VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Yucaipa softball downs Redlands East Valley, 4-1.
VIDEO: Yucaipa senior Brooke Bolinger talks about winning on senior day vs REV.
Earlier this week, the Citrus Belt Area, held its releaguing vote with few changes.
But there was a radical idea on the table, from the Citrus Belt League. The Citrus Belt League’s proposal, which Miller athletic director John Romagnoli said finished third, would’ve had a 10-team “conference” with an East Division of the three Redlands schools, plus Yucaipa and Riverside Poly, and a West Division of Cajon, Carter, Miller, Eisenhower and Oak Hills.
While the 10 teams involved might not have been ideal, I think the idea deserves consideration. It would almost be like it used to be in the High Desert with Mojave River and Desert Sky Leagues, two leagues that were five teams before Adelanto High opened.
But the MRL-DSL deal only provided for cross-scheduling with teams on their bye weeks. What the CBL proposed (probably not necessary to include in the releaguing vote) would’ve been to have a championship game between the two divisions. The last week of the season the No. 1s from the two divisions would face each other, and so would the No. 2s, and so on.
I think it’s an idea before its time, but I think it’s an intriguing one. It would cut down on the number of league games now in the eight-team league, and cut down travel in league and keep schools with similar demographics playing against each other. They could still schedule the other “division” but wouldn’t be required to except for possibly the bye week.
Why were there few changes? First, there were no new schools to incorporate into the area, which includes schools from Riverside County and San Bernardino County east of the I-15. The only change, according to San Gorgonio athletic director Matt Maeda, was moving Indio Shadow Hills from the De Anza League to the Desert Valley League. They are being replaced in the De Anza League by Thermal Coachella Valley, which is coming from the Desert Valley League.
There had been talk that several schools might look for relief, including Miller, which has struggled in recent years in the Citrus Belt League.
“We talked about it, but we don’t want to just be thrown into another league,” Romagnoli said. “The last time we did this, they talked about putting us in a league with (Moreno Valley) Vista Del Lago.”
Romagnoli said ideally, if Miller would move, it would be to a league where they would have some natural rivals, like the Sunkist League.
But the Sunkist wasn’t looking to expand.
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.
Yucaipa coach Kevin Lewis, reacts to his team losing in the 5th OT to REV on Tuesday, 5-4. For him, it seemed like it was one that got away. Lewis had told me after the teams played the first time, a 10-7 REV win, to come back for the rematch at Crafton Hills College. The game did not disappoint. Lewis seems confident that his young team will break through next year to win league. But he and the Thunderbirds really wanted to make it this year.
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.
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.