I cannot recall a week with two games as crazy as the ones I had this week.
First, there was Redlands East Valley’s 5-4, 5 overtime win over Yucaipa in girls water polo on Tuesday.
Then came Thursday, when Eisenhower girls basketball rallied from 9 points down in the final 9.3 seconds to force overtime, before falling to Cajon, 65-57.
I have never seen a 5 overtime game in water polo, and neither had anyone I talked to at the game. And scoring 9 points in the final 9.3 seconds to force overtime? It just doesn’t happen.
But what makes these games remarkable beyond that is that both games had Citrus Belt League titles at stake at the end of the season. In the first case, REV won the CBL title outright, its sixth straight title with the marathon win. In the latter, Cajon earned a share of the CBL title by knocking off Eisenhower. In each case, none of the four teams had lost to anyone else in league. And they were all ranked in CIF-SS.
Those were two games what show why I love high school sports. In both cases, great fan atmosphere, two closely matched teams and two games in which there was a big mental aspect. in the first case, REV fought through fatigue to finally win. In the second case, Cajon fought through the embarrassment of squandering a big lead and recovered to win in overtime.
Maddy Wieseler, above, talks after scoring the winning goal in the fifth overtime. I’m surprised she was willing to stand for the interview after that exhausting game. She said she felt confident the Wildcats would win however long it took, but that may have been more a reflection on the team having already won 5 straight league titles before Tuesday than how the game was going.
REV coach Ryan Williams, above talks about beating Yucaipa. He was working the officials hard, especially in overtime, to get exclusions in a game that hardly had any. The game seemed physical, but not to the point where either team had any advantage.
Redlands East Valley will get a taste for international baseball when it plays an exhibition against the best team from Seoul, South Korea.
REV’s game against Yatap High School is set for Thursday and will serve as the final game of a nine-game, 40-day tour of California by the South Korean team, made up of players from ages 16 to 18. It will be the third San Bernardino County team that Yatap has played.
Yatap is the official guest of the San Bernardino-based American Sports University and is making its second straight tour of Southern California. On Friday, Yatap swept a doubleheader from Carter, winning 6-1 and 14-6.
“We wanted to do this for a lot of reasons,” REV coach James Cordes said. “First, it’s because of the high level of baseball we will see and we want to see any differences in the game they have. And just to get the cultural experience on baseball from a team that is a world away from us. We will field teams, but how great will it be just to experience the cultural exchange.”
Yatap has posted wins over San Bernardino (3-0) and Carter. It has also played Thousand Oaks, Mission Hills Alemany, Arcadia, Placentia Valencia and Beaumont.
Today, Yatap plays at Placentia Valencia and at Beaumont on Tuesday.
“My guess is that we will see mistake-free baseball, high on the fundamentals,” Cordes said. “The game will move pretty quickly for them. It’s going to be fun for us to play at a level that is pretty high.”
Yatap made its Southern California debut during last year’s tour through the Los Angeles area. In 2011, the Oakland A’s signed Yatap catcher Seong-Min Kim, who played for the A’s farm team in the New York-Penn League last season.
— Ed Castro
A little more than a month ago, Redlands East Valley’s football team won its Division II state championship.
Now, you don’t have to wait until next football season to buy your championship gear, you can order it now. Apparently, they will be available for pickup on February 13, available in red or black. Also available through the team’s web site are the Citrus Belt League champion gear, which I’m guessing is not quite as hot a seller as the state championship gear.
Malik Lovette, above, holds up REV’s CIF-SS championship plaque
MaxPreps released its all-state football teams, and not surprisingly, state champion Redlands East Valley is well-represented on the Division II team.
Malik Lovette, The Sun’s Player of the Year, was named Division II Player of the Year (and was also the all-purpose player on the first team), and coach Kurt Bruich was named Coach of the Year.
First-team Division II players from REV included offensive lineman Joseph Price, linebacker Matteo Biscotti, defensive back Isaiah Armstrong and punter John Hilfer. On the second team, REV quarterback Armando Herrera.
Other players also made the Division II squad San Gorgonio quarterback Nate Meadors, The Sun’s Offensive Player of the Year, was named for the all-purpose spot on the second team, while Serrano linebacker John Mackesy also made the second team.
On the Division IV squad, Arrowhead Christian wide receiver Matthew Thompson made the first team, and ACA quarterback/linebacker Bradley Mowbray was selected as a linebacker.
Upland senior linebacker Josh Woods, The Sun’s Defensive Player of the Year, made the Division I first team, while Etiwanda linebacker Khaylan Thomas made the second team in Division I. Woods was also a first-team All-American by MaxPreps
This game had the intensity of a playoff game. No team led by more than two goals until REV’s final winning 10-7 margin.
REV entered the week ranked No. 9 in Division 5, knocking off No. 6 Cajon and No. 4 Yucaipa in the process. So, how high does REV move up?
Coach Ryan Williams thinks No. 4 would be fair. Regardless, with a tough league and two tournaments still to play, REV will have chances to improve on a No. 4 ranking, or lose it again all together. But, come playoff time, whoever comes out of the Citrus Belt League should be battle tested.
By the way, the next time REV and Yucaipa play, it will be Feb. 10 at Crafton Hills College. It will be senior day, so you can expect a big crowd and another intense game in the REV-Yucaipa rivalry.
REV boys basketball coach Bill Berich talks to his team during a game against Cajon.
The big negative to playing in an eight-team basketball league, some coaches would say, is that you have league games scheduled before Christmas.
Unless you change them, of course.
Several Citrus Belt League schools mixed in the two league games originally slated for mid-December for other days.
For the Redlands East Valley boys, both of their rescheduled games are on a Saturday on Jan. 17 at Miller and on Feb. 7 home vs. Redlands, both at 6 p.m. The REV girls play at the opposite site on the same days.
“I think the Redlands game (should be a good crowd). We can promote that one. That’s our one game (each year) where we get a really good crowd,” REV boys coach Bill Berich said. “I like it a lot better than playing league games in December.”
Berich thinks it also works out well because the CBL’s regular schedule has games on Tuesday and Thursday this year, so playing Saturday means no back-to-back league games.
“I don’t like that (back-to-back league games),” Berich said. “I don’t mind it for tournaments, but league games are important and you want to be able to tweak a few things (between games).”
But if the CBL was on a Wednesday-Friday schedule?
“I guess we’d have to play Monday, but I don’t really like that either,” Berich said.
I’d love to see more Saturday league games. A lot of the small private schools play league games Saturday, perhaps because it’s easier to get officials on a Saturday or travel is easier on a Saturday. Some of those small-school games are Adventist schools, which can’t play on Friday night.
I’d love to see a few more. There’s less issue with parents rushing to get to the game after work on a Saturday and there’s a unique feel to it.
How good is Redlands East Valley boys basketball? That’s a question I wondered before I saw the Wildcats for the first time this season on Thursday night against Cajon.
They are very good. But it’s too early to tell exactly how good.
But one thing I noticed and verified by senior Julian Sinegal: they play better team defense than last year. Last year’s team had the best player: Eli Chuha, who should eventually play at the NCAA Division I level.
“But we would get caught standing around waiting for him to do something,” Sinegal said.
There is no such waiting this year. The team forces turnovers, has ball-handlers, enough size inside and some outside shooters. I don’t know exactly how far they can go, but they should win the Citrus Belt League at least.