Ortega’s Horse wins at Santa Anita

Ortega Family Fundraiser
What: High School Baseball
Who: Charter Oak vs. Covina, 2 p.m.; South Hills vs. Northview, 5 p.m.
Where: Azusa Pacific University
When: Monday, Jan. 19.
Admission: $2 minimum donation. All donations also are accepted and all proceeds from snack bar sals will go to the family


ARCADIA – Tears freely flowed Thursday at Santa Anita when Return of the King stepped into the Winner’s Circle. Friends and family members of Joseph, James and Charles Ortega had come to see their seven-year-old chestnut gelding race for perhaps the last time from the barn of trainer David Bernstein. The three Ortegas were among nine family members slain at a Covina home on Christmas Eve by Bruce Pardo, the estranged husband of Joseph’s daughter Sylvia.
“This was special,” Bernstein said. “It was hard to keep from crying from the moment he left the paddock.” Jockey Martin Pedroza, who has raced in Breeder’s Cup events and won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in 1989, guided Return of the King through a nearly flawless 6-furlong trip around one turn on the dirt track. Crossing the finish line Pedroza raised his whip to the sky and briefly bowed his head. “I’ve been riding for 26 years, the feeling I had today was amazing,” Pedroza said. “It’s very hard to describe. I had goose bumps up and down my arms as I was coming back (to the Winner’s Circle.)”
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Soccer: St. Lucy’s, Walnut play to a tie, 1-1

Note: These are games called into the newspaper, which you can do at 626-962-8811, Ext. 2233 or email to scores@sgvn.com. If you email, make sure to leave a contact number in case one of our reporters has questions.

Thursday’s Girls Soccer Results
Bishop Amat 1, South Hills 0 — Jasmine Rose scored the game-winner to help the Lancers remain undefeated, 11-0-3. South Hills dropped to 6-6-2.
Thursday’s Boys Soccer Results
Gladstone 3, Duarte 2 — Antonio Bernal scored two goals to help the Gladiators win and improve to 6-5-1.
Sierra Vista 5, Azusa 0 – Alfonso Espinosa scored twice and had an assist in the Dons’ easy victory over the Aztecs.
Workman 0, La Puente 0 – After 80 minutes and overtime, nothing was settled. The Lobos go to 3-3-2 while the Warriors go to 4-3-4. Both are 1-0-1 in league.


Above: St. Lucy’s Lynsey Brown smiling after scoring second-half goal

The week after New Year’s generally produces attractive nonleague games because tournament season is over and league starts the following week. First-year St. Lucy’s girls soccer coach Robert Rodrigues said the Regents were looking forward to Thursday’s nonleague encounter against Walnut since Christmas.
Walnut is not the power that won three CIF-SS championships this decade, but the Mustangs still are one of the Valley’s best teams. St. Lucy’s traditionally is tough as well, having last competed in a championship game in 2001. That made for a good crowd Thursday to watch how the teams measured up.
St. Lucy’s defender Lynsey Browne finished a beautiful header on a corner kick from Denni Joe Berger in the 61st minute. But Walnut’s Dana Catone scored in the 64th minute for the equalizer in game that fittingly ended in a 1-1 tie.
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Hoops: Northview, Mountain View win

Note: These are games called into the newspaper, which you can do at 626-962-8811, Ext. 2233 or email to scores@sgvn.com. If you email, make sure to leave a contact number in case one of our reporters has questions.

Thursday’s Boys Basketball results
Mountain View 61, San Gabriel 43 – George Munoz scored 16 of his team-high 22 points in the second quarter and Steve Wilson added 12 as the Vikings improved to 11-5. Eric Martinez scored 19 for the Matadors.
Northview 71, Don Lugo 64 — Joey Martinez hit all three of his 3-pointers and finished with 13 points as the Vikes improved to 11-5
Garden Grove 71, El Monte 47 — Eddie Landeros scored 10 points in a losing effort as the Lions fall to 4-13.

