Football: It’s a shame the City of Arcadia hasn’t honored Rio Hondo Prep for its football prowess year after year.

Above: Rio Hondo Prep celebrates a 12th CIF championship back in 2008. Photo courtesy of Rio Hondo Prep

To my knowledge, the City of Arcadia has not officially congratulated Rio Hondo Prep for winning its 13th CIF football championship in December, and maybe not in 12 previous times. For all we know not in 2008, 2005, 2001, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1990, 1982, 1979, 1977 or 1973. In case anyone at the City of Arcadia isn’t aware, Rio Hondo Prep, in 44 years of playing high school football as a member of the CIF-Southern Section, has made 34 playoff appearances, won 23 league championships, made 20 CIF championship game appearances, been named California small school team of the year six times, is the second-winningest program behind Long Beach Poly, and is the smallest school in California that plays 11-man football with a high school enrollment of 99 students.

And yet, no word of congratulations to one of two high schools in the City of Arcadia.

I bring this up because on Thursday the City of Monrovia, for the second straight year, hosted a championship parade for Monrovia High. It was a nice celebration for the Wildcats, a celebration that was spearheaded by the City. The team and cheerleaders rode a bus and fire truck from Monrovia High and made a procession down Myrtle Avenue with police escort before arriving at Library Park where they were greeted by hundreds of fans. It was evident that the city truly cares and is honored to have a CIF football champion in its city. Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz was just as gitty as she was last year when Monrovia won its first-ever football title last year. The entire Monrovia school board was on hand, save for one member who currently serving overseas in the Armed Forces.

As I prepared for what the Star-News would cover on Thursday I began to wonder if maybe Rio Hondo Prep, too, would get some kind of recognition from the city, maybe it already had done so or was preparing for something down the road.


When I asked that question to Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain he was not malcontent, much less disappointed. If you know Drain, also the school’s athletic director, basketball and baseball coach, he’s not one to make a big fuss, merely honored and proud that Rio Hondo Prep made another deep playoff run to bring home the school’s 13th CIF plaque. But I wondered why the City of Arcadia didn’t make some kind of effort. I put in a call Wednesday afternoon to the city and an operator suggested I call the city manager’s office. I was warned the office currently was in a meeting but that I could leave a message with the city manager’s assistant, Connie. She, as it turned out, was out on break so I left a message with a man who was filling in for her. My message was: Is there any kind of plan from the City of Arcadia to honor Rio Hondo Prep’s football team after winning its 13th CIF championship? I left my name, media affiliation and contact number, and I was told they’d get back to me.

They never did.

Look, if you know anybody from Rio Hondo Prep you’ll know that this isn’t something they’ve even thought about, much less get sour and call asking why they’ve yet to be honored over the years. But if you look at what Rio Hondo Prep has accomplished — mind you, with limited sources — you have to be taken back by the fashion in which they’ve accomplished such amazing feats. For Rio Hondo Prep to not, at the very least, receive a phone call from the mayor or a city councilman is beyond belief.

You almost have to wonder if it’s because Rio Hondo Prep is a private school, where as Arcadia High is a public school. Surely if the Apaches won a CIF football title someone from the city would have the decensy to congratulate Arcadia for its accomplishment.

Or maybe it’s because Rio Hondo Prep is tucked in a cuul-de-sac on the border of Arcadia and Temple City, going about its business under the radar, making it easy to ignore them. Heck, we here at the Star-News can share the blame on that, too.

I’m not saying throw a huge parade with police escort and sirens blaring down Restaurant Row. I’m not even saying give Rio Hondo Prep’s football team a proclomation, although how hard can that really be, because that could go a long way.

A phone call?

An in-person appearance to say congrats?

Anything, really, would have sufficed.

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Football: City throws Monrovia a championship rally; Ryan Maddox, one of three finalists for the job four years ago, has done nothing short of an impressive job.

MONROVIA – With police sirens blaring while riding a fire truck and school bus, the Monrovia High School football team was greeted with a boisterous reception at its championship rally Thursday night at Library Park.

It’s the second consecutive year the city of Monrovia honored the Wildcats football team for winning the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship for a second consecutive season.

