The match-ups in the Baseline League are pretty compelling in almost every sport. The proximity of the schools makes for natural rivalries, with the success of many programs also adding another layer of anticipation.
When we’re talking about football there is even more excitement. This could be the most interesting league chase, at least in the last decade.
It isn’t so much about the top teams. Upland (3-2) and Rancho Cucamonga (5-0) again look like the most formidable contenders. But it’s more about the progress of the middle and bottom tier teams.
Glendora, 3-7 a year ago, is off to a 5-0 start. Etiwanda (3-2) and Los Osos (3-2) look much improved, with new coaches re-energizing their respective programs.
Then there’s Alta Loma (4-1). The Braves were also optimistic last year when they went 4-1 in league play only to go 0-fer the Baseline and end up 4-6 and stretching their league losing streak to 20 games (four complete seasons). They surely want to snap that before moving into the Mt. Badly, errr, the Mt. Baldy next year.
The Braves are better no doubt, but so is everyone else.
League play begins on Thursday with Etiwanda squaring off against Rancho at their home away from home – Los Osos. More great battles to come!
Etiwanda’s Jordan McLaughlin didn’t exactly make the conventional choice when he committed to USC today, but could the point guard be the type of transcendent talent that could help turn the program around? It’s certainly a possibility. After all, the senior has often been compared to Etiwanda alum Darren Collison, a four-year NBA veteran who led UCLA to three Final Fours.
The college coaching community certainly thinks a lot of McLaughlin. The final list of schools under consideration include some of the most storied programs in the country in Kansas, UCLA and Indiana. In the end, I don’t think McLaughlin wanted to leave Southern California and Andy Enfield, the coach that took Florida Gulf Coast to the sweet 16 last season, gave the Trojans the edge. Who can blame a 17-year-old for being intrigued by an offense that took the college basketball world by storm a few months ago?
Here is the complete story on McLaughlin’s recruitment.
Alta Loma turned in a solid performance on Thursday beating Montclair 30-6. Unfortunately it came in front of a sparse crowd. That’s too bad. It’s a football program that seems to be making strides.
Maybe you can blame the poor showing on a week-day game or the unusually hot and humid weather.
The Braves have four Thursday games this season which doesn’t exactly make for an ideal situation. There just isn’t the same buzz on a Thursday night when it comes to high school football. Most teams have a weekday game here and there. But four is a lot, nearly have the schedule.
Braves coach Joe Szczepanski says its just the result of playing several teams that share stadiums such as Ontario, Etiwanda, Fontana and Grand Terrace.
The bad draw is one downfall of the Thursday game. But it’s also tough having one less day to prepare.
The positive is that it gives coaches a chance to maybe go scout another team on a Friday night.
“It has its positives and its negatives,” Braves coach Joe Szczepanksi said. “It’s probably better to look at the positives because there isn’t much you can do about it.”
The Braves (1-1) have another of those next week, playing Fontana on Thursday at Chaffey.
Reigning Inland Valley Player of the Year Amy Okonkwo of Etiwanda High School has made a verbal commitment to USC.
Okonkwo averaged 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds her first year with the Eagles (28-4) after transferring from Baseline League rival Los Osos.
She was at her best in the biggest games, scoring a season-high 28 points in the Eagles’ 73-72 win over Mater Dei, then ranked No. 1 in the nation, in the CIF Southern Section semifinal. Included in that point tally was a 3-pointer in overtime that gave her team a 67-64 lead it never relinquished.
The 6-foot-1 forward also tallied 19 against Corona Santiago in the CIF championship game and 18 against Long Beach Poly in a state playoff loss.
Okonkwo heads a group of five all headed to Division I schools. The others are point guard McKenzie Fort (Oregon), wing Alyssa Anderson (UNLV), point guard Cherise Harris (Arizona) and center Daeja Smith (Cal State Fullerton).
Upland football coach Tim Salter didn’t shed much light on Thursday’s Los Angeles Times report that two Upland coaches were removed from their positions and three Upland players had been declared ineligible.
Salter gestured to a group of at least nine Upland players not in uniform, but declined to specify how many were not playing due to injury.
“All I can tell you is that everything in (the report) is not true,” Salter said. “We’ll try to get this all straightened out.”
Numbers have never been a problem at Los Osos High School when it comes to football.
Last year the Grizzlies had the luxury of fielding four teams, the traditional varsity and junior varsity but also a freshman and a junior varsity “reserved” team.
Well this year it will be just the traditional two.
New varsity head coach Kevin Price says it was a matter of logistics. It’s hard to schedule games for that many times and equally as difficult and costly to fund transportation.
“That’s a lot of players/teams to manage,” Price said.
About the only down side is trying to find playing time for that many players.
On Saturday, the Rancho Cucamonga High girls cross country team is hosting a fundraiser, a 5K run/walk, to be held at Millken Park in Rancho Cucamonga.
It is actually a “costume” 5K, but the costumes are optional.
Sign-in and registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with the run/walk starting at 9 a.m.
The event is for people of all ages, and costs $5. Food and drinks will be sold on site. All entrants also get a raffle ticket. All proceeds go to the Rancho Cucamonga High girls cross country team.
The Upland High School football team has garnered yet another transfer as defensive back Kameron Powell has left Rancho Cucamonga for Upland.
Cougars coach Nick Baiz confirmed today that Powell has left. The player started school at Rancho Cucamonga last week but checked out of the school on Thursday without talking to him.
His departure hurts because he was one of just a few returning starters for the Cougars.
Baiz said there are now 6-7 players competing for the four defensive back positions but didn’t want to elaborate much more on the latest defection to the Cougars Baseline League rival.
The CIF-Southern Section announced the results of 14 releaguing appeals on Friday, and the only one from a San Bernardino County or Inland Valley school was Ayala, which had its appeal denied.
Ayala is scheduled to move into the Baseline League along with Chino Hills, in the fall of 2014, replacing Alta Loma and Glendora.
Of the 14 appeals, only two were accepted: those of Simi Valley and Simi Valley Royal. Ayala’s was one of the 12 denied. Ayala was denied by a vote of 13-1.
Alyssa Ybanez, left, transferred from Rim of the World to Los Osos.
It’s hard to imagine the Los Osos volleyball team getting much better, but that’s exactly what happened this offseason. The team that finished one win shy of the first CIF championship in school history gained two transfers, one of which helped lead her team to a CIF title last season.
Alyssa Ybanez, the 2012 Mountain Valley League offensive MVP, transferred to Los Osos along with 6-foot-1 Aquinas middle blocker Delaney Goodrich. They will join a core of players at Los Osos including the reigning Daily Bulletin Player of the Year, Cal-bound senior Ashten Smith-Gooden and Ashley Kaylor, a first team All-Valley selection last season.