Last-second shot helps Amat stay Queen of the Valley and beat Bonita, 57-55


Andrea Villanueva found wide-open teammate Leeah Powell under the basket for an easy layup off an inbound pass as time expired to give Bishop Amat a 57-55 win over Bonita in a clash of the area’s top-two girls basketball teams.

Bonita entered the game 16-1 and this appeared the year that somebody else beside the Lancers would dominate the local landscape, but Amat had other ideas and came from nine down in the second half to eek out the victory and maintain its status as the top girls team in the Valley.

Amat’s Leticia Galarza led all scorers with 22 points. Bonita’s Madison Zylstra was held to 10 points. Nikki Wheatley led the Bearcats with 17.

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  • justafan

    Who defended the all-time leading scorer Zystra and held her to only 10 points? Give it up to Amat DEFENSE. Everyone’s hands go up, and they stay there.

  • I was there

    Great game. Back and forth for a majority of the game. Lost all respect for Amat with the way the coaches handled themselves. They have no filter over their mouths. Constant swearing and whining…constant.I don’t think I ever heard it stop. It rubs off on a team. Luckily they won on a defensive collapse, but they sure didn’t deserve it. Keep working Bearcats. It’s only one game.

    Go Bearcats!

  • curious

    Interesting comment by Bonita fan “i was there”.

    I have a question for you: What do you think of the conduct and behavior of your very own boys’ coach Eckler?

    Try not to fall off of your high horse while answering.

  • Aaron

    Curious,

    If these was three years ago I would definitely agree with you. I’m sure he still puts his change in the cuss jar but not in as much frequency as he used to. I’ve watched him coach when I was at home and had the chance and he has toned down drastically since I was a Bonita student.

  • lady hoops

    Eckler doesnt need a filter he needs to be fired. The way he talks to kids is way over the line The kids hate him and so do all the parents. why do the Bonita parents allow him to behave the way he does and why does the administration allow him to talk to his players this way?

  • Steve Ramirez

    Please…
    Greg Eckler is no different than any other successful coach, and I saw much worse from others today at the SoCal Shootout. Fire Greg Eckler? Before you even think that, try remember where the program was before he got there. The kids, as you say, don’t like him, but they sure do play for him at Bonita, which is on the verge of winning three league titles in the past four seasons.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  • just sayin’

    Steve – “any other successful coach”? Quite an overstatement , don’t you think? Any?
    I saw Eckler stand in the middle of the floor on the way to the locker room at half-time screaming at a kid, “What the f_ _ _ are you doing?”after giving up an open 3pt. NO high school coach should EVER talk to a kid that way? The press was all over Calipari the other day for the same thing – and he’s a million dollar college coach – not some skater dude high school coach

  • To Steve

    Steve. Because your winning games does not allow you to treat kids like crap. Steve you have no idea how Eckler talks to these kids behind the seens. He is way out od]f line on a daily bases.

  • Cidos

    Wow, in a blog post solely dedicated to today’s ONE women’s game, both the Bonita and Bishop Amat girl’s basketball teams only get a 3 paragraph blurb and 3 sentence comment amount of acknowledgment? That’s a shame.

    As someone who sat through every single game at the APU shootout today, the Bishop Amat v. Bonita game was by far the most balanced and consistently close/exciting game. Yes, Damien v. Mission Viejo came down to the end, but Damien struggled for a while and Colony v. Etiwanda wasn’t even a game until the third quarter. As well, Bonita v. Bishop Amat had the most local significance and not to mention, the best local crowd (despite being a 10:30 a.m. game!)

    The Lady Lancers and Lady Bearcats deserve a lot more credit and acknowledgment for the wonderful game they played instead of commenters overshadowing their success with comments completely unrelated and separate from the young women who stepped onto Hamlow’s court this morning. Those women demonstrated skill, talent, athleticism and sportsmanship today and it deeply disappoints me that they can’t even get the praise they deserve in a blog post dedicated to them.

    Overall, another wonderful So Cal Shootout!Thank you to Bonita and Bishop Amat for being one of the highlights of the day.

  • sgv fan

    Bonita vs Amat’s Girls was a “GREAT GAME” and better than the boys game. The girls should get more love from the tribune. Both teams had very good skilled players. Amat was a small(size)team but very well coached. Bonita has great size and appears to be up and coming. The game could have went either way but really good game. Amat did have a huge crowd LOL. Come on tribune where the love!

