Boys Basketball: Rio Hondo League loaded with guards

Got to talking with La Caada coach Tom Hofman who said besides Blair’s talented front line, there isn’t much tall presence in the Rio Hondo League and that this season is one of the more heaviest in guards he’s seen in a while. Each team is guard-heavy this season, led by Temple City’s James Chen. He’s the area’s leading scorer with 20.5 points per game average. He’ll be tough to stop today when La Caada (15-3, 2-1) visits Temple City (12-5, 3-0) tonight in a Rio Hondo League showdown. The Spartans’ Mike McGlashan is averaging 9.4 points per game and Omar Rady is averaging nearly eight points per game, respectively. Monrovia’s Chris Bullock is averaging 16.6 points per game, Chris Smith is averaging 14.4 and Isaiah Braime is averaging nearly 10 points. South Pasadena (6-15, 1-2) has two talented guards in Kevin Kohler (10.6 points per game) and Djon Ellams (10.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg). Blair is loaded with a tall front line, led by 6-foot-7 senior Katorio Walker, 6-foot-6 sophomore Marcus Bagnerise, 6-foot-5 senior Brice Hill and four players who measure 6-foot-4: Lance Green, Carlos Valenzuela, and Evan Colbert. But it’s clear the source of the Vikings’ offense comes from point guard Deon Geary. He’s averaging 18 points per game thanks to a soft touch. Bagnerise is the Rio Hondo League’s leading rebounder with an average of 10.7 per game. You would think that with all of Blair’s (10-6, 1-2) size its record would be better. You would think they could clog the lanes which they’ve shown what they can do. They were able to keep La Caada outside for most of the game but the problem was the Spartans were nailing many mid-range jumpers. And when the Vikings concentrated on isolating players beyond the perimeter, La Caada found a way to sneak backdoor with quick bounce passes. Does that come down to good coaching who can make the adjustments? I would say it did in last week’s instance when La Caada hosted Blair. The Vikings started hot but the Spartans made the adjustments, using its speed and ball-handling skills to their advantage, and it all came down to the quick-thinking guards.

FYI: San Marino has not submitted its stats or roster.

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UPDATED: Longtime Muir track & field coach Michael Knowles not sure why he was fired

By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

PASADENA – Nearly two months since Muir High School fired him, longtime track and field coach Michael Knowles was asked to re-apply for his job.

Knowles, who has coached the storied Mustangs program in some capacity or another for 28 years, including the last 10 as girls head coach and six as the boys head coach, said the entire situation has been mind-boggling.

In a meeting in late November, Muir High School vice principal Charles Park informed Knowles of his dismissal as track coach. The meeting was initially set up for an overview of the junior varsity football program which Knowles coached as a favor for varsity football coach Ken Howard.

“I’m very disappointed,” Knowles said. “They really haven’t given me a reason except for saying they want to go in a different direction. That’s what Park has been telling me the whole time but I don’t know what direction that is.”

Muir athletic director Milica Protic referred all questions concerning Knowles’ firing to Park, who was at a conference in Porterville and did not return repeated calls at his school office. He also did not return repeated messages left on his district-issued cell phone.

Muir principal Sheryl Orange did not return repeated messages and when a reporter arrived at her office Tuesday morning she cited a busy schedule and initially scheduled an interview with the Star-News for later today.

Orange called back three hours later and granted an interview but only after the Star-News went to the Pasadena Unified School District seeking comment.

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Goldenarm: If you were the No. 1 candidate for the four schools needing a head football coach, which school would you choose?

As always, I welcome topics from our fellow and loyal bloggers. This one comes from “From The Sidelines” Mayor Goldenarm:

Head Coach Needed:

La Canada
Temple City
Pasadena
Glendale

And that is just our immediate area. With each of these positions likely assistant coaches will be called for duty as well.

