Baseball: Dlugos’ grand slam helps South Hills to a 7-3 victory over Charter Oak; Covina’s hot streak continues, beats Baldwin Park 8-4

Hot Colts:The Covina High School baseball team got its second consecutive complete game from a senior pitcher to take a commanding 3 1/2-game lead in the Valle Vista League race. Jason Martinez improved his record to 4-0 and the Colts defense turned four double plays behind him Thursday as Covina knocked off Baldwin Park, 8-4.

South Hills, Charter Oak game story …
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
After dropping a pair of fly balls the previous inning — one on a difficult play on the dead run, the other slipping off his glove fighting the sun, South Hills left-fielder Michael Dlugos returned to the dugout and heard a mouthful from Huskies coach Kevin Smith.
Or were they words of encouragement?
“I guess you can say that,” Dlugos smirked. “In his own kind of way, I’d say.”
Whatever was said, Dlugos responded with a grand slam on his next at bat, a towering shot to left in the fifth inning that proved the difference in South Hills’ 7-3 victory over host Charter Oak on Thursday.

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For the millionth time, should public and private have separate playoff divisions in basketball? CIF shares interesting data from last ten years

L.A. Times prep legend Eric Sondheimer pointed out in a recent article that 17 of 20 teams that participated in last week’s state basketball finals in Sacramento were private schools. It raises the age-old argument of whether public and private schools should have separate playoff divisions. I always have maintained that the CIF-Southern Section playoffs should separate public vs. private, simply because public and private schools have a far different set of rules in terms of acquiring students. Public schools must take players from within certain geographic boundaries, whereas private school boundaries are limitless. Because of this, enrollment figures don’t mean anything. I’m sure Cal Poly Pomona has more students than Duke, but that doesn’t give them an advantage. Maybe a bad example, but you get the point. There are several other differences, some of which cancel each other out in a debate, but the bottom line is the playing field isn’t level. The only time public and private should meet in the postseason is during the state playoffs, because as a fan, at this point I do want to watch the best-of-the best go at it to crown a true state champion. But in the CIF-SS playoffs, public schools deserve to face public schools in divisions where enrollment and school boundaries should mean something. Plus it might help heal the animosity some public school coaches have with private school powerhouses. The system is what’s at fault here, not the powerhouses. In this week’s CIF press release, the Southern Section sent out statistical data of how private schools have done in CIF-SS championships over the past ten years …

From CIF
CIF-SS private school basketball championship results over the past ten years.

Boys
- 60 titles won out of a possible of 106 (57%)
- 31 different private schools have won titles over that time (15% of all private schools)
- 15 of those schools have won multiple titles (48% of the 31 and 7% of all private schools)
- 7 of those schools have won more than 3 titles during that time (23% of the 31 and 3% of the private school membership)
- 47 of the 60 private school titles have come in Division 3A or below (78%).
- In 2011, 128 schools of the 208 total schools in those divisions were private (61%).

Girls
- 57 titles won out of a possible of 106 (57%)
- 33 different private schools have won titles over that ti me (16% of all private schools)
- 17 of those schools have won multiple titles (51% of the 31 and 8% of all private schools)
- 4 of those schools have won more than 3 titles during that time (12% of the 31 and 2% of the private
school membership)
- 45 of the 57 private school titles have come in Division 3A or below (79%).
- In 2011, 113 schools of the 192 total schools in those divisions were private (59%).

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South Hills coach Kevin Smith wins No. 400 in what is his most challenging season ever

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
South Hills high school baseball coach Kevin Smith knew he was chasing a milestone on Tuesday, but it was hard to feel sentimental knowing this was a make-or-break week in the competitive Sierra League.
The Huskies didn’t let him down, Adrian De Horta pitching a complete game shutout in a 6-0 victory over Claremont to give Smith his 400th career win.
Afterward, Huskies players autographed the game ball for Smith, who has an impressive 400-162 overall record, which includes 11 league titles and a CIF championship in just the past 12 years. Smith has coached high school baseball for more than two decades.

