The bump up in class that many local fans felt was needed for Monrovia is now almost a reality. The Wildcats are headed to the Central Division, along with the rest of the Rio Hondo League, unless they decide to appeal (and win).
Temple City is expected to name former Ribet Academy coach Rob Castaneda as its new varsity football head coach.
Castaneda replaces former head coach Mike McFarland, who resigned this offseason after four seasons at the school. Area fans might know Castaneda’s sons Matt and Tim, both of whom played at Los Altos in the mid-2000s.
Aram’s take: Go Rams!
By Aram Tolegian
For a few moments early in the second half, it appeared the East might be in jeopardy of seeing its domination in the Hall of Fame All-Star Game come to an end.
Then, La Serna’s Frankie Palmer took over.
Palmer led two second-half touchdown drives and the East boosted its winning streak in the series to seven with a 24-13 win over the West on Friday night at West Covina High. The East leads the overall series 23-10-2.
“It’s an awesome experience,” said Palmer, who was named East Most Valuable Player. “To be among all these great players and I got (MVP), it’s just an awesome experience.”
The West led 7-3 at halftime and was moving the ball well on its first drive of the second half when disaster struck. Bishop Amat safety Michael Gonzales picked off an errant pass and returned it 64 yards for a 10-7 East lead.
Arcadia and Crescenta Valley’s key Pacific League showdown was halted in the 8th inning due to rain on Friday night with the score tied 4-4.
The question now is whether the two teams will be allowed to resume the game or if it will go down in the record books as a tie. The decision could be key to the league championship race as both teams entered Friday tied with Pasadena for first place.
Pasadena beat Muir earlier Friday and would hold a half-game lead with six to play if Arcadia-CV is ruled a tie. It will be up to the Pacific League to determine whether a game can end in a tie or be resumed.
Aram’s Take: The vibe here is that this will be a tie.
Pasadena is there for the taking. I know it. You know it. Maranatha High School knows it. And more importantly, the school is doing something about it.
Pasadena is well known as an athletics hotbed. It’s also no secret that its public school system, especially in terms of athletics, is a bit of a wreck. Coaches are woefully underpaid and the amount of turnover is staggering in terms of coaches and athletes is staggering.
Who better to take advantage of this than Maranatha?
And why not? There’s currently a pipeline of Pasadena football talent extending to the San Fernando Valley and beyond where schools like Alemany, Crespi and Oaks Christian are being bankrolled by our local talent.
What if those kids looking for an alternative to Pasadena public schools decided to stay close to home and pursue their athletic dreams locally? Maranatha, with its growing list of top-notch coaches, is doing whatever it can to make itself look like the top option.
It simply can’t be on accident that in the last year Maranatha has hired Mr. Basketball in Pasadena, Tim Tucker, to head its boys hoops program. And now four-time CIF champion Steve Bogan has been brought in to coach the football team.
It doesn’t stop there. In the girls basketball program, there’s a marquee name on the coaching staff like Tye’sha Fluker, who starred at Muir before attending Tennessee and playing with four teams in the WNBA. Think she can teach the younger generation a thing or two?
The baseball program has former Temple City standout pitcher Ryan Tucker, who had a brief career recently in Major League Baseball with the Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers, on staff as pitching coach.
Again, none of these things are happening on accident. The collection of coaches being assembled on campus at Maranatha isn’t by mistake. It’s almost as if Maranatha has realized what so many schools fail to understand — the best way to build a thriving high school is through athletics. Especially for a private school.
And the best way to build a great athletics program is to first start by hiring the best coaches around. Many of Maranatha’s athletic programs are already successful. The football team won a league championship last fall. The boys basketball came close to tying powerful Village Christian for the league title. The girls basketball team won league. The baseball team is currently tied for first.
Simply winning league championships won’t be enough. Bogan will be expected to do that and then follow it with postseason success. It won’t be easy because building a football program is the longest job a coach can have. But Bogan is starting with a good foundation and should some of that Pasadena talent come trickling in, things may get real good, real fast.
Tucker is already well on his way. Maranatha had several transfers into the program last year and there figures to be another good haul this season. The girls basketball team just saw standout Channon Fluker, formerly of Muir, earn Star-News Player of the Year honors.
The ball is already rolling at Maranatha. The city is there for the taking. The coaches are in place to take it both in terms of getting talent in and knowing what to do with it when they’ve got it.
We will never know what goes on behind closed doors at Maranatha, but we don’t need to hear the conversation when the actions are right under our noses. Maranatha is making its move. It’s bidding to become a Pasadena sports powerhouse. And if you’re good here, you’re good anywhere.
In a city where so many other schools are content to sit back and let it happen, who’s really going to bet against the Minutemen?
