GIRLS HOOPS: Keppel’s run ends as JW North rallies past Aztecs in second half …

JW North 68, Keppel 59 — Keppel blew a 16-point lead as JW North rallied to knock off the Aztecs and punch their ticket to Friday’s Division 2AA championship game. It marked the third straight season that Keppel’s run has ended in the semifinals. The Aztecs appear to be a good bet to make the state playoffs, though. So, there’s that. FULL STORY

Keith Birmingham’s PHOTO GALLERY of JW North-Keppel

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  • Rich Kitagawa

    It was a hard fought game by both teams. In the end North size proved to be the difference in the end result. The biggest problem for the Keppel girls had nothing to do with the JW North team. Late in the first half and the entire second half the Keppel administration and security would not let the student body and the members of the boys and girls basketball teams stand up and cheer. During most of the first half the crowd noise bothered North. The loud ovations when the Keppel players hit 3 pointers and the louder cheers when the defense forced turnovers. During the tough parts of the game when the Aztecs needed some energy from the crowd they crowd was not allowed to help. Whatever happened to school spirit. I went to a Flintridge Prep game last week and the student body never sat down. It was great. Hey Keppel administration if I pay $8 I can stand up if I choose. To bad you felt it necessary to intimidate the kids who only wanted to watch their friends win.

    • PotKettleBlack

      Anyone else find it laughable that Kitagawa piped in on this? Coach Kitagawa, you have had your own issues at SP without wasting time chiming in on Keppel. As for intimidating kids, have you played any more podcasts over the gym’s sound system lately? Oh wait, you got run out SP…you don’t have a gym to bully kids in anymore…

      • ghost321

        No, because he makes valid points. Sounds like a disgruntled former player…

  • If Keppel’s admin legitimately did this, shame on them. That place is known as one of the better home court advantages around. The fans are very loud and disruptive. God forbid they ever saw the old gym, where you needed to be an NBA team to get out of there with a win. I would hate to think that admin peeps took away one of Keppel’s biggest edges about playing at home.

    • Coach DW

      Aram, are you seeing our student responses?

  • Bubba

    Why would anybody expect a different result when the Aztecs use the exact same strategy 3 years in a row. The team cannot go all out full court press with a short bench and expect to win. They’ve ran out of gas every year. I feel sorry for the girls. If the coach wants to play that style, he needs to develop a bench.

    • Big

      …And that would also be one of Keppel’s strengths. It can be a double edged sword, but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong strategy.

      Are you their coach? I think not.

    • Irritated

      I think you answered your own question. The team has been to the semi-finals 3 years in a row. That would put them up there with the likes of Mater Dei, Troy, Alemany and some of the other powers in girls basketball. Keppel is not blessed with monster post players of Division I type players. What they have are smart well coached players who play the game the right way. The complaint for three years is that the coach does not use or develop his bench. You ran one coach out and his replacement had the same result. Keppel runs a year round program. They play a lot of games in the summer and off season. Don’t you think that the coaches would play more kids if the kids were capable. The only factor when it comes with fatigue as I see it is not from pressing, It is from the effort needed for Keppels smaller players having to stop the opponents who are much taller and much bigger game in and game out. Instead of complaining why dont you go find the program a couple of 6 foot post players to help the team.

      • SGV Coach

        Mater Dei, Troy, and Alemany have all made the finals and won so saying Keppel is up there is a little bit of a stretch. Keppel is one of the most successful programs in the San Gabriel Valley along with Muir and Bishop Amat. One has to ask why they have had 4 coaches in the last decade? They had the two time Star News Coach of the Year in Hon Trieu and he is gone. So does this mean Joe K is next? That would be dumb. It sucks that the Admin at Keppel took the fun out of high school sports but games are won and loss by the players on the court. Keppel was up at half right? When did the Admin tell the kids to sit down? The fourth quarter when they got outscored 24-9? I feel that Irritated hit the nail on the head. Keppel is playing with kids much shorter than most teams that are in the semi’s and you have to respect what Keppel had done year in year out. They play really hard and are fundamentally sound. Keppel does have a D-I player in Ally Lock. Now you have to give her props because she is gonna be huge role model for all the shorter girls in the Asian Community who love to play basketball. Put your mind and heart into it and it can happen. Keep your head up Keppel. You got State ahead of you.