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Softball: Bonita takes care of streaking Los Altos 7-0 behind freshman pitcher Sanchez

By John Honell, Correspondent
Taking advantage of a fielding error in the first inning and getting another strong pitching performance from freshman Anissa Sanchez was enough for Bonita High School to stop the five-game winning streak of Hacienda League rival Los Altos on Wednesday. The Bearcats (13-2, 1-0) scored four unearned runs in the first inning and went on to beat the Conquerors 7-0.

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It’s Time to Play Ball! Another season of baseball begins for the Boys of Summer – The Dodgers

There’s very few days like baseball’s Opening Day, where everyone’s a pennant winner, and that includes the Dodgers, who like me, will be at Dodger Stadium when they open up the season against, as our pal Vic “The Brick” Jacobs calls them, the Hated Ones, the Giants.
The Dodgers begin the season, arguably, as the third-best team in the NL West. But they don’t play the season on paper.
Play Ball!

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Basketball, All Mission Valley League, Arroyo’s Roche and Rosemead’s Gauthier MVPs

All Mission Valley League Basketball
MVP
: Mark Roche, Arroyo
First Team
Erick Martinez, Mountain View
Jeremy Acosta, Mountain View
Tyler Shimamoto, Gabrielino
Ryan Lam, Gabrielino
Anthony Villacis, South El Monte
Danny Villalobos, Rosemead

Girls Basketball
MVP
: Melody Gauthier, Rosemead
First Team
Joann Chac, Gabrielino
Amanda Duenas, El Monte
Aileen Giang, El Monte
Sydney Hua, Rosemead
Arlene Reyes, Arroyo
Michelle Trieu, Arroyo

For second and honorable mention, click thread.
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Basketball: All Montview League, La Puente’s Pompa and Workman’s Herrera MVPs

All Montview League Basketball
Boys Basketball
MVP:
German Pompa, La Puente
First Team
Marco Ponce, La Puente
Bernardo Pagovich, Sierra Vista
Anthony Whiteside, Ganesha
Fernando Hernandez, Sierra Vista
Samuel Mejia, Bassett
Junior Pena, Duarte
Brandon Rios, La Puente

Girls Basketball
MVP:
Evelyn Herrera, Workman
First Team
Alexis Arnold, Azusa
Imari Brown, Duarte
Danielle Simmons, Azusa
Estrella Rivera, Sierra Vista
Alex Cano, Gladstone
Jessica Rivera, Sierra Vista
Yasmine Wilson, Duarte

For second team, click thread

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Today’s baseball/softball schedule; games of the day Los Altos at Bonita; Los Osos at Glendora

So, this is what I do each day, knowing we have two reporters to send to games this afternoon, it’s left for me to pick the best two. The one that stands out the most is Los Altos at Bonita softball. Not just because Bonita’s Courtney Gano is facing her old team, but her old team is on roll, having just won the Whittier tournament. Los Altos is 7-2 and 1-0 in the Hacienda while the Bearcats are 12-2 and playing their first Hacienda league game. This game was originally scheduled for Los Altos, but I got an email today saying it was switched to Bonita. In baseball, we’re covering Los Osos (4-3, 0-2) at Glendora (6-2, 3-0), simply because we haven’t had a chance to cover the Tartans, and obvioulsy they’re playing well in the Baseline and deserve coverage. Plus, it’s nice to watch the Tartans roll through the Baseline, a league they shouldn’t be in, but if it has to be, nothing better than sticking it to them with Ws. BTW, here’s a teaser, tomorrow I’m all over South Hills at Charter Oak baseball.

Below: How time flies, this was Courtney Gano after hitting a home run for Los Altos as a freshman. Today the senior will be wearing Bonita green against Los Altos.

HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE
Baseball
Today’s games
Baseline League

Los Osos at Glendora, 3:15 p.m.
Hacienda League
Bonita at Los Altos, 3:30 p.m.
Walnut at Diamond Bar, 3:30 p.m.
Rowland at Diamond Ranch, 3:30 p.m.
Mission Valley League
El Monte at Arroyo, 3:15 p.m.
Rosemead at Gabrielino, 3:15 p.m.
South El Monte at Mountain View, 3:15 p.m.