Already advertising assistant coaching jobs in “coaches wanted” area of CIF website are:

Maranatha
Blair
Burbank

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Melendez: Colliau family carrying on a tradition

I have again started writing my weekly columns that run in Friday’s sports section. This week’s column (published today in the Star-News sports section on page 2) focuses on my move to South Pasadena and how quickly I acquaint myself to the area courtesy of a jog at nearby Garfield Park.

MIGUEL MELENDEZ COLUMN

SOUTH PASADENA — When I was a little kid, my mother, Cristina, worked numerous jobs to make ends meet.

One of her many jobs was cleaning the Kinko’s office on Colorado and Lake, ironically just less than a minute’s walk from where I now sit to write this column.

Our twice-a-week midnight trips in the summer from Los Angeles to Pasadena was a weak version of a road trip for me and my brother, Marco.
But the drive alone was pleasant.

Leaving our gang-infested neighborhood for the much safer and quiet suburbs — even if it was only for a few hours — gave us a feeling of that there was more that life had to offer.

Two weeks ago I moved into my new place in South Pasadena. It’s been a warm welcome thus far. Those who know my story say I’ve come a long way.

As a kid, I went to seven schools. It was annoying but eventually I got used to it. It’s the reason I plan to make South Pasadena my home because I’m done moving, hopefully for a long while.

And it didn’t take long for me to acquaint myself to my new hometown.

I went jogging last Saturday at Garfield Park, only minutes away from my new apartment, although people tell me it’s more of a town house.

As I stretched near one of the park benches, I noticed a black plaque which was engraved:

“In memory of Ted Colliau”

After putting two and two together I recognized the last name.

Steven Colliau is a three-sport senior at South Pasadena High School. He was a captain on the football team last season and the Tigers’ star wide receiver. Colliau currently is playing soccer and when the season is over he’ll pick up a bat and join the baseball team.

I put in a call to Michael Colliau, Steven’s dad, and asked him if he had any relation to Ted Colliau.

“Yes. That’s my dad,” Michael replied.

Bill and Mary Urquhart live in South Pasadena and, among numerous community groups, are big supporters of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation.

Bill, a successful trial attorney, sponsored the bench in memory of Ted for his longtime service at the YMCA Christmas tree lot.

Ted spent 12-16 hours a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. That’s how many of the area residents knew Ted, but he also owned “Colliau Chevrolet” from 1945 to 1986.

“I remember when my son was in the fourth grade he would ask, ‘Why does everybody know my last name?’ ” Michael said.

I’m grateful I decided to move here because it’s evident South Pasadena is a close-knit community.

Steven’s high school principal, Janet Anderson, was one of Michael’s best friends growing up. She was one of Steven’s first babysitters. Michael and Anderson attended South Pasadena High.

“That’s the type of city South Pasadena is,” Michael said. “You’ll always run into that type of story here.”

Ted was a big follower of South Pasadena High athletics and spent a lot of time with Steven.

“His last few years he spent a lot of time with Steven while he was young, teaching him to play golf,” Michael said. “(My dad) was thrilled when Steven out-drove and beat him when Steven was in middle school.”

Ted got sick and went into a coma the day before hell week in Steven’s freshman year. He never got to see Steven play.

“That is a real regret, since I have no doubt he would have been at every game of Steven and his sister Taylor,” Michael said.

Steven and Taylor, a freshman, have more than a good idea where their good genes came from.

Ted was a member of the 1949 South Pasadena High School baseball team. He also played football and basketball before making the hockey team his freshman year while at the University of Michigan. He later transferred to Cal.

Michael, like his father, played football, basketball and baseball at South Pasadena High. Michael last played in 1974 and Steven continued the tradition that will end in 2009, 60 years after Ted last played there.

“He probably would have been beaming with pride if he could have seen it,” Michael said of his late father.

South Pasadena, like other surrounding cities, offers this type of multigenerational opportunity where children play where their fathers and grandfathers did, with teachers, coaches and even principals who coached, taught and were friends with their parents.

I finally understand Norman Rockwell’s paintings.

miguel.melendez@sgvn.com
(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4485

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…..Spent the day in Monrovia on Wednesday….

I knew Wednesday would be a long day. I got to the office around 9 a.m. and headed for Monrovia around 2:30 p.m. I was going to cover La Canada at Monrovia in boys soccer and later cover La Canada vs. Monrovia in girls basketball at 5:30 p.m. I hadn’t ate all day so I steered straight onto Colorado and figured I’d find a good place to eat on Myrtle. Someone mentioned I should try Jake’s Roadhouse in a thread I posted last week about the BCS National Championship game being broadcast at the Krikorian Theater in Monrovia. I didn’t have a chance to swing by that night but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by again. When I got there the place had a great feel to it. The scraps of peanuts on the floor gave the place an instant retro-look. The place reminded me of an eatery in Ojai, a small town 25 minutes south of Santa Barbara. I spent a week in Ojai on assignment every year covering tennis as the tennis reporter at the Orange County Register. One look at the menu and the ribs looked so tempting, but I knew I didn’t have much time to enjoy it. I settled for a cheeseburger, and when you tell them medium-well they sure do mean medium-well. It was delicious. I’m going to have to go back and try the BBQ. I struck up a conversation with a couple patrons there. The conversation was pleasant, the food was great and the cheesecake looked tempting but I didn’t succumb to the pressure. It was an awesome time and I plan to go back with some friends, that’s for sure. I can’t imagine how the place gets after a Monrovia football game.

I saw the Monrovia boys soccer team in action. They were 12-0-3 heading into the match against Rio Hondo League rival La Canada. I’ve covered high school boys soccer now for five years and I’ve covered Major League Soccer, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams as well as the Mexican Men’s National Team. It’s safe to say I know a little soccer, so when I say Monrovia is good it’s because they’re good. The lone weakness I see in the Wildcats is lack of physical play. But, as I mentioned in my story in Thursday’s paper, Monrovia makes up for that with everything else. I was very impressed with their natural flow. Omar Ramirez is a stud. He’s a midfielder though I wonder if he’d better serve the Wildcats playing up front. Ramirez is only a junior so he’ll develop a tighter game. The Spartans did some good things well, too, but like Coach Jordan Jones said, they couldn’t get into a rhythm and their passing was poor. That much was evident. Brian Blumenfeld is a good player but needs to keep his cool. He was yellow carded and then issued a red card for talking back to the ref. As a result he’ll have to sit out La Canada’s next game.

I caught the La Canada-Monrovia girls basketball game right after the boys soccer game ended around 5:15 p.m. That gave me 15 minutes to get ready for the game. It was a good game, one I thought La Canada was going to win. The Spartans responded with an 11-0 run in the third quarter but Jasmine Gordon found her swagger in the second half and finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. Maryum Jenkins is loaded with talent but she gets frustrated easily and when that happens she tends to trail the play defensive, especially after a string of missed shots. Not sure why there’s not much depth for Monrovia to work with. This could be a problem in the weeks ahead. Regardless, they’re 2-0 in league play.

…. Someone mentioned I should now cover Pasadena boys soccer after watching Monrovia, who tied the Bulldogs, 1-1. I’ll catch them Friday at Muir. I’ll be covering that game and later that day I might head to Blair for its boys basketball game against La Canada, who is coming off a tough loss to Monrovia. That loss surprised me to tell you the truth. Thought the Spartans had more weapons and their offense to me was more finesse.

If I spend time in a town near you I’ll be sure to give you my two cents. Not bad city of Monrovia. Not bad.

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Football: Golden State Preps announces All-SoCal teams

Congratulations to Rosemead’s Tra Sumler for making second team; Arcadia’s Todd Golper for making third team; and St. Francis’ Dietrich Riley for making Super All-State Underclassman second team.

FYI, here are the final national rankings for Golper, who will be playing football next at UCLA:

Scout.com — Ranked No. 140 nationally (any position) and No. 9 in the nation at middle linebacker.

