Baseball: Monrovia shutsout Temple City, sets up huge showdown with San Marino on Friday.

By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent

MONROVIA – Monrovia High School shut out visiting Temple City 4-0 on Tuesday to take over sole possession of first place in the Rio Hondo League for the first time this season.

“I guess we’re in first place, so we’re going to try to hold it and win league here,” Monrovia senior Justin Jones said.

Both of the Rams’ league loses have been to Monrovia (14-3, 7-1).

“It’s a tough league. Everything is very tight, so you can drop back in one day,” Monrovia co-coach Brad Blackmore said.

Wildcats pitchers Joe Mata and Brad Felty combined to hold the Rams scoreless while yielding only three hits. Mata (6-1) allowed all three hits, walked three and struck out three in the first five innings. After the junior left-hander walked the leadoff batter on four pitches to start the sixth, Felty took over and held Temple City (16-3-1, 6-2) hitless in two innings.

“We got out-executed by a better team. We got out-pitched by a better team. We just got beat by a better team,” Temple City coach Barry Bacon said.

Monrovia jumped on Rams starter Corey Copping (5-1) for three first-inning runs. Temple City’s Gabriel Juarez and Jonah Jarrard had consecutive one-out singles in the inning, but the Rams failed to score when Corey Copping hit into a double play.

Mata finished 2 for 2 with two doubles, two RBIs and a walk. The junior hit Copping’s first pitch of the fifth inning into deep center field for his second double.

Erik Cox took over as a pinch-runner and came around to score from third with two outs on a wild pitch.

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Baseball: Let’s face it, RHL race is down to three teams.

What started out like a five-team race in the Rio Hondo League has now trimmed to three: Temple City (16-2-1, 6-1), Monrovia (13-3, 6-1) and San Marino (15-6, 5-3).

It’s unlikely that South Pasadena (7-13, 1-6) and La Canada (8-11, 0-7) will make up enough ground to contend for one of the three playoff spots with about five games remaining in league. What the Tigers and Spartans can do, however, is play the role of spoilers. All five teams entered league with at least a three-game winning streak, giving the impression that every game in league would be quite the showdown, and that has been the case despite sub .500 records from the Tigers and Spartans, who have made it tough for the rest to stay in the hunt for a league title. So to say this league still belongs to the Monrovias and Temple Citys would be somewhat farfetch.

“I hesitate to say that and I wouldn’t say it because we survied the other day at La Canada,” Temple City coach Barry Bacon said. “(Anthony) Mizrahi pitched super well, and they’re one error away from not giving up the winning run.”

Nevertheless, the way it stands this week proves to be a big week, particularly for Monrovia which hosts Temple City today at 3:30 and then visits San Marino on Friday. The Titans are off today, so there’s a good chance San Marino coach Mack Paciorek will attend today’s big game. Temple City on Friday visits South Pasadena.

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Baseball: Gabrielino’s Acosta is State Player of the Week.

Three no-hitters so far this season with the latest gem coming last week, it’s easy to see why Gabrielino High School’s Angel Acosta has been chose as this week’s ESPNHS Cal-His Sports State Athlete of the week.

Acosta joinsEmilyLockwood of Norco and Kim Scarsella of Tamalpais, the softball winners this semester, and baseball’s Scott Silva of Clovis West as the spring semester winners.

Acosta last week threw a no-hitter, struck out 10 and drove in two runs to lead Gabrielino (10-7, 8-1) to an 8-0 Mission Valley League victory over South El Monte. Acosta, a senior right-hander, has an 18-strikeout performance this season against El Monte, 13 strikeouts against Arroyo and 16 strikeouts against Mountain View.

Acosta is 5-1 this season with a 0.61 ERA. He has 84 strikeouts this season with five complete games and four shutouts.

Against South El Monte last week, Acosta needed just 88 pitches (57 strikes) to complete his latest feat. He also recorded his 408th career strikeout,which tied him for 11th all time in the CIF-SS with New Life Christian’s Randy Betten (1988-90).Acosta is two behind 10th-place Ian Kennedy’s of La Quinta. With six league games left plus the playoffs, Acosta is on pace to finish at least eighth all time. Apple Valley Christian’s Craig VanHulzen holds the all-time mark of 646 strikeouts.

Acosta is just as potent at the plate. Last week in a 7-0 win over Arroyo, Acosta went 3 for 3 and drove in a run.

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Star-News/Tribune All-Star Game: Rosters are set!

Saturday, April 28 at Damien High
Girls game, 4 p.m.; Boys game, 6 p.m.

Boys: Tribune 98, Star-News 87, Star-News leads series, 5-3.
Girls: Tribune 80, Star-News 69, Star-News leads series, 5-3.

If your name is on the list below all you have to do is show up to practice and ready to play. Your coach/athletic director should have given you the message. If not, e-mail me at for all the info or simply read it in the story below.

COACH: Tim Tucker, Pasadena

Blake Hamilton, Pasadena, Sr.
John Haywood, Pasadena, Sr.
Dion Nelson, Muir, Sr.
Jessy Cantinol, Renaissance Academy, Sr.
Vince De Guzman, Renaissance Academy, Sr.
Ali Jabalameli, South Pasadena, Sr.
Javon Shields, South Pasadena, Sr.
Darrell Dansby, La Canada, Sr.
Taylor Lagace, Arcadia, Sr.
Robby Haines, Arcadia, Sr.
Jeffrey Radzwill, Arcadia, Sr.
PJ Dunn, Maranatha, Sr.
Garren Llorens, Maranatha, Sr.
Jeff Briegel, La Salle, Sr.
Jordan Hill, La Salle, Sr.

COACHES: Hon Trieu, Keppel and Kim Weber, Pasadena Poly

Shaela Flynn, Muir, Sr.
Tahniya Sweatt, Muir, Sr.
Brandi Dubose, Muir, Sr.
Michelle Miller, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
Gina Henderson, Monrovia, Sr.
Domynyque Johnson, Monrovia, Sr.
Kaela Barnes, Monrovia, Sr.
Kelsey Nakamura, South Pasadena, Sr.
Sydney Zarate, La Canada, Sr.
Kristin Leung, San Marino, Sr.
Megan Rutherford, Pasadena, Senior
Sandra Gao, Keppel, Sr.
Lana Haddad, Flintridge Sacred Heart, Sr.
Carrie Morris, Mayfield, Sr.
Devanie Davis, Rio Hondo Prep, Sr.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

The rosters are set for next week’s 9th annual Star-News/Tribune All-Star Basketball Game at Damien High.

Pasadena High School’s Tim Tucker will coach the boys and Keppel’s Hon Trieu will team up with Pasadena Poly’s Kim Weber to coach the girls. Tucker and Trieu will look for some redemption going into next week. Tucker two years ago lost and Trieu last season lost along with the boys, marking the first time in the history of the event that the Star-News teams were swpet. The Star-News boys and girls lead the all-time serires, 5-3. There will be a 3-point contest at halftime of both games. The girls game is expected to tip off at 5 and the boys at 6:30.

Tucker and Trieu were selected Star-News coaches of the year. Tucker led Pasadena to its fifth CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA championship while Trieu led Keppel to the semifinals of the Division 2A playoffs.

It was only two years ago when Tucker, taking part in his fourth all-star event, lost in the waning minutes.

“I still remember that game and I remember how they had seemed to practice more than we did that year,” Tucker recalled. “That was my first time losing in that game I believe. This year we’ll come in with a little bit more passion.”

Trieu, in his second season at the helm, still has a hard time thinking back at when the Star-News, 80-69.

“Why you gotta remind me of that,” quipped Trieu. “To win would be nice. You don’t want to be coach of the year and then lose in the all-star game.”

The boys team will feauture one of the premiere shooting guards in the area in Pasadena’s Blake Hamilton. The 6-foot-5 standout currently is on a recruiting trip to Hawaii. Arizona State and New Mexico State also have come into the picture. Fellow senior John Haywood, one of the more athletic guards in the area, is also on the team. Muir’s Dion Nelson and Renaissance Academy’s Vince De Guzman should give the Star-News a formidable backcourt. Renaissance Academy’s Jessy Cantino, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound power forward, will provide some serious post presence.

The boys will practice on Tuesday and Thursday of next week at Pasadena High from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Trieu this season requested to have Weber join his staff. The two are longtime friends who have never coached together. They met while playing on the basketball teams at Occidental College where they graduated in 1996 with their Bachelor’s and Master’s. Weber on board also gives her one last chance to coach the area’s all-time leading scorer in Michelle Miller, the three-time Star-News Player of the Year who recently was named by ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports as the CIF State Division V Player of the Year.

“She coached Michelle Miller and her insight on Michelle will definitely help me,” Trieu said. “Weber is the perfect coach to do so. And I’ve never coached with her so this would be a great opportunity.”

Miller will cap her decorated high school career in the all-star game and leaves a storied legacy at Pasadena Poly and in the San Gabriel Valley. Miller, a point guard headed to Princeton, averaged 32.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season.She finished second (3,331) in the CIF-Southern Section for most points in a career behind Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller (3,446), who set the record at Riverside Poly from 1978 to 1982. Her addition to the roster gives the Star-News the best scorer in the entire San Gabriel Valley.