  • Aaron

    Eckler is very hard on his players no doubt about it. We may sit here and complain about it, but you know what, he teaches one of the best brands of basketball out there. No matter how small they are they are always competitive. He’s pretty close to having won 200 games since he’s been there…

    As I’ve said he’s changed…and if he’s really as bad as you say he is don’t you think Bob Ketterling would have fired him…he’s hired the majority of coaches that are currently at the school now.

    So if your criteria for firing a coach is cussing and yelling you are a fool.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing about Coach Eckler. Steve is right, you people have no clue how good you have it. You’re complaining about how he yells at the players? Are you kidding me? It must be 2011.

    And to whomever is griping about the action of the Amat bench, you’re even more lost than the Eckler haters. You’re talking about the Valley’s Girls Basketball Coach of the Year I don’t know how many times. You’re talking about three-time Valley Player of the Year Erin Myrick, who is now a coach at Amat. “Constant swearing and whining” … you’ve got to be kidding me.

    Anyway, about the girls game. Fantastic game. In the end, Amat was too savvy. I don’t think they’re more the talented team, but just like last year’s state playoffs, they make plays in clutch time. Basketball is so mental at times.

    Not sure, but I think this past week Amat came from behind in the fourth quarter of all of its games. And we’re talking about playing teams like Bishop Montgomery and St. Bernard.

    Bonita is really an outstanding team and they’re gonna grow from this game in a big way. This may actually turn out to be a good thing.

  • just sayin’

    Aram – you can’t be saying the end justifies the means – can you?
    No high school kid deserves to have an f-bomb dropped on him in the middle of a packed gym for all to hear – regardless how many little league titles the team has won.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    Just sayin,

    That’s part of what I’m saying.

    The other part is that if your biggest gripe is that Coach Eckler dropped an f-bomb on a kid, then I say toughen up. You don’t fire a coach or call for his head because of stuff like that. Not when Eckler has done WAY MORE GOOD than bad. He’s an intense coach, but he’s a fantastic coach.

    I can’t believe what gets people going these days. It is absolutely amazing. Maybe I’m just old school, but if coaches cursing and whining to the refs bother people this much, then we’re headed toward the drain a lot faster than I thought.

    It’s sports. It’s intense. Intensity causes people to act differently than they would at Sunday dinner.

  • just sayin’

    Aram – preparing for the LSAT, surgery, a trial, or meeting a deadline after a marathon football game is intense too. None are a Sunday dinner and all are much more important than high school sports. What I’m sayin’ is if this is how kids are learning to deal with “intense” situations through a coaches modeling -they’re gonna have to unlearn a whole bunch of things once they get into life.Imagine being in the newsroom and Spoon or Hunt or some boss looking over your shoulder yelling, You are such a terrible writer! What the f_ _ _ are you thinking?I can’t believe some of the stupid mistakes you made in that last article. You’re losing readers for us. If you don’t do better next week, I’ll fire you and we’ll get someone in here who can actually write!
    Does it make him a good boss because subscribers are up? Should HE be reprimanded? How long before HR is on that one?’ Last I checked, these kids are PLAYING high school basketball. Plenty of guys get it done the right way. Let’s highlight them

  • Steve Ramirez

    I will only reflect on a column I once wrote about a former Northview and SGV basketball star, whose dad felt NV coach Ron Rice had gone over the limit, so he pulled his kid out of the school. Only later, after talking with his kid, who by then had joined a special forces group of one of our military branches, that during the trying times of trying to protect this country, he would reflect on what Rice had told him and use the lessons learned to get through a tough situation. So what may seem like over-the-line now, may not later.
    We should all remember that.

  • Amat Fan

    Wow, thats ALL you got SGV Tribune? I mean you couldve covered the game with a bit more respect to the Amat girls .. No mention of how Andrea Villanueva limited Bonitas all time score to just 10 points, or how Leticia Galarza, who after returning from surgery, has in the past two games took a charge in the final minutes to play, to foul out the opponents leading scorer. It seems that the SGV Times isnt interested in giving THESE Amat girls love as they should. You would be wrong to just credit coach Waird too, (as you always do) the last time I checked, hes not the one getting it done on the court.

