Dave Kleckner admittedly wouldn’t have felt the same exhilaration at the buzzer, but the Etiwanda boys basketball coach’s priorities weren’t a surprise.
After leading by 17 points in the fourth quarter, top-seeded Mater Dei mounted a furious rally, but Etiwanda held on for a 54-51 victory in the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship game Saturday at Anaheim Arena.
“I wanted to hold them to less than 40 points,” Kleckner said. “They ended up with 51 points. We’re used to keeping people in the 30s and 40s.”
There was the victory over Corona Santiago in December, the epic semifinal over the No. 1 team in the country and the quarterfinal win over nemesis Long Beach Poly. The Etiwanda girls basketball team would have likely traded it all for a win Friday night.
But the Eagles lost a rematch with Santiago in the CIF-SS Division 1AA title game, 70-65, at the Anaheim Arena.
Amy Okonkwo, the hero of Etiwanda’s overtime win on Wednesday over a Mater Dei team ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps.com, followed her 27-point performance with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Eagles. But Crishae Rowe of third-seeded Santiago was up to the challenge with 25 points to lead the Sharks (29-2).
“My biggest fear was that the girls would consider their goal achieved after beating Poly and Mater Dei,” Etiwanda coach Anders Anderson said. “But they way they came out in the second half and the way they fought until the end demonstrated that they came to play tonight.”
It’s near impossible to argue that the Etiwanda High School girls basketball team’s one-point overtime victory Wednesday over a two-time defending state champion ranked No. 1 in the country wasn’t the most significant in school history.
The Eagles want a ring with which to remember it.
After preventing top-seeded Santa Ana Mater Dei from playing for a fifth straight CIF-SS championship, No. 5 seed Etiwanda will take on Corona Santigao Friday night for the Division 1AA title.
The math almost doesn’t add up. The Los Osos girls water polo program has only been in existence for eight years. Yet it has been six years since the team failed to make an appearance in a CIF-SS championship game.
The Grizzlies, seeded second in Division 3, will play in their fifth straight title game Saturday at 11:40 a.m. when they take on No. 4 seed Palos Verdes at their home away from home, the William Woolett Aquatics Center in Irvine. Of course there is one small detail. Los Osos won the 2009 CIF championship in its first finals appearance but it hasn’t won one since.
“The last three have left a sour taste in our mouth,” Los Osos coach Eric Cypher said. “We’re definitely looking for that next one. But I’m proud of the girls for getting to this game again. No matter the result, we’re playing good water polo in this program.”
After 10 years in the competitive Baseline League, Alta Loma is ready to get out. In the upcoming realignment, the school is hoping for relief in the form of a move to another league, though Alta Loma athletic director Brett Procter declined to name a preference.
“The last five years we just haven’t been competitive,” Procter said, “not just in terms of league championships, but competing for playoff spots.”
Etiwanda’s three-month search for a head football coach is over. Brandon Rohrer, La Puente’s football coach for the last four seasons, has been hired, pending board approval, according to an anonymous source. Roherer, who went 33-11 at La Puente, will replace Tommy Leach, who went 4-6 in his one season as Etiwanda’s head coach.
After finishing second his first three seasons, Rohrer led La Puente to a share of the Montview League championship last season. La Puente has exited the playoffs in the first round each of his four seasons.
After reaching the playoffs five consecutive seasons, Etiwanda missed the playoffs in 2012 for the second straight year. Leach departed after one season citing the long commute from Temecula Chaparral, where he is a teacher.
Long Beach Wilson at No. 1 Mater Dei
Knight at Silverado
Corona Centennial at Rialto
Oxnard Pacifica at Valencia
Roosevelt at Etiwanda
Chino Hills at Edison
Great Oak at Brea Olinda
Downey at No. 4 Long Beach Poly
Warren at Corona Santiago
Diamond Bar at San Clemente
West Ranch at Highland
Rancho Cucamonga at Millikan
Upland at Rancho Verde
Riverside King at Los Alamitos
Summit at Arcadia
Chaparral at Troy
Wild Card A at No. 1 Santa Barbara
Villa Park at Irvine
Dos Pueblos at Laguna Beach
Winner Wild B at No. 4 Newport Harbor
Wild Card C at No. 3 Corona del Mar
Costa Mesa at Los Alamitos
Edison at San Marcos
Beckman at No. 2 Foothill
The nature of Kevin Price’s ascension to head football coach at Los Osos High School, the position to which he was named on Tuesday, doesn’t exactly inspire change. He has been a member of the coaching staff since the school’s inception in 2002 and the defensive coordinator for the last eight seasons under Tom Martinez, the only head coach the school had ever known.
But Price made clear the bus doesn’t just have a new driver, it’s going in a different direction.
“When we started the program, there were a lot of different rules in place,” he said. “My perspective is different, not necessarily better, but different on things like how much time we will put in now. We’ve had success here in the past but have we had as much success as we wanted? No.”