By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
LA VERNE – Which side of the San Gabriel Valley is the best basketball played?
For one night, it appears its the east side that reigns surpreme after sweeping the boys and girls games Friday night in the 11th Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic at Damien High School.
The Tribune All-Stars, getting 20 points from Walnut’s Rob Harrelson and 19 from Glendora’s Thomas Rico, rallied to beat their Star-News counterparts, 89-81.
In the girls game, Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley capped arguably one of the top area high school careers by scoring 18 points in leading the Tribune to a 85-60 victory.
Wheatley and Rico were their team’s game MVPs. The Star-News MVPs were Muir’s Dejon Williams, who had 12 points in the boys game, and the Mustangs’ Chy’annea Hodges, who had 11.
The Tribune now leads the boys’ series, 6-5, with the Tribune trimming the Star-News’ lead in the girls series to 6-5.
“This was great,” Rico said. “They were saying we’re undersized, so it’s great to come out and get the win.”
The Star-News, which rallied back from a 21-point deficit to tie the score at halftime, 44-44, looked like it might split the doubleheader when Alhambra’ Miles Ford (13 points) hit a 3-pointer and Keppel’s Adam Thompson converted a fast-break layup for a 70-66 lead. But then Rico, one of the area’s best 3-point shooters, got hot, scoring the next 12 points on three 3-pointers and a 3-point play for a 78-72 lead with 3:23 left.
The Star-News cut it to 87-81 with less than a minute left, but missed back-to-back 3-pointers with 30 seconds to play.
“I just wanted to make sure we got the win,” Rico said. “It got close, and I was able to take over and get us the win.”
The first half of the boys game was two halves in one before the teams settled for a 44-44 deadlock.
The Tribune, which got 13 first-half points from Harrelson, opened with a 34-13 blitz. Harrelson; Damien’s Cade Cunniff, who was a late replacement, and Glendora’s Thomas Rico each hit 3-pointers during the run.
But the Star-News team rallied back with runs of 11-0 and 20-8 to tie it at 44 at halftime.
In the girls game, the Tribune All-Stars put it away early in the second half after opening with an 18-3 surge for a 56-30 lead with about 10 minutes to play. Wheatley, who also had six steals, scored 10 in the second half to put the finishing touches on her high school career, which includes being a four-time All-Area player.
“It feels good to finish with all these amazing girls,” Wheatley said. “It was really fun, and to play with these amazing players was a great way to end my high school career.”
Bishop Amat’s Paulina Santana and Dagmar Ramirez had 15 and nine points, respectively, for the Tribune
IMPORTANT: If you’re a player or parent trying to find out about practice times, please contact Aram Tolegian at email@example.com
GAME: FRIDAY, APRIL 11 at Damien HS
Boys: 8 p.m.
Girls: 6 p.m.
STAR-NEWS BOYS TEAM
Coaches: Ray O’Brien and Jeff Stephens, St. Francis
BOYS TEAM PRACTICE TIMES ARE: Mon, Apr. 7 and Wed. Apr. 9 at St. Francis HS, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Ajon Efferson, Pasadena
Rayjon Moore, Pasadena
Steve Herve, Renaissance
Marty Gaizuaskas, Renaissance
Josh Ayaji, San Gabriel Academy
Dejon Williams, Muir
Evan Crawford, St. Francis
Noah Willerford, St. Francis
Musa Daama, Maranatha
Nick Springer, Maranatha
Goren Lee, Temple City
Adam Thompson, Keppel
Robert Cartwright, Flint. Prep
Justus Tucker, Monrovia
Will Genske, Pasadena Poly
STAR-NEWS GIRLS TEAM
Coach: Tamar Hill, La Canada
Courtney Chen, La Canada
Caroline Knop, La Salle
Teresa Wang, Gabrielino
Aundrea Issakhanian, La Canada
Alyssa Miller, La Canada
Vivian Tran, Gabrielino
Christina Huynh, Arcadia
Kaitlyn Olah, Polytechnic
Alexis Parker, Rio Hondo Prep
Tierra Adams, Muir
Chy’annea Hodges, Muir
Claire Fitzgerald, La Salle
Hope Peron, Maranatha
Kyrstin Nakamura, Keppel
Gabriella Chan, Temple City
Arcadia Elks Championship
Monrovia 2, Alhambra 0 — Brian McConnell threw a one-hitter as Monrovia blanked a Marco Briones-less Moors team.
Oak Hills 5, San Marinp 0 — In a battle of aces, Oak Hills’ Solomon Bates got the better of San Marino’s Jeff Bain. Bates also went 3-4 at the plate to with his 11 Ks and six shutout innings.