EDITED: I mistakenly took San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow’s quote out of context when I created this thread late last night under the headline Bill Zernickow: If we beat (Monrovia) three more times in a row, we might own them mentally.”
I failed to add the second half of the quote, which read: “We would sure hope to try and foster that, but we don’t own them mentally one bit right now. We’ve been fortunate enough to have circumstances fall in our laps and have taken advantage.” I must have read it quickly last night, but no excuses here. I also failed to comprehend the phrase “three more times” which was brought to my attention by Aram.
In short, I agree. If San Dimas does in fact beat Monrovia three more times, they would indeed own the Wildcats mentally. San Dimas certainly has Monrovia’s number right now, but it’s certainly not complete domination, or is it?
Monrovia doesn’t need board material to get up for its nemesis in Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division semifinal showdown. But I guess it’s good to know the opposition’s thought process should a third-straight win come to fruition.
Aram’s hammered home the point throughout the season, relentlessly challenging Monrovia’s mental toughness, whether the Wildcats are capable of withstanding late surges, such as the one San Dimas mounted this season.
The answer: No, Monrovia was not.
The Wildcats surrendered a 28-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter as the Saints reeled off 21 straight points to force overtime, score first and later stop Nick Bueno at the 1-yard line to pull off a dramatic 35-34 come-from-behind victory. It should be noted that this is San Dimas’ signature win of the season.
Monrovia’s Ryan Maddox told Aram that “they wouldn’t want it any other way” and that they were rooting for San Dimas so they’d eventually cross paths for the right to play in next week’s title game. You have to like the sportsmanship displayed from Zernickow, though, who said: “You know what, these guys are really good. So if you get to play them twice in a season, it’s been a good year. If we don’t win this game, I want Ryan to win this thing because he’s such a good guy.”
So here its, Monrovia. This is what you wanted, and now you’ve got it. Now’s the time, and there’s absolutely no excuses for letting this one slip away. Injuries, schemes? Nah. It’s coming down to executing with heart. Who wants it more? The unforgiving cold December air pales in comparison to the feeling of dejection felt under the pouring rain last December. This is when you grab fortune by the horns and steer it exactly where you want it, straight into next week for a chance to hoist your very first CIF championship plaque,
STAR-NEWS TOP 10 PRESEASON RANKINGS
2. La Caada
3. Pasadena Poly
4. Flintridge Prep
8. La Salle
9. St. Francis
10. Rennaisance Academy
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
With success comes higher expectations, which is the reason why Pasadena High School has moved from Division 2A to 1AA for this season’s CIF-Southern Section boys basketball playoffs.
Pasadena joins the ranks of Mater Dei, Etiwanda and Long Beach Poly, all perennial powers.
The Bulldogs last season reached the Division 2A final and the semifinals of the Southern California Regional State Playoffs. It’s uncertain if Pasadena will have as much success playing in 1AA, but the simple fact the Bulldogs can be named in the same sentence as the aforementioned schools is the reason why Pasadena again is the No. 1 team in the Star-News’ preseason top 10 rankings.
1. Pasadena (27-8 last season)
Steven Adams will return for his fifth season after he was granted a hardship waiver by the CIF-State office. Adams underwent brain surgery two years ago and missed the second half of his junior season and played sparingly last year.
“He played last year but he was at about 55 percent,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said. “(The) CIF (Southern Section) denied his request, but he went to the state and there was enough evidence to support that the kid deserved another year.”
Adams has since regained some of his strengths as a post player, and Tucker said his confidence will grow as he plays more games. His work ethic also has shot up, so much so that he’s leading by example and for the first time was named a captain.
Pasadena, ranked 17th in the state by ESPN, will be led by Todd Lewis Jr., the slashing forward with a soft stroke. He averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game on his way to earning All-CIF honors as a junior.
Brandon Jolley started halfway through last season as a freshman and early on showed why he’ll be a dominant force. Jolley (6-foot-5) is one of a number of players who will give the Bulldogs a sizeable front court. Adams (6-9), Lewis (6-4) and Nick Holden (6-6) are the others who will likely make up the starting five. Senior Austin Daniels, a speedy point guard with an eye for finding the open man, will replace three-year starter George Toyama.
“It’s his turn,” Tucker said of Daniels. “He’s been on this team for three years and he showed a lot of maturity in the playoffs, where he got to see a lot more time. This is what he’s been waiting for, to show what he can do.”