Softball
Today’s games
Del Rey League

Bishop Amat at Bishop Montgomery, 3:15 p.m.
Hacienda League
Los Altos at Bonita, 3:30 p.m.
Walnut at Diamond Bar, 3:30 p.m.
Rowland at Diamond Ranch, 3:30 p.m.
Mission Valley League
El Monte at Arroyo, 3:15 p.m.
Rosemead at Gabrielino, 3:15 p.m.
South El Monte at Mountain View, 3:15 p.m.

BASEBALL
AREA HITTING LEADERS
Player, school … BA, AB H 2B 3B HR GP
1 Nick Hynes Covina .609 23 14 4 0 2 10
2 Nohlan Hernandez Charter Oak .571 21 12 0 0 0 8
3 Joe Munoz Los Altos .550 20 11 2 1 1 8
4 Pena Raymond Bassett .524 21 11 6
5 Josh Luevanos Glendora .522 23 12 3 8
6 Adam Alcantara Bishop Amat .517 29 15 1 9
7 Matt Gelalich Bonita .500 24 12 1 9
8 Peter Lopez South El Monte .500 14 7 1 6
9 Chandler Duffy Glendora .500 16 8 2 0 0 6
10 Giovanni Rivera Sierra Vista .484 31 153 10
11 Nick Simons Covina .474 19 9 3 1 1 9
12 Jimmy Jacobo La Puente .471 17 8 1 1 6
13 Rio Ruiz Bishop Amat .464 28 13 5 1 1 9
14 Auston Ingram Claremont .462 13 6 1 0 1 4
15 Kenny Mathews Diamond Bar .462 26 12 4 9
16 Aaron Caldron Damien .462 13 6 1 1 7
17 Brandon Yepiz San Dimas .458 24 11 1 9
18 Robert Longtree Ayala .444 27 12 4 1 9
19 Rouric Bridgewater Diamond Ranch .433 30 13 1 2 2 9
20 Andres Hernandez Sierra Vista .429 35 15 2 1 10

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Montview and Mission Valley all-league teams here, kind of shocking that Imari Brown not the Montview MVP for 25-3 Duarte, who breezed through league with an 11-0 record

I finally received the Montview and Mission Valley all-league teams, which I will post Thursday followed by all-league soccer teams next week. Tribune winter all-area teams are scheduled to run April 11-16, and we’re still finalizing a date on the annual Tribune/Star-News all-star basketball game, which will either be on April 15 or 16 or April 23 it appears. Now, I know I made a big stink about freshman Nikki Wheatley not being on the the Hacienda League first team, but the Montview League voting had its share of controversy too. Duarte was 25-3 and blew through league with an 11-0 record with a sophomore named Imari Brown who nearly averaged a quadruple double. Brown averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 steals a game, but was not named the league MVP …. The MVP went to Workman’s Evelyn Herrera, who makes a strong argument averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lobos finished fourth and missed the playoffs. I’ll let you decide whether the Montview voters got it right, but in my books you give it to the best player on the best team, especially when they win league by such a lopsided margin. But also, lets be fair to Herrera, anytime you average 25 points, that’s special too.

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Baseball: Covina on a roll, beats Nogales 5-1 behind Comaroto’s one-hitter; Is it time for unranked Colts to get some D-4 respect?

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Senior pitcher James Comaroto had a breakthough game in what is fast becoming a breakthrough season for Covina high school’s baseball team. Comaroto gave up a lone double and run in the fourth, but was otherwise solid in a 5-1 victory over visiting Nogales on Tuesday. His one-hitter ended with his sixth strikeout — an 87 MPH fastball. (To continue click thread).

Blown call? — Covina’s Nick Simons ruled safe at third on a one-out double steal in the fifth. He looks out in the picture and looked out watching it. I thought Nogales coach John Romano might blow up when I asked him about it later because it led to the Colts scoring five runs with two outs. But instead, Romano gave a very classy response: “He (umpire) calls them, I coach them,” Romano said. “They’re doing the best they can and I’m doing the best I can.”

