BHoops: Goldstein has team right where he expected

It’s hard to imagine the La Salle High School boys basketball team could finish no better than two games above .500, and that’s exactly what Lancers coach Steve Goldstein envisioned.

But one needs to take a closer look to understand such a statement.

For starters the Lancers, 13-12 heading into Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Bishop Montgomery and 1-6 in Del Rey League play, lost a lot of firepower with several players graduating from last season’s team.

Among them was Matt Nolan, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound center who led La Salle to a 20-9 season, a 9-1 record in the Camino Real League and a quarterfinal run in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A playoffs. Nolan was the Star-News Player of the Year.

The Lancers also moved to the much tougher Del Rey League with the likes of Serra (13-11, 6-1), Bishop Montgomery (15-8, 5-2) and Bishop Amat (18-8, 5-3).

“Any time you lose a star quality player like Matt Nolan and some of the other guys you lose, you’re losing a lot of firepower,” said Goldstein, in his 21st season at the helm. “It affects you, but we’re also in an extremely tough league.

“Honestly, I thought we’d be where we are, record-wise. Before the year, I was hoping we could be 13-12 right now and having a shot at the playoffs, and we do. I’m not upset with how the season’s gone. This team has kind of over-achieved, and I know it sounds weird.”

La Salle is No. 14 in Division 4A and all league foes play in higher divisions. The Lancers can apply for an at-large entry, and Goldstein said he thinks they have a good shot at getting a playoff berth. If La Salle gets in, Goldstein will have taken the Lancers to the playoffs in 19 of the last 21 seasons. La Salle missed the playoffs three years ago. Before that, there was a 14-year gap when it last happened.

If the Lancers earn an at-large berth when the pairings are announced Sunday, Goldstein believes playing a tough league schedule will more than prepare them come playoff time.

“We wouldn’t walk into the game with awe or scared,” he said. “I hoped they (the league schedule) would prepare us if we got into the playoffs. We won’t see anyone in our division with as much athleticism as we did in our league.”

In other words, watch out.

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BREAKING NEWS: Muir’s Deshawn Hayes dismissed from team; Gamal Smalley cites “repeated violations”.

Muir senior Deshawn Hayes, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who was averaging 18.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 assists, has been dismissed from the team.

Muir (14-8, 7-5) is on the verge of making a deep playoff run as the Mustangs are the No. 2 team in CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA. Muir coach Gamal Smalley cited “repeated violations of team rules” but declined to give specific details that led to his dismissal.

“I am very disappointed for Deshawn, as he is one of the most athletic players in our area but he did not do everything he needed to do to be a part of our basketball program,” Smalley said.

“Hayes did not comply with our standards on multiple occasions and missed a total of five games, four of which were during league play, this season.”

Smalley said Hayes was given numerous chances.

“You never just want to snatch this away from a kid without doing everything possible, but he didn’t comply,” said Smalley, in his second season at the helm. “We did give him a lot of chances, and unfortunately we had to let him go.

“I talked it over with administration over the weekend and we decided we exhausted all of our chances.”

The loss of Hayes will be a big blow on the court. He is an athletic guard who elevates with ease and has a soft-shooting mid-range jump shot. As Muir moves forward, others will have to slip into roles and pick up the scoring slack, among them are junior forward Tevin Polk and junior guard Dion Nelson.

“As a basketball coach and a mentor you can’t focus everything on just winning,” Smalley said. “There has to be ethical accountability. Character issues come into play and we must follow our code of conduct. Without that what are we really teaching? We hope we can give life lessons that will help the rest of his life.”

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BSoccer: La Caada attempts to end season undefeated

La Caada will try to end the regular season undefeated and puts it all on the line at 3:30 today agianst visiting Monrovia (13-6-2, 6-1-1). I know, I know. La Caada still has Blair on its schedule to officially end the season, but let’s be real here, the Spartans’ season ends today and begin their quest toward another deep CIF-SS Division V playoff run. La Caada currently is the No. 1 team in Division 5, as it should be. La Caada in the first meeting squeezed out a 2-1 win over Monrovia, a game in which Wildcats coach Mike Williams said they were shorthanded. La Caada coach Barry Ritson wasn’t really buying the excuse, saying Monrovia is still a loaded team. If I were a betting man, I have La Caada winning again. But expect a hard faught battle as the Wildcats hope to avenge a late-goal charge from the first meeting that lifted La Caada. If you want some more good soccer also in the city of La Caada, you can check out St. Francis on Wednesday when it hosts Loyola, ranked No. 12 in the nation.

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BHoops: Flintridge Prep beat Maranatha, Maranatha beat Pasadena Poly, Poly beat Flintridge Prep. What gives?

A Prep League fan brought up an interesting point on the blog last weekend regarding the Star-News rankings in boys basketball.

He wrote:

So Flintridge Prep beats Maranatha, Maranatha beats Poly, and then Poly beats Flintridge Prep. \ tie in the Star-News Top Ten poll?

As of last week, Flintridge Prep was No. 3, Pasadena Poly No. 4 and Maranatha No. 6 behind Keppel at No. 5.

