Boys Hoops: Muir highlights from LC Tournament.

Muir’s 8-0 start is the best start in nearly two decades, but as to when exactly the Mustangs had their best start in school history is just that, a mystery.

Muir coach Gamal Stalley said it’s been a “really long time” since the Mustangs opened the season with eight consecutive wins, and its 6-0 start was its best in 16 years. Muir is coming off a win over Saugus last weekend to win the La Canada Tournament.

That the Mustangs, ranked No. 8 in the CIF polls, are playing well may not come as much as of a surprise considering they return 10 players from last year’s team that reached the Division 5AA title game.

That success moved Muir to Division 4AA, dubbed the “super division” because it includes powerhouse La Verne Lutheran, L.A. Price and Windward, among others. Early in the season, Smalley said “we might as well be playing the Lakers” after learning Muir was moved up a division. But success in Division 4AA is not farfetched especially the way Muir has played as of late.

Over the summer, Muir played Loyola and Orange Lutheran, two powerhouses that were nationally ranked in the preseason. Muir lost to Loyola by two and lost to Orange Lutheran on a buzzer beater.

“So we know we have something special this year,” Smalley said. “We have to find a way to remain consistent. We’re still trying to find our way, but it’s a good start, nonetheless.”

Muir is one of two teams (the other being Crespi at 7-0) to remain unbeaten among the 44 teams in Division 4AA.

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Baseball: La Salle’s annual camp approaching.

La Salle’s 7th Annual Camp Aggie Baseball Clinic
What: Christmas baseball camp for youth ages 8-14
When: December 27-28th, 2011
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Where: La Salle Baseball Field (3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena)
Campers Receive: Each camper will receive excellent professional
instruction on a personal level and a camp t-shirt. Showcase scrimmage. Guest Speaker: Former Dodger and Angel Great – Jay Johnstone (public welcomed to see Jay) 10:00 December 28.
Director: Harry Agajanian-Head Baseball Coach at La Salle.
Fee: The cost of the camp is $50. Checks should be payable to Harry Agajanian.
To Sign Up: Email Leave player’s name, email address, and t-shirt size.
Questions: Any questions you can call the coach direct 626-255-1145
What to bring: Campers should wear baseball attire. Bring your own cleats, bat, batting gloves, helmet, and catcher’s gear. Campers should bring a light snack.

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Boys Hoops: Pasadena’s nightmare weekend…

Pasadena High School’s trip to Sacramento for a boys basketball tournament last weekend didn’t turn out so good, and that’s putting it lightly.

“It was a nightmare weekend up there,” Bulldogs coach Tim Tucker said. “It really was.”

Pasadena (3-5) went 1-3 in the prestigious St. Hope Elite Nike Classic, its lone win coming against Northern California’s Foothill, 63-39, in the opening round. What followed next is almost unexplainable.

Pasadena went toe-to-toe with Bakersfield, regarded as the best team in Kern County. Pasadena led 61-59 when the unthinkable happened.

“It’s crazy that we lost on a 60-foot bank shot,” Tucker said. Pasadena still advanced to the semifinals against Sacramento. A four-point game with two minutes left in the game and the Bulldogs suddenly check out, losing 87-79.

“There’s two minutes left and we can’t buy a basket down the stretch,” Tucker said.

A defensive break down with the game on the line in the fourth-place game and Pasadena loses to Pleasant Grove, 62-60 after an unguarded layup to win the game.

Pasadena was one of three L.A.-area teams taking part in the tournament along with L.A. Dorsey and Compton High, which didn’t fare any better than the Bulldogs. Tucker said the officiating was suspect at best. He pointed to forward Blake Hamilton, who averaged 23 points in the tournament, getting called for three fouls in the first two minutes of the game against Sacramento.

“It was borderline rediculous what they were calling,” Tucker said. “They were not L.A. friendly.”

Through the nightmareish weekend there still was a bit of good news. For one, center Brandon Jolley, who suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks before the start of the season, made his first appearance on the court and earned an all-tournament selection.

Jolley, a 6-foot-5 junior, did not play in the Rose City Classic where Pasadena made a run to the semifinals against La Verne Lutheran. Still, the Bulldogs managed to play Lutheran close in a 65-53 loss. Lutheran features several Division I-bound athletes as does L.A. Price, whom the Bulldogs lost to, 72-70.

“There’s definitely no panic on this campus,” Tucker said. “We’re definitely the best 3-5 team in the state. If you ask reporters up there they’ll say we’re really good, but we’re a little unlucky right now. I told the kids it’s not a bad thing to drop in the polls because of the teams we lost to.

“We could have easily won the tournament.Nobody has played the schedule we have played. We play the best teams and we don’t run from anybody. I really believe when the dust settles Pasadena will still be around standing.”

Pasadena is off until next week when it heads to San Diego to take part in the Mt. Carmel Tournament.

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BREAKING NEWS: Arcadia star WR/SS Taylor Lagace decomits from Washington, is headed to UCLA.

Arcadia star WR/SS Taylor Lagace has decommitted from Washington and will be headed to UCLA, according to sources. Lagace, a three-time Star-News All-Area first-team selection, was all but headed to Washington after making a verbal commitment late summer. The departure of Demetrice Martin (Muir grad) from Washington’s coaching staff to UCLA has caused a shift in some recruits, Lagace being the first to be on the fence and now making the switch. Martin was the defensive backs coach at Washington and will coach the same position at UCLA.

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Boys Hoops: Muir is 8-0. Is it be the new road gear?

