The roles are reversed this time. Or are they?
After Etiwanda toppled then-No. 1 seed Santa Ana Mater Dei in the CIF-SS Division 1AA championship game two weeks ago, the Eagles are the only team in tonight’s CIF State tournament SoCal Regional final with some 2013 hardware. Of course, Mater Dei is a two-time defending state champion and a program of such stature it’s difficult to ever call the Monarchs underdogs.
Entering tonight’s rematch between now No. 1 seed Etiwanda and No. 2 Mater Dei for the right to play the Northern California representative in the March 23 state championship game, both teams seem to only be gaining steam.
CIF STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
BOYS, DIVISION III
No. 7 Damien (26-6) at No. 2 West Hills Chaminade (25-7), 7:30 p.m.
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.
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.
Mater Dei 56, Corona Centennial 39
Etiwanda 60, Long Beach Poly 50
Corona Santiago 78, Millikan 63
Troy 66, Rancho Verde 26
Bishop Amat 54, Westminster 50
Ventura 62, Aliso Niguel 49
Vista Murrieta 61, Miller 54
Canyon Springs 80, Buena 51
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.
Tom Martinez confirmed in an email Tuesday evening that he is no longer the head football coach at Los Osos High School. Coach since the school’s inception in 2002, Martinez led the Grizzlies to eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons, including a postseason berth in 2012. He will remain the athletic director at Los Osos.
He did not explain whether it was his decision to step down or he was removed from the head football coaching position. “I will focus all my efforts on the AD job here at Los Osos HS,” Martinez wrote in an email.
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.”