        • Coach

          “Mater Dei, Troy, and Alemany have all made the finals and won so saying Keppel is up there is a little bit of a stretch”

          Mater Dei and Troy both lost in the semis not the finals, unless you are talking about last year, which is not an argument because that was last season.


          • SGV Coach

            Sorry Coach…I was talking about in the history of the program not this year specifically. Etiwanda beat MD and Santiago beat Troy in this year’s the semi’s. I am hoping Keppel regroups and makes a deep run in State. They play great team ball.

  • Coach DW

    First off I would like to say that JW North played a magnificent game and more importantly their entire program was extremely gracious in victory. I can’t speak any more highly of their coaches and kids as many of the Huskies were consoling our girls congratulating them on a successful season. Hats off to them. Class program. That being said, I would like to turn the attention to another issue at hand that has nothing to do with JW North’s performance. Let me reiterate that they played a magnificent game and deserved that victory. We will be rooting them on in the championship game.

    Our administration did our student body an extreme disservice. The exuberance and zeal that characterizes our student body has been stifled the last few years due to an administration that is completely out of touch with their students. In fact, our students would describe the experience at school as feeling like they are in prison…and this coming from 4.0 students and ASB officers. And this treatment was no different Wednesday night. Our student body section was forced to quiet down several times and sit down during the intense second half. Apparently someone from the JW North side did not like the way our kids were cheering and started yelling at our kids. Mind you this person yelling at our students identified himself as a member of Riverside’s media. True to the character of our admin, they failed to support our kids and instead of asking that person who was becoming violent to settle down, address with JW North’s administration or throw him out of the gym, made our kids sit and quiet down. It was the most disgusting display of mismanagement of students witnessed by many alums and fans.

    There will be many more first hand accounts that our students will share on this blog. Please do not let this fall on deaf ears as our kids deserve an administration — adults — who will treat them as people rather than numbers. Thank you for your time.

    Again, congratulations to JW North. Go get that ring! Aztec Nation is rooting for you guys!

  • Eric V.

    To be honest, I wasn’t planning on doing anything about this,
    I was going to do what most teenage boys would do, and complain and moan and
    tell all my friends about how much I don’t like what’s going on, but the abundant
    support from all the alumni, teachers, parents, friends, students and in short
    Keppel basketball fans surely changed my mind. So to them I give my special

    Allow me to give you the perspective of how a current MKHS
    student felt like at that game.

    If you’ve
    ever come to one of our girl’s CIF games, you might know me as that intense,
    crazy, out of his mind fan. One of the many who stand in the front (sit? …I
    really don’t know anymore) courtside, cheering on our Lady Aztecs. I am
    currently an MKHS junior on the boys basketball team who loves to see our girls
    team play well and win. When those girls play well, and I get up and scream,
    and chant, and jump on top of the guy next to me, I feel as though I win too. I
    see this throughout the gym, everyone feels the same, and for that moment no
    matter who you are I feel a family connection with those who off campus I might
    hate. Basketball may just be a game, but sometimes it’s more than that. It
    brings people together, and last Wednesday the lady Aztecs brought over 1,600
    fans together who all paid good money.

    In the last CIF game, I was told to tone down my cheering,
    stop talking to the individual players themselves, (which none of the fans were
    doing) to not to say anything disrespectful, racial, or derogatory to the other
    team, (which again none of the fans did) I was THREATENED along with many
    others to be kicked out of the game, and finally what I will remember most for
    the rest of my high school cheering days at Keppel is, TO SIT DOWN! I recall
    having FOUR administrators come up to my face and tell the whole section as
    well as me sit down, multiple times. Even after our team scored and I got up to
    give my applause, moments later the administration would tell me to sit back
    down. Now I’ve played at many other high school gyms, and against many other
    high school fans who root for their own team, one thing in common with the schools
    with fans as intense as I is that it seems those fans aren’t allowed to sit down. As a
    passionate fan of all sports, I believe no fan should ever sit down if they are
    rooting for their team on home court. Standing up and clapping are the easiest
    ways to express support for your team.

