Charter Oak is on a roll and looking unstoppable, but so are the rest in the Southeast Semifinals

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
There is a common theme among the final four teams in the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division playoffs, and it all has to do with momentum.
All four semifinalists were undefeated in the month of November, which includes .500 Diamond Ranch (6-6), winners of five games in a row heading into Friday’s semifinal against South Hills (10-2) at Covina District Field. The Huskies bring their own nine-game winning streak to the contest. In Saturday’s other semifinal California (9-2-1), which will be taking on defending champion Charter Oak (11-1), has won eight consecutive games and hasn’t lost since opening the season with back-to-back losses to Rowland and La Mirada. The Chargers have a modest eight-game winning streak, too, and are 24-1-1 since last season.
“You get to this stage by improving over the course of the season,” Charter Oak coach Lou Farrar said. “What you were in September isn’t what you’re today. You can look at the scores, and who beat who, but it doesn’t really tell you anything. If you’re playing football in December, you’re doing something right and you can’t take any game for granted. At this point there are no upsets, just good teams trying to make it to the next round.”

Interview with California coach Jim Arnold after Friday’s win…..

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Melendez had a fun Q&A with St. Francis’ Dietrich Riley, who weighed in on the USC-UCLA controversy, and where he might go

Miguel Melendez said: I got a chance to chat with St. Francis star Dietrich Riley during halftime of the Van Nuys-Pasadena basketball game Tuesday night. If you’re an avid reader of the Los Angeles Times, you’ll notice sportswriters Eric Sondheimer and Austin Knoublauch talked to several Southland high school football coaches to get their thoughts on the UCLA-USC ending last week. I asked Riley the same question and he opined on that and, among other things, gave an update on his recruiting. To Continue Q&A click thread

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Boys Soccer Preview: Baldwin Park and Mountain View start where they finished, on top

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
After the best season in the history of the Baldwin Park High School boys soccer team, the bar is set even higher for the 2009-10 season. The Braves advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division VI championship game for the first time ever and lost in the finals to three-time champion Salesian 2-1 in sudden-death overtime.
That taste has left them wanting more, and with eight starters back, including senior striker Edgar Padilla and midfielder playmaker Rafael Murillo, the Braves will start the season as the Tribune’s No. 1 team. For the rest of the top ten, click thread

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Wednesday Roundup: Damien, Glendora in semi’s, Los Altos girls soccer beats Rowland, 7-0

Click on the thread for all of Wednesday’s boxscores

Damien High School, The Tribune’s top- ranked team, hit six 3-pointers as the Spartans built a 16-point halftime lead and coasted to a 61-49 win over Rowland in the second round of the Glendora-Rowland Tournament on Wednesday night. The Spartans (2-0) will face tourney favorite Los Osos at 6 p.m. on Friday in a semifinal game at Glendora.
Glendora Tournament Semifinals
Friday’s games at Glendora

Damien vs. Los Osos, 6 p.m.
Don Lugo vs. Glendora, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s championship, 7:30 p.m.

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New Bowl Championship Series blog

Hi All:
Just wanted to let you all know that we have a new blog that is dedicated to the Bowl Championship Series championship game, scheduled for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 7. I will post several times daily on the latest news. This week were concentrating on news coming out of the Florida and Alabama camps as both prepare to play for a spot in the BCS title game in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference title game. We will also have reports from Texas, which plays for the other BCS slot in the Big 12 title game against Nebraska, and news from TCU and Cincinnati, who right now are on the outside looking in.
Here’s a short on Alabama return man Javier Arenas.

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Two-Minute Drill: Robledo, Ramirez and Miller discuss this week’s semifinal football games

The Tribune’s Fred Robledo, Steve Ramirez and Time Warner’s popular Reginald Miller mix it up and discuss this weekends football semifinals. Check it out

Friday’s semifinal games
Mid-Valley Division
Azusa (11-1) at San Dimas (11-1), 7 p.m.
Southeast Division
Diamond Ranch (6-6) at South Hills (10-2), Covina District Field, 7 p.m.
Saturday’s game
Southeast Division
California (9-2-1) at Charter Oak (11-1), 7 p.m.

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Who is the leading candidate for football player of the year? The answer comes on Christmas Day

I would throw out some names, but I don’t want you to know which way I’m leaning as we approach the final two weeks. I think it’s fair to say the player of the year will come from one of the remaining semifinal football teams or Bishop Amat, winners of the Serra League and Pac-5 Division quarterfinalists. For the first time in a while we’re not just looking at offensive players, there are some defensive guys worthy of strong consideration too.

