Boys Hoops: Three-way tie for first in Rio Hondo League

First it was baseball this past season, then football and now boys basketball, the Rio Hondo League always keeping things interesting and us on the edge of our seats. Blair faced a tall task last night against La Caada and came out swinging with a 44-41 win. It was Blair’s first win over La Caada in a decade. Blair’s win set up a three-way tie in the Rio Hondo League with Blair, La Caada and Temple City all at 3-1. Monrovia is in fourth at 2-2. Jasper Cobb scored 13 points to lead the Vikings. La Caada made 3 of 6 3-pointers in the first quarter. The Spartans led 17-8 after the quarter and then 19-8 on two Moore free throws, but the Spartans made only 2 of 17 3-pointers the rest of the way. “We didn’t hit our shots,” La Caada coach Tom Hofman said. “We’ve been in a slump all year and it’s time for them to grow up, to step up.” Shawn Bankhead is in his first season at Blair and quickly noticed the Vikings’ talent. “I saw it from the first day of practice,” he said. “All they had to do was understand what we are doing.” Now they know.

Friday’s Schedule

Blair at Monrovia, 7 p.m.
Temple City at La Caada, 7 p.m.
South Pasadena at San Marino, 7 p.m.

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Girls Basketball: Monrovia’s Basil Woodruff served his second of a two-game suspension tonight; final decision about direction of the program to be decided Thursday.

Monrovia High girls basketball coach Basil Woodruff served the second of a two-game suspension tonight against South Pasadena in Rio Hondo League action. He was suspended after an alleged altercation with a referee after last week’s overtime loss at San Marino resulted in his ejection by the officials. An ejection calls for an automatic postgame suspension, but Monrovia officials implemented an additional one-game suspension, and are still reviewing the incident before deciding whether further action is necessary, Monrovia principal Darvin Jackson said. “I’m going to have a follow-up meeting with him and ask where he is at this point, and the progress of what I have asked him to do, and we will make the final decision as to where our program is going,” Jackson said. Junior Diaz served as interim coach for the Wildcats. A full report in Thursday’s Star-News.

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Boys Hoops: La Caada, Flintridge Prep to play in Southern California Shootout on Saturday at APU.

I’m off this weekend as I usually am, but there are quite a few games going on Saturday that I really want to make it out to. In girls soccer, Flintridge Sacred Heart and Alverno play at noon at Glendale College. The game was initially scheduled for Monday, but the steady rain flooded the turf field at Glendale College. Also on Saturday, the Southern California Shootout at Azusa Pacific promises to be a treat. The area schools kickoff the showcase with Flintridge Prep taking on Baldwin Park at 9 a.m. and Brea versus La Caada at 10:30 a.m. The showcase takes place at Felix Event Center. Our Steve Ramirez earlier this week wrote that the tournament is becoming one of the better one-day events in local high school basketball. The tournament’s organizer, Gordon Hamlow, tries to keep it a local affair, and he’s done a great job doing just that this season. The tournament features 13 teams ranked in the CIF-Southern Section polls. Baldwin Park, for example, is ranked No. 7 in Division 2A. Flintridge Prep is ranked No. 3 in 5AA. La Caada is ranked No. 12 in 3A. The rest of the schedule: Diamond Ranch vs. Murrieta Valley at noon; Upland vs. Vista Murrieta at 1:30; Walnut vs. Glendora at 3 p.m.; Los Osos vs. Ventura at 4:30; Oxnard vs. Colony at 6; Damien vs. Etiwanda at 7:30; and Rowland vs. Ontario Christian at 9 p.m.

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Girls Soccer: FSHA, Alverno postponed until February

*UPDATED 1:01 p.m.*— That was the scene at Glendale College. The rain was coming down and it was coming down hard. Flintridge Sacred Heart girls soccer coach Frank Pace called as I was making my way up to the field to say the game has been postponed until possibly February. Glendale College plays on an all-purpose turf field, but the fields are not draining fast enough and already there are puddles. Coaches from both teams talked it over and said it would not make sense to play the game in these conditions. And it begs the question: What will area soccer coaches do the rest of the week with heavy rain forecast the entire week?

In a little less than two hours, top-ranked Flintridge Sacred Heart (10-1-2) will take on fourth-ranked and CIF-SS Division 6 champion Alverno (8-3-1) at 1 p.m. at Glendale College. Someone in the office asked if they were going to play under these weather conditions, and the answer is yes, they will … rain or shine. The only game this nonleague showdown gets canceled or postponed is if there’s lightning, which I don’t remember the weather guys saying there would be, and they’re always right. Looking at Alverno’s schedule has me asking, what gives? Alverno has won its last three games by a combined score 44-0. My goodness, this is still soccer, right? I believe this topic was discussed a few threads ago, but it’s worth mentioning again. I know our buddy Steve Lesse gave his explanation: “Alverno’s coaching staff met with Holy Family Coach Calderon and Bishop Coach Delaney before and after both of our games and gave them the opportunity to dictate limitations to be placed on Alverno’s play. In both cases these coaches requested of Alverno that we ‘just play your game without limits put on our play.’ In fact, we do put a number of limits on play, bench starters, number of touches, number of passes and how a goal may be scored, but these limits are done in a way that is respectful to the other team.” Still, 17-0 over Bishop Conaty-Loretto, 14-0 over Holy Family and 13-0 over Sacred Heart of L.A. makes me weary. We’ll get a better answer later today.

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Boys Soccer: St. Francis proves it belongs on top

Above: St. Francis celebrating an impressive win over rival Loyola on Friday night.

Well, the verdict is in: St. Francis is still the No. 1 team in the WSGV. There’s little, if any, evidence that proves otherwise. Friday was a good day for boys soccer. At 3 p.m. you had No. 2 La Caada hosting No. 3 Monrovia. The Spartans won 2-0 to keep their Rio Hondo League record intact at 3-0. My honest opinion is the Wildcats had better individual talent, with Mathias Ibaez leading up front, but La Caada was a much better team tactically and is fundamentally sound. Cameron Meeker and Matt Caatta lead the way for the Spartans. Both draw plenty of attention and both found away to create scoring opportunities. First-year La Caada coach Barry Riston is doing a wonderful job over there. Things may be different in the second-leg, but the site may not. Monrovia’s field is currently under construction, meaning the second meeting could be played again at La Caada High.

After the La Caada game I headed over to St. Francis (4-8-1, 2-2-1) to check out the Golden Knights against rival Loyola (7-6-3, 1-1-1). The stands were packed and the crowd was boisterous as expected. St. Francis took a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of play after Christian Swart faked a defender and took another step inside the penalty area before unleashing a blistering shot into the far corner of the net. St. Francis lost quite a handful of players to the developmental academy, and they’re not the sophisticated team it was last year when it went on to win the CIF Southern California Regional. But what they lack in sophistication the Golden Knights more than make it up with relentless effort. St. Francis outplayed Loyola in every facet of the game. The Golden Knights showed signs of great things to come. Sewart continually slipped through defenders and pressured the keeper. When Loyola did make a push up front, the Cubs were stymied by misdirected shots or stellar deflections by the St. Francis defense. All in all, the Golden Knights proved they belong at the No. 1 spot despite my being ridiculed for placing them there because of a record that is all but misleading.

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