Kenny Donovan replaces Tom Gregory at Ayala

An era is over at Ayala High School, and this time it appears to be for good.

Tom Gregory, who has coached the boys basketball team every year since the school opened in 1990 except for one (when he resigned for the year) has been dismissed as coach by principal Mike Vaughn and replaced by Kenny Donovan, who was the JV coach and previously had been a head coach at Diamond Ranch and Azusa.

That whole story can be read in Saturday’s paper.

But I wanted to address a couple of thoughts, not addressed in that story. One, should it have happened?

If it was about wins and losses, then definitely not. But Vaughn said it wasn’t about that and was about “different philosophies.” If that’s true, then I can’t say whether it should have happened. But it does help to have an administration and coach on the same page. Gregory mentioned that the “support system was different than what it was before.” I took that to mean that he didn’t feel like he had the administration’s support. It’s hard to coach without that support, especially in an environment like Ayala’s. It’s a shame it came to this, but maybe it was best for both parties. Although not necessarily best for the program and the kids.

Second, why did it happen?

Vaughn mentioned different philosophies, and maybe part of that is Vaughn’s vision for the school. “We need to ask ourselves what do we expect from our students,” Vaughn said. “If we set goals and they meet them, what do we do next? And if they’re not succeeding, then we need to think what we’re going to do to help them succeed.” Vaughn didn’t get real specific, but I could see how this vision could pertain to athletics. Maybe Vaughn felt Gregory wasn’t motivating in the right way, or helping those lesser players like he should. When I asked Vaughn if Gregory was on board with this philosophy, he said. “maybe he was slow to respond to it.”

Third, did parents have a role?

Possibly. It seems to be Vaughn’s decision, but if every parent had supported Gregory, I’d be surprised if Gregory had been dismissed. Gregory said, “I will say this, the support from the majority of the parents and all the players has been incredible.” Parents drove Gregory to step down seven years ago, then were the driving force to bring him back. I’d be surprised if they can get him back this time, especially with the current administration in charge.

Fourth, will Gregory coach again?

I get the impression he will. He wants to have a coaching avenue for his son Kyle, who has served as an assistant of his the last two years. And who knows, maybe it could be sooner rather than later. Gregory lives in Riverside so if he were to look at another coaching job, it would likely be between Chino Hills and Riverside. With about 20 years in the district, Gregory would take a big pay cut to teach elsewhere, but he might not have to worry about that because there won’t be any teaching jobs elsewhere for next year. There might be more off-campus coaches in all sports at all schools, including boys basketball next year, so that might work out OK for him. But, it has to be a school on board with his “old school” style.

Fifth, how will Kenny Donovan do?

It helps that many of the parents know him and he knows the school and the atmosphere there. Because it is a high-pressure job. The honeymoon will be short, to be sure. As Donovan said on Friday, “I said to the kids, ‘you have the easy job. Don’t worry. If we lose a game, it’s going to fall on me. You’re not going to get blamed.'” When Gregory stepped down before, Ayala went 12-17 that season, ending a string of 10 consecutive CIF quarterfinal appearances. When Gregory returned, Ayala went back to the quarterfinals. ‘I think he’ll be fine,” Gregory said of Donovan. “His approach and demeanor is much more of a fit for the school.”




Chino Tournament Championship is Friday

The Chino Pre-season Baseball Tournament championship, originally scheduled for March 17 but postponed due to air quality, is being made up Friday, March 27.

The schedule, for the games at Chino High School:

third place game, Corona vs. Damien, 3 p.m.

championship, Yucaipa vs. Chino, 6:30 p.m.

Admission is charged: Adults $3, Students $2, childen 12 and under free

Full-length Prep Pride for March 26

Because of space restrictions in March 26 paper, the entire prep pride did not run in the Daily Bulletin.

Here it is:


1) A parade and recognition in Congress are just two of the perks the Eisenhower boys basketball team is currently enjoying after winning the CIF State Division II championship last Friday.
“In my view, the kids deserve all this,” coach Steve Johnson said. “A lot of this stuff is too much and I might just say, ‘let’s just go have our banquet and call it a season.’ But it needs to all be about the kids in the end.”
Johnson said there was an overwhelming amount of hospitality shown by their finals opponent, Rocklin, but there was also an overwhelming home-court advantage for Rocklin.
“We practiced at an elementary school in Rocklin (after) I had asked their AD for a place to shoot around, and they were very hospitable,” Johnson said.
“A lot more (Ike) fans came up for the game than I expected. Our district was very supportive, with I think seven busses besides ours. But we probably had four or five hundred (fans) and they probably had seven or eight thousand.”
Johnson said that a parade for the team is scheduled in the city of Rialto on April 11 at 11 a.m. The team was also recognized by Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) in Congress recently.
“I know his kids went through Eisenhower,” Johnson said. “That’s really nice.”
2) Laing Stevens is back. Again.
Stevens will begin his third tour of duty as Ontario Christian’s football coach, following the resignation of his son, Chris, who had been the head coach since 2005.
Chris Stevens stepped down following news that his wife is pregnant with triplets and is due in August. Laing Stevens served as defensive coordinator at OCHS last year.
So Laing Stevens comes back to the school where he first served as a head coach from 1977-81, then returned to OCHS from 2002-04 after retiring from teaching from the Chino Valley Unified District (where he coached and served as athletic director at Ayala). He won a CIF title as a coach in 1978 and again in 2002.
“I guess I could say no, (but) I’m like that little rubber ball on the paddle that keeps coming back,” Laing said.
Stevens, 66, is also returning to teaching at the school, although his duties are not completely decided.
With his 401K dwindling, Stevens decided he needed to find a job that was more than just coaching.
“I told Chris, ‘I don’t know if I can go back to OC (as a coach) unless they have a (teaching) job for me,'” Laing said. “But they found something.
“If I had my druthers, I’d be at OC, if not then coaching with Lou (Randall, a friend and coach).”
4) Chris Stevens went to a spread offense last year at OC to take advantage of the talents of QB Andrew Lachelt, but Laing Stevens is more of a wing-T offense coach, referring to it as, “wings and things.”
Now, he’ll be bringing the spread and wing-T into what he calls “spread your wings.”
“I don’t know if I came up with the term,” Stevens said. “But I’ll be taking the best of both offenses.”
4) Etiwanda softball is off to a impressive start, with an 11-0 record and two tournament championships already.
“I’ve only got two seniors,” Etiwanda coach Dave Masucci said. “This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But I have three freshmen who aren’t playing like freshmen, Melissa Taukieaho (3B-P), Jenna Isbel (OF) and Katelynn Rentschler (C).”
The latest victory was a 3-1, eight-inning victory over Riverside King on Saturday in the championship of the Jurupa Valley Tournament. Stephanie Tarango hit a walk-off, two-run homer for Etiwanda.
“I lost seven seniors from last year, but I had some freshmen last year, that probably were varsity players, but we kept them down to give them playing time,” Masucci said. “Now, with all these freshmen, I’ve got like 10 or 11 girls fighting for spots. It’s a nice problem.”
5) The annual Cowbell Meet, pitting the swimming programs from the four Chino Valley Unified School District schools, was held last Friday at Ayala.
“It was a great night, and all of the other schools had larger team rosters,” Ayala coach Bob Mount said. “It had a party atmosphere.”
Ayala won the trophy for the 10th straight year. The boys scores were Ayala 201, Don Lugo 102, Chino Hills 89, and Chino 86. For the girls, Ayala won with 216, while Chino Hills had 106, Chino 88 and Don Lugo 80.
“Winning isn’t the emphasis,” he said. “It’s to see the kids swim. It’s not really a spectator-friendly sport.”

Cal League still in limbo

There was an interesting article recently in Baseball America about the proposed shift from the California League to the Carolina League, most likely the Bakersfield Blaze and High Desert Mavericks. A lot was written about the situation last year, then when push came to shove, it didn’t happen. And now it seems like it’s a long way from happening for next year.

Here’s the link to the story:

According to the story, economy seems to be a factor. It’s being blamed for everything else, why not this?

Anyway, here’s my take. The economy will need to improve enough so that one of the following three things happens first: 1) Bakersfield or Adelanto can make needed stadium upgrades or new stadiums, 2) A market opens up somewhere in California or 3) There are buyers able to purchase the franchises and move them to the Carolina League.

It’s possible that one of these 3 things needs only to happen to one of the teams. If the ballpark situation improves for one to remain in the Cal League (at its current place or somewhere else), then the other will stay, because it will take 2 for a shift. But if one buyer can be found to go to the Carolina League, the other will surely follow, because as new Quakes (and current Mavericks owner) Bobby Brett said, “If we had Richmond (Virginia), we could have piecemealed one market. But piecemealing two (markets) was more of a challenge.”

Both franchises have already been in limbo since last summer. How much longer will everyone be tortured?

Ike wins state title

Finally, maybe some due credit for this area in basketball.

For the entire history of the state championships — the modern version since 1982 — only one basketball program from the Inland Valley or San Bernardino County made the state championship game, the Chino girls in 1986. Chino lost in the Division II title game and no school since has made it that far, until the Eisenhower boys this year.