Monrovia’s team and cheerleaders had a police escort driving down Myrtle Avenue as they waved to local merchants who greeted them with cheers, signs and camera flashes. When the procession arrived at Library Park, it was greeted by hundreds of fans and community members as the Monrovia band serenaded the players who strolled out of the truck and bus one by one wearing their home jerseys.

Monrovia beat San Gabriel, 53-14, in December’s divisional title game.

Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said this kind of celebration never gets old.

“Not at all,” he said. “This is the fun stuff. All the blood, sweat and tears that go into the season, this is the fun stuff you get to celebrate.”

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Roundup: Poly’s Miller scores 27 in Panthers win.

Prep League
Pasadena Poly 59, Westridge 28

Pasadena Poly (13-4, 4-0) was led in scoring by Michelle Miller with 27 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Also coming up big for the Panthers was Kiki Yang with eight points, five assists and eight steals. Leading scorer for the Tigers was Lili Lim with nine points. The Panthers started the game quickly by taking a 37-16 lead into halftime and the Tigers were never able to recover. With the loss, Westridge falls to 4-6 and 2-3 in league play.

Chadwick 52, Mayfield 32
The Cubs were led by Rafi Bradvica with ten points , nine rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot but came up short vs. Chadwick. Carrie Morris contributed with seven points, and four boards. Mary Baggott had four points, nine rebounds and one blocked shot. With the loss, Mayfield drops to 8-5 overall and 2-3 in Prep League play.

Rio Hondo League
South Pasadena 2,
San Marino 0

Prep League
Mayfield 17, Westridge 7

Sarah Wood led the Cubs (10-3, 4-2) with six goals. Mayfield’s goalie Ellie Karl made 18 saves. Leading the Tigers (0-5,0-4) was Andrea Risolo with three goals. Nonleague

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Rio Hondo Prep to unveil state-of-the-art gym on Feb. 4.

Above: A look inside Rio Hondo Prep’s new gym. Photo courtesy of Rio Hondo Prep

For almost two years, Rio Hondo Prep’s basketball and volleyball teams have used facilities in El Monte, Monrovia and Temple City for practice and game sites.

That’s because for nearly two years, construction of a $5.8 million gymnasium has been ongoing, but that all will come to an end soon as Rio Hondo Prep is set to open its gymnasium on Feb. 4.

The state-of-the-art gymnasium was made possible through a major donation from Truman B. Stivers, who was part of Rio Hondo Prep’s Kare Youth League when he was a member in 1933. Stivers designated his gift before passing away a few years ago.

The on-campus gym is 22,090 square feet. It includes two 80-inch screens, a performance stage with lighting, four locker rooms that will serve the high school and junior high basketball teams, a referee/officials locker room with a private shower, a kitchen, training room, three classrooms and four offices for coaches.

The basketball court is college-size (94 feet by 50 feet) and can seat 300 fans, though there’s plenty of room to add bleachers. There’s also a balcony section that overlooks the court on one end.

The first game to be played there will be Feb. 10 when the Kares basketball teams host Chadwick in the final game of the regular season.

A brand new facility, however, doesn’t mean Rio Hondo Prep (99 students) is in the process of shedding its “small school” tag. Far from it, said Rio Hondo Prep athletic director Ken Drain.

“We don’t care about the tag,” he said. “We kind of embrace that. If we grew a little it’d be fine, but we’re fine with being called a small school.”

The opening has been a long time coming. For nearly two years, Rio Hondo Prep teams have had to pay $60 an hour to use an unused gymnasium at Durfee Elementary School. Additional sites have included a gym at Temple City Church of the Nazarene and Monrovia’s Mary Wilcox Center.

The lack of a home facility has caused a strain on the basketball and volleyball teams. Drain, also the school’s football and boys basketball coach, said the basketball team this season alone has had a total of five hours of practice.

To be fair, the gym hasn’t been the lone culprit on this front. Rio Hondo Prep’s entire basketball team is made up of athletes who also play football, which made another deep run in the playoffs and won the CIF-SS Northeast Division title.

