Cajon stuns Etiwanda in girls basketball

It was not a huge surprise that Cajon defeated Etiwanda on Friday in the championship game of the Ayala Best of the West Tournament.
After all, Cajon (16-0) is undefeated for a reason. How they did it was another matter.
Trailing 18-4 in the first quarter and 34-17 in the second, the Cowgirls figured out Etiwanda’s press and rallied, eventually taking a 63-60 victory at Ayala High School.
“We wanted to finish this year undefeated,” Cajon coach Mark Lehman said on New Year’s Eve. “Now we want to go undefeated next year.”
After Etiwanda (11-2) closed to within 63-60 on a Jada Blackwell (15 points) 3-pointer with about 20 seconds to play, Etiwanda had two more possessions. One resulted in a turnover, the other in a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer that missed everything.
Shannon Moore was impressive in the rally for Cajon, scoring 10 of her team-high 14 points in the second half. Kori Walker had 10 of her 12 in the second half, Angelica Guardado scored 12 and Sophia Bhasin scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
Etiwanda led 52-49 on a basket by Met Onogomuho (game-high 16 points) with 4:54 to play, but a 14-5 run by the Cowgirls gave them the upper hand.
Etiwanda’s efforts were hurt at the point guard position. Rachel Williams got in early foul trouble and was not as effective as usual. The other point guard, senior Angelique Bailey, suffered a partially torn meniscus in the first game of the tournament and is expected to miss another week.

All-Ambassador League teams

Back from vacation and publishing these a bit late.

FOOTBALL
Superlatives
Offensive MVP: Burrell Handy, Jr., Aquinas
Defensive MVP: Zack Williams, Sr., Aquinas
Coach of the Year: Nick Matheny, Aquinas
Sportsmanship Award: Calvary Murrieta

First Team
Shaquille Gilbert, Sr., Aquinas
Burrell Handy, Jr., Aquinas
Troy Knowlton, Sr., Aquinas
Roberto Martinez, Sr., Aquinas
Joshua McPeck, Sr., Aquinas
Mikael Valdez, Sr., Aquinas
Zack Williams, Sr., Aquinas
Patrick Blaylock, Sr., Linfield Christian
Gabe Grene, Sr., Linfield Christian
Nick Moreno, Jr., Linfield Christian
Levi Rolban, Sr., Linfield Christian
A.J. Hettinga, Sr., Ontario Christian
Jordan Kloosterman, Sr., Ontario Christian
T.J. Spykstra, So., Ontario Christian
Morgan Whalen, Sr., Ontario Christian
Sang Ha Lee, Sr., Western Christian
Christian Solis, Sr., Western Christian
John Koehn, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
Kirk Pearce, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
Sam Schwab, Sr., Calvary Murrieta

Second Team
Richard Anhauser, Jr., Aquinas
Joshua Joseph, Sr., Aquinas
Frank Klementich, Jr., Aquinas
Raymond Padilla, Fr., Aquinas
Patrick Browning, Jr., Linfield Christian
Anthony Simeone, So., Linfield Christian
Matt Wilson, Jr., Linfield Christian
Mike Salas, Jr., Ontario Christian
Mike Mendoza, Jr., Western Christian
Andrew Sutton, Sr., Western Christian
Jeremy Eldridge, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
Jacob Stephenson, Sr., Arrowhead Christian
Ryan Bannon, Sr., Calvary Murrieta
James Prosmire, Jr., Calvary Murrieta
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All-Sierra League football team

Oregon commit Ifo-Ekpre Olomu caps off a stellar career at Chino Hills by winning the league’s MVP. Teammate Auston Johnson rode 21 sacks to defensive MVP honors, with fellow playoff teams Claremont and Charter Oak splitting the offensive MVP honors.

Player of the year: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Chino Hills, Sr.
Co-offensive MVPs: Daniel Kessler, Claremont, Sr., Dennis Rufus, Charter Oak, Sr.
Defensive MVP: Auston Johnson, Chino Hills, Sr.

FIRST TEAM
Offense
QB: Vince Hernandez, South Hills, Sr.
QB: Travis Santiago, Charter Oak, Sr.
RB: Nate Harris, Chino Hills, Sr.
RB: Jamal Hart, South Hills, Jr.
RB: James Ramirez, Damien, Sr.
WR: Chris Gilchrist, Charter Oak, Jr.
WR: Josiah Thropay, Charter Oak, Sr.
WR: Scott Calles,Chino Hills, Sr.
WR: Aaron Dockery, Claremont, Jr.
WR: Tanner Kuramata, Claremont, Sr.
WR: Jack Reeder, Claremont, Sr.