Miller will have a strong supporting cast, led by Muir’s trio inShaela Flynn,Tahniya Sweatt andBrandi Dubose. Flintridge Sacred Heart’sLana Haddad will provide some height and stout rebounding ability while Monrovia’s Gina Henderson, the Rio Hondo League most valuable player and first-team All-CIF selection, gives the Star-News a strong 1-2 scoring punch alongside Miller.

The girls first practice is Wednesday at Pasadena Poly from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

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Baseball Video Preview: Crescenta Valley at Arcadia is a big Pacific League showdown. We won’t be there, and you can blame the 7 p.m. start time.

Arcadia grad Lionce Haggerty produced this fantastic video hyping up the highly-anticipated Crescenta Valley-Arcadia showdown in the Pacific League tonight at 7 at Arcadia. We won’t be at the game because the last two 7 p.m. games we’ve covered at Arcadia have ABSOLUTELY killed us on deadline. If I remember correctly, our Keith Lair covered a game where the sprinklers made the game longer along with extra innings. Lair even filed a story where the final score didn’t make the game story because the game went way past deadline. We just can’t afford this again, and this is exactly why we hate 7 p.m. games. You’re probably asking, “but you guys cover all football games that start at 7 p.m. What’s the difference” … you’re right, we do cover every Friday night football game, but the big difference is we get extended deadlines during the football season specifically for high school football coverage. It’s a tough decision, but we’ve learned the hard way. Hope you understand.

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All-Area Boys Soccer: Armand Bagramyan is Player of the Year; Bosco Tech’s Diego Back, in his first season, earns Coach of the Year.

Player of the Year: Armand Bagramyan, La Canada, Jr.
Coach of the Year: Diego Back, Bosco Tech, First year

GK: Jonathan Ibarra, Bosco Tech, Sr.
FW: Matt Laterza, St. Francis, Sr.
FW: Andrew Powers, La Salle, Sr.
FW: Reed Miller, Monrovia, Jr.
MF: Austin Frank, St. Francis, Sr.
MF: Jeff Becker, La Canada, Sr.
MF: Benoy Menon, Pasadena Poly, Sr.
DEF: Cesco Luna, La Salle, Sr.
DEF: Eric Maldonado, Monrovia, Sr.
DEF: Jeremy Viramontes, Bosco, Sr.
DEF: Thomas Banks, St. Francis, Sr.

GK: Graham Labran-Boyd, La Canada.
FW: Smail Belhamra, Pasadena, Jr.
FW: Diego Gonzalez, Arcadia, Jr.
MF: Hayden Berge, La Salle, Sr.
MF: Armaan Zare, La Canada, So.
MF: Eric Bocanegra, St. Francis, Sr.
MF: Briley Venti, La Salle, Jr.
MF: James Alewine, Monrovia, Jr.
DEF: Aiden Tourani, La Canada, Jr.
DEF: Steven Blackwell, S. Pas., Sr.
DEF: John Silk, San Marino, Sr.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
Sara Reingewirtz/Staff Photographer

It wasn’t a fluke, that much is clear.

When La Canada High School’s Armand Bagramyan netted 21 goals and eight assists as a sophomore last year, pundits pointed to the fact Bagramyan had the luxury of space around him with fellow stars Cameron Meeker (24 goals, 19 assists) and Matt Canatta (21 goals, 20 assists) commanding most of the attention from a swarm of defenders.

This season, Bagramyan put doubters to rest for good. The junior forward attacked with relentless fashion, waltzing his way around defenders before shifting into third gear and bursting past them with breakaway speed. He went on to score 23 goals and 15 assists in a season where he missed four consecutive games because of a lingering injury and was limited to no more than one half in at least three more games, a couple in which he played less than a minute because of the same injury.

Still, Bagramyan proved to be the real deal, becoming the most prolific scorer while leading La Canada to a third consecutive unbeaten season in the Rio Hondo League and a second-round appearance in the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs. It’s the third consecutive season the Spartans boast a player who has scored at least 20 goals in the season. So it’s no surprise that Bagramyan is the third consecutive player out of La Canada High to earn Star-News Player of the Year in the 2011-12 season.

It’s becoming clear that La Canada soccer doesn’t rebuild. The Spartans simply reload. But it’s very possible that Bagramyan faced the toughest challenge with sole attention focused on him. That was the case in the second round of the playoffs against Mountain View with at times surrounded by six defenders.

