Support our high school sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribe now.
NORTHRIDGE — Any basketball player can look impressive in warmups. Some glide to the basket for thunderous dunks. Some splash multiple 3s in a row. Some dribble around the court with two basketballs like they are attached to their hands.
Heritage Christian sophomore Tae Simmons isn’t just impressive in warmups, he’s impressive from the opening tip.
The 6-foot-6 forward thundered home a one-handed dunk in the opening minutes that brought the crowd to its feet before going on to score 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds in Heritage Christian’s 69-65 Olympic League win over Village Christian at home Tuesday night.
Simmons is adapting to the attention he’s getting as a big-time recruiting prospect. He’s also adjusting to the social media attention, which includes dunk highlights from his games.
“It’s nice to see, but I really want to make sure my team is getting attention, too,” Simmons said. “I just want to get better.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Tae Simmons.
Big time flush. pic.twitter.com/0WGKNBNonO
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) January 11, 2023
Heritage Christian senior Giovanni Goree led the Warriors (13-4) with 23 points. Village Christian’s Immanuel Taylor had a game-high 24.
Heritage Christian erupted in the third quarter for its biggest lead of the game, 58-36, but Village Christian (15-3, 1-1) closed the gap later in the fourth quarter to 67-63 with 1:15 to play.
Josiah Johnson scored a layup with less than 30 seconds left to keep the Warriors’ lead at four and secure the win.
Tae Simmons in the post. He’s got 13 points and Heritage Christian leads 45-34 over Village Christian in the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/NHtS45qJ08
— Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) January 11, 2023
Simmons has evolved into one of the most coveted prospects on the West Coast for his size, mobility and skill set.
“He isn’t just a huge piece of our offense, but our defense, too. He can defend multiple positions,” Heritage Christian coach Paul Tait said. “He’s got a good jump shot, and obviously, can score in the post.”
The Warriors are ranked No. 16 in this week’s CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll.
Valencia 71, Hart 68: Mikah Ballew led the Vikings with 21 points, Kai Davis had 15 and Bryce Bedgood notched 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.
West Ranch 85, Castaic 45: Jaqari Miles scored 19 points and Andrew Meadow had 17 in the Wildcats’ 30th straight Foothill League win.
Saugus 72, Canyon 57: Max Tengan led the Centurions with 29 points. Lincoln Phillips led Canyon with 19 points.
GOLD COAST LEAGUE
Brentwood 88, Campbell Hall 77
Agoura 33, Oaks Christian 23: Nasir Meyer led Agoura with 16 points in a defensive game. The Chargers are unbeaten in the Marmonte League (3-0) and will face Thousand Oaks, which is also unbeaten in league, Friday night.
Thousand Oaks 69, Westlake 60: Elias Chin had 32 points and 16 rebounds for the Lancers.
Calabasas 78, Newbury Park 62: Gavin Murphy had 25 points for the Coyotes.
Crescenta Valley 61, Muir 37: Mikail Grigoryan led Crescenta Valley with 21 points and made four 3-pointers. Jay Washington added 11 points for the Falcons, who are 6-1 in league.
WEST VALLEY LEAGUE SET TO TIP OFF
The City Section’s West Valley League will have its opening night Wednesday. Cleveland is at Chatsworth (4 p.m.), Birmingham travels to Granada Hills (5 p.m.) and El Camino Real will play at Taft (6 p.m.).
This year the league isn’t as strong as it was in years past, with Taft, Birmingham and El Camino Real traditionally vying for the league title.
It looks like a two-team race between Taft (8-7) and Birmingham (9-6) this season, with a slight edge to the Patriots, who return point guard Tyson Jackson and guard Kory Blunt. Freshman Caleb Newton is very good.
Taft is led by senior Keyon Kensie, junior Bishop Brooks and sophomore Adam Grissom.
Cleveland’s new coach, Dagem Asfaw, has things moving in the right direction in his first season. The Cavs are 6-9 heading into league play. Cleveland’s highest win total for a season in the past six years is eight.
LA Daily News girls basketball Top 10 rankings, Jan. 10
Daily News Boys Athlete of the Week: Brady Dunlap, Harvard-Westlake
Daily News Girls Athlete of the Week: Emilia Krstevski, Sierra Canyon
CIF-SS boys basketball polls, Jan. 9
CIF-SS girls basketball polls, Jan. 9
El Camino Real (4-11) has endured an interesting start to its season after new coach Shawn Kolani stepped away from the team in mid-November due to a disagreement with the school’s administration. Kolani was the first-ever female boys basketball coach in the league. Assistant Colin Jamerson, a former head coach at Reseda, is filling in as the interim head coach.
Chatsworth (4-12) is led by star freshman Alijah Arenas and Granada Hills (4-11) is led by senior Zander Hollie.