OL: Travis Doll, Charter Oak, Sr.
OL: Nick Enriquez, Chino Hills, Jr.
OL: Robert Soliz, Chino Hills,Sr.
OL: Shaquille Davis, Claremont, Sr.
OL: Sioasi Aiono, South Hills, Sr.
OL: Jeff Vargas, South Hills, Sr.
PK: Joey Cejudo, Chino Hills, Sr.

Defense
DL: Charlie Avila, Charter Oak, Sr.
DL: Maurice Clement, Charter Oak, Sr.
DL: Brad Bergen, Chino Hills, Sr.
DL: Brandon Tuliapupu, Claremont, Sr.
DL: Peter Nonu, South Hills, Sr.
LB: Nick Alexander, Charter Oak, Sr.
LB: Greg Bennett, Chino Hills, Sr.
LB: Nick Gonzales, Chino Hills, Sr.
LB: Jake Okerman, Claremont, Sr.
LB: James Wernli, Claremont, Jr.
LB: Griffin Lord, Damien, Sr.
DB: Scott Calles, Chino Hills, Sr.
DB: Nate Harris, Chino Hills, Sr.
DB: Steven Smith, Chino Hills, Sr.
DB: Andrew Tarankow, Claremont, Jr.
DB: Dorian Granados, Damien, Sr.
P: Denny Hageman, Damien, Jr.

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Hardrick commits to Oregon

A few days after being part of Colton’s first CIF-SS championship football team since 1978, Yellowjackets linebacker Rodney Hardrick made a verbal commitment to Oregon after an in-home visit with the Ducks Monday night according to Rivals.com.

Hardrick, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior who played tight end and outside linebacker for Colton, chose the Ducks over offers from Oregon State, Washington, New Mexico and Idaho. He is the second county player to commit to the Ducks, joining Chino Hills defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

Tricia Vansant confirms retirement from REV volleyball

While her daughter Krista received the 2010-11 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award Wednesday, Redlands East Valley volleyball coach Tricia Vansant confirmed that she has retired as coach of the Wildcats.

Vansant coached nine seasons at REV, leading the Wildcats to Citrus Belt League titles every year along with three CIF-SS titles and two CIF-State Southern California regional crowns.

“I’ve turned in my resignation and the wheels are in motion,” Vansant said. “It was a great ride and it’s been tough to fill the hours, but I felt that it was time for me to step away.”

Vansant didn’t have any knowledge of candidates to fill her position when asked Wednesday.

Vansant named Gatorade National Player of the Year

Here’s my story from the proceedings at REV today.

With one announcement in the Redlands East Valley principal’s office Wednesday morning, REV senior volleyball Krista Vansant was given a lifelong connection to athletes such as Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Kerri Walsh and LeBron James.

Vansant joined that echleon of elite athlete Wednesday, as she was named the 2010-11 Gatorade National High School Volleyball Player of the Year.

“My brain turns to mush when thinking about things like this,” Vansant said. “It is such an honor and I don’t even know what to say. I never expected anything like this to happen.”

It was an honor that was kept from Vansant for almost a week, as her mother Tricia — who also served as her coach at REV before retiring after this past season concluded — was contacted by Gatorade this past Thursday letting her know about the honor with explicit instructions not to tell her daughter.

“They told me both honors at once,” Tricia said. “They called up and told me that she won the state player of the year and then right after told me about the national player of the year. I started yelling in the garage and they told me to keep it quiet.

“All the while Krista is trying to find me to have me take her to practice. Luckily she never asked and I was able to tell family and friends and make sure they would keep it a secret.”

Krista found out about winning the California Player of the Year honor from backchannels. But when she went to REV on Wednesday, she wasn’t anticipating what was about to happen.

“I seriously thought I was on Punk’d,” said Vansant, referencing the practical-joke television show that used to run on MTV. “I was looking around thinking “Ashton (Kutcher), Ashton? I was completely shocked.

“I saw April Ross and I knew who she was right away. I remember watching her play at USC and was so excited, though I basically just sat there smiling because I didn’t know what else to do.”

Ross, the 1999-2000 winner, was among a crowd of family, friends, teammates and REV students that honored Vansant during an assembly. The current pro beach volleyball champion recalled when she was awarded the honor when she was a senior at Newport Harbor High School and shared in Vansant’s joy.

“It’s one of the best honors I’ve ever received,” Ross said. “It really showed me that I had the ability to really be good at this sport and I think it will be the same for Krista. Being alonside people such as Kobe Bryant is a real honor.”