Tucker said this season’s bench is arguably his deepest in a while. It features 6-5 junior Simon Erza, who is captain of the Sweden 16U National Team. Tucker said he can play four positions, but will need a few games to adjust to “U.S.” speed.
CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING PRESEASON RANKINGS STORY
The Stang Fan and I will go head-to-head this season, though I don’t see the point anymore…
Melendez: 2-4 last week; total 146-51-1
Stang Fan: 3-3 last week; total 157-40-1
Apologies for taking long on posting this thread. I’ve been really under the weather the last week, and working Friday certainly didn’t help. I wouldn’t have had it any other way though. For one, I’m not a big believer in calling in sick, and secondly, I would have been wondering too much about the Monrovia-Schurr score. Saw some good things and a lot of not good things, which I’ll get more into later this week. In just two more weeks I’ll officially lose this year’s Star Picks. The Stang Fan had my number since Week 1, but that’s OK. I’ll pay the bet and wear USC gear and use that photo as my blog photo for one week. It’s been a fun ride, but no ride is complete until someone reaches next week’s finals. In my 10 years of covering high school sports I don’t recall ever not having one of my teams reach the finals in any given sport I’ve covered. Monrovia and Pasadena Poly have one more hurdle before reaching the big stage. The Panthers travel nearly six hours one-way to Bishop to play against top-seed Bishop Union. The game is slated for 6 p.m. and we’ll dispatch a reporter up there. The ride up there should be interesting and the environment there as well. We’re all set for Monrovia-San Dimas IV on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Yours truly, Fred and Mike “The Cousin” will be there too for live-blogging. We’ll have a two-minute video posted later in the week. With Monrovia the lone team in the area playing local, I’m wondering how many of you will come together and join in cheering on the Wildcats who aim to make their 10th finals appearance. Or, like a few folks out there, are you just waiting until Monrovia collapses so we can hear the rhetorical “I told you so” crap? Time for some more Theraflu, so I’ll hit you guys up Tuesday.
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
Pasadena Poly (9-3) at No. 1 Bishop (11-1), Friday, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Vasquez (10-1) at Boron (11-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Whittier Christian (11-1) vs. Village Christian (8-4) at Glendale HS, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
No. 2 Monrovia (10-2) at San Dimas (8-4), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Bonita 49, Muir 25 — Giomani Johnson scored three touchdowns in the final period to lead the Bearcats. The score was 30-25 with 4:49 left in the game.
Village Christian 34, Rosemead 0 — The Panthers had plenty of chances. Three of their first four drives went inside the 26 and twice were stopped on fourth down and had a fumble at the Village Christian 8. Matt Fregoso finished with 123 yards on 34 carries.
San Dimas 56, Maranatha 20 — Losing Joshua Jones to a knee injury was big for the Minutemen, but not sure if his presence would have made the difference in this one. San Dimas led something like 42-0 at halftime. Big plays from Codee Watts and Theo Darlington helped the Saints, who will host Monrovia in next week’s Mid-Valley Division semifinals.
Monrovia 21, San Dimas 7 — Schurr turned the ball over four times and were penalized 11 times as the Wildcats capitalized to run away with the win. Nick Bueno for the most part was contained. He finished with 108 yards rushing on 22 carries. He scored from 24 yards out early in the third quarter. Three penalties in that drive moved the ball all the way to the Schurr 24. Christian Blanco scored from 25 yards early in the second quarter, but it was Andrew Plasencia who recovered a Schurr fumble that set up that score. He intercepted a pass later in the game and returned in 12 yards for a score to give the Wildcats a 21-0 lead. Schurr on its first five possessions resulted in a punt, turnover, turnover, punt, punt. Aaron Cantu finished with 215 yards on 25-of-38 passing and a touchdown. Monrovia will visit San Dimas in next week’s semifinals, likely to be played Saturday night.
Pasadena Poly 43, Desert Christian 27 — Blaked Edwards rushed for over 200 yards and quarterback Hunter Merryman threw for two touchdown passes. The Panthers will play at top-seed Bishop next week.
Boron 14, Rio Hondo Prep 6 — This was the Kares’ earliest playoff exit since 2007 when they were eliminated in the opening round. Rio Hondo Prep’s lone losses this season came to Boron, which defeated Rio Hondo Prep 36-28 in the fourth game of the season.