The football field also suffered in the process of bringing in heavy machinery to begin construction. The field was all but ruined, but part of the money donated was used to make improvements on the field, which was completed just in time to start the season.

Despite the controlled chaos of bussing entire basketball teams, Rio Hondo Prep’s girls basketball team reached the CIF finals last year and the boys reached the semifinals.

The gym initially was scheduled to open sometime in September or October. It then got pushed back to Jan. 3, then Jan. 15 and now the new date. The school has planned events all day long, beginning with Kare Youth League games followed by an alumni basketball game that begins at 5 p.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the new facility is open to the public.

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Football: Monrovia’s parade begins at 5 tonight….

For the second consecutive year, the city of Monrovia will hold a parade tonight to celebrate Monrovia High’s CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division championship. The Wildcats beat San Gabriel, 53-14. The procession to Library Park will begin at 5 p.m. going East on Colorado Boulevard before heading North on Myrtle Avenue. The rally is expected to begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the team’s banquet.

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Boys soccer: Pasadena proves too much for Arcadia.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

PASADENA – In one of the more dominating performances of the season, the Pasadena High School boys soccer team kept its Pacific League record unblemished behind unparalleled speed and a relentless push up front.

Raymundo Alcalaz and Elmis Villata each scored a goal in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win over Arcadia on Wednesday afternoon to keep Pasadena in first place and hand the Apaches their first loss in league this season.

Pasadena (6-2-2, 3-0-1) proved to be too much for Arcadia (4-2-1, 2-1-1) in what was the Apaches’ first game in which they faced a lineup with depth and playmakers throughout.

“They outmanned us,” Arcadia coach Paul Miles said. “They were more physical and it just seemed like we were outplayed.”

Outmanned and outmuscled is exactly what described Pasadena’s first goal in the 17th minute.

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Boys Hoops: San Marino rolls past South Pasadena.

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

SAN MARINO – The San Marino High School boys basketball team has a solid history within the Rio Hondo League.

The Titans have won no more than two league games in each of the past eight seasons. Well, San Marino made certain it has two wins, in as many starts, this season. The Titans built a 20-point lead against visiting South Pasadena and held on for a 60-45 win.

“It’s been a while,” San Marino coach Mihael Papadopulos said of the 2-0 start. “It’s been nice. The boys have really vested a lot of time into this and really believe in what they can do.”

San Marino last went 2-0 in league in the 2005 season, but then lost its next eight league games. Max Taw and Jasper Hwang are intent on making sure the Titans do not suffer that pitfall this season.

Taw had a game-high 17 points and Hwang had 16 points, scoring all but two in the first half. San Marino hit 40 percent (8 of 20) of its 3-point attempts.

“It’s all the work coming together,” Taw said. “We practice our shots and then we made them. We’re on a roll right now, but we have La Canada next, so we can’t be complacent.”

What certainly helped the Titans was the poor shooting performance of the Tigers, who entered the league game also 1-0. South Pasadena had only 15 points at halftime and trailed, 34-15.

“We didn’t shoot particularly well,” South Pasadena coach Timothy Brown said. “But that happens. San Marino shot outstanding from outside. We didn’t put the ball in the hole and they did.”

The Tigers shot 20.8 percent (5 of 24) in the first half and made only 13 field goals for the game.

“We came out flat-footed,” said Alireza Jabalameli, who had a team-high 14 points. “We weren’t ready. That’s all.”

South Pasadena did cut the lead to 10 serveral times in the fourth quarter, forcing the Titans into 11 of their 21 turnovers.

“In the second half we got a little excited,” Papadopulos said.

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Roundup: La Canada hoops improves to 2-0 in RHL.

Rio Hondo League
La Canada 41,
Temple City 39

Jay Srinvasan scored nine points to lead La Canada (10-6, 2-0) to the win over the Rams (9-6, 0-2). Connor Boyd had five points and 10 rebounds, while Darrell Dansby added four points, eight rebounds and five blocks.

Pacific League
Arcadia 1, Pasadena 1

Pasadena (8-2-2, 3-0-1) got its lone goal from Sammy Koumans in the second half. Hayley Greep scored a few minutes later for the Apaches (5-4-2, 3-0-1).

