Ayala’s Best of the West Tournament is great, but …

I’ve really enjoyed covering the tournament this week and I think I’ve seen as much very good girls basketball in the last few days than I’ve seen in the last 3 or 4 years.

This Ayala Best of the West Tournament Elite Division is the best around, no doubt, for girls basketball. The only thing that’s missing is a really good representation of local teams.

Of the 32 teams in the Elite Division, only Miller, Diamond Ranch,  Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga and Ayala are from the Inland Valley. From a slightly larger area, you can include Bishop Amat from La Puente as well as Cajon from San Bernardino.

Miller and Ayala are undoubtedly the two best teams currently in the Inland Valley. But I think what would truly grab local interest throughout is for schools such as Etiwanda, Colony, or even some of the schools in the Open Division to take the challenge of the Elite Division.

All-“CIF” Volleyball team

If you want to just look at the all CIF-SS girls volleyball teams, scroll below. If you want to read my rant about the CIF-SS, read the following.

Well, the CIF-Southern Section apparently doesn’t want to be bothered with honoring high school students.  The CIF-SS has apparently washed its hands of the awards formerly known as all-CIF. Those are now in the hands of the LA84 Foundation, so the CIF-SS apparently neither keeps the information nor releases it anymore.

We at the Daily Bulletin and Sun had to get this from a member of the volleyball committee. It’s a shame that the CIF-SS, with its web site, and resources, can’t be bothered. As I understand, the teams are still essentially picked the same way as always, by a committee of coaches after the players are nominated. Yet there is no press release from the CIF-SS, nor is there a list on their web site. What a shame.

This problem may very well extend to all the sports that pick all-CIF teams: volleyball, football, water polo, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball. Since when was the CIF-SS not about recognizing worthy student-athletes?


First Team
Olivia Trudeau, Arroyo Grande; Samantha Orlandini, Flintridge Sacred Heart; Katie Condon, Flintridge Sacred Heart; Catheryn Quinn, Harvard-Westlake; Samantha Selsky, Marymount; Alesha Young, Newport Harbor; Katherine Sebastian, Harvard-Westlake; Lane Carino, Mira Costa; Devon Dykstra, Redondo Union; Megan Saraceno, Redondo Union; Morgan Carty, Upland.
Second Team
Jacqueline Johnson, Arroyo Grande; Francesca Silva, Dana Hills; Jazmine Jacobsen-Orozco, Lakewood; Katie Crosby, Los Alamitos; Stevi Robinson, Mira Costa; Megan Munce, Newport Harbor; Lauren Allen, Redondo Union; MacKenzie Knox, Edisonl; Emily Waterhouse, Harvard-Westlake; Nikki Doyle, Pioneer Valley; Kristen Dealy, Santa Barbara.
Players of the Year: Kendall Bateman, Mira Costa; Falyn Fonoimoana, Mira Costa.
Coaches of the Year: Lisa Zimmerman, Mira Costa; Adam Black, Harvard-Westlake.

First team
Alexandra Palmer, Laguna Beach; Piper Obradovich, Laguna Beach; Sarah Prather, Bishop Montgomery; Jennifer Edmond, Bishop Montgomery; Karin Ng, North Torrance; Kristin McNeese, North Torrance; Johnna Fouch, Redlands East Valley; Krista Vansant, Redlands East Valley; Courtney Boyd, Ayala; Madie Smith, Corona del Mar; Sierra Livesay, Riverside Poly; Hattie Waybright, South Torrance.
Second team
Amanda Remy, St. Lucy’s; Melinda Gomez, South Hills; Brittany Best, Norco; Christine Edwards, St. Joseph’s; Karissa Lagmay, Burroughs; Cami Martin, La Canada; Monica McFarland, Riverside King; Whittany Radcliffe, La Habra; Kacycee Gow, Hemet; Katie Judd, Torrance; Stephanie Stillman, Arcadia; Casey Klein, Pasadena; Natalie Allen, Corona; Kelly Schulte, Riverside Ramona.

Players of the Year: Dana Hutchinson, Laguna Beach; Ilyanna Hernandez, North Torrance.
Coach of the Year: Tricia Vansant, Redlands East Valley.

