Legendary former San Marino baseball coach Mickey McNamee passes away …

WILDCATS

Former San Marino baseball coach Mickey McNamee, who had a career that spanned 44 years and won five CIF championships, passed away on Friday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 74.

McNamee coached and taught at San Marino beginning in the 1960s. He resigned in 2007 after a wildly successful career that peaked in the 1990s when the Titans won CIF championships in 1990, 1992 and 1995 to go along with six consecutive Rio Hondo League championships.

“He kept the game fun and coached the game the way it was really supposed to be coached,” said current San Marino baseball coach Mack Paciorek, who played for McNamee along with two of his brothers. “I’ve been already hearing from alumni who talk about how they incorporate things they picked up from him and teach their own kids. And remember, these guys aren’t baseball coaches, they are big-time businessmen and they still take what they learned from him and use it.

“There’s a constant memory of him and you have to attribute it to how he coached the game.”

McNamee coached four CIF Players of the Year. The most notable player he coached was Jim Gott, who pitched in the majors for 14 seasons. McNamee’s teams won 14 league championships.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 11 at 2 p.m. at San Marino Congregational Church.

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Keppel edges La Canada to punch ticket into Saturday’s LC Tournament final against St. Francis …

Keppel 51, La Canada 48 — Grant Arthur’s threebee hit off the rim at the buzzer and Keppel held on to advance to Saturday’s tournament championship. Justin Saisho was huge down the stretch for the Aztecs. He hit a big 3-pointer to give Keppel at 49-47 lead after La Canada had just gone ahead 48-46 with just over a minute to play. Then, Saisho hit two big free throws down the stretch to keep it a three-point lead.

St. Francis 50, Bonita 26 — The Knights got 19 points from Kyle Leufroy and used a devastating third quarter to turn a 17-12 lead at halftime into a rout by the time the fourth quarter started.

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South Pasadena! Yes, South Pasadena!!! Goes into Glendora and comes out with a win … also, Koko goes loco in the second half vs. Workman …

GLENDORA TOURNAMENT
WEDNESDAY’S QUARTERFINALS

South Pasadena 54, Glendora 45 — Don’t look now, but the Tigers are looking top-5 material. Huge win over tourney host Glendora last night.
Damien 89, Serrano 33
Walnut 75, Don Lugo 55
Burbank 55, Rowland 51
Friday’s semifinals at Glendora
Damien vs. Walnut, 6 p.m.
Burbank vs. South Pasadena, 7:30 p.m.

Arroyo Tournament

Wednesday’s games
Covina 61, Arcadia 60 OT
La Canada 59, Workman 48– Koko Kurdoghlian tallied four steals and a blocked shot all in the third quarter … oh yeah and also scored Sparty’s first nine points of the second half as LC pulled away from Workman to reach the semis of the Arroyo tourney. Next up: Montlcair on Friday at 6 p.m.
California 55, Paraclete 45
Wilson49, Bishop Amat 44
Friday’s semifinals
Montclair vs La Canada, 6 p.m.
California vs Wilson, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s championship
A-B winner vs. D-D winner, 7:30 p.m.

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Ajon Efferson scores 33, but Chino Hills too much for Pasadena …

PASADENA — The Chino Hills High School boys basketball team used an 11-1 run at the start of the fourth quarter to pull away from Pasadena and post a 73-63 win in the quarterfinals of the Rose City Classic on Wednesday night at Maranatha High.

The Huskies (2-0) got double-figure performances from four players and that was enough to trump Pasadena (1-1) standout Ajon Efferson’s game-high 33 points and advance to play Sylmar in Friday’s semifinals.

“We’ll take it, you know, it wasn’t pretty,” Huskies head coach Steve Baik said. “I think we’re not close to playing the defense that we want to play yet. We’ll do some decent things in glimpses, but we’re not as consistent as we need to be.

“Obviously, Efferson is a heckuva one-on-one player, but we’ve got to do a better job.”

Wednesday’s game was billed as a battle of Efferson, a senior who transferred back to Pasadena in the offseason after spending last year at Serra, and Chino Hills sophomore guard Lonzo Ball.

Both are considered to be among the top guards in the Southland. And while Efferson did his thing, he didn’t have much of a supporting cast in the scoring department.

Efferson caught fire toward the end of the third quarter and helped the Bulldogs erase a double-digit deficit. Pasadena got to within 53-48 late in the third and trailed 56-48 to start the fourth quarter.

Chino Hills scored the first eight points of the quarter after Bishop Mency sunk a 3-pointer to spark his team on its opening possession of the final period. Mency finished with a team-high 16 points for Chino Hills.

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Surprise, surprise, Monrovia opens the year No. 1 in Star-News Top 10 …

Sneak preview: PrepXtra Season Preview Magazine will be out on Aug. 29 in home delivery and news racks. But we knew you couldn’t wait to get a look at the opening the Star-News Top 10, so here it is in the eyes of Steve Ramirez.

1. MONROVIA

Outlook: The Wildcats, after winning the Mid-Valley the past three seasons, look to become the first West San Gabriel Valley team to win four consecutive CIF-SS titles, matching the legendary Temple City teams (1970-73). They will be the favorites and should be be able to muscle their way through the league and division.

2. ST. FRANCIS

Outlook: The Golden Knights have one of the better rosters in the area, and they should be able to lineup against anybody in the West Valley. They are still a step behind Serra and Chaminade, which means competing for third place and a playoff spot is their only hope.

3. RIO HONDO PREP

Outlook: Despite its graduation losses, Rio Hondo Prep is still one of the top teams in the Northeast Division. They will ride the legs of Tayco, who might be the best returning back in the area.

4. LA SALLE

Outlook: The Lancers were the surprise Del Rey League champs last season, responding from a 1-9 record the season before to go 10-0 in the regular season last year. They won’t sneak up on anyone, but La Salle is again the favorite in the Del Rey League and this time a few wins in the playoffs is not out of the question.

5. MUIR

Outlook: Muir, despite it’s graduation losses, is still the favorite in the Pacific League. The speed option gives them the advantage, so expect another league title and at least a quarterfinal appearance in the playoffs.

6. SAN MARINO

Outlook: No one is expecting a repeat of last season, when San Marino was 10-2 and pushed Monrovia in the Rio Hondo League. But the return of the big boys up front should make the Titans highly competitive in league play and in the Mid-Valley Division.

7. TEMPLE CITY

Outlook: The Rams made a good turnaround to finish third in the Rio Hondo League and make the playoffs. They are a step behind Monrovia and San Marino, but a third-place finish looks to be in their future.

8. MARANATHA

Outlook: Maranatha just missed the playoffs last season. They look in position to change that, with Olivia and solid core of returners. Taking first in the Olympic League might be a tough road, but a playoff spot is an attainable goal.

9. DUARTE

Outlook: The Montview League title, with Gladstone and La Puente under new coaching regimes, could be Duarte’s for the taking. They have the potential and talent to take advantage of it.

10. FLINTRIDGE PREP

Outlook: You can pencil in the Rebels for second place in the Prep League. They are not yet at the level of Rio Hondo Prep, but another trip to the quarterfinals looks to be in their future.

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