How they got here: In its last game alone, Damien was the victim and beneficiary of a buzzer beater. After a 40-foot bank shot pulled 10th-seeded Tulare Mission Oak even with Damien at the end of regulation, Jeremy Hemsley’s 3-pointer as time expired in overtime gave the Spartans a 74-72 first-round win on Wednesday. Chaminade had no such drama in its 42-point first-round victory.
Matchup: CIF-SS Division 3AA champion Damien will take on a Chaminade team that was the runner-up in CIF-SS Division 3A. Before losing it’s CIF-SS title game by 24 points to St. John Bosco, Chaminade won its previous four playoff games by an average of 37.5 points, a good indication of why it received the No. 2 seed in the state tournament. Damien’s confidence is certainly on the rise after winning a championship and capturing its first-round game in dramatic fashion. It will be interesting to see if Wednesday’s win was the perfect cure for Damien’s championship hangover.
At one end of La Verne the Damien basketball team’s first-round game of the CIF State tournament was overflowing with drama. At the other end of the city, it was the opposite for the La Verne Lutheran boys as they began their run at a third state title in four years.
After a 40-foot bank shot sent the game into overtime (click ‘Continue reading’ below for the video), Damien bounced back when sophomore Jeremy Hemsley’s 3-pointer at the buzzer of the extra period (video above) to lifted the seventh-seeded Spartans to a 74-72 win over Tulare Mission Oak.
Damien High School’s search for a head football coach is over after it hired Mark Paredes, who spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Riverside North. Paredes replaces Greg Gano, who resigned in December after four seasons at Damien, where he posted a 20-22 overall record with two playoff appearances.
The last three years have been Paredes’ second stint at North after he coached there from 1994-2001, during which he won two CIF championships. Last season was a bit disappointing for North, which was expected to be a dangerous playoff team its first season in the Central Division. But the Huskies finished 6-5 after a first-round loss to eventual CIF champion, Kaiser. After a 2-8 season in 2010, Paredes led North to a 10-2 record in a 2011 season that also ended with a loss to an eventual CIF champ as Vista Murrieta dispatched the Huskies in the quarterfinals of the much tougher Inland Division.
The move back to the Catholic School system fulfills Paredes’ desire to return home to his coaching roots in the Catholic High School environment, according to a press release from Damien. Paredes will also serve as a history teacher.
Etiwanda High School’s search for a head football coach continues after former Damien coach Greg Gano withdrew his name from candidacy on Friday.
Gano, Damien’s head coach the last four seasons after stints at Covina Northview and Hacienda Heights Los Altos, has instead applied and interviewed for the head coaching job at Tustin. Gano was never offered the position at Etiwanda, according to Etiwanda athletic director David Masucci. The former Damien coach cited the lack of a teaching position at Etiwanda as his reason for withdrawing.
“Everything else was great because (Etiwanda) is even right by my house,” Gano said. “But without a teaching position, I just couldn’t afford it. So I interviewed for the Tustin position last week and I’m waiting to find out.”
Etiwanda has yet to hire a football coach to replace Tommy Leach, who resigned Nov. 12, but the school has narrowed the number of candidates to four, according to athletic director David Masucci.
“We’re making progress but we haven’t hired anybody yet,” Masucci said. “We just got our new principal last Tuesday, so he’s just getting settled in but we should make the football coaching hire soon.”
One of the four candidates is Damien coach Greg Gano, according to Aram Tolegian of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Gano resigned from Damien on Dec. 9 after going 20-22 in four seasons at the school and two playoff appearances. Two of the other three finalists are Jason Smith, an Etiwanda assistant coach last season, and former San Dimas head coach Roland DeAnda.
Matt Bechtel is a natural candidate for the Damien High School head football coaching position that came available Sunday with Greg Gano’s resignation after four seasons. He has had success as a head coach, is a young respected offensive mind and, perhaps most importantly, is a graduate of Damien.
After spending one season as the Chino Hills offensive coordinator following two seasons as Colony’s head coach, the former Damien quarterback says he is happy where he is and hasn’t seriously considered the possibility of becoming the head coach at Damien.
“I’m neutral,” Bechtel said. “I’m happy at Chino Hills. But obviously I want Damien to do well and I’ve always thought about being the guy there. I just don’t have a feeling of what they’re looking for. I don’t know if they’re looking for a quick fix or a guy to be there for a long time.”
In anticipation of the 2014-2018 releaguing cycle, Damien and St. Lucy’s were recommended by the CIF-SS to be moved from the Mt. SAC area to the parochial area. If they so desire, the current members of the Sierra League can present arguments on Dec. 13 to their recommended placement.
Pomona Catholic has been recommended to move from the small schools area to the parochial area. If the schools are indeed moved, there are a number of possible members for a new league. One of the major issues with the parochial area is the distance between schools all the way from Santa Ana Mater Dei to North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake.