Victor Valley football players make choices

Several football players from Victor Valley College have made decisions on four-year colleges, according to Rams coach Dave Hoover.

Quarterback Travis Hunter (Barstow HS), wide receiver Pelton Smalls and offensive lineman Eric Wilkinson (Serrano HS) are headed to Kansas Wesleyan, continuing a pipeline of athletes from the High Desert to that school.

Noseguard Darnell Hicks is headed to Division II Texas A&M Kingsville while wide receiver Donald Fusilier will attend NAIA Lindenwood (Mo.)

Rounding out the group are linebacker Mike Matthews (Serrano HS) who will play at New Mexico State and offensive lineman Treven Medawar (Hesperia HS) who has chosen Benedictine (Kan.)

Fusilier was a first-team All-Mountain Conference selection while Hicks while Smalls and Hicks were second-team All-conference selections.

It’s a good night for local schools in the CCAA

It was a good day for the local schools as both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino swept men’s-women’s basketball doubleheaders up North and three of the four games were thrillers.

The lone blowout was on the men’s side where the Coyotes turned in a convincing 83-59 victory. The game was tied at 35 at the half but the Coyotes started the second with one of their patented runs and then coasted. Devon Davis had a career-high 20 to lead the blowout.

Meanwhile the Cal Poly men snapped a three-game losing, fending off San Fransisco State 63-60. A loss and the Broncos were in very big trouble. It’s one they badly need. Coach Greg Kamansky dressed eight players. One fouled out and four finished with four fouls each. Overtime would not have been good.

On the women’s side the Coyotes prevailed 59-50, as did the Broncos 68-66 in overtime.

The teams will swap opponents ofr play on Saturday.


Coyote softball team picked fifth in CCAA

The Cal State San Bernardino women’s softball team is picked to finish fifth out of 10 teams in a CCAA Preseason Coaches poll. The Coyotes tallied 41 votes, just one fewer than No. 4 UC San Diego and three less than No. 3 pick San Francisco State.

Humboldt State is the favorite, garnering five first-place votes and 76 total points.

The Coyotes, coached by Tacy Duncan, are coming off a 21-31 showing with injuries plaguing their effort at returning to the CCAA Tournament and Division II West Regional as they did in 2008.

The Coyotes lost 14 one-run games and four tw-run games in 2009.



Local runner headed to South Dakota

Citrus College cross country standout Vanessa Esquivel will finish up her collegiate eligibility at Dickinson State in South Dakota, an NAIA school that competes in the Dakota Athletic Conference.

Esquivel, a graduate of Chino High School, is the second athlete from the school in as many years to move on to that school. Christina Soto did so a year ago.

Esquivel helped the Owls qualify for the state meet in the fall and finished 38th individually out of 200 runners with a personal best time of 19:31.44.

Cal State’s Caston named CCAA Player of the Week

Cal State San Bernardino junior point guard Corey Caston is getting comfortable with his new teammates. That’s bad news for the rest of the conference.

Caston has been named Wilson/California Collegiate Athletic Association player of the week for his performances last week that helped Cal State San Bernardino win three games and vault into first place.

Caston averaged 16.6 points, five assists and 2.6 rebounds a game as the Coyotes (10-3, 8-1) swept past Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Dominguez Hills.
CSUSB is 8-1 since Caston joined the team on Dec. 17. In those nine games, Caston has averaged 10.8 points, 5.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds a game with 17 steals and has made 88 percent of his free throws (30 of 34).

In the Coyotes’ first win on the road at Pomona since 2004, Caston had 11 points, three rebounds, eight assists and a steal. In the team’s win over the Eagles he had a season-high 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Against the Toros on Saturday night, he was the team’s high scorer with 18 points and dished out three assists.

“He’s unguardable right now,” coach Jeff Oliver said,


Broncos hit the road in search of wins

Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball coach Greg Kamansky is one of those “glass is half-empty” kind of guys. If you listen to him, the Broncos are always on the verge of collapse.

But the Broncos have some definite issues right now. They lost to Cal State Los Angeles 54-53 on a last-second basket on Saturday. Yes the Broncos are 5-4, not exactly the 5-5 of last year when they ran the table the rest of the way, shared a conference title and made a run to the national championship game.

But this year the Broncos are playing nine of their last 13 on the road with games at some tough places to place such as Humboldt State, San Francisco State and Cal State San Bernardino.

This year the Broncos don’t have a Larry Gordon or a Walter Thompson. They’re lacking a “go-to” player that wants to take a last shot. They have some good role players in Austin Swift and Donnelle Booker but they haven’t emerged as anything more than that just yet. And the Broncos need more than that.