  • Joe Amat

    Amat Fan.

    Easy now. We got a very nice article on the print edition and online here
    http://www.sgvtribune.com/preps/ci_17171776

    This is just a blog. It’s always been my thought that here, they start the conversation with a small blurb and then WE provide the info and content.

    Thanks for highlighting Andrea and Leticia.

  • area code

    Enough about amat, everyone is tired of the publicity seeking machine there. Good game, beat a better team, congrats, great win, Bye.

    Eckler is a very good but young coach, intense, old school guy who knows the game, oh just ask amat re-covina tourney or head to head games the last couple of years. There they are again.

    It can be difficult to defend most coaches behavior, and basketball coaches are close to the fans, so much is heard unlike football and others, locker room meetings are pretty rough once out of youth league. Even more difficult cause at HS, coaches are usually educators too. Steve and Aram have it right however, Eckler is no different than his peers, not that this makes the behavior right on the example for young people level, but as a coach and in today’s game speak, he is by no means the worse.

    He brings competitive team each year regardless of talent pool or size, this years team has more talent than some in the past, so this could be a team that makes a good run.

    Do the kids hate him, good question, a sucessful and knowledgeable coach like him could be one of those coaches that his former players would have great memories about and do favors for and all that. He does get them ready for the next level in terms of defense, conditioning and the expectation of winning. So hopefully for those kdis there is respect. Apparently not caring about how public attacks on kids looks to others or effects the kids would be an issue. Sometimes the best examples are learning what not to do.

    Mixed bag for sure, end up seeing alot more good than bad as a coach and person, upside is pretty good.

    Hated to pick on amat but it was fun.

  • Obvious

    The bottom line is Bonita got outcoached. Is Amat a better team? We will never know. Is the Amat coach better seasoned? You bet he is! Bonita had that game won and they blew it. Period. Nothing else needs to be said.

  • Old School

    Oh no coach yelled at little Johnny WWWWWAAAAAAHHHHHH! My response to this is to MAN THE F**K UP!!!!! You who complain about that are the same people that think that spanking you’re kid is horrible. If you think that is bad, you have no idea what it was like to be around the Bobby Knights and Bear Bryants of the world. Both men who cussed, both men who came through in the clutch, and YES BOTH MEN WHO DEVELOPED BOYS INTO MEN. Too many kids, especially at places like Bonita, Glendora, Claremont etc. NEED someone to be a little more assertive with them.

  • bearcat

    For the record the two shots with 3.4 seconds left on the clock did not even come close to hitting the rim. Watch the tape it was a joke call. It should have been a shot clock violation and Bonita ball with 3.4. Instead Amat got another chance and they scored. Watch the tape, even the most hard core Amat fan cannot tell me different. That’s what happen when you only have one competent ref in a game like that mistakes happen.

  • Wake up

    Yes, Eckler yells at the players but that is not the problem. The problem is the constant attack on the kid’s character. Such as telling a kid that he is a loser and will always be a loser or saying to a player that he is a pussy and should be playing with the girls or telling a kid that he is stupid and not capable of learning. These are just a few of his coments that all his players have been told to.

  • Aaron

    Knowing several former and current players…I’m calling your bluff and saying BS.

  • http://facebook.com just a thought i guess

    I agree with “Old School” but then again, some of these kids are softer than my pillow.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with cussing in front of your kids or to your kids. There is a difference between cussing IN FRONT of them and cussing AT them.

    I played for one of the coaches that were at the SoCal Shootout, and he use to and still does cuss a decent amount. But I still love the guy for what he has turned our program into, and turned our team into: from boys to men, literally.

    Someone brought up the comment of Bobby Knight. You’re right, he probably over-does it, and cusses too much. So what? He’s still respected as one of the best coaches in NCAA D-1. He still holds the RECORD for the MOST WINS. The person that is chasing him down for the most wins in college basketball (Coach K) actually played for him and admires him like no other. So maybe he’s just breeding success in his own way?

    I thought Coach K was like an angel, someone that never cusses or yells at his kids. Then I watched ESPNU All-Access with Duke, and I changed my mind. He’s just like all the other coaches, but he does it in a calm way.