“He didn’t have the same supporting cast as last year,” La Canada coach Alex Harrison said. “Six guys defending one player, that took away our whole offense.”

Bagramyan, who also earned first-team All-CIF honors and the Rio Hondo League’s most valuable offensive player, carried himself on the field with the same kind of swagger that made Meeker (Sacramento State) and Canatta (University of Hartford) Division I athletes.

“It shows what kind of great athletes come to this school,” Bagramyan said. “Being compared to Cameron and Matt and getting this award like them too is big for me.”

But what he possess is prototype size, breakaway speed and strength. It’s arguably what makes the junior an even more threat and potential Division I recruit. Bagramyan set out to work in the offseason and improve his work ethic. It showed on the pitch in his ability to create space working off the ball. He’s as versatile as they come, a forward who doesn’t shy from physical play. In fact, he thrives off it. Bagramyan was made captain this season, just another example of his strong work ethic paying dividends.

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All-Area Girls Basketball: Pasadena Poly’s Michelle Miller, Keppel’s Hon Trieu sweep area’s top awards for second consecutive season.

Above: Pasadena Poly’s Michelle Miller is the 2011-12 Star-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year (Walt Mancini / Staff Photographer)

Player of the year: Michelle Miller, Pasadena Poly, senior
Coach of the year: Hon Trieu, Keppel, Second season

Imari Brown, Duarte, Junior
Emoni Jackson, Muir, Sophomore
Alyson Lock, Keppel, Junior
Gina Henderson, Monrovia, Senior
Kandyce Smith, La Salle, Sophomore

Melody Chang, Arcadia, Junior
Samantha Lee, Keppel, Junior
Megan Rutherford, Pasadena, Senior
Melody Gauthier, Rosemead, junior
Shaela Flynn, Muir, Senior

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

It could be easy to dismiss all of Michelle Miller’s eye-popping numbers.

The 5-foot, 10-inch senior has finished her high school career as the second-leading scorer in CIF-Southern Section girls basketball history, behind only Cheryl Miller, and fifth-best in the state. During this past season, the Pasadena Poly guard passed legends Diana Taurasi and Lisa Leslie on the scoring list.

She also had the CIF-SS’ fifth-highest point total for one season, finished with the third-best scoring average and finished ninth in career 3-pointers.

But many have questioned those numbers, considering Poly, with its high school enrollment of about 400 students, plays in the Prep League, certainly not one of the most competitive in the Southern Section.

The rap was, could Miller thrive against the best teams, against the best defenders, in Southern California?

“It was true,” admits Miller, who has been selected the Star-News Player of the Year for the third consecutive time. “But I think I was able to have the same point production against the better schools.”

Miller proved time and again that she could face that type of competition. In a nonleague game against St. Anthony this season, she scored 42 points. In her final game for Poly, in the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs, she had 36 points in a 68-65 loss to Bell-Jeff, and the Guards advanced to the Division 4AA semifinals.

“One of the best compliments I would get was whenwe would play teams like St.Anthony or Bell-Jeff,” she said.”Those teams and coaches were complimentary and I do think that made (my numbers) legitimate.

“Yes, to a certain degree I had to prove myself. But playing club against other top local club teams, those girls do respect what I have accomplished.”

In a way, things got even tougher for Miller this season. She led the Panthers to the CIF-SS Division 5A championship in her junior year, earning the division’s player of the year honors. She averaged a career-high 33.0 points that season.

But because of the success enjoyed by the Panthers, and fellow league rival Chadwick, Poly was bumped up three divisions to Division 4AA, arguably the second-toughest division in the CIF-SS this season.

Miller was not the division’s MVP. She was not even selected to the All-CIF-SS first team.

It certainly wasn’t because of her numbers. She averaged 32.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. The Panthers have won their last 25 Prep League games and they finished the season 22-5.

Those numbers are more impressive considering Miller, a guard who played nearly every position this season, sat out the fourth quarter in nearly every game. By the time the third quarter rolled around, the Panthers consistently had a 30- or 40-point lead.

If Miller had played in those 22 fourth quarters in which she sat, it is likely she would have easily passed Cheryl Miller, who scored 3,446 in four years at Riverside Poly from 1978 to 1982. Michelle Miller finished with 3,331 points, only 115 behind.

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All-Area Boys Basketball: Pasadena’s Brandon Jolley is Player of the Year; Pasadena’s Tim Tucker, is Coach of the Year.