Friday night, Ike finished off the first basketball state championship in the area’s history, with a 73-61 victory over Rocklin in the Division II championship at Arco Arena in Sacramento. Creighton-bound senior guard Andrew Bock scored 17 points, while Bryan Bock, Alex Varner and Nick Carter scored 11 points apiece. Ike just pulled away in the second half to defeat Rocklin for the second time this season. They overcame a 26-point, 19-rebound, 10-block effort by Rocklin’s 6-10 UCLA-bound Brendan Lane.

Congratulations go out coach Steve Johnson and the Eagles. Your hard work and dedication has paid off.

Colony wins thriller over Cajon

It might’ve been the best high school basketball game (girls or boys) I’ve seen all season when fourth-seeded Colony upset top-seeded Cajon 59-56 in the CIF State Division I Southern Regional girls basketball semifinal on Thursday. Colony plays Long Beach Poly for a spot in the state finals on Saturday.

It’s on par with the Ayala girls in the regional final last year, although that one had the added bit of it being a triple-overtime game.

So much happened, not everything made it into my story in Friday’s paper.

For instance, both teams dealt with foul trouble. Cajon’s Kori Walker had three fouls with more than three minutes to go in the first half. She picked up her fourth before the end of the third and fouled out in the game’s final minute. She was not much of a factor.

“Because of the foul trouble, I substituted more than I usually do,” Cajon coach Mark Lehman said. “We had some players in who didn’t do what they were told to do.”

Colony had foul trouble, too, as guard Rachel Taghaboni fouled out with 2:09 to play. But Taghaboni picked up four of her fouls in the second half and she wasn’t really on the bench because of foul trouble. It only hurt Colony after she fouled out.

Cajon led 28-17 in the second quarter, but improved defensive pressure from Colony ended in a 10-2 run to end the half, cutting Colony’s deficit to 30-27. Colony took its first lead of the game 35-34 on two free throws by Camille Buckley (16 points, 14 rebounds) with 5:07 to play in the third. Buckley didn’t have her best game on the offensive end, making only five of 12 shots from the field, but worked hard on grabbing boards. Jazmyne White also scored 16 points.

Cajon led a couple of times after that,  the last time when a basket by Layshia Clarendon (29 points, 8 rebounds) gave the Cowgirls a 49-46 lead with 4:08 to play. Colony scored the next five points, taking the lead for good at 51-49 on a Te’onna Campbell basket with 2:38 remaining.

Clarendon was 6-of-11 from the line in the fourth quarter, which interestingly enough was the first time she had gotten to the line in the game. In fact she was 4-of-9 from the line in the final 2:32, missing two free throws that would’ve given the Cowgirls the lead with 11.8 seconds to play.

As usual, there was a lot on the shoulders of seniors Clarendon and Darshae Burnside. Usually, that’s not a problem. This time, against an excellent Colony team, it was too much.

Clarendon and Burnside scored 50 of Cajon’s 56 points, while five players scored at least seven points for Colony, making up 56 of their 59 points.

“I have to give (assistant coach) Vince (Spirlin) a lot of credit,” Colony coach Ed Taylor said. “He had seen them (Cajon) more, and he had a good game plan.”

Prospect handbook makes me eager for Cal League

I just received the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which makes me anxious for the start of the California League baseball season.

A few thoughts on the book, which includes the top 30 prospects for each organization (plus No. 31 in a special supplement)

–As for last year’s 66ers, catcher Carlos Santana, who was traded to the Indians in the Casey Blake deal, is ranked as the Indians’ No. 1 prospect. Blake helped get the Dodgers to the playoffs, but you can’t help wonder if they’ll regeret the move long-term.

Also, where is OF Tommy Giles on the Dodgers’ list? He didn’t make the top 30 even after batting .280 with 22 home runs and 100 RBI.

I was surprised that 3B Josh Bell moved up from No. 11 to No. 8 after missing the last three months with a kniee injury. RHP Chris Withrow at No. 9? He had control issues last year with a sore elbow and pitched only four innings.

–Looking at the 2008 Quakes, it’s not surprising that OF Peter Bourjos (No. 9 to No. 3) and 1B Mark Trumbo (No. 29 to No. 8) moved up as high as they did on the Angels’ list. I was surprised that RHP reliever David Herndon is only at No. 28, especially after he proved dominating following his switch from starting to relieving.

–As for the 2009 Sixers, don’t expect to see No. 1 Dodgers prospect OF Andrew Lambo with the team, especially after he went from low-A to Double-A at the end of last season. Many of the prospects they’ll see initially, will probably be players fans saw last year, No. 9 Withrow, No. 11 INF Austin Gallagher, No. 15 RHP Steven Johnson, and No. 29 RHP Josh Wall. Low Single-A Great Lakes was terrible last year, and No. 20 RHP Justin Miller (4-11, 3.99) and No. 27 OF Alfredo Siverio (.263, 10 HR, 45 RBI ) appear to be the top prospects from that team headed to San Bernardino this year.