Vansant became the second county athlete to become a Gatorade Player of the Year, joining Chino track and field athlete Angela Williams, who was honored in 1997-98. And Wednesday might not be the last honor bestowed on Vansant by Gatorade.

After being chosen as the premier volleyball player from a field of approximately 403,000 high school players in the United States, Vansant has a chance to be chosen as the overall Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year in July.

Vansant will be honored at a luncheon in Hollywood in July where the National Player of Year will be named. Then she’ll be whisked off to the ESPYs, where she’ll get to walk the red carpet and rub elbows with some of the athletes whose company she joined Wednesday.

“Oh yeah, I can go right up to Kobe now,” Vansant said. “Well, I don’t know about that. He has five NBA titles — I’m not quite in that class.”

All-Sunkist League football team

Kaiser and Summit make out with the superlatives, with Kaiser RB Jimmy Awolesi nabbing offensive MVP honors while Kaiser LB Dennis Taylor and Summit DB Donte Deayon split defensive MVP honors.

Superlatives
Offensive MVP: Jimmy Awolesi, RB, Sr., Kaiser
Defensive MVP: Dennis Taylor, LB, Sr., Kaiser and Donte Deayon, DB, Jr., Summit

First Team
Offense
Bernard Porter, QB, Jr., Summit
J.R. Vallejo, QB, Sr., Patriot
Montigo Alford, RB, Sr., Summit
Nano Martinez, RB, Jr., Patriot
Edward Randolph, RB, Sr., Bloomington
Ryan Ruiz, RB, Jr., Norte Vista
Damar Sowell, RB, Sr., Patriot
Devon Blackmon, WR, Sr., Summit
Dwayne Brown, WR, Sr., Kaiser
Alex Cruz, WR, Sr., Bloomington
Jose Vizcarra, WR, Sr., Patriot
Rey Sanchez, TE, Sr., Norte Vista
Gary Dixon, OL, Sr., Summit
Jose Hernandez, OL, Jr., Norte Vista
Nick LeFay, OL, Sr., Kaiser
Ben Reyes, OL, Sr., Patriot
Devon Swan, OL, Jr., Summit
Novian Watson, OL, Sr., Kaiser
Anthony Burciaga, K, Jr., Summit

Defense
Matthew Ceja, DL, Sr., Summit
Walter Earnest, DL, Sr., Kaiser
Xavier Evans, DL, Sr., Kaiser
Chris Lavender, DL, Sr., Bloomington
Raul Ramirez, DE, Sr., Kaiser
Keenan Sykes, DE, So., Summit
Nikko Taylor, DE, Jr., Summit
Joe Canada, OLB, Sr., Norte Vista
DaVonte Manning, OLB, Sr., Kaiser
Jamaal Williams, OLB, Jr., Summit
Alex Beam, ILB, Jr., Jurupa Valley
Anthony Flores, ILB, Jr., Kaiser
Brandon Lallande, ILB, Sr., Summit
Nick Shaw, ILB, Sr., Summit
Jameel Erving, DB, Sr., Summit
Kindrick Haynes, DB, Sr., Kaiser
Joseph Henderson, DB, Sr., Summit
Sukhjit Singh, DB, Sr. Patriot

All-San Andreas League football team

Arrived last week, but waited for Colton to finish playing before publishing it. Cajon’s do-everything quarterback Thomas Carter earned offensive MVP honors while Colton linebacker Devan Hussey was named defensive MVP for the second straight year.

Superlatives:
Offensive MVP: Thomas Carter, QB, Sr., Cajon
Defensive MVP: Devan Hussey, LB, Sr., Colton

First Team
Offense
Dayln Contreras, QB, Sr,. San Gorgonio
Rory Colbert, RB, Sr., Carter
Tyler Ervin, RB, Sr., Colton
Jamie Snowten, RB, Jr., San Gorgonio
Tyler Telphy, RB, Jr., Rialto
Brandon Charles, WR, Jr., San Gorgonio
Haneef Hill, WR, Jr., Pacific
Ryan Jones, WR, Sr., Cajon
Damontae Kazee, WR, Jr., Cajon
Jordan Becar, OL, Sr,. Cajon
Ivan Grano, OL, Sr., Carter
Julian Ramos, OL, Jr., Rialto
Paul Rodriguez, OL, Sr., San Gorgonio
John Taylor, OL, Sr., Colton
John Pena, K, Jr., Rialto

