Bonita knows it isn’t welcome back in the Hacienda League. Not after its baseball and two basketball teams lost two league games combined in three years.
Thus, the Bearcats are proactive in their pursuit of the Sierra League. It’s certainly a better destination than the Baseline. Just ask Glendora.
Of the 20 proposals that will be voted on in Monday’s releaguing meeting, 11 land the Bonita in the Sierra League versus six in the Baseline. The proposal that is chosen will take effect in the fall of 2014.
“We’ve been winning most of the league championships,” Bonita athletic director Eric Podley said of Bonita’s three years in the Hacienda League. “We realize that it’s understood our league doesn’t want us to return and we’re sensitive to that. I think we feel like the Sierra League is a good fit.”
There is a 50 percent chance at Monday’s releaguing meeting that the Baseline League will get even more competitive. Yes, you read that correctly.
The league that has produced two semifinalists for two years running in arguably the toughest football playoff division in California could be deeper beginning in the fall of 2014. Of the 20 releaguing proposals for the Mt. SAC area that will be voted on Monday, 10 of them include Chino Hills in the Baseline League.
Aside from the obvious geographic and economic reasons, Chino Hills was not shy about its preference to remain in the Sierra League, where it has won three football league championships in the last five years.
“Football is the money sport that I think people generally judge a school by,” Chino Hills athletic director Derek Bub said. “Unfortunately that’s what might get us moved. But we haven’t dominated the Sierra League in all sports. We’ve been in the middle of the pack.”
The Bonita and Los Osos baseball teams can sleep soundly after league championship-clinching wins on Wednesday. Had either of them lost, they would be facing the prospect of losing a wire-to-wire lead in their respective leagues on the final day of the regular season.
Los Osos’ Chris Kohler may be the exception who can’t doze off immediately tonight. The senior is likely still winding down from throwing his first career no-hitter, not to mention breaking the school’s single-season strikeout record. The Grizzlies’ 9-0 win over second-place Glendora gives Los Osos its first Baseline League championship in six years and makes Friday’s matchup between the two teams meaningless. Second baseman Chris Riley has to be mentioned as much for his 3-for-3, two-RBI, two-run performance at the plate as his no-hitter-saving play in the field with one out in the final inning.
On Thursday, it was Ayala freshman Sydney Tullai dropping jaws at the Sierra League finals track meet by winning the 800 meters, 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. (Check out the photo gallery) It’s a combination of events so taxing – “insane,” was the term of preference for Chino Hills coach Richard Morales – that Tullai won’t be able to run all three at CIF-SS Preliminaries on May 11. She’s leaning toward the 3,200, but her decision will be jut one of many interesting story lines heading into the posteason.
On Friday at Baseline League finals (photo gallery) Upland’s Myles Valentine tied the top wind-aided 100 meter time in the state this season with a 10.36-second effort. The runner he tied was defending state champion Khalfani Muhammad, who defeated Valentine two weeks earlier at the Mt. SAC Relays, prompting this statement: “I knew at that point,” Valentine said, “I wasn’t going to finish second again.” He hasn’t.
After finishing second in the state in both hurdling events last year, Rancho Cucamonga’s Jordie Munford has been nowhere to be found. Turns out she was nursing a hamstring injury suffered in late February, just weeks after signing with Oregon.
Munford finally made her 2013 debut over the weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays, finishing fourth in the 300 hurdles, an event in which she finished second in the state not only last year, but in 2010 as well.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jordan McLaughlin, Etiwanda, Junior, Point Guard
It was hard to imagine Jordan McLaughlin entering his senior year without having won a Player of the Year award – similar to how it’s hard to believe Kobe has only won one NBA MVP in 17 seasons – but Jeremy Hemsley and Malcolm Drumwright were certainly viable candidates for the 2013 All-Valley Player of the Year award. Hemsley led Damien to the first CIF championship in school history and Drumwright was an easy direct comparison after his Rancho Cucamonga team defeated Etiwanda in their final meeting to share the Baseline League title.
McLaughlin was edged for the award last season by La Verne Lutheran’s Grant Jerrett, a Freshman at Arizona this season who was not only the All-Valley POY, but the California Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012. Etiwanda’s point guard, who already has a plethora of scholarship offers, didn’t have any gaudy statistics this season (15.6 ppg) but his team’s defensive style doesn’t lend itself to such things. McLaughlin ended any debate, however, by leading his team to the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship by defeating a Mater Dei team that would go on to win its third straight state title.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Kleckner, Etiwanda
His 17th season at Etiwanda was arguably the finest coaching job of Kleckner’s career as the Eagles claimed their first CIF championship in eight years and second in the program’s history. Perhaps the best defensive team ever fielded at Etiwanda held teams to 42 points per game in capturing the CIF-SS Division 1AA title as the sixth-seeded Eagles defeated No. 1 seed Mater Dei, 54-51. Etiwanda finished with a 28-3 record and made the school’s second ever trip to the semifinals of the CIF state tournament before falling in a rematch with eventual state champion Mater Dei.
The awards seem to keep rolling in for Etiwanda point guard Jordan McLaughlin. After leading the Eagles to the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship, the lastest honor is a spot on MaxPreps.com’s Junior All-American fourth team.
The honors, exclusively for juniors, included one other player from the CIF-SS. Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei, the team Etiwanda defeated in the CIF-SS championship game, was selected to the first team and named the National Player of the Year.
Unlike the first two games of the Battle of the Baseline, the last game was up against my deadline and I am sorry I don’t have any highlight or interview video.
But suffice to say that Upland took advantage of Rancho Cucamonga mistakes to tie and win the game in the seventh. The tying run scoring on a throwing error with two outs, and a wild pitch scored the game-winner.
In the bottom of the seventh, there was drama immediately when the Rancho Cucamonga first base coach was ejected when Dakota Oberhauser was ruled out at second after trying to advance on an overthrow to first. But with two outs and no one on, a single and a double put the tying an winning runs in scoring position before Michael Gomez struck out the final batter to end the game.