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Softball: Bishop Amat gets a scare before Gonzalez’s big hit beats Northview, 2-1

LA PUENTE — Bishop Amat High School didn’t exactly look like the best softball team in the area Tuesday afternoon.
But as far as the Lancers are concerned, winning is the top priority, and Bishop Amat lived up to that billing against Northview.
Sophomore Alexis Gonzalez lined an RBI single to right field to score Alma Cortez in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Lancers a 2-1 victory over the visiting Vikings in nonleague game.
Senior Natalie Sanchez gave up six hits and struck out 10 to help Bishop Amat, ranked No. 1 in the Valley and in CIF-Southern Section Division 3, improve to 8-1.
Northview, which had tied it at 1 on an RBI single by Mercedes Menchaca in the fifth, slipped to 8-5.

Here’s the post-game interviews from the Bishop Amat side:

The interview with Northview coach Jeff Butler is after the jump:
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Baseball: Sierra Vista pitcher Elias Novelo is 4-0 and 13-0 since his sophomore year

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Sierra Vista High School baseball coach Brett Stevens is pulling another one of his magic tricks, and it all starts with pitching. After winning the Montview League title and finishing 19-6 overall in 2010, the Dons graduated eight starters, the most notable being pitcher Christian Huerta, who was 10-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 126 strikeouts. (To continue click thread)

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Baseball Rankings: Bishop Amat edges Bonita in a tight race for No. 1; Glendora surging


1. Bishop Amat ( 7-2) – Pitching doesn’t look like a concern anymore, Lancers allowing just three runs in last four, and have won seven straight since opening 0-2. They’re also No. 1 in D-4, and near the top of several Southland polls.
2. Bonita (7-2) — I finally discovered junior pitcher Justin Garza, who is one of the big reasons the Bearcats are No. 1 in D-3. What impresses me though most is the mojo, I still believe the Bearcats are the best sports school, and that this might be the team that finishes the job come championship time.
3. Glendora (6-2) — The Tartans’ 3-0 start in the Baseline is mighty impressive considering every Baseline League team has an overall winning record.
4. Chino Hills (8-2) – Already 3-0 in the Sierra win wins over Damien and South Hills, but can they hold on for the long haul? I’m not so sure.
5. Charter Oak (5-2) — Four game win streak snapped in 6-5 loss to Damien, but it’s early, Chargers will chase Sierra title to the end.
6. South Hills (5-3) – Without steady pitching in the Sierra League you’re asking for trouble. The Huskies have lots of talent, but not enough talent on the hill it appears.
7. Nogales (8-2) — Suffered a loss to San Dimas, but otherwise still an impressive overall record.
8. Covina (7-3) – The Colts are off to their best start in years, 3-0 in the Valle Vista with a chance to surge ahead against Nogales today.
9. San Dimas (6-4) — Covina and Nogales might be the feel-good favorites in the Valle Vista, but my money’s on the Saints when all is said and done.
10. Diamond Bar (4-5) – Pitchers Kenny Mathews and Henry Omana can only do so much. At some point, the Brahmas need to score runs.



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Softball Rankings: Bishop Amat holds steady at No. 1, but keep an eye on Bonita, South Hills and surprise, surprise Los Altos


Softball Rankings
1. Bishop Amat (7-1) — Because of all the rainouts, the Lancers have five games in five days, starting with Northview today, La Salle Wednesday, Bishop Montgomery Thursday and a pair on Saturday against, Saugus and Corona Santiago. Let’s see how they come out of that?
2. Bonita (12-2) – After playing nearly every day, the ‘Cats finish a rest week with the start of the Hacienda League, and they start with Los Altos Wednesday. That should be interesting with Bonita’s Courtney Gano going against her former team, which is 7-2 without her.
3. South Hills (8-3) — Impressive four-game win streak with victories over St. Lucy’s, Covina, San Dimas and Ayala. They’re at home against 8-2 Claremont today.
4. Glendora (7-4) — Could be a long season in the Baseline for the Tartans, who already are 0-1 with undefeated Etiwanda (10-0) next
5. Los Altos (7-2) – Despite losing Washington-bound stud Courtney Gano, the Conquerors are enjoying a great start after winning the Whittier tournament with a 6-5 win over San Pedro in the championship.
6. Chino Hills (4-2) – Huskies rested with three big games this week against Charter Oak, St. Lucy’s and Ayala.
7. West Covina (5-3) — Already 2-0 in the Hacienda League with an impressive win over Walnut on the road. The Dogs can swing the bat, and have enough pitching to be competitive.
8. Duarte (7-1) — The biggest surprise of the week came when the CIF polls were released on Monday wit the Falcons on top in Division 5.
9. Charter Oak (8-5) — The Chargers have struggled with consistency for a few years now. Although they’re 8-5 overall, they’re only 1-2 in league.
10. Claremont (8-2) — The only thing that keeps the Wolfpack in the top ten is their overall record. In the Sierra they’re last at 0-2.

