Die hard South Pasadea fans, if you can’t make the varsity basketball games make sure you catch them streamlined live online.

South Pasadena basketball fans who can’t make the varsity basketball games can catch them streamlined live online at www.eidemrocksradio.com. Sonn Eidem, the South Pasadena JV baseball coach, covers home and away games for both the girls and boys basketball teams. It’s a nice and very professional set up. I had the chance to listen in for a few minutes during the boys’ game Wednesday night and was impressed. Here’s hoping someone can pick up the duties come baseball season!

Below: Sonn Eidem calls the action Wednesday night against La Canada.

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Boys Soccer: Big week ahead for St. Francis.

Above: St. Francis’ Thomas Banks defends against Chaminade last year.

Despite a sub. 500 record during the nonleague portion of its season, the St. Francis High School boys soccer team is still considered the area’s premiere team.

And that’s not just in the San Gabriel Valley, but throughout Division 1 in the CIF-Southern Section. Sure, the Golden Knights (4-7-4, 3-1) are not, yet at least, ranked in the Division I coaches’ poll, but a quick look at their record in Mission League would argue they could soon belong there.

There won’t be much of an argument if St. Francis can execute this week with two big games, starting at Chaminade (7-3-3, 1-2-1) at 5 today and at home Saturday at 3 p.m. against rival Loyola (14-3-4, 3-0-2), which is ranked No. 6 in Division 1.

St. Francis got off to a rough start, but that was expected what with the Golden Knights always playing a beefed up schedule during theirn nonleague portion, from playing St. John Bosco of the Trinity League, considered the toughest league in the nation, to perennial powerhouse West Torrance and Santa Barbara, ranked No. 5 in Division 1.

St. Francis recorded its biggest win in nonleague against Santa Barbara (13-4-4), a team the Golden Knights in the past have had trouble against, especially on the road.

“We beat them here in the last minute last year on a Mark Verso head ball with 30 seconds to go,” St. Francis coach Glen Appels said. “We’ve gone up there and lost handedly a couple times.”

This time, St. Francis drove up on a Saturday morning and led 2-0 before holding on a 2-1 win in playoff-like atmosphere.

“It was important to show ourselves that we can ply with the best teams,” Appels said. “You mention perennial and I think they’ve won six CIF titles and a regional championship. You go there and you always have your hands full.”

The rough start to the season didn’t hold over into league play. Despite losing the league opener to Harvard-Westlake on a goal that came in the final 30 seconds, St. Francis feels confident as it sits in the thick of the league standings tied for second with Harvard Westlake (12-2-2, 3-1).

“It took us a little bit long to get started,” Appels said. “But we’ve been happy with our play and our results in league.”

St. Francis has recorded three consecutive wins on the road against Crespi (3-0), Alemany (4-1) and Notre Dame (2-0).

“Chaminade, Crespi, everybody has a shot at the playoffs,” Appels said. “Our last games are going to be tremendously important.”

But it starts tonight on the road before playing Loyola. After that, the Golden Knights play five of their final seven games at home.

“By the end of hte week the whole league is going to look a little bit differently than it does now,” Appels said.

St. Francis has added more firepower to its lineup, starting with senior Matt Laterza who was last year was not on the team and instead playing with the U.S. Soccer Academy. Laterza started in the midfield and has since been pushed up front alongside Billy McCreary, giving St. Francis two top forward who possess speed and also are physical.

There are new faces but none more than in St. Francis’ backline, led by sweeper Thomas Banks, a senior captain. He’s been called upon anchoring the backline.

“He’s been a steady influence in our back four,” Appels said. “All are new guys back there who didn’t play for us last year.”

The Golden Knights also features two standout goalkeepers in Luca Coppola and Paul Dean.

“That’s a real luxury,” Appels said. “It’s just good to have two guys who can play in big games.”

Perhaps the biggest comeback for St. Francis this season is senior midfielder Austin Frank, who broke his leg as a sophomore and dealt with lingering issues as a junior.

As if that wasn’t enough, the senior captain then suffered a concussion 10 minutes into the season opener this season, and when then pulled a groin muscle upon his return. He’s since become the player Appels knew he was capable of being.

“In preleague we saw very little of Austin,” Appels said, “but he’s starting to be a dominant player again.”

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Boys Basketball: South Pasadena beats La Canada on Wednesday, 41-31, for the first time in at least 20 years.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

SOUTH PASADENA — For at least 22 years, the South Pasadena High School boys basketball team couldn’t count on a win against La Canada.

That changed Wednesday night.

Kai Matsukuma and Alireza Jabalameli scored all of the Tigers’ field goals in the fourth quarter and all but one in the third quarter, leading South Pasadena to a 41-31 Rio Hondo League win.

Matksukuma finished with a game-high 19 points and Jabalameli was aggressive from the start of the third quarter, finishing with 14 points to lead South Pasadena (10-10, 2-2).

