Here’s what Huskies’ basketball coach Steve Baik says about Nnamdi Okongwu

Today we lost a significant member in our community. Nnamdi Okongwu was heading into his senior year at Chino Hills High and was one of the best basketball players in California. Tragically, he lost his life due to a head injury while skateboarding.

I feel it is my privilege to recognize and honor one of the most special individuals I have ever known. I loved him for his amazing heart as a person.

This past Friday, Nnamdi had a break from summer school, so he spent his day helping kids at our Summer Basketball Camp. He will be remembered for his amazing, God-given talents. As a basketball player, he had unbelievable natural skills and potential. (He was being recruited by several Division 1 Colleges)

He just loved people and was at his best just being a son, a brother, a friend and a teammate. I would sometimes ask him about his family, and he would always light up talking about them. He often bragged that his younger brothers were going to be better basketball players than him. I could always sense that he was so proud of being a big brother to his siblings and a son to such loving and hard working parents.

Although we cannot comprehend why this has happened to such a special individual, all we know is that Nnamdi was like a seed planted in this world that brought us so much love and joy. His physical life may have ended today, but his legacy as a person will carry on. We will not shrink back and fear because of an accident like this.

We may have lost Nnamdi in this life, but it is only temporary. We will look forward to have eternity with him one day. We will not fear death. We will not fear life.

We will move forward and become better for having known someone so special. We will have a greater love for those around us by being better coaches, parents, sons and daughters, better friends and better teammates.

We will always remember Nnamdi’s big smile and will look forward to seeing it again one day. Our loss today is Heaven’s gain, and we look forward to seeing you again Nnamdi!

With all of our love,

Coach Baik and Your Chino Hills Family

Please support Nnamdi’s family now by donating to them at: www.gofundme.com/4unnamdi

Chino Hills basketball player in bad shape after skateboard accident

Chino Hills High School basketball player Nnamdi Okongwu is in a hospital after a skateboarding accident left him in a coma.

Huskies basketball coach Steve Baik was on vacation in Hawaii when notified of the accident in a text from his athletic director so he knew few details.

The 6-foot-9 center, who will be a senior in the fall, was an integral factor in the Huskies Sierra League title and postseason run. The honorable mention All-Inland Valley selection helped the Huskies to a spot in the Southern Section Open Division championship game where they lost to nationally ranked No. 1 Mater Dei at the Honda Center.

Chino Hills played in the state portion of the playoffs in Division I and made the South Region championship before losing to Corona Centennial at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.

 

Cayer named athletic director at Ganesha

Don Cayer has been named athletic director at Ganesha High School.

He previously served as a teacher at Fremont, which doesn’t have athletics. He was also football coach at Pomona for two years before moving over to Ganesha. He served as assistant athletic director last year so the responsibilities won’t be new to him.

Cayer is also the school’s head football coach, a position he took a year ago. The school district has restructured its staff positions so Cayer will have much of the school day to get administrative things done before heading to practice.

“It  should work out. At least that’s the plan,” he said.

Kaiser’s Chris Mathewson named second-team All-American

There is yet one more honor for Kaiser High School baseball standout Chris Mathewson.

The senior pitcher-first baseman was named a second-team All-American by MaxPreps.  He batted .511 (45 for 88) with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 33 RBI and 37 runs scored but was an even bigger factor on the mound. He went 9-2 with an 0.79 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 62 innings.

It is the latest of many accolades. Mathewson, who has signed with Long Beach State, was a first-team All-CIF selection and was a first-team All-State honoree by CalHiSports which also named him Medium Schools Player of the Year.

Mathewson was also an All-Inland Valley selection.

Webb quarterback Kienan Dixon to head East

Webb junior receiver Kienan Dixon loses the ball with Army-Navy sophomore defensive back Cameron Coe providing tight coverage

Kienan Dixon of Webb School will attend and play football at NCAA Division III Dickinson College (Penn.).

The Upland native threw for 1,050 yards with seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 10 games last year for the Gauls (3-7).

Dickinson, a liberal-arts college that is home to 2,400 students from across the nation and around the world, competes in the Centennial Conference. The Red Devils were 3-7 overall, 3-6 in conference play.