    Like it or not, the coaches we are all talking about WIN. And at the end of the day, that is what these kids, parents and fans are measuring; even though people say “Winning isn’t everything.” Well tell that to these coaches and programs.

  • outside observer

    When my freshman team was getting ready to play Bonitas freshman squad I had the opportunity to watch the Bonita Varsity practice before it was time for our teams to warm up, well JV was playing first. Although Eckler did seem to be a bit more sarcastic and showed at times “tough love” on his players it is very obvious that he expects a lot out of his players. He is very hard on them and yeah at times it seemed he was pretty sarcastic he didnt at all seem as if he disrespected them. By the way it was probably only like 6 people in the gym at this point since some players were changing. He seemed respectful but at the same time very hard on his players. Im sure Bobby Knight would love his practices lol. Be Humble you have a very good coach.

  • Bo Hi Alumni

    To all the doubters and critics of Coach Eckler you make me laugh! First off congrats to girls varisty team they are too nice and hope they get a ring as well as the boys…
    I am up studying for a midterm in college and came across this and kinda was annoyed. Get your shit straight Coach Eckler is one of the areas if not the areas elite coaches. Look at his resume and how he has transformed Bonita Basketball’s program. As a former student and player for his 09 team. what i have to say is true and means a lot. Eckler has shaped a lot of who I am today. From being my history teacher and me getting an A in his class. To 6th period basketball p.e. to the great season we had. Eckler most definately is a phenomenal coach and i can tell you personally how he was and is.
    Yes he cussed in front of us and at us and yes the locker room was a scary place sometimes but at the same times some of the funnest times took place there. Locker room times where we laughed, we cussed, we screamed, we pondered, we celebrated, we prepared. and boy did eckler prepare us. Yea i was called a pussy a girl to lift up my skirt fuck me and what not. Do i think he was wrong for it? def not. It made me a better man and stronger. If i wanted a weak program i would have went to SD or something haha. anyways my point is that if u think eckler is out of line or a bad coach think again pussy as he would say haha. Dont hate because your poor little jimmy couldnt take a few curse words because he is such an angel. send his to san dimas or clairemont something a little less violent for you haha I thank eckler for the hammering and mental breakdowns it made me think and want to work harder. He def motivated me a whole hell of a lot. He is a great man on and off the court.

    I am now a high school ref and also ref back in La Verne for recreation league for kids. and Eckler actually coaches his daughters mighty mights team along with Mr. Richie which i think is hilarious. No dont worry critics he doesnt call the kids pussy’s he does know hiw audience. lol he is actually soo damn sweet and is developing these young children into the next bohi stars. trust i can see it. And talking to him 2 years out of high school he hasnt change a bit and he is still the well rounded coach/friend i know. I will always look up to him and once again would like to thank him for all he has done. So f**k all you haters and worriers. Your kid couldnt handle a great program as Bonita’s

    Go bearcats and do work this season.

  • Bo Hi Alumni

    To all the doubters and critics of Coach Eckler you make me laugh! First off congrats to girls varisty team they are too nice and hope they get a ring as well as the boys…
    I am up studying for a midterm in college and came across this and kinda was annoyed. Get your shit straight Coach Eckler is one of the areas if not the areas elite coaches. Look at his resume and how he has transformed Bonita Basketball’s program. As a former student and player for his 09 team. what i have to say is true and means a lot. Eckler has shaped a lot of who I am today. From being my history teacher and me getting an A in his class. To 6th period basketball p.e. to the great season we had. Eckler most definately is a phenomenal coach and i can tell you personally how he was and is.
    Yes he cussed in front of us and at us and yes the locker room was a scary place sometimes but at the same times some of the funnest times took place there. Locker room times where we laughed, we cussed, we screamed, we pondered, we celebrated, we prepared. and boy did eckler prepare us. Yea i was called a pussy a girl to lift up my skirt fuck me and what not. Do i think he was wrong for it? def not. It made me a better man and stronger. If i wanted a weak program i would have went to SD or something haha. anyways my point is that if u think eckler is out of line or a bad coach think again pussy as he would say haha. Dont hate because your poor little jimmy couldnt take a few curse words because he is such an angel. send his to san dimas or clairemont something a little less violent for you haha I thank eckler for the hammering and mental breakdowns it made me think and want to work harder. He def motivated me a whole hell of a lot. He is a great man on and off the court.

