Soccer: St. Francis back atop Star-News rankings; Arcadia girls making some noise in Pacific League, ranked No. 4.

1. St. Francis (4-7-7)
Big comeback vs. Loyola
2. La Caada (10-5-3)
Tied Monrovia 1-1
3. Monrovia (13-6-1)
Meets Spartans again Feb. 9
4. Bosco Tech (10-1-2)
Went 2-0-1 last week
5. Pasadena (6-3-3)
Bulldogs are 3-1 in league
6. La Salle (10-3-3)
Beat Bishop Montgomery, Amat
7. Marshall (9-0-6)
Too many ties for Eagles
8. Pasadena Poly (7-5-2)
Panthers are 3-1 in league
9. South Pasadena (11-10)
Darkhorse in Rio Hondo Lg.
10. Duarte (5-5-1)
Falcons quickly fading

1. Flintridge S.H. (10-4-1)
Second half of league begins
2. Pasadena Poly (15-2)
Has week to prepare for Flintridge
3. Flintridge Prep (10-2-1)
Two consecutive shutouts
4. Arcadia (9-4-2)
Impressive Pacific League run
5. South Pasadena (11-2-4)
Two point lead after first round
6. Pasadena (10-3-2)
First league loss to CV
7. San Marino (7-2-4)
Up and down league play
8. La Caada (9-2-2)
Played South Pas to scoreless tie
9. Gabrielino (4-2-3)
Showdown vs. Arroyo Tuesday
10. Mayfield (8-4)
Needs big finish for Top 3

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BREAKING NEWS: Maranatha’s Jeremy Major verbally commits to Pepperdine. It’s unlikely, though, that Division I schools will stop courting the junior point guard.

Above: Maranatha’s Jeremy Major (3) has mad hops. Surprised he didn’t verbal to Ball So Hard University.

Maranatha’s Jeremy Major verbally commited to Pepperdine on Tuesday night, the Star-News has learned. Major, a junior point guard, had another offer from the Unviersity of Pacific, but other schools also were interested. Major, a three-year starter, is averaging 26.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks for the 15-3 Minutemen. Major scored a game-high 24 points against Village Christian in the Olympic League opener last week, a game Pepperdine coaches attended. The Waves offered the next day. Major attended a Pepperdine game over the weekend and was in Malibu today meeting with admissions and, according to a source, decided it was the best fit for him. I’ll have more with Major on the blog Wednesday. My initial reaction was: Already? Major will become even more coveted at the end of the year heading into summer camp and then his final year. And just because Major’s already committed it doesn’t mean schools will stop recruiting him. Quite the opposite, schools will likely pursue him even harder. Still, you can’t go wrong with Pepperdine: scenic view, great education and rising program.

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BREAKING NEWS: Well, breaking news to me, at least. Add Keppel to another school that needs a football coach after Bobby Madrid resigned just before Christmas break.

Just heard today that Bobby Madrid, who coached at Keppel three years and led the Aztecs to breaking an 18-game losing streak in football, resigned his position sometime before Christmas break. We’ll have more on this later on the blog Wednesday. Madrid also is the school’s softball coach.

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Boys Basketball: Muir runs away from Arcadia, 77-64; Pasadena overcomes four-point deficit at the half to beat Burbank, 52-46.

Above: Who knew Gamal Smalley could sing? Read story to see what I’m talking about.

By Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writer

ARCADIA — What started out like a close basketball game the Muir High School boys basketball turned into a track meet in the third quarter.

The visiting Mustangs used their trademark swarming defense to create scoring in transition, going on a 20-3 run and never looking back to dispatch Arcadia 77-64 on Monday night in Pacific League action.

The latest result was nowhere near when the teams met in the league opener, Muir (19-1, 8-0) needing overtime period and 38 points from Jelani Mitchell to get past Arcadia (9-11, 2-6).

This time, Mitchell and the high-flying Mustangs showed their defensive prowess, limiting Arcadia to empty baskets on nine of 10 possessions and five turnovers during Muir’s offensive spurt that started with the Mustangs leading 36-33 with 6:58 left in the game.

“I didn’t know all of those numbers but I did think the guys played with a lot of energy in that third quarter,” Muir coach Gamal Smalley said. “That got us going with transition baskets off their turnovers.”

Muir’s speed proved overwhelming for Arcadia to handle, causing the Apaches’ offense to stall.

“We’ve had our last few games when we get pressed and we get into scrambling and not running our offense,” Arcadia coach Ben Cordeiro. “We start shooting one-pass shots instead of running our offense. We don’t play well when we’re not patient.”

Muir led 36-32 at the half but the Mustangs got it going on Nelson’s 3-pointer and a Mitchell bank shot on a pull-up jumper to make it 41-33. Arcadia’s Jeffrey Radzwill hit a 3-pointer in the Apaches’ lone basket during the long run. Nelson, Mitchell and Andre Frazier put on a show that looked more like a passing clinic, but it was their handcuffing defense coupled with unparalleled speed that put the game away with one quarter to go.

“It’s funny you mention that because I always ask the guys, ‘Are we a basketball team,'” Smalley said. “They go, ‘No, we’re a track team’ and that’s our philosophy. It’s no scret we try to run, run, run, run. During that little segment we got it going.”

Mitchell, who finished with a game-high 22 points, countered Arcadia’s 3-pointer with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. His fadeaway jumper on the ensuing possession off an Apaches turnover made it 46-36 before Nelson made a steal and fastbreak layup with the defense trailing. Nelson, who sprained his right ankle just before the run started, finished with 14 points.

Arcadia’s Brian Taylor finished with a team-high 20 points and Radzwill added 19. But it’s becoming clear the Apaches have other obstacles to overcome.

“I justthink our team has some issues with attitudes and team comradarie,” Cordeiro said. “We’re not puling on the same direction. We have guys looking out for their own agendas and not thea team’s. That’s where we’re at right now.”

About the only thing that went wrong for Smalley was the banter he had back and forth with officials. By the time the fourth quarter came, with 3:19 left to be exact, all Smalley could do was make light of the situation, telling one official “Even Stevie Wonder can see that” before saranating a line from “Isn’t She Lovely.”

“But he told me to take that to American Idol,” said Smalley laughing. “It’s easy to laugh about it when you’re up.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Pasadena girls to forfeit three games in Pacific League, wiping out huge win over rival Muir.

We’ve learned moments ago through the Pasadena Unified School District that the Pasadena girls basketball team will forfeit five games, three of which were key wins in the Pacific League, including a huge 36-32 win over Muir last week. The Bulldogs will forfeit the games after it was discovered they were playing with a player ruled academically ineligible on Dec. 23. She played in games against Burbank (loss), Burroughs (win), Glendale (win), Arcadia (loss), Muir (win). The league will soon be notified of the forfeits. It’s possible that the player also took part in games during tournament play, but that has not been determined. However, the forfeits in league are of importance, and could have huge ramifications for the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes. Pasadena was 11-7 overall and 4-2 in league. The Bulldogs now will fall to 7-10 overall and 1-5 in league. Muir now returns to unbeaten status in league, improving to 18-3 overall and 7-0 in league.


“After investigating the academic progress or our athletes, it was discovered that a player on the Pasadena High School (PHS) Girls Varsity Basketball team was academically ineligible from 12/23/11 to the present. Because of this discovery, PHS will be forfeiting the wins in the following games that this player played in:

1/6 vs. Burroughs
1/9 vs. Glendale
1/20 vs. Muir

Integrity and academics trump all else at PHS. I hope that this can serve as an example to our students that when you make a mistake you own up to it and carry forward. That is what we plan to do at PHS.”

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