MAXPREPS MADE EASY
Area League Standings, Rosters, Leaders
Baseline League
Del Rey League
Hacienda League
Mission Valley League
Montview League
Sierra League
Valle Vista League

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Basketball, All Valle Vista League: Northview’s Johnson; Wilson’s Calton and Hou grab top honors

All Valle Vista League
Boys Basketball
MVP
: Brian Johnson, Northview, Sr.
First Team
Treavon Francis, Northview, Jr.
Ray Sanos, Nogales, Sr.
Jeff Nibo, Wilson, Sr.
Jimmy Ramirez, Baldwin Park, Sr.
Kevin Kolbeck, San Dimas, Sr.
Marcus Colbert, Pomona, Jr.
Mike Peters, Covina, So.
Nick Fuentes, Northview, Jr.
Joey Ng, Nogales, Sr.
Nino Harrell, Covina, Jr.

Girls Basketball
MVP
: Jamie Hou, Wilson Jr; Kelli Calton, Wilson, So.
First Team
Claudia Ramirez, Northview, Sr.
Tatyana Warren, Baldwin Park, Sr.
Taylor Jackson, Jr., San Dimas
Kaci Calton, Wilson, Sr.
Marissa Clark, Covina, Jr.
Cassie Ramirez, Northview, Jr.
Ashli Baddorf, Covina, Jr.
Franchesca Laza, Nogales, Sr.
Karissa Connor, San Dimas, Jr.
Jasmin Molina, Baldwin Park, So.

For honorable mention, click thread
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Basketball: All Del Rey League; Bishop Amat’s Rodriguez and Villanueva earn top honors

All Del Rey League
Boys Basketball
MVP:
Daniel Rodriguez, Bishop Amat, Sr.
First Team
Jacob Caropino, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Tyler Hill, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Justin Bibbins, Bishop Montgomery, Fr.
Tyler Harvey, Bishop Montgomery, Sr.
Lamond Murray, Bishop Montgomery, So.
Larry Taylor, Bishop Montgomery, So.
Chris Spears, Cathedral, Jr.
Israel Lacy, La Salle, So.
Kishon Sanders, La Salle, Sr.

Girls Basketball
MVP:
Andrea Villanueva, Bishop Amat, Sr.
First Team
Vianai Austin, Bishop Amat, Sr.
Leticia Galarza, Bishop Amat, Jr.
Chelsey Aaron, Bishop Montgomery, Sr.
Kristen Ale, Bishop Montgomery, Sr.
Devon Brookshire, Bishop Montgomery, Jr.
Bria Richardson, Serra, Sr.
Rejane Verin, Serra, Jr.
Lajahna Drummer, St. Benard, Fr.
Marissa Rendon, St. Paul, Sr.

For second team click thread

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Basketball, All Baseline League: Glendora’s Colletta and Doering nab first-team honors

All Baseline League
Boys Basketball
MVP:
Byron Wesley, Etiwanda, Sr.
First Team
Jordan Daniels. Etiwanda, Sr.
Nick Colletta, Glendora, So.
Michael Doering, Glendora, Sr.
Barry Cheaney, Los Osos, Sr.
Omar Ajanovic, Los Osos, Sr.
Royal Mathews, Rancho Cucamonga, Sr.
John Gilliam, Upland, Sr.
Myles Pearson, Upland, Jr.

Girls Basketball
MVP
: Jada Blackwell, Etiwanda, Sr.
First Team
Leilani Mamea, Alta Loma, Jr.
Briana Baker, Rancho Cucamonga, Sr.
Shelby Young, Upland, So.
Methlyn Onogomuho, Etiwanda, Sr.
Angelique Bailey, Etiwanda. Sr.
Kourtney Ainsworth, Rancho Cucamonga, Sr.
Jessica Whitfield, Los Osos, Jr.

