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Del Rey League basketball media day: St. Pius X-St. Matthias adds to already tough competition

Del Rey League basketball players attending media day.
Del Rey League basketball players attending media day. (Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

As if Del Rey League basketball needed another boost with the likes of Bishop Montgomery, St. Anthony and St. Bernard doing battle, adding St. Pius X-St. Matthias (PMA) to the league has done just that. The Mission and Trinity leagues get lots of attention, but the Del Rey is in position to provide competition.

“We have to come prepared every day, work hard every day,” PMA coach Donte Archie said at Monday’s league media day. “This is a new life for us.”

“Best league in the state,” Gardena Serra coach Bernard McCrumby said. “Dog fight every night. Great coaches, great players.”

Bishop Montgomery, under coach Doug Mitchell, who is in his 34th season, could be the least experienced team with five freshmen, led by 6-foot-5 twins Terron and Tarron Williams.

“I’m really confident this is going to be a good team. I just don't know when,” Mitchell said.

Serra is poised to make a big improvement with the arrival of 6-8 transfer Maximo Adams from Narbonne and 6-10 David Shelia from the country of Georgia. Shelia speaks five languages. Point guard Kayleb Kearse has grown to 5-9 after being all-league as a freshman.

St. Anthony senior Chandler Young has a 4.3 grade-point average and sets an example for others with his work ethic.

"His work ethic is incredible," coach Alan Mitchell said.

St. Bernard is excited to see the improvement of sophomore Tajh Ariza, who has gone from 6-5 to 6-8 and added 10 pounds of muscle.

St. Anthony sophomore Joseph Wicker is adding rebounding to his resume, which includes being a top three-point shooter.

Coaches are continuing to try to motivate players to take charging fouls, such as Serra offering socks for every charge.

“We practice it every day,” McCrumby said. “It’s one of the most important plays you can make on the basketball court.”

St. Bernard guard Josh Palmer knows if he doesn't take a charge, he'll hear about it from his father, UCLA assistant coach Rod Palmer.

"I can hear him from the stands, 'Step up and take a charge,'" Palmer said.

Mitchell said of his players, “If somebody misses an obvious charge in practice, we stop practice and everyone has to take charge. We try to encourage them. It’s an important play. It gives you possession.”

PMA has scheduled a nonleague road game with Harvard-Westlake on Dec. 6.

“I need that game,” said PMA standout Tyrone Riley. “They’re the No. 1 team in the state. We get to try to show them what we can do.”

St. Paul point guard Osami Maciel is the son of Gabriel Maciel, who played at South Gate in the 1990s. He was 6-4; his son is 5-10.

"Hopefully I can get that growth spurt," Osami said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.