Notice the new color on Muir’s road uniforms? Out with the navy blue and in with the royal blue. For the Muir faithful who go back in the day, this color is nothing new. I’ll let Muir boys basketball coach Gamal Smalley explain.

“(Muir girls basketball coach) Gary Johnson and myself were the starting back court in the 70′s and the color blue that we wore was royal blue,” Smalley said. “We went back to royal blue because we thought it would be cool. The gym is royal blue and the bleachers are royal blue. Some where in time someone changed it to navy blue, but every year Muir has won a CIF championship has been in royal blue, so we had to take it back to when Muir was successful.”

The Muir girls team also will wear royal blue unis.

So now you know.

Muir’s 8-0 start is its best start in over two decades. The Mustangs are one of two remaining undefeated teams among the 44 in CIF-SS Division 4AA. Crespi is the other undefeated team. Muir is No. 8 in what many consider Division 4AA as the super division.

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Football: Get ready for another Monrovia parade.

There will be a celebration of some sorts when Monrovia gets back from Christmas break. It’s looking like it’ll be sometime in January, whether it’s a parade remains to be seen, but Monrovia school officials said a celebration is in order. Last year, Monrovia hosted the Wildcats with a parade that started at Monrovia down Colorado Blvd., and down Myrtle before a grand arrival to Library Park where a sea of fans welcomed the champions. Stay tuned.

Below: The work of Ed McCarthy. I shot this with my iPhone. It’s a hoodie with the artwork front and center. Nice work.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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West Covina to host Chris Rix Christmas Combine this Saturday!!!

What: Chris Rix Christmas Combine
When: Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Who: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers and Defensive Backs. TOP GUN Division for HS and College players will run from 9am-12pm. YOUNG GUN Division for athletes from ages 8-13 will run from 1pm-3pm.
Where: West Covina High School-ThybergField
Cost: The cost is $30. There are scholarships opportunities available for families in need. Part of the proceeds from the camp will go to charity for the holiday season.

To register call (626) 646-9594 or (626) 872-0068 and also email athlete info to

“It’s the Christmas season. My vision is to provide a fun and inexpensive opportunity for players from the San Gabriel Valley to come out and compete in the great game of football one more time before Christmas break,” Rix said in a press release. “I realize most of them won’t be in this kind of environment again until spring ball. This is for skill players who can’t get enough football, want to continue to grow in their craft and have fun doing it. Football is a game and games are supposed to be fun. ”

“I want this camp to be one every athlete can attend. If a family cannot realistically afford the cost of the camp, they can bring an unopened toy that will be donated to a needy family for Christmas and I will happily scholarship their son.”

Rix’s vision is for the ‘Christmas Combine’ to turn into an annual event. He plans to expand the combine to other positions in the future.

Chris Rix will lead the camp along with his coaching staff from Champion Training Academy.

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Football: Good luck figuring out PSN All-Area team…

In my four years selecting the Star-News All-Area team, I have never been this tough a tme making deserving selections. If you don’t believe me, give it a shot. The Star-News All-Area team includes offensive/defensive players of the year as well as coach of the year. If you think there are slam dunks, I’d like to hear your thoughts on why.

2011 Star-News All-Area Team


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Saturday Night Aftermath: Monrovia runs away in the second half, routs San Gabriel 53-14 to win back-to-back CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division championship; Rio Hondo Prep makes it Lucky 13, claims Northeast Division title with win over Desert Christian, 34-14.

Inland Insider Tom Kiss and crew’s postgame highlights and interviews

Above: Brett Walsh (10) jumps into the arms of Matthew Norman (72) as Monrovia celebrates a 53-14 win over San Gabriel in the CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division championship.


By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

MONROVIA — The first 24 minutes was a heavyweight bout that saw an overwhelming underdog do everything but take a physical beating.

In the mist of its first finals run since 2003, the San Gabriel High School football team traded punches with defending champion Monrovia, an epic battle that ultimately proved short-lived.

In typical Monrovia fashion, the second half became an offensive clinic while its punishing defense threw San Gabriel’s offense into a wreck. Perhaps it was only fitting that, after pummeling through opponents the last three weeks with strong second-half surges, the Wildcats would score 39 unanswered points in the second half to run away with a 53-14 win Saturday night to win its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship.

ARAM TOLEGIAN: Wildcats setting the bar high for rest of division

There are two undeniable signs that pop up when a high school football program makes the jump from being simply good to a powerhouse.

The first is CIF championships and the second is the presence of blue-chip talent on the roster.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the back-to-back Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia Wildcats.

For the second consecutive year, the Wildcats preside over a division that surely won’t make headlines outside of the 626 area code, but that really isn’t the point. The way the Wildcats have taken ownership of the division and the caliber of players they’ve done it with is.

Saturday’s 53-14 win over San Gabriel was something most fans expected. But why was Monrovia’s stadium packed if the result simply was a formality?


By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

ARCADIA – There is nothing magical or unlucky about the number 13. Just ask the Rio Hondo Prep football team.

The Kares scored their 13th consecutive victory en route to their 13th CIF-Southern Section title on Saturday. They defeated visiting Desert Christian of Lancaster, 34-13, in the Northeast Division title game.

No, there was nothing magical or unlucky. Just brute force with maybe a little bit of trickery thrown in.

Quarterback Colby Rivera completed a trick 33-yard touchdown pass to Christian Torrico with 15 seconds left in the first half to put away the pesky Knights, who were making their first CIF-SS championship game appearance


Below: Classy move by Monrovia’s De’Shawn Ramirez, who consoles San Gabriel WR Alex Villalobos after win.

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