For second team click thread
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Baseball: CIF Polls, Bonita, Bishop Amat lead way; only other ranked team is Nogales?

Note: Only three area teams ranked, but Bonita and Amat are both No. 1. It’s kind of shocking, I can’t remember the last time the area only had three ranked teams. The other was Nogales at No. 10 in Division 4. Glendora was unranked in Division 2.

CIF-SS Rankings
Division 3:
1. Bonita, 2. Beckman, 3. Temescal Canyon, 4. Corona del Mar, 5. San Gorgonio, 6. Quartz Hill, 7. Lakeside, 8. Alhambra, 9. Paramount, 10. Rancho Alamitos.
Division 4: 1. Bishop Amat, 2. Palm Desert, 3. Oaks Christian, 4. Torrance, 5. Laguna Beach, 6.Chino, 7. Indio, 8. La Quinta, 9. Troy, 10. Nogales.

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CIF Softball Rankings: Bonita, Bishop Amat and Duarte all on top of polls; South Hills No. 3

Like baseball, not a lot of strong representation in the polls, except at the top. To have Amat, Bonita and Duarte all No. 1 is impressive. However, the only other ranked team is South Hills in Division 3 at No. 3.
CIF-Southern Section Softball polls

Division 2: 1. Bonita, 2. Oxnard, 3. Rancho Verde, 4. Cerritos, 5. Don Lugo, 6. Laguna Hills, 7. Lakewood, 8. Cajon, 9. Chino, 10. Arlington.
Division 3: 1. Bishop Amat, 2. South Torrance, 3. South Hills, 4. Highland, 5. Downey, 6. La Serna, 7. Mira Costa, 8. Warren, 9. Crescenta Valley, 10. Oaks Christian.
Division 5: 1. Duarte, 2. La Canada, 3. Savanna, 4. SA Calvary Chapel, 5. Hemet, 6. St. Monica, 7. Temple City, 8. Lompoc Cabrilo, 9. San Jacinto, 10. Montebello.

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All-Hacienda League Basketball: Bonita’s James Northup and Taylor Anderson take top honors

Hacienda All-League
2010-11 Season
BOYS BASKETBALL
MVP:
James Northup, Bonita
FIRST TEAM
Jordan Butler, Bonita, Sr.
Bryan Gholar, Walnut, Sr.
Sharif Watson, Rowland, Sr.
David Kretschmar, Diamond Ranch, Sr.
Alvin Tran, Los Altos, Sr.
Shawn Yamamoto, Walnut, Sr.
Jonathan Munoz, Diamond Bar Sr.

GIRLS BASKETBALL
MVP: Taylor Anderson, Bonita
FIRST TEAM
Chelsea Barnes, Diamond Ranch, Jr.
Erika Williams, Diamond Ranch, Jr.
Amy McDill, Walnut, Sr.
Nnenna Abaeze, Walnut, Sr.
Amber Del Real, West Covina, Sr.
Natalie Lam, West Covina, Jr.
Madison Zylstra, Bonita, Sr.

FOR SECOND TEAMS, CLICK THREAD
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All-Sierra League Basketball: Damien’s Chris Reyes and St. Lucy’s Savannah Selby earn MVP honors

Sierra All-League
2010-11 Season
BOYS BASKETBALL
MVP:
Chris Reyes, Damien, Jr.
FIRST TEAM
Andrew Ortiz, Ayala, Sr.
Josh Ramirez, Ayala, Jr.
Josiah Thropay, Charter Oak, Sr.
A.J. Hecox, Chino Hills, Sr.
Warren Ondatje, Chino Hills, Sr.
John Paul Chakbazof, Damien, Sr.
Gian-Franco-Demano, Damien, Sr.
Clayton White, Damien Jr.

FOR SECOND TEAM, CLICK THREAD

Sierra All-League
2010-11 Season
GIRLS BASKETBALL
MVP:
Savannah Selby, Jr. St. Lucy’s
FIRST TEAM
Christa Carrillo, Ayala, So.
Sharon Lee, Ayala, Sr.
Lindsey Crawford, Sr.
Chariah Harris, Chino Hills, Sr.
Casey Zinn, Chino Hills, Sr.
Faith Song, Claremont, Sr.
Imani Payton, South Hills, So.
Nicole Zugasti, St. Lucy’s, Sr.

