Four things and one wild guess

1. If the preseason polls released on Tuesday are any indication, girls water polo season in the Inland Valley likely will still be going near the end of February.

Despite having moved up a division, Bonita claimed the No. 1 ranking in the CIF-SS Division 4 poll a season after it secured the No. 1 playoff seed in Division 5. The Bearcats have some unfinished business after falling one goal short of the division championship last season.

Four of the 10 teams in the Division 3 preseason poll are locals, headlined by a third-ranked Los Osos program that has reached the CIF finals four years in a row. The Grizzlies will have plenty of local competition, including Baseline League foe Upland, which is ranked No. 7. Upland and Los Osos were two of the final four teams left in the Division 4 playoffs last season but lost to eventual champ Harvard Westlake.

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OCHS holds off Aquinas, takes over 1st place

The winner of Ontario Christian and Aquinas’ annual meeting has produced a league champion the last 10 years. After Friday night, Ontario Christian hopes it will be 11.

The Knights raced out to a 13-point lead and held on for a 27-20 win over Aquinas to remain undefeated on the season and move into sole possession of first place in the Ambassador League with two games to play.

Considering their No. 1 ranking in the CIF-SS East Valley Division, Ontario Christian (8-0, 3-0) may have more than one championship in its future this season.

“I’m not so sure about the No. 1 in our division after tonight, but we are worthy of the 8-0,” Ontario Christian coach Chris Stevens said. “We have a long way to go still with two games in league and the postseason and we’ve got a lot to work on. So we can’t be happy with that, we can’t be satisfied with that and especially we’ve got to stop looking at those rankings.”
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Upland Christian’s Chapman honored by K.C. Royals

Upland Christian graduate Ethan Chapman was named the Player of the Year for the Kansas City Royals’ rookie-advanced team, the Idaho Falls Chukars.

The 22-year-old outfielder, who was selected in the 30th round of the 2012 draft out of Cal State San Bernardino, batted .314 with eight triples, which tied for third in the league. He also tied for second in the league with 22 steals.

Chapman was a member of the Upland Christian team that went to the CIF-SS finals in 2007 and won CIF in 2008.

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Familiar matchup could decide Ambassador League

Ontario Christian’s Ambassador League championship last season created a nice round number. It has officially been a decade since any team but Aquinas or Ontario Christian has won the league championship.

The Knights’ undefeated run through league in 2011 gave each team a tidy five titles since 2002 but despite the balance, the rivalry was threatening to become one-sided. Aquinas had won the last four league championships, even relegating Ontario Christian to third in 2010 before a bounce back year by the Knights in 2011 they hope will propel them into this season as the favorites.

Just like seven of the last eight seasons, this one could very well end with the matchup between the longtime rivals deciding the league championship.

“There’s a mutual respect there,” Aquinas coach Chris Ybarra said. “They respect what we do and how hard our kids play and we respect the things they do. It could come down to that again where we’re playing each other for a league title. That would be nice.”
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Ontario Christian QB making coaches pass his test

Craig Bruinsma is far from the first quarterback to campaign for a heavier dose of the passing game. But the Ontario Christian High School senior has actually collected some convincing evidence for his claim while developing a calculated pitch to the coaching staff.

For credibility purposes, however, he may want to leave out the part about wanting to break the Ontario Christian all-time single-season passing record.

“We’re in league and we’re blowing some of these teams out and then we get to the playoffs and expect to immediately establish a passing game,” Bruinsma said. “I think we need to throw the ball more in league play so we can be ready to play these playoff teams and handle these closer games. I think coach (Chris) Stevens will open it up some more this year.”
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All-Ambassador League baseball, softball teams

BASEBALL
Player of the Year: John Davis, Sr., Woodcrest Christian
Pitcher of the Year: Zack Hodges, Jr., Arrowhead Christian

Coach of the Year: Bob Sheehan, Arrowhead Christian

First Team
Josh Gasca, Sr., Ontario Christian
Joseph Guadarrama, Sr., Ontario Christian
Tim West, Jr., Ontario Christian
Alex Bush, Sr., Linfield Christian
Zach Cope, Sr., Linfield Christian
Ryan Olson, Jr., Western Christian
T.J. Lee, Sr., Aquinas
Zach Burgett, Fr., Loma Linda Academy
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All-Ambassador League winter sports teams

BOYS BASKETBALL
Player of the Year: Cameron Levise, Ontario Christian
Coach of the Year: Michael Allen, Arrowhead Christian

First Team
Daylan Lawrence, So., Ontario Christian
Cameron Levise, Sr., Ontario Christian
Kevin Ross, Sr., Ontario Christian
Brandon Zuidema, Sr., Ontario Christian
Demetrius Overstreet, Jr., Aquinas
Joseph Rushing, So., Aquinas
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Hurst departs after one year at OCHS; Stevens back in

After a one-year hiatus, the Stevens family is back in charge of the football team at Ontario Christian High School. Chris Stevens, the Knights’ head coach from 2005 to 2008, was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach on Thursday following last week’s departure of Scott Hurst, who led Ontario Christian to an Ambassador League championship in his lone season in charge.

Hurst took over for Chris’ father Laing Stevens, who coached the Knights for two seasons following the end of his son’s tenure in 2008 due to the birth of Chris’ triplets. Hurst’s departure was a mutual decision, according to Ontario Christian athletic director David Parkes, in part due to the great distance Hurst had to travel from his home to Ontario Christian. Stevens, who was the Knights’ offensive coordinator the last two seasons, wasn’t expecting the move but is happy to be back as the head coach.
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Ontario Christian soccer coach wins 300th game

Ontario Christian boys soccer coach Len Fakkema won his 300th career game on Tuesday, an 8-0 victory over Aquinas. This is Fakkema’s 11th year at Ontario Christian, where he has earned 164 of his wins. He began his soccer coaching career in 1993 by starting the program at Lynden Christian in Lynden, Wash.

Fakkema said he only informed his team captains of the approaching milestone, but the captains shared the news with the rest of the team after win No. 299 on Friday.

“I didn’t think about it until the beginning of the season and figured I’d better total it up because this could be the year,” Fakkema said. “It’s quite an accomplishment.”

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All-CIF football selections: East Valley Division

Offensive Player of the Year: Tyler Stewart, Sierra Canyon, 12, QB.
Defensive Player of the Year: Brian Tucker, Sierra Canyon, 11 LB
Coach of the Year: Jon Ellinghouse, Sierra Canyon

OFFENSE
Running back:
Xavier Menifield, Sierra Canyon, 11
Ryan Davis, Paraclete, 12
Brandon Gonzalez, Bishop Diego, 12
Jacob Taylor, Rim of the World, 11
Mike Salas, Ontario Christian, 12.
Quarterback:
Nolan Tisdale, Bishop Diego, 12.
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