La Canada (11-7, 3-1) missed its last seven shot attempts in the fourth quarter and was within 35-31 with 2:42 left in the game. The Spartans at that point went on a dry spell that also was marred by turnovers.

Jabalameli tipped in a basket to make it 37-31 with 2:22 left in the game. No team would score untilMatsukuma hit two free throws with 31.5 seconds left in the game. Jevon Shields hit the final two free throws, his only points of the game, with 15.9 seconds left to all but seal the win.

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Boys basketball: Presale tickets on sale now at Muir.

Muir and PHS each have 400 presale tickets available for sale beginning today. To purchase PHS-side tickets, go to the school’s business office today. To buy tickets for Muir’s side, you can go to the ASB student store today and Thursday until 3 p.m. It’s on a first-come, first-serve basis. Whatever is not sold at Muir will be sold at PHS. Adult tickets are $6, students $4 and students with ASB card from Muir and PHS is free. Muir visits Pasadena on Friday at 5 p.m. but the game is expected to sellout hours before tipoff.

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Football: Former San Marino coach Mike Mooney, who originally pleaded not guilty in December, pleads guilty to one count of grand theft embezzlement.

By Brian Charles, Staff Writer

SAN MARINO – Former San Marino High School football coach Mike Mooney pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft embezzlement Tuesday for stealing $20,000 from the funds from the school booster clubs, officials said.

Mooney was sentenced to one year of probation and 20 days of community service, said Sandi Gibbons, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.

Mooney had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge in December.

The theft took place during a two-year period 2008 to 2010.

Mooney’s connections to San Marino High football stretch back to the 1990s. He began his first stint as head coach in 1996, before leaving the program in 1998 to become head football coach at Temple City High School.

Mooney left Temple City in 2007 to return to San Marino, where he was given the option to both coach and work as an assistant principal, something not afforded to Mooney at Temple City High School.

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Boys Basketball: Maranatha’s comeback bid falls short, as Minutemen can’t overcome shaky first quarter in 58-52 loss to Village Christian.

Above: Maranatha’s Jeremy Major still scored a game-high 24 points despite a swarming defense.

For the record: This game story will only appear on the blog.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

PASADENA — Maranatha didn’t have to look far to find the source of where it all went wrong: the first quarter.

The host Minutemen on Tuesday night didn’t record a single field goal in the first quarter, and trailed 11-1 heading into the second. Sure, Maranatha clawed its way back to take the lead, albeit a small one, but in the end it was abysmal shooting in the first quarter that them in as Village Christian withstood Maranatha’s attack to escape with a 58-52 win in Olympic League play.

Maranatha (14-6, 2-1) trailed the entire game until Jeremy Major’s layup with 4:40 left in the third quarter tied it at 30-30. The Minutemen took its first lead at 38-37 with 1:19 left in the third quarter and led by as many as 45-41 with 6:17 left in the game off a Jorge Castello jumper. The Minutemen led 50-49 on Major’s free-throw make but Village Christian’s (19-2, 3-0) Bryan Alberts answerd right back with a 3-pointer to make it 52-50. Michael DeMeester, on an assist from Major, hit an open layup to tie it again at 52-52. But Village Christian would take the lead for good, as Marsalis Johnson, off his own miss, converted the putback to make it 54-52 with 41 seconds left in the game.

Maranatha could have tied the game with 21 seconds left in the game, but Major’s layup was negated when he was called for a traveling violation. Alberts was intentionally fouled with 19 seconds left in the game and converted both free throws to make it 56-52.

Maranatha’s Andrew Elffers connected with Major on a length-of-the-court pass, but Major’s layup attempt bounced off the front end of the rim with 13 seconds left in the game. Joe Shashaty hit both free throws to round out the scoring.

Village Christian got off to a quick 8-0 run and Maranatha didn’t score until Castello hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2:18 left in the game. The Minutemen didn’t record a field goal until 7:47 left in the second quarter on a Major layup to make it 11-3.

“I don’t know what it was,” Maranatha coach Tim Godley said. “We were down and we were out. If you play hard you can get yourself back in it and put yourself in a position to win, but they got us.”

It all summed up to woeful shooting in the first half in which Maranatha shot 15 percent from inside the arc and 7 percent from behind the 3-point line. Despite it, Maranatha still trailed only 27-17 at the half.

“If I had told you we were shooting 15 and 7 percent how much would you be down and they said 20,” said Godley when asked what he told his team at the halftime break. “Yeah, and we were only down 10. So you can battle down down from that and they did. They didn’t give up.”

Alberts scored a team-high 15 points and Major finished with a team high 24 points. The teams will meet If nothing else, Maranatha proved that it can stay on par with a Village Christian team loaded with several Division I recruits, and the Minutemen’s second-half surge is evidence of that. It’s something Maranatha will use as fuel when the teams meet again on Feb. 7.

“Now they kow that we can beat them, and so do we,” Godley said. “We’ll see what happens next time.”

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Boys Basketball: The Pacific League showdown is set, as both Muir and Pasadena win big Tuesday night to remain undefeated in league.

