Last week was a busy week on the basketball courts as updates for this week start with boys’ updates from the Ivy League. Rancho Christian (12-8) is out front with a 3-0 record with Rancho Verde (19-3) and Riverside Poly (15-8) one game back at 2-1 while Elsinore (15-6) is at 1-3 and JW North (7-13) remains winless in league play.

This past weekend the Eagles hosted their annual showcase series which also included Great Oak, Temecula Prep, Woodcrest Christian, Aquinas, Temecula Valley, Rancho Verde, Murrieta Mesa, Linfield, and Roosevelt. To cap off the showcase the Eagles pulled away from Murrieta Mesa (11-11) in the second half to win, 70-50. The day featured seven games highlighting teams from the Inland Empire.

Rancho Christian’s Jaiden Agbo (12) squares up and chips in 11 points in the Eagles 70-50 win over Murrieta Mesa in nonleague play. Valley News/David Canales photo

The Rams, out of the Southwestern League, played the Eagles tough in the first half before Rancho Christian used their size and experience in the second half to rout the Murrieta Mesa by the score of 70-50. Rancho Christian used a balanced offense having four players scoring in double figures with Jayden Smoot’s 13 points leading the way. The Rams had three players chip in with 10 points each: Zach McDonald, Ryan Corey, and Julio Osuna. The Eagles will play JW North this week before having a week off.

In the Southwestern League, Murrieta Valley (14-7) climbed to the top of the standings this past week by beating Vista Murrieta (20-2), who had only lost one game up to that point. The Nighthawks, at 4-0, are the frontrunner with Temecula Valley (10-10) and the Broncos both tied at 3-1. Great Oak (13-8) and Murrieta Mesa quickly fell to the back of the pack by losing both their SWL games last week, and Chaparral (6-14) still remains winless in league. This week will be another big week as Murrieta Valley goes up against TV, Mesa and the Wolfpack will battle it out for a spot in the middle of the standings and the Pumas will have their hands full with the Broncos.

Other local team records and standings include South Valley League teams: Desert Christian Academy (7-0, 14-6), Santa Rosa Academy (6-1, 11-12), Temecula Prep (4-3, 8-13), California Military Institute (3-4, 3-8), Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac Catholic School (3-4, 5-7), San Jacinto Valley Academy (1-6, 4-9), and Nuview Bridge (0-6, 0-9); Sunbelt League teams: Temescal Canyon (4-0, 17-4), Valley View (1-1, 12-10), Hemet (1-1, 15-3), Orange Vista (1-2, 11-10), and Moreno Valley (0-3, 9-10); Inland Valley League teams: Canyon Springs (3-0, 12-9), Heritage (2-1, 7-12), Paloma Valley (2-1, 9-10               ), Lakeside (1-3, 8-14), and Vista del Lago (0-3, 6-8); and finally, Mountain Pass League teams: Liberty (4-0, 15-6), San Jacinto (3-1, 8-7), Perris (2-2, 3-14), West Valley (2-2, 8-11), Citrus Hill (1-3, 8-13), Tahquitz (0-4, 5-7). All standings up to date on MaxPreps as of 1/15/24.

On the girls’ basketball courts the big news has been the late start of the Rancho Christian Eagles. Despite just getting their season underway three weeks ago, they are still finding success in Ivy League play. Last year’s CIF-SS Division 3A champions, who advanced to the CIF State Division II regional playoffs, returned only one of the nine players from that championship squad. The lone returner in junior guard, Julia Wilson, is so-far averaging 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game.

Boasting one of the smallest rosters, not in size, but in numbers, only seven of the nine players are currently listed in their scorebooks. While six players transferred in, four had to go through the 30-day sit-out period before becoming eligible, one player is waiting for a hardship to be approved and another was denied varsity eligibility this season. All that aside, the Eagles have posted some remarkable wins against top tier talent. The remainder of the Ivy League teams, standings wise, look like this: Riverside Poly (2-1, 7-14), Paloma Valley (2-1, 11-7), Valley View (1-2, 13-9), and Lakeside (0-4, 0-4).

Another big semi-local event this past weekend was at Norco High School, who hosted its annual girls basketball showcase. Vista Murrieta and Elsinore were the only local teams competing and neither could pull off a victory. The Broncos fell to Corona del Mar, 51-37, and the Tigers could only muster 20 points against Chino Hills (42-20). Looking at the Southwestern League standings, Great Oak (12-6) remains undefeated in league play at 4-0, then it’s Murrieta Valley (3-1, 14-7), Vista Murrieta (2-2, 6-15), Temecula Valley (2-2, 12-7), Chaparral (1-3, 9-9), and Murrieta Mesa (0-4, 7-14).

As for the Inland Valley League teams, Orange Vista (2-1, 7-9) and Canyon Springs (2-1, 9-9) are tied for top with the rest of the field comprised of Hemet (2-1, 11-6), Elsinore (2-2, 10-12), and Vista del Lago (0-3, 1-11).

Other local team records and standings include South Valley League teams: Desert Christian Academy (7-0, 13-6), Temecula Prep (5-2, 9-8), Santa Rosa Academy (5-2, 8-7), California Military Institute (1-3, 1-5), Nuview Bridge (1-3, 1-7), San Jacinto Valley Academy (1-6, 3-14), and Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac Catholic School (0-4, 0-10); Sunbelt League teams: Moreno Valley (3-0, 19-4), Temescal Canyon (2-1, 10-4), Rancho Verde (1-2, 10-9), Heritage (1-2, 13-9), and JW North (0-2, 3-12); and finally, Mountain Pass League teams: San Jacinto (4-0, 13-8), Liberty (3-1, 8-7), Tahquitz (2-1, 10-7), Perris (1-2, 4-7), Citrus Hill (0-3, 3-10), and West Valley (0-3, 0-6).

JP Raineri can be reached by email at 

JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.