First team
Shannon Armstrong, Oaks Christian; Marissa Brand, Cypress; Paris Coleman, Brentwood; Jade Esquivel, Los Altos; Farren Halcovich, La Quinta; Marissa Rangel, California; Katy McCreary, Bonita; Lisa Morgan, La Quinta; Chanell Puou, California; Kara Sherard, Quartz Hill; Megan Welchman, Village Christian; Aly Squires, Santa Ynez; Ligna Fuentes, Cypress.
Players of the Year
Lauren Herrick, Cypress; Rachel Taylor, Village Christian.

Second team
Megan Barr, El Rancho; Chelsea Hamilton, Quartz Hill; Kelly Hasenjager, Mayfair; Madison Horsley, San Dimas; Heidi Hillman, Santa Monica; Annie Kim, Gabrieleno; Morgan Ma, San Gabriel; Alexa Mioek, Oak Park; Molly Peterson, Oaks Christian; Kiki Salazar, La Mirada; Brooke Schlachter, Palm Desert; Kelsey Soos, Santa Ynez; Hannah Stoiberg, La Reyna; Charlotte Haun, Valley Christian.
Players of the Year
Lauren Herrick, Cypress; Rachel Taylor, Village Christian
Coaches of the Year
Robert Blaken, Village Christian; Heather Dillard, Cypress.

First team
Rachel Aragon, Mayfield; Sarah Elfinger, Calvary Murrieta; Lindsay Sappington, Calvary Murrieta; Nikki Lane, Chadwick; Michelle McCarthy, Chadwick; Keriann Mason, Arrowhead Christian; Leslie McDonald, St. Margaret’s; Savannah Holte, St. Margaret’s; Jackie Harvey, Laguna Blanca; Alexa Antoni, Ontario Christian; Katrina Post, Westridge; Samantha Borenstein, Viewpoint.

Second team
Galia Sotomayor, Providence; Daniela Macias, Gladstone; Katie Saavedra, St. Paul; Cindy Ortiz, Bishop Conaty; Antonia Antes, Big Bear; Whitney Granado, Woodcrest Christian; Emily Davisson, Laguna Blanca; Katie Borden, Laguna Blanca; Megan Sweeney, Mayfield; Janelle Tucker, Campbell Hall; Tiffany Horton, Rio Hondo Prep; Rene Simon, Calvary Murrieta; Sarah Grayden, St. Margaret’s; Carolyn McLaughlin, Westridge.
Player of the Year: Susan Carlson, Mayfield
Coaches of the Year: Ernest Banaag, Mayfield; Paul Amoy Calvary Murrieta.

First team
Kylie Edgemon, Upland Christian; Tanya Ivory, Victor Valley Christian; Kaley Morrison, Santa Clarita Christian; Osose Oboh, Faith Baptist; Coliette O’Connell, Connelly; Alyssa Parker, Baptist Christian; Christy Power, Coastal Christian; Heather Rushton, La Verne Lutheran; Madison Sano, Coastal Christian; Jennifer Trahan, Desert Christian; Krystyna Utzig, California Lutheran; Samantha Weiner, Milken Community.
Second team
Chelsea Allen, La Sierra Academy; Britni Dearden, Upland Christian; Ilana Drecier, Milken Community; Kristina Gibson, Santa Clarita Christian; MaryLu Gonzales, New Roads; Rosalind Hilman, Faith Baptist; Kelsey Kolar, Desert Christian; Hilary Marston, Fairmont Prep; JoAnn Mauries, San Gabriel Academy; Stephanie Sommer, Lighthouse Christian; Morgan Stansell, Victor Valley Christian; Megan Tabor, Baptist Christian; Breann Taylor, Hesperia Christian; Brittany Wilkins, La Verne Lutheran.

Players of the Year: Lila Frederick, Connelly; Bree Rauschenbach, California Lutheran.

Coaches of the Year: Dani Raiser, California Lutheran; Misty Sano, Coastal Christian.

Packing in the college coaches

I didn’t keep track of blocked shots in the Etiwanda-Renaissance game, but Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner estimated that Renaissance’s 6-10 junior, Anthony Stover, had at least 10. Stover did have nine rebounds by my count, along with seven points.

Etiwanda’s 6-8 junior, Perris Blackwell, is used to being the biggest player on the floor. He wasn’t on Wednesday, but still had 10 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Kleckner said that there were about a half dozen college coaches at the game, including Washington’s Lorenzo Romar, who chatted up Kleckner after the game. They were there to watch Renaissance, which has some definite D1 prospects.