Muir turned a four-point game at the half into a second-half rout as the Mustangs dominated Crescenta Valley 70-56 on Tuesday night to remain undefeated in the Pacific League. Muir (17-1, 6-0) got solid contributions from Jelani Mitchell (20 points) and Andre Frazier (16 points). But one of the big contributors off the bench was sophomore Brian Carreir, who finished with 12 points. Pasadena (13-5, 6-0) defeated Glendale 82-44 to remain undefeated in the Pacific League, setting up Friday’s showdown at Pasadena. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start, but trust me when I say that you want to get there super early if you want a seat. Read the Star-News on Wednsday for a complete story on Muir’s game. I’ll have more on Friday’s game later this week.

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BREAKING NEWS: Monrovia’s Ellis McCarthy headed to UCLA. The five-star recruit decommits from Cal after D-Line coach Tosh Lupoi leaves for Washington.

Monrovia High School’s Ellis McCarthy, the two-time Star-News Defensive Player of the Year, has decommited from Cal and is headed to UCLA, according to his father, Ed.

Through a text message to the Star-News on Monday night, Ed McCarthy simply wrote, “Ellis to UCLA.” When asked Monday morning if the departure of Cal defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi might change Ellis’ mind, Ed answered, “Yes.”

McCarthy committed to Cal during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game nearly two weeks ago, as first reported by the Star-News. His final three choices were Cal, USC and Oregon.

McCarthy, a 6-foot-5, 311 pound defensive tackle, is a five-star recruit ranked as the nation’s top defensive tackle by Sports Illustrated. He’s also considered the top recruit in the state. McCarthy led Monrovia to its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship.

In McCarthy, UCLA gets a defensive tackle often compared to Ndamugkong Suh of the Detroit Lions and a former five-star recruit out of Nebraska.

McCarthy changed his mind after consulting with his family upon news that Lupoi was leaving to join Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington.

According to a source, UCLA defensive backs coach and former Washington recruiter Demetrice Martin was at the McCarthy residence Monday when McCarthy announced he was choosing the Bruins.

Ed went into detail about how UCLA suddenly grew in the picture.

“UCLA was always there,” Ed said. “It was always something that he thought about since he was a little child. We even have a picture of him wearing a UCLA jersey.”

As to why UCLA wasn’t one of McCarthy’s three finalists, Ed said it fell on UCLA’s former staff.

“UCLA didn’t recruit him hard enough,” he said. “They got who they got in (Jim Mora’s hire) and that changed. Jim Mora made all the right moves bringing in top recruits. It just seemed like it was all coming together.”

Ed said Lupoi’s departure wasn’t ultimately what prompted McCarthy to decommit.

“In light of wat happened it was the best decision for Ellis,” Ed said. “It’s not about where people want him to go. It’s where his family felt most comfortable.

“It was too much of a coincidence that you get Demetrice, a top recruiter in Adrian Klemm and you get (running backs coach) Steve Broussard there, too. Broussard is one of my friends. They all end up at UCLA, and it was like the signs were all over the plate. The ultimate sign came at the last minute.”

Rumors swirled about Lupoi leaving for Washington. Lupoi met with the McCarthys on Sunday and, according to Ed, when he was asked about him leaving Lupoi was adament about staying at Cal.

“He sat at our hous and said, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’” Ed said. “There were articles everywhere that he was leaving but he said he wasn’t going anywhere, and then he accepts the job (Monday).

“You can’t fault Tosh for leaving. It’s the nature of the business.”


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Boys basketball: Pasadena destroys Crescenta Valley, 80-59, to remain undefeated in the Pacific League; Muir stays unbeaten, too, with 66-54 win over Glendale; La Salle beats Bishop Amat in Del Rey League.

I covered the Crescenta Valley-Pasadena game Friday night, which you can read in the paper Saturday. Here’s the gist of it: the Bulldogs pressed early and often, increasing a 7-point lead at the half to 20 in the third quarter and by as many as 28 in the fourth. Ajon Efferson scored a team-high 19 points (8 assists, 6 rebounds) and Blake Hamilton (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Jolley (17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists) each recorded a double-double. Crescenta Valley clearly was frustrated by Pasadena’s fast-tempo and suffocating defense that created havoc for the Falcons, who dropped to 15-4 overall and 4-1 in league. Pasadena improved to 12-5 overall and 5-0 in league.

Muir (16-1, 5-0) will travel on Tuesday to play Crescenta Valley in an attempt to remain unbeaten before facing rival Pasadena on Friday in what will surely be the biggest game of the season so far. In the Mustangs’ win over Glendale, Andre Frazier scored 15 points, Taturus Mayberry added 14 and Jelani Mitchell had 11.

Our Keith Lair covered La Salle-Bishop Amat. Make sure you read it in the paper Saturday, but the final score was La Salle 56, Bishop Amat 50. This is La Salle’s first win in the Del Rey League and improve to 1-1 in league while Bishop Amat drops to 0-1 in its league opener.

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