The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.
The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored byJ.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.
It was a full house on Spring and Palo Verde Saturday afternoon, as Millikan hosted their second annual ‘Tournament of Champions’ 7 on 7. After hosting the event at LBCC last year, Millikan welcomed 16 teams to their own campus this year, creating five fields of play spread across the school. Being the home of this highly-attractive event helps put Millikan under the spotlight under fourth year head coach Romeo Pellum.
“A lot of people don’t know where Millikan is or don’t know anything about Millikan so this is huge because we get to show off our campus.” said Pellum. “People get to see our field and the palm trees and think ‘Oh, there are other parts of Long Beach too.’ East Long Beach is a good little area.”
Once again the ‘Tournament of Champions’ brought out some of the best competition in the state, with schools like St. John Bosco, Centennial, Edison, and Servite all in attendance. Millikan crossed paths with both Bosco and Edison, with their bout against Edison coming in the second round of the playoffs. Although they were handed their only two losses, it’s certain that the high level of competition they faced will help shape the Rams into a better team as the season approaches.
“You talk about teams like Bosco, the number one team in the country, and Edison who’s at the top of division two. The only other team in our league that we’ll play of that caliber is Poly, so for us it’s huge (to face that kind of competition),” said Pellum.
The Rams also faced and beat Alemany and Warren, as well as Loyola in the first round of the playoffs. Millikan ended the day with a record of 3-2.
Lakewood was also present in the tournament representing the Moore League. The Lancers had a tough outing, facing losses from all Cathedral, Servite, and two from Edison with one being in the first round of the playoffs.
After the tournament, Lakewood coach Justin Utupo said that all he cared about was competing.
“That’s exactly it; competition. That’s what we love about coming to events like this. We were able to get this thing filmed so we’re gonna be able to watch all of this and learn from it and move forward,” said Utupo.
As the playoff bracket came to a close, it became deja vu at DeHaven Stadium, as the Braves were crowned the winners of the ‘Tournament of Champions’ for back to back years. The Braves win over Sierra Canyon put a cap on yet another successful 7 on 7 event, giving us a preview of high school ball for the upcoming 2023 season.