CalHiSports recognizes Inland Valley softball talent

It was another banner year on the softball field for are high schools. Jurupa Hills won a championship and Citrus Valley and Chino were runners-up.

Not surprisingly, player from those teams are among those singled out by CalHiSports which names an All-State team, quite a venture for a state this big.

Senior pitcher Miranda Viramontes of Chino, junior shortstop Tannon Snow of Chino Hills and senior catcher Janell Wheaton of San Dimas were named to the elite All-State first team which included representatives from schools all sizes throughout the entire state.

Second team honorees include shortstop Paige Halstead of Los Osos, junior outfielder Zoe Casas of Aquinas, freshman outfielder Taylon Snow and senior pitcher Patricia Parks of Chino Hills and senior pitcher Natalie Calderas of Jurupa Hills.

Third team selections were senior second baseman McKenzie Long of Los Osos, outfielder Chloe Melanson of Bonita and third baseman Sara Ketelsleger of Ayala.

The Snow sisters, Casas, Halstead and junior pitcher Brooke Bolinger of Yucaipa also were named to the All-State first team underclassmen team.

Second-team underclassmen state honorees were junior catcher Kelly Martinez of Yucaipa, sophomore first baseman Alyssa Gonzalez of Chino and junior infielder Taylor Rowland of Ayala.

Separate teams were selected for medium and small schools. Wheaton, Calderas and senior Destiney Henderson fo Kaiser were first team medium schools selections while junior pitcher Taylor Troost of Citrus Valley was second team.

Among small schools first team honorees were Casas and junior pitcher Allie Hotetz of Aquinas, senior infielder Sarah Guillen of Pomona Catholic and sophomore outfielder Madison Paige of Ontario Christian.

Second team small school selections were senior infielder Autumn Bartholomay of Pomona Catholic, junior pitcher Ariana Ramos of Ontario Christian and senior Danielle Stusy-Henderson of Bloomington Christian.

 

 

Kaiser’s Chris Mathewson earns state honor from CalHiSports

Senior Chris Mathewson of Kaiser has landed another big honor. He has been named Medium Schools Player of the Year for the state by CalHiSports.

He dominated at the plate and on the mound. Starting the season with a perfect game, he finished 9-2 with a 0.79 ERA while striking out 105 and walking just five in 62 innings. At the plate, Mathewson hit .511 with three home runs while driving in 33 runs and scoring 37 times.

Although Kaiser fell short in the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs with a second-round loss, Mathewson nonetheless led the Cats to a 25-2 record and No. 1 state ranking in Division III until that loss.

Mathewson will play next at Long Beach State despite being chosen in the 28th round of the recent MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.

The last two from the Inland Empire to be named as Medium Schools State Player of the Year have been Kyle Skipworth from Rubidoux of Riverside for 2008 and Tyrone Hill of Yucaipa for 1991.

All CIF-SS softball list

Here is the list of first team all-CIF Southern Section softball, with Inland Valley athletes in bold:

DIVISION 1
Player of the Year: Nicole DeWitt, Sr., INF, Garden Grove Pacifica
Championship coach: Mark Campbell, Garden Grove Pacifica
First team
Lacey Alderman Sr., P, Murrieta Valley; Tera Blanca, Sr., P, Marina; Maddy Dwyer, Fr., P, Orange Lutheran; Mariah Lopez, So., P, Saugus; Alexis Osorio, Sr., P, ML King; Janine Petmecky, Sr., P, Riverside Poly; Selena Ta’amico Sr., P, Vista Murrieta; Micaela Vierra, Sr., P, Huntington Beach; Paige Von Sprecken, Sr., P, Yorba Linda; Rachel Sellers, Jr., C, Los Alamitos; Kacey Whitney, Jr., OF, Cypress; Paulina Anasis, Jr., INF, Anaheim Canyon; Nychole Antillon, Sr., INF, Mater Dei; Nicole Frye, Jr., INF, Corona Santiago; Ashley Goodwin, Sr., INF, Norco; Payton Lawton, Sr., INF, Rosary; Julie Lombardi, Sr., INF, West Ranch; Genesis Ramirez, So, INF, Oxnard; Dominique Salgado, Sr., INF, Valencia; Sara Silveyra, So., INF, Camarillo; Brynley Steele, Sr., INF, Esperanza.
DIVISION 2
Player of the Year: Taylor McQuillin, Jr., P, Mission Viejo
Championship coach: Troy Ybarra, Mission Viejo
First Team
Brianna Cassidy, Jr., C, Cajon; Brooke Bolinger, Sr., P, Yucaipa; Monica Pasillas Jr., OF, Redlands; Celeste Wood, Jr., P, Los Altos; Alexis Gonzalez, Sr., OF, West Covina; Kassidy Simons, Jr., P, Moorpark; Amanda Lorenz, Jr., P, Moorpark; Montana Dixon, So., C, Lakewood; Jessica Scroggin, Sr., OF, Lakewood; Miranda Viramontes, Sr., P, Chino; Alyssa Gonzalez, So., INF, Chino; Caitlyn Callahan, Sr., C, San Marino; Brooke Clemetson, Sr., P, Charter Oak; Taylon Snow, Fr., OF, Chino Hills; Tannon Snow, Jr., INF, Chino Hills; Sara Ketelsleger, Sr., INF, Ayala; Alyssa Palomino, Jr., OF, Mission Viejo; Jennifer Iseri, Jr., P, Cerritos; Annie Dipillo, Sr., INF, La Mirada; Samantha Glantz, Sr., C, Oaks Chr.; Kelly Spear, Sr., INF, Oaks Chr.