Those rankings will play out come Wednesday when the new rankings are published, but the ones that count are the CIF-SS’, which determine playoff seeding, and as it turns out, neither play in the same division.

Flintridge Prep (17-5, 6-1 in Prep League) is No. 1 in Division 5AA, Pasadena Poly (19-2, 4-1 in Prep League) is No. 4 in Division 5A, and Maranatha is No. 2 in Division 4A.

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BHoops: Maranatha makes a big jump in latest CIF poll

Maranatha senior Stephen Van Spronsen anticipated the move.

“I have no doubt in my mind we’ll be No. 2 when the new poll comes,” said Van Spronsen when asked last week about the Minutemen’s chances of moving up in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A coaches’ rankings after beating Olympic League rival Whittier Christian.

The move became official Monday afternoon.

Not only did Maranatha (20-5, 6-1) move up from No. 4, the Minutemen leapfrogged Paraclete (19-1, 7-1 in Delphic League) for the No. 2 spot.

The coaches must have realized the significance of last week’s victory. Maranatha coach Tim Godley was surprised when informed of the latest poll.

“Wow,” he said, almost speechless for a few seconds. “I think it’s a great reward for the kids and the hard work they’ve put in.”

Maranatha ends the regular season when it hosts Village Christian (14-11, 4-2) at 7:30 tonight. Village Christian and Whittier Christian (18-7, 4-2) each have another game left later this week.

A Maranatha loss tonight coupled with two victories each by Village Christian and Whittier Christian would create a three-way tie for first place. All would share the league title, but coin flips would determine league placement for the playoffs, with the first flip determining the No. 1 seed and the next flip determining second and third.

A loss would all but derail the Minutemen’s chances of earning the No. 2 seed when the final coaches’ poll is released later this week along with the playoff brackets on Sunday.

“Yeah, the kids know the significance of (today’s) game,” Godley said. “They’re fully aware.”

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BHoops: Wohl hits clutch shot, leads Poly over Prep

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE SECOND MEETING

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE FIRST MEETING

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

LA CAADA – Daniel Wohl admits that he has not been shooting the ball well of late.

Pasadena Poly coach Brad Hall had a pretty good idea why.

“Daniel had an issue in January,” Hall said. “He had a bunch of AP classes, he was editor of the school newspaper and he had a role in a dance recital. He had a very full plate.

“The semester is over, the dance recital is over and the school newspaper is out. He is 100 percent focused on basketball.”

Wohl hit a desperation 3-pointer that went through the net with 0.1 seconds to play Friday night, sending the Prep League game against Flintridge Prep into overtime. He made two free throws in the extra period to give the Panthers a four-point lead in a 61-58 victory.

“All season long I’ve been shooting a lower percentage,” said Wohl, who has committed to NCAA Division III Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. “Tonight they were falling and it feels good to win the game.”

The victory, a typical Poly-Prep matchup with a vocal, standing-room-only crowd, avenged a 57-49 Rebels victory two weeks ago. It ended Flintridge Prep’s 10-game winning streak. With one week left in the regular season, it’s likely the two teams will tie for the league title.


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Signature Moment: Area athletes make it official

CLICK HERE TO VIEW SIGNING DAY GALLERY

We know how special signing day is for players and their families and we do our best to make it special for them. In tomorrow’s paper, we’ve got a special spread we think everyone is going to enjoy, full of pictures and recognition for all the athletes that signed in football and other sports. In football, I’d like to share what we did in preparation for today’s events. We invited football signees from the Whittier, Pasadena and Tribune coverage areas to the best stadium in all of college football, the Rose Bowl, for pictures and some Q&A. Here is a sneak preview of what we did, and a special thanks to the Rose Bowl for being so gracious with us.

We are shooting non-football athletes signing today at the Star-News TODAY. Want to be part of our group photo? E-mail me ASAP at miguel.melendez@sgvn.com. Here’s who we have so far….

Send us your pictures: If you have pictures from today’s signings at the school, I will post them if you send them to me at miguel.melendez@sgvn.com


Above: La Salle’s Kishon Sanders signs his NLOI to UTEP alongside his mother, La Salle coach Antoine Peterson Sr. and La Salle athletic director John Matheus.

FOOTBALL (Already pictured)
Patrick Carroll (St. Francis) UNLV
Kishon Sanders (La Salle) UTEP

CROSS COUNTRY
Ammar Moussa (Arcadia) Colorado
Catrina McAlister (Arcadia) Colorado
Sam Pons (South Pasadena) Princeton

BOYS SOCCER
Cameron Meeker (La Canada) Sacramento State
Aram Bagramyan (La Canada) Long Island University

GIRLS SOCCER
Samantha Whitehead (La Salle) St. John’s
Lori Cuerington (La Salle) Cleveland State
Brooks Elby (Flintridge Prep) North Carolina
Taylor French (Maranatha) Cal State Bakersfield
Natalie Zeenni (Flintridge Sacred Heart) New Mexico
Annie Wenzlau (San Marino) St. Mary’s College

CLICK ON THREAD TO READ STORY

Below: A group shot of signees from the Whittier Daily News, Pasadena Star-News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune ciruclation areas. Congrats all.


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