Boys Water Polo: Nogales advances to championship on Estevez’s record performance; Damien advances with 10-8 win; Bonita wins in double overtime, 10-9

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
Nogales High School’s Nick Estevez was so caught up in making sure the Nobles advanced to Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 7 water polo final, he had no idea he was inching closer to inking his hame in the history books. Estevez’s fifth and final goal late in the fourth quarter, a no-look, back-handed whip off the side netting, gave him 229 goals — matching the CIF-SS single-season record set by Hoover’s Hakop Kaplanyan in 2009. (To continue click thread).

Damien advances: It wasn’t beating Palos Verdes 10-8 in Wednesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division III boys water polo semifinals that was the most impressive part of Damien’s afternoon at the William Woollett Aquatics Center. It was how the Spartans did it.

Bonita’s dramatic overtime victory: Keaton Renta scored four goals, including the eventual game-winner, and Matt Zachary had a steal with three seconds left in overtime as Bonita reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 championship game with a 10-9 win over defending champion La Serna in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Below: Nogales’ Nick Estevez after tying the CIF-SS record with 229 goals.

Wednesday’s CIF-Southern Section Boys Water Polo Semifinals
Division 3

Laguna Beach 14, La Canada 5
Damien 10, Palos Verdes 8
Saturday’s championship
Laguna Beach vs. Damien, 11:45 a.m., Irvine
Division 7
Nogales 8, Santa Ynez 6
Don Lugo 9, Nipomo 8
Saturday’s Championship
Nogales vs. Don Lugo, 9:15, Irvine.
Division 5
Pasadena Poly 13, Hoover 6
Bonita 10, La Serna 9, 2 OTs
Saturday’s championship
Pasadena Poly vs. Bonita, 5:30 p.m.

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Girls Volleyball Playoffs: St. Lucy’s-La Salle 2AA final to be played Friday at 7 p.m.

CIF-SS just released the girls volleyball championship schedule for the weekend, and St. Lucy’s Priory, which is going for its second consecutive 2AA title, will face La Salle at 7 pm. on Friday at Cypress College in Gym 2.
This seemed as an obvious choice with St. Lucy’s being an all-girls school with no football team and the La Salle football team not making the playoffs. CIF-SS generally puts the championship-round teams on Saturday if their football teams are playing on Friday.

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Inland Division Predictions: Upland beats Charter Oak and rides momentum to the championship

Fred’s thoughts: If Charter Oak were playing anyone else in the second round besides Upland and Corona Centennial, I would have picked them to win. But that’s not the case and Upland is simply too good and I love the Highlanders’ chances of winning it all. However, nothing is simple in a division as competitive as this, so don’t assume Charter Oak flies past Corona Santiago, though I’m taking the Chargers because they’re better than those outside the fishbowl realize. On paper, Santiago can compete and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if they beat the Chargers because they scored 34 points in a 56-34 loss to No. 1 Corona Centennial and blew out usually strong Norco, 49-22. And yes, Chino Hills beat Santiago, but that was a long time ago. This isn’t going to be the year Damien wins anyway, so I’m glad they got undefeated Vista Murrietta so that we can tell just how far the young Spartans have come. Let’s hope they’re competitive, and don’t count out Chino Hills so quick against Rancho Cucamonga. I don’t think they’ll win, but they have a better chance than most give them credit for.

CIF-SS Inland Division Predictions
Top Half

Redlands (4-6) at #1 Corona Centennial (9-1)
Los Osos (6-4) at Chaparral (6-4)
Chino Hills (6-4) at Rancho Cucamonga (9-1)
Norco (6-4) at #4 Redlands East Valley (10-0)
Bottom Half
Murrieta Valley (7-3) at #3 Upland (10-0)
Corona Santiago (7-3) at Charter Oak (9-1)
Yucaipa (9-1) at Riverside North (9-1)
Damien (7-3) at #2 Vista Murrieta (5-5)
First Round Winners
Corona Centennial over Redlands
Los Osos over Chaparral
Rancho Cucamonga over Chino Hills
Redlands East Valley over Norco
Upland over Murrieta Valley
Charter Oak over Corona Santiago
Riverside North over Yucaipa
Vista Murrieta over Damien
Quarterfinal Winners
Corona Centenial over Los Osos
Redlands East Valley over Rancho Cucamonga
Upland over Charter Oak
J.W. North over Vista Murrieta
Semifinal Winners
Corona Centennial over Redlands East Valley
Upland over J.W. North
Championship
Upland over Corona Centennial

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Azusa hopes its better prepared this time

“We feel that we can compete with this team. They’re big and we haven’t seen a line this big all season. They played Maranatha and beat them because they were able to run the ball right over Maranatha. We feel we have a good scheme in for them and that we’ll be able to matchup.” Azusa coach Joe Scherf on their first-round chances against Valley Christian.