Thursday’s Girls Basketball results
South Hills 59, San Dimas 39 – Melinda Gomez scored a game-high 18 points and Alexus Payton scored 17 as the Huskies overcame an early 12-6 deficit to improve to 9-5 while the Saints dropped to 6-8.
St. Lucy’s 49, Ontario 45 – Nicole Zugasti scored 11 and Sam Ourique scored 10, including clutch free throws down the stretch to pull it out, helping the Regents to to 9-4.

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Stepping up to the plate: Covina’s four high schools; South Hills, Charter Oak, Northview and Covina to play a charity doubleheader to benefit the Ortega Family

Baseball in January? That’s right, thanks to the thoughtful gesture from Covina coach Pete Loaiza, Charter Oak’s Tom Quinley, Northview’s Darren Murphy and South Hiils’ Kevin Smith, who have scheduled a doubleheader on Monday, January 19, to benefit the Ortega family, who had nine family members tragically murdered in what has become known throughout the country as the Christmas Eve Massacre. There will be a snackbar and donation opportunity for those attending the games with all proceeds going to the Ortega Family.

“Basically, all of us got together and decided to use a day of baseball between the four high schools from Covina as a way to raise money for the Ortega family,” Northview coach Darren Murphy said. “Everyone raised in Covina or teaching at the Covina schools is somehow affected by this unfortunate tragedy, so it made sense for us to do what we do best and that’s play baseball with the fundraiser attached to it.”

The doubleheader will be played on Jan. 19 (Martin Luther King Day) at Azusa Pacific University, and both games will be nine innings with no emphasis on who wins.
Charter Oak vs. Covina, 2 p.m.
Northview vs. South HIlls, 5 p.m.

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Talking with Roddy is always fun

When I called Diamond Ranch football coach Roddy Layton to talk about football, he said, “I know why you want to do this, you want to put it on the blog and get a bunch of people talking trash about me.” We laughed about it, but the truth is, Layton speaks from the heart, he doesn’t hide anything, he’s become one of the area’s best young coaches, and again, he had plenty to say, even knowing I’m going to share it with all of you. So, here goes, a fun Q&A with Roddy Layton, just click on the thread

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Smudge Pot on turf: Bonita wins both

This is what makes the blog fun, we can’t cover every game, but I received an email about the Smudgepot on turf, with a nice picture of the girls soccer team posing in front of the trophy. You send something worthwhile, I’ll share it, here’s what was sent:

Boys Soccer: Bonita 2, San Dimas 0
Girls Soccer: Bonita 3, San Dimas 0

The email even came with a history behind the classic.

In 1990 a simple idea was born in the San Dimas/La Verne AYSO program. Because virtually every player in the two communities grew up playing AYSO soccer either with or against each other, it seemed only natural to continue the tradition of camaraderie and competition AYSO is known for, at the high school level as well. An aluminum, sand casted soccer ball trophy, split in two, was custom made, detailed down to the stitch marks by a local AYSO referee at Alum-Alloy. This was to become the perpetual trophy, one half for the girls winner and one half for the boys winner. Only if the same school wins both the boy’s and girl’s game is the trophy complete. Now strongly embraced and promoted by the entire soccer community in both cities, the Soccer Ball Classic is played in the spirit of which it was created.

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News from the West: What will T.C. do?

This comes from Star-News prep editor Miguel Melendez
It’s been almost two months since Temple City football coach Randy Backus was put on paid administrative leave. Since then, I’ve called Temple City High School almost on a weekly basis with little information to no information on what the school board’s decision is regarding the matter. I put in a call to Temple City athletic director John Van De Veere on Wednesday and it sounds like the school board and the school will come to a decision by Friday (Van De Veere has agreed to call me then when a decision has been made). As far as his job as an English teacher, Backus has long since long been reinstated. Whether he continues as football coach or not is what’s up in the air.