DIVISION 3
Player of the year: Koreen Orozco, Sr., P/1B, St. Paul
Championship coach: Jim Maier, St. Paul
First Team
Taylor White, Sr., C, Chaminade; Alyssa Kumiyama, Fr., C, Gahr; Lovie Lopez, Sr., OF, St. Paul; Jessica Johnston Sr., OF, Harvard-Westlake; Cheyenne Steward, Sr., OF, Burbank Burroughs; Katelyn Christian, So., INF, Torrance; Breanna Timmons, Sr., INF, Righetti; Taylor Gallo, Jr., INF, Warren; Rachel Rodriguez, Sr., INF, Downey; Hailey Cookson, Jr., INF, Crescenta Valley; Amanda Sanchez, Sr., INF, Bishop Amat; Madison Collins, Sr., INF, Alemany; Steffi Best, So., INF/P, Palos Verdes; Amanda Flores, Jr., UTIL, Fullerton; Taylor Becerra, Jr., INF, La Serna; Sydni Overly, Sr., P, North Torrance; Kat Ung So., P, Redondo Union; Jamie Wren, Jr., P, La Serna; McCall James, Sr., P, El Segundo; Caitlyn Brooks, Jr, P, Burbank; Sally Bowles, So., P, Atascadero.
DIVISION 4
Player of the year: Whitney Jones, Jr., P, Santa Monica
Championship coach: Debbie Skaggs, Santa Monica
First Team
Vanessa Ledesma, Jr, P, Loara; Alana Evans, Jr., P, Dos Pueblos; Kailee Smith, Sr., P, Paloma Valley; Audrey Esakoff, Jr., P,  Ventura; Annie Quine, Jr., C, Santa Monica; Alexis J. Lockwood, Sr., C, Patriot; Caitlyn Callahan, Sr., C, San Marino; Jayme Stark, Sr., INF, La Quinta; Angelica Amezquita, Sr., INF, Maranatha; Tobi Salzman, Sr., INF, Ocean View; Claresha Clemons, Sr., INF, Palm Springs; Nichole Chilson, Sr., INF, Heritage; Linnah Rebolledo, Fr., INF, Ramona; Kaylee Gemmell, Sr., INF, Beaumont; Sophia Dahlstedt, Fr., INF, Ventura; Olivia Leyva, Sr., INF, La Canada; Alejandra Morales, So., INF, Segerstrom; Elise McCarthy Sr., OF, Monrovia; Jeannette Roldan, Sr., OF, Oak Hills; Kora Wade, Jr., OF,  Temescal Canyon; Kristen Hong, Sr., UTIL, Westminster.
DIVISION  5
Player of the year: Natalie Calderas, Sr., P, Jurupa Hills
Championship coach: Scott Cartzdafner, Jurupa Hills
First Team
Jezebelle Quintana, So., P, Savanna; Areana Ramos, Jr., P, Ontario Chr.; Kailla Searcy, So., P, Paraclete; Taylor Troost, Jr., P, Citrus Valley; Taylor Sherritt, So., C, Ridgecrest Burroughs; Alyssa Soneff, Sr., C, Montebello; Janelle Wheaton, Sr., C, San Dimas; Randi Dominguez, Sr., INF, Silverado; Kimberlee Estes, Sr., INF, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel; Ciara Granado, Fr., INF, Edgewood; Kaitlin Horvath, Fr., INF, Riv-Notre Dame; Katja McKlernan, Sr., INF, Marymount; Kailey Richard, Sr., INF, Citrus Valley; Monique Rojas, Sr., INF, Jurupa Hills; Morgan Santana, Jr., INF, Ontario Christian; Sydney Townes, Jr., INF, Lompoc Cabrillo; Kirsten Worley, So., INF, Savanna; Zoe Casas, Jr., OF, Aquinas; Jordan Neal, Jr., OF, Barstow; Erika Garcia, Sr., UTIL, Katella; Amanda Toledo, Sr., UTIL, Anaheim.
DIVISION 6
Player of the Year: Cielo Meza, Jr., P, St. Bonaventure
Championship coach: Bill Therrien, St. Bonaventure
First Team
Hailey Artenga, So., INF, Webb; Autumn Bartholomy, Sr., INF, Pomona Catholic; Megan Berrelleza, Fr., INF, Shadow Hills; Lorrel Cairney, Jr., INF, Crean; Alexa Carter, Jr., C, Pasadena Poly; Danielle Diaz, Fr., INF, Santa Paula; Lindsey Dietz, Sr., INF, St. Bonaventure; Amanda Garcia, Sr., P, Cantwell Sacred Heart; Anissa Loera, Sr., C, Cantwell Sacred Heart; Allison Montion, Sr., P, Pomona Catholic; Teresa Nava, Sr., INF, Yucca Valley; Taylor Paladino, Jr., INF, Grace Brethren; Alexis Parker, Sr., C, Rio Hondo Prep; Angelica Ponce, So., P, St. Anthony; Ashley Richardson, Jr., P, Boron; Cailen Rodriguez, Jr., C, Alverno; Tiana Rodriguez, So., C, Downey Calvary Chapel; Emma Soto, So., INF, St. Monica; Amanda Vitalich, Fr., INF, Mary Star of the Sea; Marina Vitalich, Jr., P, Mary Star of the Sea; Caitlyn Whiteside, Jr., P, Shadow Hills.
DIVISION 7
Player of the year: Adrianna (Chloe) Romero, Fr., P, ACE
Coach of the year: Tracy Davis, ACE
First Team
Micaela Valenzuela, Sr., P, Southlands Chr.; Isabella Berouty, So., P, Rolling Hills; Kayla Limphaibule Jr., P, Faith Baptist; Carolyn Zaccaro, Sr., P, Archer; Danielle Stosuy-Henderson, Sr., P, Bloomington Chr.; Ashley Coleman, Jr., P, Crossroads Chr.; Shelby Boswell, So., P, Santa Clarita Chr.; Alyssa Frederick, Jr. P, AAE; Sarah Suard, Jr., C, Faith Baptist; Taylor Brown, Jr., C, Bloomington Chr.; Sherby Herling, Jr., C, Mesa Grande; Amanda Davidson, Sr., C, Oakwood; Jackie Sutton, Jr., C, Palm Valley; Madyson Williams, Jr., INF, ACE; Domonique Stewart, Sr., INF, University Prep; Justice Borden, So., INF, University Prep; Shavonne Higgins, Sr., INF, Archer; Allyah Flores, So., INF, Orcutt Aca.; Arin Ponce, Fr., UTIL, Rolling Hills; Mackenzie Wheeler, Jr., UTIL, Trona; Samantha Oka, Jr., UTIL, Southlands Chr.

 

Rancho Cucamonga guard Nick Culver headed to La Sierra

Rancho Cucamonga basketball standout Nick Culver has decided to stick close to home and will be playing at La Sierra University in Riverside.