Rivals.com — Ranked No. 238 nationally (any position). Position ranking will be released later today.

Note: These rankings are drops from where he was at the at the beginning of the season but still pretty damn good considering the games he missed due to injury.

From GoldenStatePreps.com

For the second straight year, GoldenStatePreps.com has decided to do two separate teams for each part of the state, an All-Northern California team and an All-Southern California team (which only includes seniors). We’ll also have a Super All-State Underclass team, an all SuperSoph Team and the All-State First Team next Monday.

Here is a look at the All-Southern California Football Team for 2008:

Headlining the All-SoCal team is our Player of the Year and like the NorCal Player of the Year, this was an easy choice. San Diego Central Catholic running back Tyler Gaffney. The all-everything back, Gaffney ran for almost 2,900 yards and scored 56 touchdowns and led Cathedral to the CIF-San Diego Section D-III title and then ended his career with a memorable five touchdown, 329-yard game to lead CC to the CIF State Division III title.

Our Offensive Player of the Year is Taylor Martinez of Corona Centennial. Martinez was a big part of the Huskies 15-0 season, both with his arm and with his feet. This is the second year in a row a Husky player was named Offensive Player of the Year, Ryan Bass winning a year ago.

The SoCal Defensive Player of the Year is Corona Centennial linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The top middle linebacker in the country, Burfict led a stout Centennial defense that helped the Huskies go 15-0 and end the season ranked #2 nationally. He finished the year with 146 tackles.

2008 Southern California Player of the Year
Tyler Gaffney, San Diego Cathedral Catholic

FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE

QB- Taylor Martinez, Corona Centennial (SoCal Offensive Player of the Year)
RB- Jontell Reedom, Tulare Union
RB- Arthur Burns, Corona Centennial
WR- James Johnson, Valley Center
WR- James Flynn, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame
TE- Morrell Presley, Carson
OL- Josh Cabral, Los Flores Tesoro
OL- Kevin Graf, Agoura
OL- Michael Philipp, San Bernardino Arroyo Valley
OL- Lars Bramer, Clovis Buchanan
OL- Greg Capella, Visalia El Diamante
AP- Patrick Hall, Ventura St. Bonaventure

DEFENSE

DL- Iuta Tepa, Long Beach Poly
DL- Will Sutton, Corona Centennial
DL- James Boyd, Los Angeles Jordan
LB- Vontaze Burfict, Corona Centennial (SoCal Defensive Player of the Year)
LB- Travis Brown, Fresno Clovis West
LB- Robert Franco, San Pedro
LB- Eric Martin, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
DB- Bijon Samoodi, Anaheim Servite
DB- T.J. McDonald, Fresno Edison
DB- Marlon Pollard, San Bernardino Cajon
DB- Byron Moore, Harbor City Narbonne
AP- Preston King, Los Flores Tesoro

SPECIAL TEAMS

P/K- Eric Stern, Whittier

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Boys Soccer: Monrovia is the real deal, folks

Joga Bonito.

It’s an expression commonly used in ftbol to describe “The Beautiful Game.”

The game being soccer, of course.

There was no better way to describe the natural flow through precise passing and textbook play by the top-ranked Monrovia boys soccer team Wednesday.

Through unmatched speed, agility and execution on the long ball and short pass, the Wildcats proved their worth in a 2-1 win over No. 4 La Caada in Rio Hondo League action.

The game seemed to flow from the beginning for Monrovia (13-0-3, 2-0), which penetrated on each scoring opportunity until the Wildcats finally capitalized, largely in part to senior midfielder Eduardo Ulloa, who slipped past his defender and attempted a shot from 18 yards out that went into the corner of the net to put Monrovia on top early, 1-0.

Like gaining field position in football, the same can be said of ftbol, where developing a string of passes in the final third of the field can create momentum.