By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Despite taking a different path, Azusa High School feels like it arrived at the same destination as last year as it pertains to the Aztecs’ draw in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division football playoffs. Azusa, which finished 7-3 and won the Montview League, will host an Olympic League team in the first round for the second consecutive season. The Aztecs play Cerritos Valley Christian (4-6) on Friday at Citrus College. Azusa played Village Christian of Sun Valley and lost in last year’s first round.

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El Monte’s dual run/pass threat Brandon Martinez a game-time decision with ankle sprain

By Aram Tolegian
The status of El Monte quarterback Brandon “B-Mart” Martinez is up in the air for Friday’s first-round game against Whittier Christian. Martinez, one of the better run/pass threats in the area, sprained his ankle in last week’s loss to Arroyo. He has been getting treatment and likely will be a game-time decision, according to Lions coach Joel Sanchez. (To continue click thread)

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La Puente ready for “third season.”

By Aram Tolegian
La Puente set to bounce back After finishing 9-1 but falling far short of Azusa in the Montview League championship game, La Puente drew Alhambra in one of the first round’s most evenly matched games. Going by pure records, the game actually appears quite sexy. Alhambra enters 8-2 and, like La Puente, the Moors were embarrassed in their league title game. Also like La Puente, they’re looking to bounce back with a big playoff run. (To continue click thread).

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Girls Volleyball Playoffs: St. Lucy’s marches to the final again; San Dimas comes up short

St. Lucy’s semifinal winning photo gallery from Keith Birmingham

By Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer
St. Lucy’s is back in the title game and senior Jasmine Warmington explained it best following the Regents’ 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 sweep over visiting Tesoro in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA semifinal. There were lingering doubts heading into the playoffs whether the second-seed Regents had enough to make a serious push to defend their title, but the Regents regained their focus and will have an opportunity at a second straight championship. (To continue click thread)

San Dimas’ dream season ends: After the fourth sweep in as many postseason matches, it’s clear coach Linda Pattison is the only one the No.1 seed is weighing on. Rim of the World’s three-game semifinal victory Tuesday over San Dimas – 25-10, 25-22, 25-14 – advanced the Mountain Valley League winners to the CIF championship either Friday or Saturday against the winner of the match between Brentwood and No. 2 seed Campbell Hall.

Tuesday’s semifinal results
Division 2AA

La Salle def. South Torrance 25-16, 25-17, 25-23
St. Lucy’s def. Tesoro 25-23, 25-21, 25-19
Division 3A
Rim of the World def. San Dimas 25-10, 25-22, 25-

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Southeast Division prediction: West Covina over Suburban champ Mayfair in title game

Fred’s thoughts: I know we all keep calling West Covina a slam dunk, but there is no slam dunk in the playoffs, but they’re the big favorites. California might test them in the second round, and for sure once they get to the semifinals, whether it’s Bonita, Arcadia or La Mirada, it won’t be easy. Remember, if Covina and South Hills could come within seconds of beating West Covina, why couldn’t of few of these teams. In fact La Mirada played La Habra super tough, losing by only a touchdown, and they blew out Mayfair, another good team, toward the end of the season. On the bottom half, I like Mayfair to come out of it, despite its loss to La Mirada. The Suburban League champs lost two games to Pac-5 teams (Los Alamitos (56-21) and Lakewood (42-29), and crushed Mid-Valley’s Cerritos Valley Christian 56-21. We haven’t talked about the Suburban enough, but if you’re looking for another league comparable to the Hacienda if not better, it could be our friends from Whittier.

Southeast Division Predictions
Top Half

Norwalk (3-7) at #1 West Covina (9-1)
Pasadena (5-5) at California (7-3)
Bonita (6-4) at Arcadia (8-2)
Crescenta Valley (6-4) at #4 La Mirada (6-4)
Bottom Half
Los Altos (7-3) at #3 Burbank Burroughs (6-4)
La Serna (7-3) at Mayfair (7-3)
Bellflower (7-3) at Diamond Ranch (5-5)
Muir (6-4) at #2 Santa Fe (6-4)

Second Round winners
West Covina over Norwalk
California over Pasadena
Arcadia over Bonita
La Mirada over Crescenta Valley
Los Altos over Burroughs
Mayfair over La Serna
Diamond Ranch over Bellflower
Santa Fe over Muir
Quarterfinal Winners
West Covina over California
Arcadia over La Mirada
Mayfair over Los Altos
Diamond Ranch over Santa Fe
Semifinal Winners
West Covina over Arcadia
Mayfair over Diamond Ranch
Championsip
West Covina over Mayfair

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What do you think of the new CIF-SS basketball playoff divisions: La Verne Lutheran in 4A; Damien in new 3AAA Division, check it out, the public vs. private debate should rage on

The CIF-Southern Section has finished the boys and girls basketball division realignment, which combines enrollment with how teams have done in the CIF playoffs the past four years. However, looking at it, enrollment played a bigger role than past CIF success, which should further infuriate the public vs. private debate when you look at the Divisions. There will be plenty of talk about the Boys 4AA Division that includes powers La Verne Lutheran, Price, Harvard-Westlake and Serra, but is that fair for teams like Workman, Blair, La Salle and Maranatha in the same Division? In Damien’s new 3AAA Division, Bonita is there with Westside power Pasadena, making an interesting and somewhat fair Division, but one of the big local winners is Bishop Amat in 3A with area teams like La Puente, Monrovia, Pomona, San Dimas and other locals, though power St. John Bosco also is in the division. In girls basketball we won’t get to see another Bishop Amat-Bonita playoff game unless it’s in the state playoffs. Bonita is in 3AAA and Amat is in 3A, which it should dominate with teams like Azusa, El Monte, Gladstone, Mountain View and Pomona all in it…Hey, I’ll let you break it down and get back to us. What do you think?