    After being told to sit down numerous times I eventually
    asked one of the administrators, “why are you telling us to sit down?” In
    response they told me that we were blocking the view of the game for the spectators
    behind us. When I turned around to see for myself I saw the entire section
    standing, and when everyone is standing, how could the view be obstructed to
    those behind? Because those behind were also standing! As the respectful
    students we are at Mark Keppel, we listened to the administration because in
    our rules assembly, the administration tells us basically that their word is
    the law, and they wouldn’t tell us to do anything bad, so we have to listen to
    them. As J.W. North began to make their comeback run, I hear fans from behind
    telling us to stand up and cheer. So the next time we were told to sit down, I
    told the administrator that the people behind us who’s view we were allegedly
    blocking, told us to stand up! To that I got no response just the tedious
    phrase to sit back down.

    With J.W. North inches away from taking the lead, I finally
    decided to stand up for myself, literally. At that point I didn’t care if I got
    kicked out, our team needed us, and so I urged the fans to cheer on and stand
    up. Sadly, I believe it was too late, J.W. North already gained enough
    confidence, and took the lead away from us. In the fourth quarter when things
    were looking bad for the lady Aztecs our fans tried our best to bring back any
    lost momentum. By the way, in about the last five minutes of the fourth quarter
    when the game was close, or we were down, the administration never said a word
    again telling us to sit down. In my head I thought, “Why now, when we’re losing
    but cheering extra hard, is the administration not telling us to sit down?” We
    stayed standing those last five minutes and nothing was done by administration
    to stop us.

    Anyways I’m just disappointed and frankly tired of the administration
    using their power to make us do what anybody with common sense would think to
    be ridiculous. All I want is to be treated with respect, the respect we are not
    forced but nearly forced to give them. I understand that there are rules they
    must enforce, and there are rules in which we as students must follow, but being
    lied to, (telling us that face paint is against CIF rules) being manipulated,
    and ultimately being disrespected is what I want to change. And for all those
    who post their own thoughts, it seems you agree too. Even if the disrespect is as
    little as using an improper tone (we’ve all heard it, whether it be from our
    friends, boss, teacher, co-worker, or administration) I just want to be treated
    as a human being. As a future MKHS alumni, I want that family connection with
    all who are affiliated with Keppel, administration included. Thank you again to
    all who support our cause for change, and expressing your thoughts and
    opinions. Please let’s finally do something about this.

    • For everyone who doesn’t know what happened at the girls’ CIF semi finals game against JW North, I feel that everyone should be informed. The Keppel administration told the students in the student section to sit down numerous times, not letting us cheer or show school spirit by standing and motivating the girls. We were told that what we had done was against CIF rules, but last time I checked, which was 24 hours ago, said NOTHING about standing up and cheering on our team. Another incident that shows our administration didn’t do the more correct thing was that a fan from JW North confronted the Keppel fans and started to “tell us off” in an inappropriate manner. To make things worse, One of our fans supposedly got confrontational, with the JW North fan starting this confrontation. Where it went wrong was that OUR administration sided with the opposing team’s fan and the Keppel students were then told to sit down, time after time, not letting us express our school spirit in the APPROPRIATE way we wanted to. If you feel this is wrong, and want to be able to show school spirit not only at basketball games, but every school event, please like this post to show that we should be able to support our own school the way we want that is not breaking any rules. Your support will be highly appreciated.

  • Bob

    Prentice, just leave.

  • Aztecs4Life

    Sorry…my family was a few of those people sitting behind that group and the reason we were standing is because the rows in front of us were. This started with the boys in front. My family and I paid our $25 to watch the game. Our options were to miss the game or stand up. We weren’t alone in having to grudgingly make that decision. We personally think it’s a little silly and bad sportsmanship to blame this for the loss. North played a great game and didn’t break when they could have early in that game. This sounds like much ado about nothing. Congratulations to North and go Aztecs in the state championships!

    • ghost321

      I don’t think anybody is blaming this for the loss. It definitely contributed to the energy (or lack thereof) that some players feed off of from the spectators.