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South Hills’ Jordan Canada still a part of the team, even though he can’t play; Receiver Ify Umodu injured, questionable for Friday


Above: Huskies receiver Ify Umodo has a high ankle sprain and might not play Friday.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
More than a month has passed since South Hills High School running back Jordan Canada was denied a state appeal to become eligible for the Huskies after transferring from Duarte High school. Even though Duarte officials claimed Canada’s transfer was for “athletically motivated,” reasons, which essentially robbed him of his senior season, Canada has remained with the team, hoping to stay active enough to earn a college scholarship, and helping the teammates he never had a chance to play for continue its pursuit of a CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division title. To continue, click thread

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Girls Basketball Preview: Diamond Ranch takes the baton from Bishop Amat as areas No. 1 team

“They are better than us. We’re clearly second-best.” Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard on Diamond Ranch

By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
There was a changing of the guard, so to speak, among area girls basketball powers last season. That’s not expected to change this season. Diamond Ranch High School supplanted Bishop Amat as No. 1, and the Panthers are expected to be better this season.
The Panthers return all five starters from a team that went 23-5, cruised to the Miramonte League title and advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals.
“They are better than us,” said Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard, whose Lancers set the standard for the past decade. “We’re clearly second-best.” Diamond Ranch’s strength lies in its athleticism and depth. The Panthers, led by reigning area Player of the Year Janelle Kearney, can go eight or nine deep and simply smother teams from the get-go.
To continue reading the rest of the top ten, click thread

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Mid-Valley: If you thought San Dimas and Azusa would meet in the semifinals when the season started, you were just joking, right?

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
The winner of Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division semifinal between No. 3 Azusa (11-1) and No. 2 San Dimas (11-1) will make history by sending one of the schools to its first championship game ever. This is already the deepest into the playoffs the Aztecs have advanced in school history, and it comes at a time when many thought this would be a rebuilding year for both schools. To continue reading, click thread

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Tribskin Pick’em, your predictions and ours

BREAKING NEWS: On Friday we will have co-games of the week with photographers at both games. Steve will cover San Dimas-Azusa, and I will be at Diamond Ranch-South Hills. We will live blog both games on coveritlive and twitter. On coveritlive, you can sign on with facebook and talk about the game with other commenters as it unfolds.

Steve and I will go head-to-head throughout the season. Here is our updated records on the Tribskin Pick’em thread.

Robledo: Last week/Total: 8-1/183-42
Ramirez: Last week/Total: 5-4/166-59

Last Week: Bishop Amat’s loss to Lakewood stopped what would have been a perfect week. Steve took some chances trying to catch-up, but it backfired, picking Burbank, Paraclete and Baldwin Park, all who lost. My final four predictions in the Southeast are all still alive, my Mid-Valley Division final picks of Monrovia-San Dimas are on a collission course, and I also took Rancho Cucamonga in the Central, and they’re looking good.

This week: Let’s start with the Southeast, and the rematch from last year’s quarterfinals where Diamond Ranch knocked off (I won’t say upset, Roddy hates when I call it an upset) South Hills. All that really matters is the Panthers are 5-0 over the last month, and they’re scoring points, averaging about 32 points during that span. The Huskies have won nine straight, haven’t been as dominating in the playoffs, but with a game they’re going to be up for more than any other outside West Covina, I like the Huskies to pull it out at home. Charter Oak has a mighty tough task at home against California, but the Chargers proved they’re the best team in the division, and will take care of business. In the Mid-Valley, you have to love the Azusa-San Dimas semifinal, two teams that lost of bunch of seniors but somehow look better than last year’s teams. This is the Aztecs’ toughest opponent of the season by far. To take that next step you have to beat teams that people believe you have no business beating, so this is it for them. The problem, the Saints are bigger, stronger, faster and will advance. Will it be close? Calpreps says Saints by 14. I’m thinking more like 21. Monrovia will have no problem with Whittier Christian, not after what they did last week in the cold. I’m predicting the Central because next year it will be a big part of our coverage area. We will include Chino Hills and Ayala in the mix since they will be competing with a couple of our area’s best football teams. Isn’t that something, next year Bishop Amat, Glendora, South Hills, Charter Oak and now Damien with Gano will compete at super high levels and could be finished by this time. In any case, I like Rancho to finish the job again in the Central.