When asked about the progress Van De Veere elaborated a bit.
There’s really nothing I can tell you definitely. I know you want to print something but all I can tell you is we’re still going through a process of talking to him. (School) administrators are still talking to him. At this time no (decision has been made).
Van De Veere was asked when a decision would be made.
I would say at the end of this week we should come to a conclusion. That would probably be when the decision is made. On going negotiations coming ahead of Friday, at least I hope it does, If he’s going to return.
Van De Veere was asked whether this puts the him and the athletic program in some strain given the timetable of having to fill the position.
For me it’s a little bit late as we speak. You know how that goes. I’m a little concerned about the time table. We have a policy in our district that we need to fly the job in-house for two weeks before we can open it up outside. I cannot put it up on the CIF website until we float it here for two weeks. As of right now I don’t foresee anybody (in-house) that would be interested in the job.
Should the position open up, Van De Veere was asked whether the job would come with a teaching position at Temple City High.
That’s up in the air, too. I am really trying to get someone on campus. We want to get a teaching job for that individual. But what makes that very tough is we don’t know if the individual would have credentials. That’s part of the interview process.

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South Hills unbeaten streak to six

Wednesday’s boys soccer results
Baldwin Park 1, Mountain View 0 – Alan Ibarra scored the winning goal int he 65th minute when he kicked the ball on goal and it was misplayed by Mountain View and ended up in the net for the lone tally.
Beckman 2, Glendora 1 – Tyler Van Olphen scored the lone goal for the Tartans, who lost for only the second time to drop to 9-2

Below: South Hills stretched its unbeaten streak to six, scoring two first-half goals to defeat Bishop Amat, 2-1 on Wednesday. Story below

South Hills High School’s boys soccer team broke from the gate slowly this season, but there’s no doubt the Huskies are beginning to find their second wind.
Carlo Villegas and Austin Daugherty had first-half goals and the Huskies extended their unbeaten streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over Bishop Amat on Wednesday in a nonleague game at Covina District Field.
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Baldwin Park’s Braveheart

Note: Thursday’s girls soccer match of the day, St. Lucy’s at Walnut, 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday’s’ result: La Salle’s Kelly Tartaglione scored the winning goal in the 57th minute to give the Lancers a 2-1 girls soccer victory over Glendora. Amie Jepson scored for the Tartans, who dropped to 11-4-2.

Below: Baldwin Park’s Jeannette Gamboa has 15 goals and six assists for the surging Braves, who are having their finest start ever at 9-1-2. Can they win the Valley Vista League title? Read today’s story.

While most of the area’s high-powered girls soccer players hone their skills at area club programs such as Barcelona, Legends or other well-known teams, Baldwin Park High School’s Jeannette Gamboa developed her skills in recreation leagues in Baldwin Park, often teaming up with boys teams to improve her game.
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Just Tribbin

Anything and anyone you want to talk about

The No. 1 high school blog among our community newspapers had well over a million page views in 2008. Thanks everyone.

From Whittier Daily News Prep Editor Roger Murray: What has been bandied about intensely over the past two weeks became official Friday when Pete Gonzalez met with St. Paul principal Lori Barr and athletic director Marc Hernandez and informed them he had decided not to resign his position as the Swordsmen’s head football coach. Ms. Barr then took the alternative and relieved Gonzalez from his coaching responsibilities. Late Monday afternoon, Hernandez faxed a release announcing the final action and informing that St. Paul would begin immediately a search for Gonzalez’s replacement. The release was short and to the point and included a one-line sentence explaining that this has been a confidential matter and no further details will be discussed. Ms. Barr has been unavailable for comment. Gonzalez, who led St.Paul to a Western Division championship and the semifinals in two of his three seasons in the position, said he did not resign as Dean of Boys and he intends to remain in the position at least through the school year. “I will continue to work as a dean,” Gonzalez said Monday. “I want to make that clear. If I had done anything unethical or relating to conduct, I wouldn’t still be at the school. She (Barr) has a plan, whatever it is, it’s clear I’m not part of it. I think they expected me to resign. Maybe from a personal standpoint, in terms of my career, it may be a mistake to be fired instead of resigning, but I never told our kids to quit, and I’m not quitting, either.”

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Glendora’s Sanchez leads Tartans


Above: Glendora’s Aissa Sanchez after scoring game winner against South HIlls.