That’s precisely the problem the Spartans (11-3-3, 1-1) encountered in a game in which they couldn’t answer Monrovia’s push up front nor create opportunities offensively.
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BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Airways Flight Crashes Into Hudson River; All 148 passengers accounted for

From The New York Times

A US Airways plane that took off Thursday at 3:26 p.m. from La Guardia Airport landed in the Hudson River five minutes later, where it remains mostly submerged. Ferries and other boats converged to help with a rescue effort, as the plane drifted south in the water. Initial reports from police and people at the scene suggest that many of the people on the plane appeared to have escaped.

The plane, US Airways flight 1549, took off from La Guardia Airport at 3:26 p.m. was bound for Charlotte, N.C. and had 148 passengers and 5 crew members. The plane may have hit a flock of birds, according to a Federal Aviation Administration. report, and then descended. The pilot tried to return to the airport when the plane fell into the Hudson.

Several commuter ferries as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Ridley arrived quickly to help rescue passengers on the plane, an Airbus A320. New York Police Department divers dove into the water to assist with the rescue as plane floated southbound on the river, possibly due to the tidal direction.

“There have been scores of survivors,” said one police official. The people appeared to be, “cold but not injured. Some were taken to the Jersey side too. They had blankets. They appeared to be uninjured.”

Shortly before 4 p.m., a New York Waterways ferry pulled into Pier 79 at 39th Street and 12th Avenue and, led by a man wrapped only in a blanket, about 15 passengers from the airplane were escorted into the ferry terminal. No one was carrying any belongings.

“They look amazingly calm, but I bet their hearts are racing,” said Bob Grindrod, of Syracuse, who was waiting to board a ferry for New Jersey.

The divers were dropped into the water from helicopters overhead, police officials said. Some passengers were able to free themselves from the plane. They could be seen on the exterior in televised reports.

Some passengers being plucked from the frigid water were being taken to the Circle Line piers nearby at West 42nd Street. It was less than 20 degrees Farenheit in New York City at the time. Fire and police rescue crews were rushing to the water.

One witness interviewed by WNBC said he saw the plane descending steadily without its landing gear down.

The plane was almost totally submerged at 4:22 p.m., as sunlight of the day ran out. The plane is just across from the Old Marine terminal at Pier 57. All of it was submerged except for the cockpit at that point, at 4:22 p.m. and is midway between New York and New Jersey.

An official in a boat at the scene, said, “It just looks like the very front of the aircraft. The nose; the cockpit, and the left wing. A portion of the left wing. It is just the nose and the cockpit bobbing out of the water, and the rest of it is submerged under the river. The left wing is also visible.”

“As far as we believe there is no one on board,” the official said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has set up a family center at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near LaGuardia Airport. Air traffic officials said they have resumed flights in and out of LaGuardia.

The last fatal crash of a scheduled airliner flight in this country was in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 27, 2006, nearly 30 months ago.

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BREAKING NEWS: La Caada football’s Wheeler resigns


(Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)

According to the Los Angeles Times’ high school blog, La Caada football coach Rich Wheeler resigned. The Los Angeles Times notes a school press release as its source. It should be noted I never received the press released and have made repeated calls to La Caada athletic director Tamar Hill as well as Rich Wheeler. (I will see Tamar Hill later tonight when I cover La Caada at Monrovia at 5:30 p.m.)

Wheeler’s resignation follows a 12-year run that included eight playoff appearances and two Rio Hondo League titles, according to the press release received by The Times.

Wheeler compiled a 67-61-5 record with La Caada and helped guide the Spartans to three divisional quarterfinal appearances in addition to winning league titles in 2000 and 2004. This past fall, La Caada missed the playoffs after posting a 4-5-1 record.

Wheeler will continue to teach physical education at the high school.

Does Rich Wheeler’s resignation as La Caada football coach come as a surprise? Vote below and elaborate in the comment field. This means there are three (Pasadena, Temple City and now La Caada) openings for football coach in the WSGV. In case anyone cares, there’s also an opening for a head coach at Glendale High School. This comes from the Glendale News-Press. This can’t be a good trend for the WSGV, can it?


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