There are some talented younger players such as Mitchel Anderson. But he’s a true freshman that isn’t quite ready for a starring role yet. They have a JuCo transfer in Mark Rutledge who has potential, but he too is a newcomer in a difficult conference.

Maybe Kamansky work some magic again. But it will take an even more Herculian effort than last season’s.


Coyotes and Broncos wage another classic

Well it was another one for the books! Coyotes and Broncos -  first place on the line.

For the first time since the infamous “Palm Tree” game in 2004 the Coyotes emerged victorious at Kellogg Gymnasium – 66-58. The Coyotes wanted it just a little more. The shots didn’t fall early but the Coyotes compensated for that by dominating on the glass and taking care of the basketball.

Bryan LeDuc was nothing short of spectacular with 25 points and 17 rebounds. The transfer from University of the Pacific was also considering Cal Poly before choosing Cal State so the game was likely personal.

He had his way in the paint with the Broncos post duo of Dwayne Fells and Tobias Jahn no match.

The Broncos stayed in the game with 3-pointers which has not been a weapon in the arsennal to this point. But depth is an issue, especially with three games in five days and coach Greg Kamansky playing basically seven players.

So the Coyotes steal one away from home.

Cal Poly will be there in the end. It always is, And last year the Broncos were 5-5 after the first round of conference play and ended up in a national championship game. So 5-2 isn’t looking that bad.  

Broncos’ Walton earns weekly honor

Cal Poly Pomona senior forward Stephisha Walton has been named the CCAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 3-9.

She helped the Broncos (8-2, 5-1) to wins over Sonoma State and Humboldt State, averaging 14.5 points and 12 rebounds.

In Cal Poly’s 48-46 victory over Sonoma State, Walton scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds and followed the effort with 18 points, 18 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in a 65-50 win over Humboldt State.

Walton’s scoring and rebounding totals against the Lumberjacks established season highs and marked the seventh double-double of her career.

On the season she is averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds. She ranks third in the conference in rebounding.

She is the second Broncos player to be honored. Junior guard Reyana Colson has earned player of the week accolades twice.

UCR men’s basketball team to get national air time

ESPN and the Big West Conference announced that the UC Riverside vs. Pacific men’s basketball game on January 30 at UCR’s Student Recreation Center will be broadcast on ESPN2.

 It is the first appearance ever for the Highlanders on any of the ESPN family of networks. Terry Gannon and Stephen Bardo will call the game which is now scheduled to tip at 5 pm PT.

ESPN and the Big West are in the second year of a five-year agreement, with the Worldwide Leader In Sports televising five conference games in the 2009-10 season including the Big West title game on Saturday, March 13.

With the addition of the Pacific game, the Highlanders now have four regionally and nationally televised contests on their regular season schedule. The first was on Saturday, January 9 as FSN West broadcast the UCR vs. Cal State Fullerton game in front of the biggest crowd of the year to attend a game at the SRC.

 UC Riverside’s road game at UC Irvine on Saturday, January 23 is set to air on FSN Prime Ticket beginning at 8 pm. And the Highlanders March 5 game at Long Beach State, the last game of the regular season for both teams, will air on FSN West beginning at 7:30 pm.

The Big West Conference and its nine member institutions are also a part of the ESPN-sponsored BracketBusters event which could see the Highlanders make a fifth televised appearance against an as-yet-to-be determined opponent on Saturday, February 20.

SBVC notches another heart-stopping victory

And this was just the first game of Foothill Conference play!

San Bernardino Valley College (15-2) emerged with an 85-84 win over Antelope Valley in the conference opener for both teams at Snyder Gymnasium. If all conference games are going to be like that, and most coaches think they will be, we’re in for quite a ride.

Both teams had double-digit leads in the second half. Antelope (9-7) was up 76-66 with 4:25 to go so SBVC had to mount the last rally.

The formidable presence of the Wolverines big men was pivotal down the stretch. They finished with 11 blocked shots, five of those by Maurice McGee. McGee’s last came on a driving shot by Nick Bennett with Antelope clinging to an 82-80 lead and 1:22 left.

SBVC eventually went up 85-84 on a fall-away jumper by Nate Roth who was well defended on the play.

Then came more dramatics. Rod Singleton drove the lane and lofted a shot that was poked away by Curtis Wilkinson. Antelope’s Jason Logan scrambled for the loose ball and threw up a shot that was well off the mark. But again the Marauders got the rebound.

This time it was scooped up by Gary Winfield but his last attempt was defended by Wilkinson and Aaron Edwards, although Edwards got credit for the block.