By Kenneth Miller, Publisher
It was his second head coaching job and one that he approached with optimism, but although the Inglewood basketball season got off to a rocky start Jason Porter led the Sentinels to the second round of the playoffs where it lost at home by two points.
While that result may appear similar to last season when the Sentinels advanced to the second round under Omar Bray, the difference in this season was two victories over rival Morningside and a surprising league win against Beverly Hills and its dynamic coach Jarvis Turner which has been dominant in the Ocean League.
The Sentinels finished the campaign with a 15-12 record and 7-3 in league, third behind Leuzinger and Beverly Hills, then advanced to the CIF-SS D-3A playoffs where it defeated LaHabra in the opening round before succumbing to Schurr 47-45 at Inglewood.
Porter, who cut his teeth in the prep coaching rants at View Park in Los Angeles, still considers Inglewood his dream job, but realizes he has work to do on a campus where the football team just finished as runner-up in D-2 football championship.
Inglewood will lose it’s All Ocean League post player Keyon Agurs who joined the squad from the football team. Agurs will be graduating in June and scheduled to attend Colorado St. on a football scholarship this fall.
However, Inglewood returns two promising building blocks in starting point guard Danaus Cockrell, an All Ocean League first team performer and Steven Arnold, Jr., a second team Ocean League standout. Both players are just sophomores.
Cockrell averaged 14 points per game and was second the team in scoring behind Agurs 18.
“We have to have a good off season and continue to develop and get stronger. We need to stick to our principals, continuing to be imposing on defense and stay true to who we are. I want Inglewood to be a program where kids want to come to school and play baseball instead of leaving and going to private schools and outside our district,” said Porter.
Porter credits his core of assistant coaches for the second half improvement; Maurice Holder, Corey Wilson, Steve Hamlin and Eric Hayes.
Meanwhile, Morningside went in the opposite direction this season under new head coach Dominic Ellison. The team saw a mass exodus of players leaving upon Ellison’s arrival and he subsequently finished the season with just seven players, concluding a dismal 4-18 season and just 2-6 in league.
Morningside went from 16-7 a year ago to a program that barely defeated Compton Centennial (4-20) which has fallen to such abyss it hardly resembles the once proud and dominant program it once was under current UCLA assistant coach Rod Palmer.