Mission, Trinity, Baseline leagues flexing basketball muscle

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It’s still wide open as to which league might be the strongest in Southern California boys’ basketball this season, but it’s down to the Mission, Trinity and Baseline leagues going into this coming week’s Christmas tournaments.

Each league has at least one unbeaten team and as many as three from each league looking as possible Open Division playoff contenders in the Southern Section.

In the Mission League, Harvard-Westlake goes into the final week of 2023 at 12-0 while heading to Oregon for a tournament. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is 11-0, including six wins over City Section teams. Sierra Canyon is 10-1. Crespi has shown surprising success under first-year coach Derek Fisher at 14-1.

In the Trinity League, JSerra is 12-0. St. John Bosco is 10-1 and coming off a win over national power DeMatha of Hyattsville, Md., in Hawaii; the Braves play this week in the Classic at Damien. Mater Dei is 9-1 and gains top transfer student Brandon Benjamin this week. When the new year begins, St. John Bosco faces JSerra on the road Jan. 3 and plays Mater Dei at Crypto.com Arena on Jan. 6 in the Coastal Catholic Classic that counts as a league game.

In the Baseline League, Etiwanda (11-0) has been a surprise team to start the season. Damien is 11-1 and playing in the toughest division of its tournament this week. Los Osos (10-2), Rancho Cucamonga (9-3), Upland (9-3) and Chino Hills (10-4) all have winning records.

The Big VIII League can’t be forgotten with Eastvale Roosevelt (12-1) trying to knock off defending Open Division champion Corona Centennial (9-6).

Another competitive league should be the Marmonte. Thousand Oaks is 13-1, but its only loss came to league rival Westlake (11-3) in a tournament game. Calabasas (9-3) is also in the mix.

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