Rio Hondo League
Monrovia 5, Blair 0

Madison Herrera scored three goals to lead the Wildcats (1-3-1, 1-0-1) to the victory over the Vikings (0-2 in league).Joey Peterson and Mara Armenta each scored a goal for Monrovia.Goalie Theresa Stratis recorded five saves for Monrovia.

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I made the right choice covering PHS soccer instead of catching PHS basketball, which blew away Arcadia. Muir won big, too. ….

I had wondered back and forth on Tuesday whether to cover Arcadia at PHS boys soccer (both teams unbeaten in league) or catch Arcadia at PHS boys basketball. I had a feeling PHS hoops would win but what if the Apaches pulled off the upset? After all, Arcadia took Muir to overtime so the possibly definitely was there.

In the end, I wanted to see boys soccer since I hadn’t had a chance to see any soccer yet. PHS boys soccer remain unbeaten in league after its 2-1 win over Arcadia. I wondered whether to drive around and catch the boys basketball game. If I had done that and stayed for the game, I would have seen PHS have its way with Arcadia on the court. Pasadena won, 82-35. Arcadia scored 8 points in the first quarter, 16 in the second quarter, 7 in the third quarter and 4 in the final quarter. Yup, I made the right call. When PHS boys soccer plays host to CV on Friday it’ll be for a right to remain in first place while the boys basketball game later that night will mean one team will no longer remain in first place. The boys basketball game that night is at 7 p.m. I”m already scheduled to cover Bishop Amat at La Salle on Friday night, but maybe I’ll switch and catch the Bulldogs in action. Looks like I’ll be wondering again Thursday about what to do.

In case you’re wondering, Muir won tonight as well in pretty big fashion, Muir beat Burroughs, 88-40 behind Taturs Mayberry’s dominating performance, scoring 42 points and 12 rebounds. Looks like Mayberry finally got rid of the stomach flu. Andre Frazier also had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Muir remains undefeated in the Pacific League, too. I’m telling you, that Muir-PHS game will be a SHOWDOWN!

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Girls Soccer: Late goal lifts Pasadena Poly past Prep.

Courtesy of Pasadena Poly

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

PASADENA – Somehow, Pasadena Poly’s Noel Askins found the outcome of Wednesday afternoon’s Prep League soccer showdown against visiting Flintridge Prep at the tip of her feet, the game’s minutes counting down, the sun long gone and darkness quickly setting in.

Askins slipped by defender Chelsea Johnson and took a pass from Sarah Mendenhall. She rushed toward the goal with Rebels goalkeeper Casey Cousineau charging at her. She took the only shot she could get off about 8 yards in front of the goal.

The shot immediately deflected off Cousineau’s right leg and began veering with a reverse lopsided spin toward the left goalpost.

“At first I had no idea where it would be,” Atkins said of her shot. “I looked up and saw that it was going toward the goal. I don’t remember breathing.”

By then the ball had loped across the goal line and Poly had a 3-2 victory.

“I just had to get there and had to score,” she said. “I was going at it with all I have and Casey was coming at it with all she’s got.”

A game that was extremely physical, with three yellow cards, resembled a Prep-Poly basketball game with the Rebels crazies wildly cheering for their team, and had a playoff-like atmosphere.

Poly (12-1) rallied from a 2-1 deficit with a pair of goals in the game’s final seven minutes.

“I was hoping to find Noel there,” Mendenhall said. “It was like in slow motion. The whole atmosphere was crazy.”

Mendenhallscored her second goal of the game with seven minutes to play to tie the game. Poly took advantage of its ninth corner kick of the game. Mendenhall sent the ball inside, but it was knocked out.

Katie Wardlaw took an outside shot that was quickly blocked by the defense. It bounded inside to Becca Hanel, whose shot also met the Rebels’ defense. But the ball popped outside to Mendenhall, who had a clear look. She easily got it by Cousineau.

“We haven’t been tested a lot this year,” Poly coach Pat Gray said. “They put us under a tremendous amount of pressure. We were in a position we hadn’t been in before and we took a dip and then found ourselves again.”

Kaelin King gave Prep the 2-1 lead 22 minutes into the half.

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