He was also considering Vanguard, Northern Arizona, and William Jessup University.

The 6-foot guard helped the Cougars (25-5, 8-2) to a second-place finish in the Baseline League behind perennial title contender Etiwanda. Three of their five losses were to Etiwanda and were to Open Division playoff teams.

Culver should be able to contribute right away. La Sierra, which plays in the NAIA, went just 6-23 a  year ago.

 

All-CIF honors handed out in boys volleyball

Here is the complete list of honorees in boys’ volleyball:

Division 1
Player of Year -
TJ Defalco, Jr., OH, Huntington Beach
Coach of Year – Craig Pazanti, Huntingon Beach

Tyler Bird, Sr., Redondo Union; Hayden Boehle, Sr., Loyola; Tommy Brooks, Sr., Corona del Mar; Drake Evans, Sr., Huntingon Beach; Joey Martino, Sr., Corona del Mar; Eric Mathies, Sr., Dana Hills; Cole Paullin, Sr., Loyola; Vinny Pizzuti, Sr., Redondon Union; Louis Richard, Sr., Redondo Union; Brendan Sanders, Sr., Huntington Beach; Josh Tuaniga, Jr., Huntington Beach; Jacob Tuiotimariner, Sr., St. John Bosco.

Division 2
Player of Year -
Jacob Arnitz, Sr., OH, Esperanza
Coach of Year - Isaac Owens, Esperanza

Noah Blanton, Sr., Laguna Beach; Eric Chance, Sr., El Segundo; Jack Empey, Sr., Arroyo Grande; Storm Fa’agata, Sr., Lakewood; Tyler Fonteroy, Sr., Santa Barbara; Shane Hauschild, Sr., San Marcos; Ryan Heller, Sr., Esperanza; Ben Oxnard, Sr., Esperanza; Josh Riblett, Sr., South Torrance; Christian Widmer, Sr., San Marcos; John Paul Wollam, Sr., Laguna Beach; Jack Wyett, Sr., Laguna Beach.

Division 3
Player of Year -
Richard Yu, Jr., OH, South Pasadena
Coach of Year - Iris Najera, Gahr

Alex Ah Sue, Sr., Rio Mesa; Corey Chavers, Jr., Gahr; David Gonzalez, Jr., San Gabriel; Nick Graves, Sr., Crossroads; Greg Luck, Soph., South Pasadena; Noah Lourenco, Sr., Gahr; Mike Otazu, Sr., Heritage Chr.; Drew Pion, Sr., Windward; Justin Ramos, Sr., Paloma Valley; Andrew Rudchenko, Sr., South Pasadena; Daniel Velasquez,Sr., Warren; Matt Yoshimoto, Jr., Camarillo.

Division 4
Player of Year -
Alejandro Albarran, Sr., OH, Cathedral
Coach of Year – Michael Godby, Cathedral

Jonathan Alvarez, Sr., Cathedral; Joshua Canalas, Sr., Bellflower; Ben Dalgarn, Sr., La Salle; Erik Leggio, Sr., MB, Damien; Travis McGrand, Sr., Yucaipa; Matt Nichols, Jr., St. Margaret’s; Christian Perez, Sr., Santa Fe; Travis Pyrek, Sr., Bishop Montgomery; Carlos Rivera, Soph., Salesian; Peter Sarmiento, Sr., Bishop Montgomery; Connor Williams, Sr., La Salle.

Divsion 5
Player of Year -
Noah Dyer, Soph., S-OPP, Saddleback Valley Chr.
Coach of Year – Frankie Perales, Garden Grove

Arturo, Alday, Sr., Garden Grove; Ryan Bickett, Jr., Laguna Blanca; Kaleb Denmark, Jr., Arrowhead Chr.; Alec Jimenez, Sr., Saddleback Valley Chr.; Torrey Karlson, Sr., Saddleback Valley Chr.; Peter Le, Sr., Rancho Alamitos; Sione Masoe, Sr., Garden Grove; Jon Minsberg, Fr., Saddleback Valley Chr.; Neven Skoblar, Sr., Mart Star; Thomas Tauffee, Sr., Garden Grove; Derek Van Leeuwen, Sr., Ontario Chr.; Alex Vernardos, Jr.,m Vistamar.