CIF-SS Semifinals

Southeast Division
Friday
Diamond Ranch (6-6) vs. South Hills (10-2) at CDF, 7 p.m. — Robledo (SHills); Ramirez (SHills)
Saturday
California (9-2-1) at Charter Oak (11-1), 7 p.m. — Robledo (Charter Oak); Ramirez (Charter Oak)

Mid-Valley Division
Friday

Azusa (11-1) at San Dimas (11-1), 7 p.m. — Robledo (San Dimas); Ramirez (San Dimas)
Saturday
Whittier Christian (9-3) at Monrovia (12-0), 7 p.m. — Robledo (Monrovia); Ramirez (WChrs)

Central Division
Friday

Upland (10-2) at Chino Hills (10-2), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Upland); Ramirez (Upland)
Saturday
Los Osos (8-4) at Rancho Cucamonga (10-2), 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Rancho Cucamonga); Ramirez (Los Osos)

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Tournament hosts, please email your results to us, and coaches call in or email your boxscores

With the tournament season underway, we will post your tournament and update the scores if the tournament host provides them to me at fred.robledo@sgvn.com, or sends them to scores@sgvn.com. All coaches who wish to have their boxscores in the paper, call between 5 and 10:30 p.m., to 626-962-8811, Ext. 2242, 2233 or 2161. If you would like to email your results to scores@sgvn.com, call first and ask a desk person to explain what we need. Again, unless coaches call me with scores, I will have a hard time updating the tournament schedules. If you help us, we will help you.

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Boys Top Ten Preview: Damien’s momentum from last year earns No. 1 spot; La Verne Lutheran not far back; Bonita, Glendora, DRanch in top five

By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
Damien High School enjoyed a solid run at the right time last season.
The Spartans (19-12 in 2008-09), who advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division IIA semifinals, look to pick up where they left off this boys basketball season. Damien, which returns arguably two of the better players in the area in Chris Adams and Chris Reyes, is a good bet to do just that. “It was a great run,” said Damien coach Matt Dunn, whose Spartans begin the season ranked No. 1 in the area. “It created a lot of excitement in the community, among the student body. Our kids remember that. To experience that, it makes them feel that (winning a CIF title) is a realistic goal.”
A very realistic aspiration.
It starts with Adams and Reyes, who give the Spartans a good one-two punch. Adams, a senior who averaged 16 points per game, is solid from the outside. Reyes, a sophomore, provides an inside presence after averaging seven points and seven rebounds per game as a freshman.
“I like this team,” Dunn said. “We have great chemistry and the kids work really hard.”

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La Verne Lutheran included in our top ten, and for end of the year award considerations


After speaking with the bosses at the Tribune, the consensus was that La Verne Lutheran should be included in our coverage area for boys basketball, which means they will be in our top ten’s, and eligible for end of the year award considerations on the all-area team. The fact is, they might just be one of the best teams in the Southland. They opened the powerful Pasadena City Rose Classic with a huge win over City Section power Dorsey, 65-64. This Rose City Classic is filled with some of the Southlands best, like Corona Centennial, Cleveland, Eisenhower, Price.

The quarterfinals of the Rose City Classic continue on Wednesday, with La Verne Lutheran taking on Eisenhower, the ninth-ranked team in the L.A. Times at 8 p.m. in Pasadena.
Wednesday’s top half of the bracket
Quarterfinals

Etiwanda vs. Corona Centennial, 6:30 p.m.
Eisenhower vs. La Verne Luthearn, 8 p.m.

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The Glendora/Rowland tournament kicks off the boys basketball season tonight; Boys and Girls Previews tomorrow and Wednesday

Boys Basketball
Glendora tournament:

Pool A: Glendora, N. Hollywood, Ganesha
Pool B: Los Osos, Vista Murrieta, Don Lugo
Pool C: Damien, Rowland, Chatsworth

Round Robin
Tonight at Rowland
Ganesha vs. North Hollywood, 4:30 p.m.
Don Lugo vs. Vista Murrieta, 6 p.m.
Rowland vs. Chatsworth, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday at Glendora
Los Osos v. Don Lugo, 4:30 p.m.
Chatsworth v. Damien, 6 p.m.
Glendora v. Ganesha, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s games
Vista Murrieta vs. Los Osos at Rowland, 6 p.m.
Damien at Rowland, 7:30 p.m.
North Hollywood at Glendora, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, December 4th – all TBA
6:00 pm Pool C 1st/Pool B 1st
7:30 pm Pool A 1st /Pool B 2nd

Saturday, December 5th – all TBA
3:00 pm Pool A 3rd/Pool C 3rd
4:30 pm Pool C 2nd/Pool A 2nd
6:00 pm 3rd Place
7:30 pm Championship

For Boys and Girls Basketball Schedules, check out MaxPreps made easy, Tribune style.


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