Defense
Ryan Hunter-Sims, DL, Jr., San Gorgonio
Paul Rodriguez, DL, Sr., San Gorgonio
John Taylor, DL, Sr., Colton
Dion Thompson, DL, Sr., Cajon
Rodney Hardrick, LB, Sr., Colton
Reyshawn Hooker, LB, Jr., Arroyo Valley
Anthony Pomee, LB, Sr., Rialto
Brian Pratt, LB, Sr., San Gorgonio
Damontae Kazee, DB, Jr., Cajon
Davion Lucas, DB, Sr., San Gorgonio
Hastens Roberts, DB, Sr., Colton
Tayvion Smith, DB, Sr., Carter
Robert Williams, P, Sr., Rialto

Second Team
Offense
Jordan Mixon, QB, Sr., Colton
Robert Brown, RB, Sr., San Bernardino
Mike Martin, RB, Sr., San Gorgonio
Khayree Sanders, RB, Jr., Carter
Tyrone Thomas, RB, Jr., Arroyo Valley
Ahmad Cummings, WR, Jr., Arroyo Valley
Daviontay Glass, WR, Sr., San Bernardino
Monroe Offeld, WR, Jr., San Gorgonio
Hastens Roberts, WR, Sr., Colton
Kenneth Clark, OL, So., Carter
Raymond Esparza, OL, Jr., Cajon
Ryan Hanna, OL, Sr., Colton
Tevita Kalavi, OL, Jr., San Gorgonio
Robert Nimmo, OL, Sr., San Bernardino

Defense
Kenneth Clark, DL, So., Carter
Adiem Eboke, DL, Jr., Arroyo Valley
Victor Quintero, DL, Sr., Colton
Nick Seiuli, DL, Jr., Rialto
Miguel Bettancourt, LB, So., Cajon
Daniel Castro, LB, Jr., Carter
Josh Trotter, LB, Jr., Carter
Trayvon White, LB, Sr., San Gorgonio
Kris Brown, DB, Jr., Carter
Bryan Davis, DB, So., Rialto
Khleem Perkins, DB, So., San Bernardino
Tony Wilson, DB, Sr., Arroyo Valley

Early season wrestling rankings are out

The wrestling season is less than 2 weeks old, but www.thecaliforniawrestler.com has already put out individual wrestling rankings. Here are the county wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the state in their respective weight classes.

103: Anthony Soto, Colony (No. 20)
119: Ray Delgado, Oak Hills (No. 6), Tim Maldonado, Los Osos (No. 16).
125: Alec Smith, Sultana (No. 17)
130: Chris Mecate, Redlands East Valley (No. 4)
135: Michael Gonzalez, Sultana (No. 4)
152: Juan Alvarado, Bloomington (No. 7), Ryan McWatters, Sultana (No. 8),
160: Jonathan Solano, Los Osos (No. 17)
171: Robert Marchese, Oak Hills (No. 5), Anthony Ballinger, Apple Valley (No. 18)

–Pete Marshall

CIF championship predictions

After how I did last week, picking incorrectly in both semifinals in the Central and Eastern Division, I’m pretty sure no one wants the endorsement of this blog. But they are going to get it.

CENTRAL DIVISION
Colton at Rancho Verde
The Yellowjackets played an instant classic last week to get to their first final in 29 years, outpointing Cajon 42-41 in overtime on Randy Valdez’s leaping 35-yard, 3rd-and-20 touchdown reception. But Colton has itself a task in front of it. Rancho Verde seems to be beating all of the ghosts of its previous playoff flameouts into submission, scoring 161 points in three games coming into this one. I think Colton will test the Mustangs for a while, but Rancho Verde is a bit too deep for the Yellowjackets.
Rancho Verde 35, Colton 21

EASTERN DIVISION
Summit at Elsinore
Besides Yucca Valley’s first-round victory over Aquinas in the East Valley Division, Elsinore’s victory at Kaiser last week might have been the biggest surprise of the playoffs to date. Summit’s win at Serrano last week wasn’t shocking, but it was an impressive upset. Can Summit hold up to Elsinore’s physicality and make some big plays with Devon Blackmon and Montigo Alford. I’m going yes. I’ll take the SkyHawks to win the school’s first-ever CIF title in any sport.
Summit 28, Elsinore 22

EAST VALLEY DIVISION
Paraclete 35, Sierra Canyon 30

INLAND DIVISION
Vista Murrieta at Corona Centennial
These teams aren’t in our coverage area, but this game should be a dandy. The Inland Valley’s best pushed these two top seeds hard last week, with Rancho Cucamonga taking Vista Murrieta to overtime before falling 35-28 and Chino Hills entering the fourth quarter only down 28-23 to top-seeded Centennial before losing 42-23. I was at the Chino Hills-Centennial game last week and was extremely impressed by Centennial’s fearless, quick-strike offense. They’ll be too much for the Broncos in my opinion.
Centennial 48, Vista Murrieta 27