Forwards know they’re going to fail more often than finish, but the feisty ones never stop working, which was the case with Glendora High School’s Aissa Sanchez.
The payout finally came in the 63rd minute on a long pass into the penalty area from Jessica Smetherman. Instead of trying to settle the pass with a defender at her back, Sanchez flipped the ball past the defender with the outside of her foot, then did a 360 to free herself, finishing at the near post for the lone goal and a 1-0 victory over visiting South Hills on Tuesday in a nonleague girls soccer match. Also La Habra knocks off Los Altos, 1-0.

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Baseball 24/7?

I knew baseball was a hot topic during the season, but I’m surprised at how much conversation there is during the off-season. Just like football, this might be something we need to discuss all year, so give me some ideas of things you would like to discuss, whether it’s top players, tournaments in the offseason, camps, etc. I’ll post a baseball thread at least once a week, but your ideas help.

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RIP Joe


I’m at a loss for words over this story, Joe was a friend, and a close friend of my brother Steve and his family, doing everything that young families do together. He was one of the most generous guys I ever met, and someone you learned something from every time you ran into him. He’s well known around SGV youth sports, and played for Duarte’s High School’s 1992 football team that advanced to the CIF championship. He worked with Magic Johnson and married his high school sweetheart Debbie, has three kids and another on the way. He was living the American Dream and was as humble a man you ever meet. We’re gonna miss you Joe, God Bless and Rest in Peace.

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Boys Basketball: DRanch edges Bonita


Above: Diamond Ranch standout Chris Cunningham

Boys Basketball Top Ten Rankings
1. Diamond Ranch (9-3)
Huge win over Bishop Montgomery
2. Bonita (14-1)
Dominated area teams, won Alhambra, Glendora/Rowland tourney’s
3. Nogales (12-4)
Dynamic Duo leads charge
4. Northview (10-5)
Lost twice to Bonita
5. Damien (10-4)
Can play with anyone
6. Glendora (10-5)
Not a typical Tartans start
7. Bishop Amat (11-3)
Area’s biggest surprise
8. Walnut (11-2)
Arroyo tournament champions
9. Diamond Bar (9-5)
Best December in a while
10. Workman (7-5)
Buzzer-beater beats Los Altos

Boys Basketball standings
Arrowhead League
Christian League
Del Rey League
San Antonio League
Sierra League
Valle Vista League
Montview League
Mission Valley League
Miramonte League

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Girls Basketball: DRanch closing in on Amat


Above: Bishop Amat’s Morgann Ellis making a pass for the Lancers

Girls Basketball Top Ten
1. Bishop Amat (12-2)
Dominated local tournaments
2. Diamond Ranch (10-4)
Three averaging double figures
3. South Hills (7-5)
Glendora tourney champs
4. St. Lucy’s (8-3)
Webb tournament champions
5. Bonita (10-4)
Losses to South Hills, Northview
6. Glendora (9-6)
In finals of own tournament
7. Covina (9-4)
Still the best in the Valle Vista?
8. Azusa (8-4)
Wins over Glendora, Wilson
9. Sierra Vista (6-3)
Opened season beating SHills
10. Walnut (6-7)
The struggle continues

Girls Basketball
Christian League
Del Rey League
Miramonte League
Mission Valley League
Montview League
San Antonio League
Sierra League
Valle Vista League

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Girls Soccer: Unbeaten Bishop Amat No. 1


Above: South Hills and Walnut should battle it out for San Antonio

Girls Soccer Top Ten
1. Bishop Amat (10-0-2)
Unbelievable turnaround and only unbeaten
2. Glendora (9-3-2)
Great run in tournaments
3. Los Altos (11-4)
Lost two after six-straight wins
4. St. Lucy’s (4-2-3)
Easy 5-0 win over San Dimas
5. South Hills (6-4-2)
Plays Glendora, BAmat next
6. Walnut (4-2-1)
Not a typical Mustangs start
7. Charter Oak (8-3-2)
Still has lot to prove
8. San Dimas (7-2-4)
Outscored opponents 43-13
9. Baldwin Park (8-2-1)
Best start in years
10. Bonita (5-5-1)
Allowing too many goals

