South Hills and Bishop Amat play back-to-back in opening games of National Classic

The National Classic schedule is out and it’s just what the Valley wants. South Hills plays at 10 a.m. against Salpointe followed by Bishop Amat and defending tourney champ Notre Dame Prep at 1 p.m., at Edison High School. The Lancers and Huskies are on opposite sides of the bracket, so they only way the can meet before their late April encounter is in the Classic Championship game.

Classic Openers, Monday, April 5.
Game #1 – Palm Desert vs Edison, 10:00am at EDHS
Game #2 – Notre Dam Prep vs Bishop Amat, 1:00pm at EHS
Game #3 – Peninsula vs Mater Dei, 4:00pm at EDHS
Game #4 – Pendleton vs El Dorado, 7:00pm at CSF
Game #5 – West Ranch vs Orange Lutheran, 1:00pm at EDHS
Game #6 – South Hills vs Salpointe, 10:00am at EHS
Game #7 – Marin Catholic vs Crespi, 4:00pm at EHS
Game #8 – Cottonwood vs Esperanza, 4:30pm at CSF

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The Scouting Guru takes a peak at Divisional Realignment, and the power leagues in the I.E.

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent in the San Gabriel Valley.

Guru Says: It’s a new day in the San Gabriel Valley. With the playoff placement of the Sierra League slated to go into the Inland Division (which is Division 2), the overall composition of high school football has changed in the San Gabriel Valley. That can be the only conclusion you can make after seeing the realignment of football divisions for the 2010 and 2011 season. There is a upper echelon, a middle echelon and a lower echelon of high school football in the area. So how does it break down?…Real simple …

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If the playoffs started today and you had to ride your best lefty to the CIF title, would you want Pedroza, Paez or Mathews?

I generally don’t like to compare players this way knowing how crazy some of our bloggers get, but I’m asking because there is no wrong answer, and these guys are so darn good you can’t really say anything negative about them. Northview’s Eddie Pedroza and Bishop Amat’s Paul Paez already own CIF titles, and Diamond Bar junior Kenny Mathews won a Gold Medal with team USA’s U-16 team. Great left-handers are rare, to have three in the Valley this outstanding at the same time … we might never ever see that again, so enjoy it!
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Bishop Amat’s Richard Wiard continues to add to his legacy as the greatest girls basketball coach in San Gabriel Valley history

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Number 5 seeds aren’t supposed to win CIF Southern California Regional championships.Teams without a starter more than 5-foot-9 aren’t supposed to play for state titles. That’s exactly what’s taking place, though, with the Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team. And the Lancers can thank coach Richard Wiard for it. (To continue, click thread)

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The Lutheran Bandwagon is just $20 bucks

I thought about hitching a ride myself this is such a great deal, but if you’re going to the La Verne Lutheran state championship basketball game on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in Bakersfield, why drive and pay $15 for parking when the school is offering round-trip busfare from Lutheran for $20. For more info, call Lutheran at 909-593-4494, and ask for Kathy.

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Sorry Bishop Amat, South Hills, Northview and Covina; King says 1977 Edgewood was the greatest baseball team in Valley history; Mike Pill taking MVP honors, woot, woot!

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 the greatest high school baseball teams in San Gabriel Valley history.

By Jim McConnell, Staff Writer
The golden age of prep baseball in the San Gabriel Valley? We’re still in it. Over the past 40 years, area teams have been involved in 76 CIF-Southern Section championship games and have won 43 of them. (to continue click thread)

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Baseball Rankings: Bishop Amat, South Hills and Glendora still top three, but also time to give Walnut and Los Altos some respect

Above: Los Altos pitcher Mike Luna.