–As they’ve had the last couple of seasons, it looks like the Quakes should have some of the Angels’ top speed prospects in 2009, that includes No. 16 OF Clay Fuller (36 SB at low Single-A Cedar Rapids last year) and No. 22 SS Andrew Romine (62 SB). They’ll also have their fair share of pitching prospects with No. 4 LHP Trevor Reckling (10-7, 3.37 ERA at CR) No. 10 RHP Mason Tobin (2-3, 3.13 at CR), and No. 20 LHP Robert Fish, a Miller HS product (10-4, 4.85 at CR).

Who’s ready for baseball?

Results for local wrestlers at state

San Bernardino County and Inland Valley locals and how they fared at the CIF State wrestling championships

112: Richie Cascante, junior, San Gorgonio (8th at CIF-SS Masters)

Won 15-1,  lost  7-3,. Lost 3-1 (did not place)

112: Sean Silva, junior, Barstow (2)

Won pin 2:15, won 7-3, lost 10-2, won pin 2:43, won 1-0, lost 3-2, won pin (finished fifth)

125: Ryan Fillingame, senior, Sultana (1)

Won 9-4, won 9-2, won 12-10 OT, lost default, lost default (did not place)

130: Ray Rubio, senior, Silverado (6)

Won default, lost 4-0, lost 7-2 (did not place)

135: Chris Swayze, junior, Victor Valley (8)

Lost 11-6, lost 5-2 (did not place)

135: Sean Regan, senior, Sultana (4)

Lost 4-2, won pin 4:52, won 7-2, lost 5-3 (did not place)

135: Alfredo Velazquez, senior, Miller (5)

Lost 16-8, lost 14-5 (did not place)

140: Jaime Jimenez, junior, Ontario (8)

Lost 10-2, lost pin 5:38 (did not place)

145: Cody Bollinger, senior, Sultana (1)

Won 21-9, won tech. fall 25-8, won 11-7, lost 8-7, won 18-11, won 4-3 (finished third)

145: Joey Lemond, senior, Rancho Cucamonga (4)

Won 6-5, lost 5-1, won 8-4, lost 4-2 (did not place)

152: Christopher Sloat, junior, Hesperia (8)

Lost tech. fall 17-0, lost 9-2 (did not place)

160: Darrin Duncan, senior, Victor Valley (9)

Lost pin 3:38, won default, lost 6-1 (did not place)

171: Jeremy Fillingame, Sr., Sultana (7)

Lost 5-4, lost 8-3 (did not place)

189: Danny Reyes, Sr., Hesperia (4)

Won 6-3, lost 10-2, lost 7-5 (did not place)

189: Kenny Breaux, Sr., Carter (6)

Lost 3-2, lost 14-4 (did not place)

215: Andrew Hudson, Jr., Redlands East Valley (1)

Won 7-3, won 7-5 3 OT, lost pin 1:49, won 2-1 2 OT, lost 10-4, lost pin 2:06 (finished eighth).

215: Mike Joromat, Sr., Silverado (5)

Lost 9-5, lost 7-3 (did not place)

Hwt: Manuel Mazariegos, Jr., Sultana

Won pin 2:51, won 3-0, lost 6-3, lost 4-1 (did not place)

Sultana’s Bollinger nipped in wrestling semis

Sultana senior 145-pounder Cody Bollinger was ranked No. 3 in the state in his weight class and was facing No. 2-ranked Alex Rodriguez of Fresno Washington Union in the semifinals of the CIF State Wrestling Championships Saturday morning in Bakersfield.

Predictably it was close.

But an 8-4 deficit in the third period was too much for Bollinger to overcome, and Rodriguez held on for an 8-7 victory.

Bollinger still has a chance to finish as high as third.

A total of four San Bernardino County wrestlers made it to Day 2 of the competition.

After getting pinned in the quarterfinals Friday night, Redlands East Valley’s Andrew Hudson (215) came back with a double-overtime, 2-1 win over Hunter Baird of Palma in the first round of consolation Saturday to secure a spot in the top 8.

Like Hudson, Barstow’s Sean Silva (112) lost in the quarterfinals but came back to win his first match Saturday, via pin over Aaron LaFarge of La Habra to make the top 8.

It was not as good a day for Bollinger’s teammate, Ryan Fillingame (125). Fillingame had to default from his quarterfinal match because of a migraine headache. He then defaulted his first match Saturday and was eliminated. At this point, I’m not sure if Fillingame defaulted because he still had the migraine or if it was for the other reason coach Rocky Humphrey said was a possibility on Friday. That he would have to hydrate too much to get rid of the migraine that he might not be able to make weight Saturday morning.