Call benefits Etiwanda

I was as the Etiwanda High School-Renaissance Academy boys basketball game on Wednesday. A very well-played, exciting game.

Etiwanda trailed 50-49 when with, four-tenths of a second left in regulation Etiwanda’s Jordan Finn was fouled by Hector Harold. The question was whether it was a shooting foul or not, because it was only Renaissance’s 6th team foul of the second half. I have to be honest, I don’t think Finn was shooting. Did he want to shoot? Definitely. He knew how little time was left. But was making a shooting motion to the basket? I don’t think so.

That being said, the call only put the game into overtime, and if the call hadn’t been named as a shooting foul, Etiwanda would’ve still had a slim chance to score with less than a second left. Etiwanda took advantage of the call and won the game 58-57 in overtime. A great game by two teams who have their sights set on playing into March.

Slow starts = victories?

I covered my first two high school boys basketball games of the season on Thursday, and both games featured a team getting off to a slow start, yet winning convincingly.

First, I saw Damien score six points in the first quarter. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that from a team that went on to score as many as 67 in a game. Damien followed up the six-point first quarter with a 20-point second quarter, more than tripling their output. Damien went on to beat Perris 67-55 in the Inland Empire Classic

Then I saw a favored Etiwanda team score 12 in the first quarter, fall behind by 11 points early in the second quarter before winning easily, 80-65 against Miller in an IE Classic quarterfinal.

Even though both Damien and Etiwanda didn’t take control until the third quarter — and in fact still trailed at halftime — I think the key was the second quarter. Both teams made up ground by halftime and set the stage for the second half.

High school wrestling … catch the fever!

If you’ve been involved in area high school wrestling the last few years, there’s a good chance you know me and you know I like covering wrestling.

I find it compelling for a sport to pit two competitors of equal weight against each other. There’s a place for the little guy and for the big (but not too big) guy in the sport.

Individual matches can be thrilling, but there’s not much more exciting than when a team title comes down to a final match.

That’s not completely rare in dual matches, but is a little more rare in tournaments. But, as I wrote in my prep notebook on Thursday, Ayala pulled out the Los Osos Tournament championship last Saturday with a pin in the heavyweight championship, the last match of the day. A loss and Ayala would’ve been second.

The most significant instance of  the final individual match determining the team title, was in 1999, I believe when Poway won the state title with a win in the heavyweight championship match. Pretty exciting.

Colony didn’t fake the fans

My colleague, Clay Fowler and I heard a variety of things while in the press box at the Moreno Valley-Colony game on Saturday. What we heard from a group of Moreno Valley fans ranged from whining to rude to unsportsmanlike.

So when Colony lined up to punt on fourth down at the Moreno Valley 36 with a 22-14 lead late in the fourth quarter we scoffed when Moreno Valley fans were yelling “to watch the fake.” Everyone says to “watch the fake” regardless of where they are on the field or what point in the game it is.

To be honest, this didn’t seem like the time for a fake, but I was wrong.

The fans watched it, but their players didn’t. The play went for 31 yards to the 5. One play later, Colony had its clinching touchdown with just more than 2 minutes to play.

Let’s hear it for the big guy

Let’s hear it for the big guy. No, I’m not talking about big business, big schools or offensive linemen. No, I’m talking about the behemoth CIF-Southern Section and how it is under-represented in state competitions.

In wrestling, I understand why there’s a limit of 8 wrestlers per weight class, because to find No. 9, it would take three extra matches (if I recall my computations in years past) in each weight class.

But in cross country, it’s ridiculous. The CIF-SS is limited to 7 teams in each division at state finals, whether the division has as few as 20 schools competing or as many as 24.

Consider this: In girls division 1 and girls division 1, all 7 of the CIF-SS teams finished in the top 8

In boys D1, all 7 of the CIF-SS teams finished in the top 9. What about the eighth-place team? In no division did a CIF-SS team finish last. The worst? 16th out of 20 or 19th out of 23.  I get tired over the years of covering local high school sports and see bad teams from the Oakland and San Francisco Sections, among others, get automatic berths into the state competition, while deserving teams from our area don’t get in.

at the CIF-SS Finals, Chino Hills, St. Lucy’s and Ontario Christian all finished eighth in their division in girls races. Each of them deserved to be in state over one or more of the teams that finished in the bottom of those divisions from other sections.

Elsewhere in the state, people complain the CIF-SS gets too much representation. I say, look at the results. They speak for themselves.