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CIF preseason boys and girls soccer rankings

Below: Bishop Amat and Ayala are No. 1 and 2 respectively in Division 3, check out Amat’s title win over Ayala in last year’s championship. Should be another great season.

Note: I’m listing only divisions with area teams ranked. Visit the CIF website for all the rankings.
CIF-Southern Section boys preseason rankings
Division 2: 1 Claremont, 2, Capistrano Valley, 3. ML King, 4. La Habra, 5. Foothill, 6. Arlington, 7. Great Oak, 8. Canyon Springs, 9. Mission Viejo, 10. Santa Ana.
Division 4: 1. El Rancho, 2. Oak Hills, 3. Salesian, 4. Ganesha, 5. Artesia, 6. Santa Monica, 7. Cathedral, 8. Crescenta Valley, 9. Bonita, 10. North Torrance.
Division 5: 1. Baldwin Park, 2. Carpinteria, 3. Animo Leadership, 4. La Canada, 4. Oaks Christian, 6. Victor Valley, 7. Cajon, 8. Los Amigos, 9. Mountain View, 10. Lakeside.

CIF-Southern Section girls preseason rankings
Division 2: 1. Buena, 2. Long Beach Wilson, 3. Palos Verdes, 4. Newbury Park, 5. Los Osos, 6. Sunny Hill, 7. Corona Santiago, 8. Upland, 9. Glendora, 10. Great Oak.
Division 3: 1. Bishop Amat, 2. Ayala, 3. Granite Hills, 4. Righetti, 5. Serrano, 6. Pacifica, 7. Flintridge Prep, 8. Quartz Hill, 9. St. Joseph, 10. La Mirada.
Division 6: 1. St. Margaret’s, 2. San Dimas, 3. Hemet, 4. Ocean View, 5. South Pasadena, 6. Tahquitz, 7. San Marino, 8. Segerstrom, 9. La Canada, 10. Northview.
Division 7: 1. Animo Leadership, 2. Sierra Canyon, 3. Marshall, 4. Rim of the World, 5. Citrus Valley, 6. Desert Hot Springs, 7. Viewpoint, 8. Arroyo, 9. St. Genevieve, 10. Mary Star of the Sea.

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Inland Notebook: Damien has tall order at No. 2 Vista Murrieta; Charter Oak getting healthy

By Aram Tolegian Staff Writer
Try telling Damien High School things could have been worse as the Spartans prepare for the first round of the CIF-SS Inland Division football playoffs and you’re likely to get a rude reception. Damien drew a road game against No. 2-seeded Vista Murrieta, which is technically 5-5, but 10-0 on the field. Vista Murrieta had to forfeit five wins earlier this season. Still, the Spartans avoided top-seeded Corona Centennial (9-1) and No. 3 seed Upland (10-0). (To continue click thread)

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West Covina not looking past Norwalk

By Aram Tolegian
The set-up is there for West Covina to sleepwalk into its first-round game against Norwalk. The Bulldogs (9-1) are the Southeast Division’s top seed, the division’s defending champion and hosting a Norwalk team that is 3-7. Don’t think Norwalk will have the Bulldogs’ full attention? Think again. After watching film of Norwalk, Maggiore is certain his team will be in for a rude surprise if they’re taking things lightly on Friday night. “They’re running the double wing and if they can keep our offense off the field, like how I think they’re planning to do, then that does worry me,” Maggiore said. “It’s good to be the No. 1 seed, but at the same time you don’t get any points for that.

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Damien football team joins forces with student community outreach to help a local charity

Here’s something that should boost confidence in our youth. The Damien High football team has joined forces with a newly formed student community outreach club at Damien to help a local charity, Sowing Seeds for Life, which provides food, goods and services to the needy in the east San Gabriel Valley.
Among their projects is a toy drive that began at Damien’s home game Thursday night against Ayala of Chino Hills, which Damien won, 42-15. Ten large boxes of toys were collected and the toys will be handed out at Sowing Seeds for Life’s fourth annual Christmas in the Park event, to be held Dec. 3 from noon to 4 p.m. at Ganesha Park in Pomona. The toy drive will run through Nov. 18, so anyone wishing to donate toys can drop them off at the Damien administration office. Senior Jacky Yao, who created the community outreach program at the start of the school year, said, “A big thing was Coach (Greg) Gano getting the football team involved. That helped so much.”

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