Random thoughts for a Tuesday morning, wondering whatever happened to Rialto High’s Latesha Jones, the 1997 CIF-SS 1,600-meter champion with a 5:09.33 effort.


If it’s a pleasant Sunday (translation: typical Southern California weather), we can expect a good number of people to attend the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Racing fans will show to see if Bakersfield’s Kevin Harvick can extend his hot streak.

Harvick (who is actually from Oildale) will be seeking his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup win. He’ll arrive in Fontana following wins in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix. It’s been 11 years since any driver has won four straight.

In 2007, Jimmie Johnson collected checkered flags at Martinsville (Virginia), Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix en route to a championship. Harvick has one win at Fontana in 2011, one of his 40 Cup victories.

Since he’s already clinched a spot in the post-season, Harvick can afford to take chances, not only at Fontana but the rest of the season. …

USC basketball fans have a major reason to gripe about the NCAA Tournament selections. The Trojans (23-11) were left out while crosstown rival UCLA (21-11) got in, but in an at-large berth. Perhaps USC forgets it was a two-time loser to the Bruins in Pac-12 play.

Xavier (28-5) is the top seed in the West (perhaps the NCAA committee members should go back and take a geography class), while Virginia (31-2), Villanova (30-4) and Kansas (27-7) are the top seeds in the South, East and Midwest regionals, respectively. However, looking back at history, not all four will reach the Final Four in San Antonio. We think Michigan (28-7) will advance as an underdog pick in the West. …

Congrats to the Upland High School girls soccer team for shaking off a loss to Santa Margarita in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals to defeat JSerra of San Juan Capistrano 1-0 a couple of weeks later in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division I final. It was a performance felt throughout Orange County

“This is just a little team from the Inland Empire,” said Upland coach Bo Whieldon after the game. “We battle, we work hard, we’re a blue-collar group of kids and we just fight. When you come to Orange County you feel like you have something to prove. They never give up; that’s why I love this team.”

That and a 22-1-3 record

In an interesting note, Whieldon daughter Marin plays club ball on the Laguna Beach Blues. Greg Baker, the JSerra coach, is also the Blues coach. …

Seven is indeed a lucky number for Grant Rice, 1993 Claremont High School graduate. Rice recently coached Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School (29-4) to its seventh consecutive Nevada state basketball championship, a 62-41 victory over Bishop Manogue of Reno.

In addition to being inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame, Rice was selected to the Chaffey College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

His Gaels are currently ranked seventh in the nation. …

The Cajon boys basketball team gets an opportunity to even the score with Santa Monica Crossroads tonight in a CIF State Southern California Regional semifinal game on the road. Crossroads defeated the Cowboys 84-64 (26-7) in the CIF-SS 2AA semifinals two weeks ago.

Among those expected to attend the game will be NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, whose son Shareef plays for Crossroads. The younger O’Neal recently committed to UCLA.

“I think we’re going to go in there and they’re going to be overconfident,” said Cajon coach Randy Martin. “They better be ready.” …

Granite Hills High School is in the market for boys basketball coach now that Tory Dudgeon is coaching in Shenzhen, China. He answered an ad by USA Basketball looking for a coach, and the three-year Granite Hills coach, who graduated from the school, applied and was accepted. He reported for work on Tuesday at a new basketball academy.

“It’s basketball. It’s something I love to do and something I love being a part of,” Dudgeon told the Daily Press. “I’m excited for it and grateful for the opportunity.” …

There’s plenty to do if you take younger kids to the NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. There’s Lefty’s Fun Zone, where kids can race slot cars, run around in bubble rollers, tackle an obstacle course or challenge other youngsters in a tire-changing competition. Or they can catch a Sugar Bombs performance by the alternative rock band, and ricks by DockDogs, a canine aquatic competition.

If that’s not enough, driver Kasey Kahne will read one of his favorite books to Lefty’s Kid Club members on Sunday at 9:15 a.m. …

Four years ago, Chino Hills won the state basketball title behind the play of the Ball brothers. But as the brothers left the school, the Huskies seemed to lose their impact in the area.

Enter Dennis Latimore as the school’s head coach. He has taken the Huskies back to the top, winning the CIF-SS Division 1 title and earning CIF State Southern California Regional wins over Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista and Crespi of Encino. The play of junior Onyeka Olongwu and seniors Andre Ball and Ofure Ujadughele has been pivotal, as well as a focus on team play.

The Huskies have plenty of talent, but Latimore’s team approach has paid major dividends, and the community has responded. …

Although Harvick is the hot driver, we’re going to go with a young NASCAR standout who is seeking his family’s first win at Fontana. Chase Elliott has a handful of runner-up finishes, but it’s time he takes a checkered flag and wipes out the memory of his father’s crash in 1998 in Turn 2.

The senior Elliott ended his Fontana career with a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2002 (with Johnson winning) and 2003 (behind Kurt Busch).


Louis Brewster can be reached at [email protected]

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