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THEY DID IT, Lutheran wins back-to-back state titles, beats Bishop O’Dowd 64-59

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
Suffering and trials can lead to jubilation. La Verne Lutheran High School senior Kevin Payne Jr. lost his father in August in a horrific freeway accident. Xavier Jones collapsed during a November practice this season, suffering from heart issues. Saturday afternoon, in the biggest game of his life, Payne found that a pair of 3-point baskets can overcome all that pain and suffering.
He hit key back-to-back 3-pointers to help give the Trojans the CIF State Division III title with a 64-59 victory over Northern California champion Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland at Power Balance Pavilion. (To continue click thread)

Robledo’s reaction: I hope Lutheran is enjoying commenters who still don’t want to give them their just due. For those who still don’t get it, Lutheran didn’t buy there was to anything, they earned it. What they did as an at-large is a remarkable and incredible accomplishment. If you think you can just throw out a basketball to bunch of talented players and win back-to-back state titles you’re mistaken. Just look at your NCAA tournament bracket if you don’t understand, talent only gets you so far, the rest is desire and coaching. At the state level everyone has talented players and D-3 had one of the more stacked brackets of all the divisions. Lutheran worked their butts off and their coaching staff worked their butts off to pull off one of the more remarkable titles in Valley history. Those who don’t appreciate it were never going to appreciate it, they’re mostly haters and a bunch of sour grapes. I don’t care if nobody likes Goliath – but this was no Goliath. Nobody thought Lutheran could win a D-3 title after sneaking into the tournament, and they did it without a home game. They OVER-ACHIEVED to the tune of a SoCal Regional and State title.

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Baseball: Bonita’s Justin Garza continues his dominance, beats Diamond Bar and Mathews 2-1

Bonita’s Justin Garza looks looks more like a freshman than a junior, generously listed at 5-10, 150 pounds. But I wanted to know about the 3-0 start and 0.37 ERA that people kept raving about on the blog. And I wanted to know how he would respond going against Kenny Mathews, the savvy senior from Diamond Bar who Bonita coach John Knott called, “a once in a decade type pitcher.” Well how’s this for a confidence builder, Garza went the distance against Mathews, pitching a complete game 2-1 victory. He almost had a shutout, giving up his lone run in the seventh. But then he showed his toughness, getting a ground-out to end the game with the tying run on second. Mathews wasn’t a sharp as he normally is. He continually got behind in counts, gave up seven hits and struck out just three, but he was still in the game. Diamond Bar committed four errors, but it was the play that got away that cost them. Mathews’ pick-off attempt with two outs in the fourth inning beat Bonita’s Mark Lindsay back to first, but the ball was dropped. That new life allowed Conor Vislay to answer with a double that scored Lindsay, followed by Thomas Castro’s single that scored Vislay. It wasn’t much, but thanks to Garza, it was enough. It also makes you wonder, whenever towering 6-8 Adam McCreery gets the green light, they’ll have 1 and 1A. That’s scary with the offense they already have.

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Baseball: Damien pulls out thriller over Charter Oak in extra innings, 6-5

COVERAGE COMPLAINERS: Johnny “Nut & Honey” Honell covered yesterday’s game and sent me another laughable email of his pregame conversations with fans watching with him, Honell emailing to me: “I had two people from Charter Oak and one from Damien ask me what the (bleep) we were doing covering spring football. One said something like: ‘you used a third of the page for spring football and we can’t get any spring sports like baseball and softball, you guys are idiots.’” … You know you can’t win when people complain about coverage at a game you’re covering …

GAME STORY
By John Honell, Correspondent
Even Ernie “Let’s play two” Banks would have hesitated to play two in the frigid weather at Damien High School on Thursday afternoon. The Spartans baseball team (4-4 overall, 2-1 league), ranked sixth by this newspaper, had to go extra innings to pull out a 6-5 win over No. 2 Charter Oak. The teams are now tied for second place in the Sierra League, one game behind Chino Hills.

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