaks Christian and, like Price, is better because of it. The Bulldogs have won 12 straight -- all in Pacific League play -- and could claim the crown outright with a win Tuesday night. Funny how that whole "playing against tough competition thing" works.
4. There's life beyond Poly and Lakewood in the Moore League, you just have to look past the gridiron and hardwood to find it. The Millikan boys' soccer team captured its fourth straight league title with a 5-1 win at Compton on Friday. The Rams are ranked No. 2 in the CIF-SS Division I poll heading into the final week of regular-season play. Millikan has scored 103 goals in 28 games.
5. The return of former Westchester standout Dwayne Polee Jr. didn't go as he had hoped Saturday, as St. John's fell to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Polee, a freshman, had six points and four rebounds in 19 minutes, and never seemed to get going as he dealt with the Bruins' Tyler Honeycutt. Polee, ranked in the top 30 at his position coming out of high school, scored in double figures in his first two collegiate games but has only two double-digit games since.