Above: Pasadena’s Brandon Jolley, the Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year (Staff photo by Walt Mancini)

Player of the Year: Brandon Jolley, Pasadena, Jr.
Coach of the Year: Tim Tucker, Pasadena, 17th season

Forward: Blake Hamilton, Pasadena, Sr.
Forward: Jelani Mitchell, Muir, Jr.
Forward: Jessy Cantinol, Renaissance Academy, Sr.
Guard: Jeremy Major, Maranatha, Jr.
Guard: Ajon Efferson, Pasadena, So.

Forward: Ali Jabalameli, South Pasadena, Sr.
Forward: Darrell Dansby, La Canada, Sr.
Guard: John Haywood, Pasadena, Sr.
Guard: Dion Nelson, Muir, Sr.
Guard: Vince De Guzman, Renaissance Academy, Sr.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

Brandon Jolley will tell be the first to say he didn’t maximize his potential last year as a sophomore on the Pasadena High School boys basketball team.

The raw talent was there, but the hunger, drive and determination pieces still hadn’t fallen into place. Jolley, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior, showed glimpses of what he could become, giving way for tremendous upside.

Jolley’s strong off-season work didn’t translate on the court immediately, through no fault of his own. Jolley, a power forward, suffered an ankle injury at the start of the season and missed a key games against powerhouses La Verne Lutheran and L.A. Price. But the resiliency was evident, and soon his talent would be as well. Jolley fought his way back in the lineup, earning all-tournament honors in Sacramento and San Diego where the Bulldogs won the prestigious Mt. Carmel tournament, the first sign of not only where Pasadena was headed, but Jolley, too.

His progress was obvious, his talent coming to fruition. Jolley led a resurgent Pasadena team reinvigorated by its lone loss to Crescenta Valley. The Bulldogs came bounced back in the regular-season finale against Muir, as Jolley led the way with a game-high 28 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. The surge continued in Pasadena’s run through the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA playoffs as Jolley would reel off a dominating performance that included 11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals against Bonita in the quarterfinals, a perfect blend guard skills and power forward mindset.

“I think he definitely rode us through the playoffs,” Pasadena coach Tim Tucker said.

Jolley then dropped 22 points and 10 rebounds on Beverly Hills before completing the masterpiece in the finals against Arroyo Grande with a game-high 18 points, four assists and two blocks, leading Pasadena to its fifth CIF championship in school history.

Jolley finished the season in dominating fashion with 19.9 points, nine rebounds and three assists, helping Pasadena reach the semifinals of the CIF State Southern California Regionals. For his turnaround, dedication and dominance on the court, Jolley, along with being the CIF-SS Division 3AAA co-player of the year, is the 2011-12 Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year.

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Baseball: Monrovia exacts vengeance, beats Titans.

By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent

MONROVIA – Joe Mata pitched a complete game, giving up four hits, in Monrovia High School’s 2-1 victory over visiting San Marino in Rio Hondo League baseball action Thursday afternoon.
“We’re hungry. We’re out here trying to get this league title,” Mata said.

The victory keeps Monrovia (11-3, 4-1) atop the league standings and evens the season series at one game apiece with one more to go. San Marino (10-4, 3-2) had entered Thursday’s game, which was rescheduled from Wednesday due to rain, with a share of the lead in the Rio Hondo, but the loss slips the Titans back behind co-leaders Monrovia and Temple City.

Mata threw early strikes and stayed ahead of batters to earn his fourth victory of the season. The junior left-hander struck out eight while recording first-pitch strikes on 16 of the 27 batters he faced. Of Mata’s 93 pitches, only 19 were balls and only two Titans batters reached a three-ball count – with neither reaching base.

“(Mata) was able to throw three pitches for strikes in early counts. You know, its a lot tougher for a high school kid to hit a ball 0-1 than it is 1-0,” Monrovia co-coach Brad Blackmore said.

San Marino starting pitcher Garret Glazier went five innings, allowing all six of the Monrovia hits and both runs. The senior was also the starter earlier this season for the Titans in their 2-1 over Monrovia at San Marino on March 16.

Monrovia took the lead on Glazier in the fifth inning, breaking a 1-1tie with the help of some defensive miscues by the Titans infield. David Perez led off with a single that dropped into shallow right field. Justin Jones then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Perez out at second. Reed Miller then reached on a throwing error.
Nick Carino then hit a ground ball to second baseman Keiran Ryan who threw to Hill covering second, but the senior shortstop was slow in turning the double play, allowing Carino to reach first safely and Jones to score from second on the fielder’s choice.

“We just couldn’t come up with the ball in a couple scenarios and just couldn’t get the handle on the ball,” San Marino coach Mack Paciorek said of the Titans’ fifth inning. “Little things like that come back to cost you.”

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