Here’s Johnny H

Correspondent John Honell is a longtime contributor to the Tribune, and well-known throughout the San Gabriel Valley. He knows the area’s history, coaches, and always seems to have insider information. He will share some of it with his “Touching Base” pieces that will run from time to time.

Honell said: Nothing has happened to change my view on Sierra League baseball. It is still the toughest league, top to bottom, in the Valley. Diamond Bar lefty, Kenny Mathews won a 1-0 pitchers duel against Glendora righty, Adam Plutko but, both teams look to be capable of winning a lot of games.

Plutko was clocked at an outstanding, for high school pitchers, 88 mph.
Mathews fastball hit 92 on the gun.
Both appeared to have average curveballs but they were aided by an
umpire that widened the strike zone by several inches when there was a
bend in the ball.
As good as the pitching was, the hitting was just as impressive. There
may not have been many hits by either team but there were several balls
hit right on the screws (thats an old golf term) but right at the
defense. Those fast balls were getting pulled, not sliced to the
opposite field.

You think that this game wasn’t important to Bishop Amat coach Richard
Wiard?
This was the first interview I have ever done with him where he
couldn’t stop smiling.

The Bishop Amat girls basketball team may have been the number five
seed in the CiF State Tournament but picking them to reach the Southern
California Regional Championship game would have been a lot more
reasonable than picking Northern Iowa over Kansas.
The Lancers were just a lot better than the San Diego team they faced.
Beating number four seed Agoura shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.
Agoura had been ranked first in the CIF 3AA polls most of the year
(with Inglewood second) although their strength of schedule didn’t come
close to the Lancers.
I saw Santa Margarita play in the CIF Division 3A quarterfinals. They
were good, with one sure Division I player and a 6’4″ center that could
cause problems for most anyone. They never should have been the top
seed in the State Division III.
As for beating Inglewood, let’s just say that beating a Richard Wiard
team twice in a season is going to be tough for anyone.

Inglewood coach Tony Scott intimated that the best player for the
Lancers was coach Richard Wiard.
“He stopped what we wanted to do in the second half,” Scott said.
“That’s what you expect from Richard Wiard. I’ve been watching Richard
Wiard for years and the only surprise was he didn’t change much from
our first game.”

Wiard might be the best coach around, high school or college, at
anallyzing a game in progress and making adjustments that give his team
a chance to win. However, he seemed surprised when he looked at the
post game stats.
He thought the Lancers hadn’t made many turnovers but they had 24 to
Inglewood’s 14. He thought Inglewood had dominated the boards. The
Lancers won that battle 47-45 but gave up 19 offensive rebounds. He was
also surprised when the Sentinels big center fouled out with less than
a minute left in the game. He said he wasn’t aware she was in fould
trouble.
After looking at the stats he said he was surprised his team won, but
he still had a huge smile on his face.

Sophomore point guard Michelle Yamamoto won the Sportsmanship Medal.
She attempted to help an Inglewood player that had crashed to the
floor. The help was refused but the offer was an example of how all
kids should play. She could have been given an MVP award for guarding
Hazel Ramirez, arguably the best player on the court, and holding her
to 9 points. She also directed the Lancer offense that was able to get
to the basket most of the game because of the way she moved the ball
around to open up the middle.

Under the heading “Dress for Success,” an Amat senior, who shall remain
nameless, decided blue socks should be the uniform of the day. Wiard,
ever the perfectionist, made her find some white socks to look like the
rest of the team. She would have remained on the bench and is probably
running laps this week to make the point. At least , as long as Wiard
is still smiling, she can ride the bus to Bakersfield.

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