    I am now a high school ref and also ref back in La Verne for recreation league for kids. and Eckler actually coaches his daughters mighty mights team along with Mr. Richie which i think is hilarious. No dont worry critics he doesnt call the kids pussy’s he does know hiw audience. lol he is actually soo damn sweet and is developing these young children into the next bohi stars. trust i can see it. And talking to him 2 years out of high school he hasnt change a bit and he is still the well rounded coach/friend i know. I will always look up to him and once again would like to thank him for all he has done. So f**k all you haters and worriers. Your kid couldnt handle a great program as Bonita’s

    Go bearcats and do work this season.

  • Great Job, Amat Girls!!!!!

    CONGRATS TO OUR LADY LANCERS!!!

    AMAT WILL SHINE!!!

  • Really?

    It is amazing the amount of whining from the SGV parents that a coach dropped an F bomb at their kid or that their kid was made to feel ridiculed. The quicker a high school student/ athlete gets acquainted with humility, the quicker the athlete will come to appreciate and develop in the game. Athletes have a tendency to have an ego (this is a good thing to have a propelled self confidence). However, to be humbled from time to time is a good thing too. It reminds them that they ALWAYS have something to work towards.

    My daughter has played at a higher level athletically and has a full ride scholarship next year and has had a long list of tough love coaches. Although they were tough at the time, my daughter will be the first one to say that the discipline (both mentally and physically)she learned has taken her to the next level, was offered multiple scholarships and has signed her NLI. The college coaches who were interested in my daughter would always comment on her discipline and her adaptability.

    We run in to these “tough love” coaches from time to time and these are good people. Coaching is not an easy job. They care about what they do and they know what is required of the kids to play as a team and they also know what it takes to win as a team.

    I agree with Aram and Steve.

    As for womens athletics and coverage, the San Gabriel Tribune has come a long….long way. They did an amazing job of covering girls volleyball (hitting pertinent games, you tube video highlights, interviews, state coverage). I’m not a Lancer or a Bearcat (Sorry guys, St. Lucy’s mom), I have been reading all the stories on girls soccer and basketball. Fred especially has done some nice pieces on Bonita girls basketball highlighting Anderson to LMU, Zylstra school breaking points and the upcoming freshman wonder Wheatley (btw…I am a huge fan of Wheatley. Love the kid & Family).

    To the SGV parents, calm down, take a seat and enjoy your team and your kids. There are some incredeible female/male athletes in this area and there are some incredible coaches helping your young female/male athletes to the next level. The SGV is alive and well and continues to push to creating more Division I athletes. Call it tough love, old school, whatever. The results are coming in and the future is bright for all the SGV. Looking at the “Signature Moment” where 36 student/athletes signed NLI and that didn’t include football, waterpolo or soccer…this is impressive. I am positive each of these kids have heard an F bomb or were told to get their head out their bum one too many times and look Mom & Dad…They turned out Ok.

  • Fan

    No matter what sport, people love to hate Amat in the valley.

  • Amat alum

    Great Job Lady Lancers. Much love to Lettie Galarza and Andrea Villanueva. I like to add love to Vee Austin and Leah Powell also who has stepped up their games. Vee Austin is very talented player who is worth mentioning because she already has a full ride to a college and she is following the same quiet footsteps in the same manner as her big brother Dominique Austin did when he starred at Amat and is currently at Univ of Arizona. Vee quietly contributes every game and doesn’t get any respect. And little Leah Powell who cleans the boards every single game. I love your ladies. Great families like the Galarza’s and Austin’s who continue our Amat Pride. Love you guys.

  • gametime

    Agree with Really?, coaches at all levels are paid to win, Bonita coach and others complained about do win. Eckler is a fine coach, might be the best in the valley and he needs to work on some things for sure, just as most of us need to.
    The athletes are amazing, its really not about the parents, coaches or the refs, its about these great kids. The adults forget that.
    Prep coverage is darn good, balanced as much as possible, Trib had Fred, Steve and Aram at one event on Saturday…that’s coverage.
    Amat-Bonita game was the best of the day and well attended, great game Lancers and Bearcats look forward to the rematch in playoff’s.