Tribune Baseball Rankings
1. Bishop Amat (7-1) — After an incredible week in the Newport Elks tourney, they keep piling up big wins, beating Chatsworth 7-1 and pounding Palos Verdes Peninsula. When Paez is pitching, they’re truly one of the best, if not the best team in the state.
2. South Hills (6-1) — They deserve to jump back to No. 2 after beating West Covina, with a lone loss to Chino Hills. Looking at their schedule, they might not lose again until they face Bishop Amat on April 28. Oh wait, I forgot they have something called the National Classic inbetween. My bad.
3. Glendora (6-1) — The 1-0 loss at Diamond Bar was no knock at all, the Tartans have allowed two runs or less in six of their seven games. Pitching gets it done and they have it. The Tartans are built to go the distance.
4. Walnut — (4-1-1) — Along with Los Altos, another big surprise. They have a tie against Chino Hills and a 12-11 win over Diamond Bar. We should have had them ranked earlier, that was our mistake.
5. Diamond Bar (4-3) — The Brahmas can beat anyone when Kenny Mathews is pitching, but without him, they need to outslug teams, and they have the hitters to do that. The problem is, you’re going to lose games like they did to Walnut that way, 12-11.
6. Damien (4-2) –– Tough 7-6 loss to Chino Hills, not the way they wanted to open the Sierra League, and now they’re at Glendora on Wednesday. The league is brutal, there are no days off and it’s impossible to really predict games. Just play ’em and see what happens.
7. Los Altos (6-1) — The No. 1 ranking in Div. III on MaxPreps was surprising considering they were ranked over South Hills, but they’re legit and probably the Miramonte favorites. They ended last year on a quarterfinal tear in the playoffs, and that confidence has caried over.
8. Gladstone (7-0) — Undefeated is undefeated. I don’t care if they’re a mid-major in our parts, they’re getting it done against who they line up against.
9. Northview (3-2-1) — Off all the pitchers in the Valley, lefty Eddie Pedroza is off to the best start. If only the Vikes had solid No. 2 pitching. Anyways, this should be good enough to give them the inside track in the VVL.
10. Bonita (3-2-1) –– Nice wins over Charter Oak and San Dimas, but the Chargers and Saints are having a tough year, so tough to make much out of it. Then there is the 19-3 loss to Claremont. This is why Los Altos is now the league favorite.

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Softball Rankings: Glendora, Bonita still top poll, West Covina climbs to No. 3

Tribune Softball Rankings
1. Glendora (8-1) – Followed loss to Etiwanda in the championship of the San Dimas tournament with a sweep over Calvary Murrieta. What’s most impressive is that in six wins they held their opponent to one run or less. That’s pitching.
2. Bonita (8-1-1) – After losing to Glendora, they beat Charter Oak 2-1 and in a doubleheader against South Hills, eek out a 3-2 win and settle for a 3-3 tie. The swag factor I thought was there at the beginning of the season isn’t there anymore. I bet the Los Altos game today goes down to the wire.
3. West Covina (6-2) — Won the 10-9 slugfest over rival South Hills, and the blog-talking trash talk hasn’t stopped. What worries me is they have to play each other two more times. Bottom line, these teams can score, but defense and pitching needs to improve. You can’t win this way in the playoffs.
4. San Dimas (3-2) — Only losses to Burbank and Bonita. We know what they have on paper, we’re just waiting for the engine to warm up.
5. Los Altos (4-2) — The jury is still out. They own an impressive 4-1 win over West Covina, and a close 1-0 loss to Glendora, but the loss to Northview sticks out like a sore thumb.
6. Charter Oak (7-5) – Ok, so they lost three of four, but they came against Los Osos, Chino Hills and Colton in the Jurupa Valley tournament. They might be the best hitting team in the Valley, but against real good pitching, they’re going to struggle.
7. South Hills (4-3-1) — After losing to West Covina they show up bigtime in a doubleheader against Bonita, losing by a run and getting a 3-3 tie. Like West Covina, consistent pitching and defense will be the key to their success.
8. Covina (4-1) — Lost to eventual champion La Serna in the semifinals of the Arroyo tournament, but do have impressive wins over Arroyo and Wilson. Will be interesting to see how they compete with Northview and San Dimas in the VVL.
9. Arroyo (7-1) – Impressive run in its own Arroyo tournament, winning twice on Saturday to claim the consolation title. Their coach says this is their best team in her five years there, making them big favorites in the Mission Valley.
10. Northview (4-3) — They won three straight to keep them in the top ten, but their losses are real ugly losses. They need to clean that up, and do it quick.

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Remkus and Gladiators undefeated; Los Altos No. 1 over South Hills in Div. III MaxPreps Rankings

Coach Remkus’ son Tom is having a terrific start to his senior season after taking his junior year off because he was burned out. This is a kid who started as a freshman. How coach Remkus handled it as a coach and parent is one of the most impressive explanations I’ve heard in a while.

“He told me, `Dad, I don’t have the motivation,’ ” Remkus said. “I gave him time to think about it and he gave his answer. As a coach, it was very disappointing. But as a father it would have been wrong to push him and not fair to the team if his heart wasn’t in it. And I felt he was doing well in school and that was most important. As it turns out, it was very good for him. He realized how much he missed baseball, so it’s all worked out.”