Girls Soccer standings
Del Rey League
Christian League
Miramonte League
Mission Valley League
Montview League
San Antonio League
Sierra League
Valle Vista League

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Boys Soccer: Improved Tarts on top

Boys Soccer rankings and schedules
1. Glendora (9-1)
Only loss to Monrovia in Ontario tournament final
2. Bishop Amat (10-3-1)
On nine-game unbeaten streak
3. Wilson (9-2-2)
Reached finals in two tournaments
4. Mountain View (7-3-2)
ecord reflects its improved schedule
5. Los Altos (7-2)
Opened with seven-straight wins
6. Diamond Ranch (5-1-1)
2-0 win over Ayala
7. Damien (6-6-1)
Faced toughest competition by far
8. South Hills (3-2-2)
Favorite in tight San Antonio
9. Diamond Bar (6-5-2)
Could make noise in the Sierra
10. Baldwin Park (10-1)
Valle Vista favorites

Boys Soccer Standings
Del Rey League
Miramonte League
Mission Valley League
Montview League
San Antonio League
Sierra League
Valle Vista League

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King rates area’s best hoops players ever?

This story comes from longtime staffer Jim McConnell, the man we call, “The King” around the office. He writes a weekly Then & Now column. This week he writes about his history lesson from readers, and what winning a 4-A title once meant.


Robledo: “Murray was the best I’ve ever seen.”

The area’s best high school basketball player ever?
In this reporter’s opinion — there’s no way of knowing.
Basketball has been played at Southern California high schools for more than 100 years. But what exactly was it they were playing? The differences between how the game was played in the 1920s, in the 1940s, in the 1960s and today are so marked that comparing players of one era to those of another is meaningless.

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Boys Hoops: Guerrero wins it at buzzer

There could be many more nights like this at Workman High School. Clock winding down, score tied, and the floor spread for sophomore Cezar Guerrero and his Kobe-like finishes.
The youngster so many have been talking about since his transfer from St. John Bosco delivered like a big-timer, shaking a defender while dribbling to his right, then nailing a jump shot as time expired to lift the Lobos to a 62-60 victory over Los Altos in their final nonleague tune-up on Monday.

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Football: MaxPreps All-State Team

MaxPreps All-State football teams

California Division 2 All-State Team
Player of the year: Tyler Gaffney, Cathedral
Coach of the year: Darren Bennett, Tulare

Note: Congratulations to the four area players for making this prestigious state list. For a complete list of the teams, click the thread.

Division II First Team Defense
DL - Evan Williams, Charter Oak (Covina), 6-2, 250, Sr
Williams helped Charter Oak win a Southern Section Southeast Division title by racking up 92 tackles and 11 sacks. Named the Southeast Division defensive player of the year.

DB - Tra Sumler, Rosemead, 5-11, 205, Sr
The Pasadena Star News player of the year, Sumler ran for 2,451 yards on the season with 33 touchdowns and also had 15 sacks on defense. Helped the Panthers post an 11-2 record and reach the Mid-Valley Division championship game.

DB - Brandon Sermons, Diamond Ranch (Pomona), 6-1, 185, Sr
Sermons was named to the all-area team by the Inland Daily Bulletin while helping Diamond Ranch reach the Southeast Division championship game. Sermons, who had 51 tackles on the season, is headed to UCLA next year.

Second Team, Defense
P - Bobby Maldonado, Rosemead, 5-11, 185, Sr
One of the top kickers in the state, Maldonado could also punt the ball as he averaged 42 yards a kick with 14 landing inside the 20. He also had 47 touchbacks on kickoffs and booted nine field goals during the season.

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Umpires needed

The San Gabriel Valley Umpire Association will hold its first meeting for new baseball and softball umpires on Jan. 14 at Citrus College at 7 p.m. For those interested in becoming a high school umpire, contact Dennis Miller at 909-599-9919. The San Gabriel Valley Baseball and Softball Association on the west side of the Valley is also looking for umpires this spring. Those interested should contact Ron Ainsworth, 626-824-4140 or Carlos Salazar, 626-482-8800.

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