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
The only undefeated high school baseball team in the Valley isn’t Bishop Amat, South Hills, Glendora or Damien as some might expect. With the Montview League beginning this week, Gladstone is 7-0 with doubleheader sweeps over Keppel and Bassett and notable nonleague victories over Rosemead (6-3) and San Marino (19-4). Gladiators coach Rich Remkus has been at the school for 26 years and owns more than 500 victories. He is pleased with the quick start, but he’s not fooled by it either.

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The No. 1 team in the nation wants Amat, and they want them bad .. But don’t expect the miracle on wood, even with our Woodenish coach

During the playoffs, this same St. Mary’s person leaves a comment at the end of Amat game stories. Why the No. 1 team in the nation wants Amat so bad is curious. But here’s a hint, this is the third time they will meet in the state finals, St. Mary’s won in 2004, Amat avenged it a year later in 2005. Now I get it, but like I told coach Wiard, Hickory had a better shot than they do…

Very nice article, this is going to be one heck of a game. Even before you guys lost to Inglewood in the sectionals I knew you would be playing us for the state title. Your game has changed, and you deserve to be where you are today. Now get ready for a game unlike any you have ever seen. In a recent game we kept the opponent from crossing midcourt for nearly three minutes. But enough of that, weve seen each other before. See you Saturday, we’ll be the team cutting down the nets. Were waiting for you….
— St. Mary’s of Stockton #1 in the USA

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
The celebration is over for the Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team, and justifiably so.
The Lancers won the CIF Southern California Division III championship last Saturday with an upset of Inglewood. That’s the good news. The bad news is St. Mary’s of Stockton (33-1) comes calling in the state title game and that’s reason enough to end any party early. “I’d say we’re a decided underdog,” Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard said after beginning his research on St. Mary’s, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation by several publications. “They’re averaging 82 points per game. I don’t think we’ve scored 82 points in a game all year.”

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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.

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With state basketball playoffs using enrollment, what else did you expect, 75 percent of state finalists are private schools. That’s sad

“It is a disturbing trend,” said Dave Vierra, boys’ basketball coach at Oakland Bishop O’Dowd. “Anybody who cares long term about high school sports wants equity. The solutions for the concerns are harder to find.”

When the CIF-SS playoffs started, we said our public schools didn’t have much of a chance with power private schools spread throughout the divisions, and with state playoffs using enrollment, private schools had even bigger advantages, so it’s no surprise that 75 % of the state finalists this weekend are private schools. Diamond Ranch is arguably the areas best girls basketball team, but Bishop Amat girls will play for the Division III title. Bonita and South Hills were arguably the areas best public school boys teams this season, but La Verne Lutheran will represent the SGV in the Division V state finals. Of the ten teams that qualified from Southern California, seven were private schools. The only public schools from SoCal are L.A. City’s Westchester and San Diego Lincoln boys, and the Long Beach Poly girls. In Northern California, eight of the ten finalists are private schools, meaning that 15 of the 20 finalists this weekend will be private schools. What’s wrong with that picture? When you hear public school coaches complain about the unfairness of having to compete with private schools who can draw players from anywhere, this is why.

The Solution: With five state playoff divisions, why not have three public school divisions, and two private school divisions based on enrollment. That would level the playing field considerably. If NoCal did the same, then you could have true public and private school state champions based on enrollment, which would be much fairer than what you have today.

Friday’s State Championship games in Bakersfield
Boys D-IV: St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Price (Los Angeles), 1:30 pm
Girls D-IV: St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood), 3:30 pm
*Girls D-II: Carondelet (Concord) vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 6:00 pm*
*Boys D-II: St. Francis (Mtn. View) vs. Lincoln (San Diego), 8:00 pm*

Saturday’s State championships in Bakersfield.
Girls D-V: Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) vs. St. Anthony (Long Beach), 9:30 am
Boys D-V: Branson (Ross) vs. La Verne. Lutheran, 11:30 am
Girls D-III: St. Mary’s (Stockton) vs. Bishop Amat, 1:30 pm
Boys D-III: Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) vs. Serra (Gardena), 3:30 pm
*Girls D-I: Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) vs. Poly (Long Beach), 6:00 pm*
*Boys D-I: Newark Memorial vs. Westchester (Los Angeles), 8:00 pm*

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