Eckler’s boys keep on winning: In a battle between two of the Tribune’s top 10 boys basketball teams, Bonita High School, ranked third, won the battle for first place in the Hacienda League with a 55-40 win over eighth-ranked Walnut on Wednesday night.
The Bearcats (15-4, 4-0) dominated the offensive boards in the first half, then turned to their defense late in the game as they pulled away for the win.
“Offensive rebounding was a huge difference,” Mustangs coach Josh Cameron said. “Especially when (Brandon) Croom got in foul trouble we got dominated on the boards and that was a huge difference early. Then we broke down and made some silly mistakes on defense.”
The Mustangs (14-7, 3-2) cut Bonita’s lead to 35-28 with five minutes left in the third quarter but didn’t score again until the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter as the Bearcats pulled away.
“One of the big keys was handling the pressure,” Bearcats coach Greg Eckler said. “We knew they were going to pressure the heck out of us. That dunk (by Croom) to start the second half could have got some emotion into it, then they cut the lead to about six but we managed to hang on and push it back to double digits.”
WEDNESDAY’S HOOPS ROUNDUP
Los Altos 66, West Covina 47
Walter Lee scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Conquerors.
Also contributing to the Los Altos win was Vance Valencia with 17 points and Danny Ahn, who added nine points. Los Altos (11-7, 2-3) led 19-5 after the first quarter and 32-19 at the half.
Stephan Michael led the Bulldogs with 16 points
Rowland 51, Diamond Bar 42
Junior guard Joe Dionisio converted on 7 of 8 free throws with less than two minutes remaining in the game, which proved to be difference in the victory for Rowland (13-6, 3-1) . Dionisio finished with a game-high 17 points.
“We played pretty well offensively and sound defense that allowed us to control the boards,” Raiders coach Gordan Hamlow said. Rowland’s Deric Mar chipped in with 10 points. Diamond Bar (8-9, 2-2) was led by Frank Martinez with a team-high 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Mission Valley League
Arroyo 48, Rosemead 29
Luis Ribaya and Anthony Portillo came off the bench to spark the Knights defense.
“Our bench really contributed to tonight’s win,” said Arroyo coach Carlos Barajas. “Those two players created problems for their guards in that they didn’t allow them to get their offense going.” Arroyo (10-9, 3-0) was led by junior forward Primitivo Gomez with a team-high 14 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Edgar Lupercio chipped in with 13 points and seven assists, while junior Alex Arriaga added 10 points and six rebounds.
Rosemead (1-2 in league) was paced by Danny Villalobos’ 17 points.
Sierra Vista 57, Bassett 41
Andres Monteon scored 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Dons.
Ray Shawn McCarthy added 12 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for the Dons (9-10, 3-2).
Bassett (3-13, 0-5) got 13 points from Daniel Valenzuela.
Ayala 61, South Hills 48
The Bulldogs were led by Sean McMullen with 13 points, 11 of which came in the third quarter.
Ayala (11-5, 2-1) had a 24-point third quarter which put away South Hills. Josh Ramirez had 21 points and eight rebounds with Jared Po ce adding 17 points. The high scorer for the Huskies (1-2 in league) was Robert Wood with 13 points.
Charter Oak 69, Claremont 62
Free throws proved to be difference for the Chargers. “I thought our players played the game plan perfectly and hitting those clutch free throws down the stretch is what got us the win,” said Charter Oak coach John Phillips. Charter Oak was led by Kody Brown who had 24 points.
Chris Riei chipped in with 15 points. Claremont was led by Kyle Maloof’s game-high 26 points.
Valle Vista League
Wilson 41, Baldwin Park 29
J R Nelson led the Wildcats (11-7, 4-1) with 10 points and Matt Ng tossed in eight points to go with six steals.
Mission Valley League
Rosemead 36, Arroyo 30
When in doubt, the Rosemead High girls basketball team can always rely on its defense.
That’s exactly what the Panthers did on Wednesday night as they ran their Mission Valley League win streak to 29 games with a 36-30 win over archrival Arroyo.
The few moments when Rosemead found consistent offense were enough for the Panthers to take a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter. From there, Arroyo chipped away and had the ball three times down 34-30, but each time Rosemead held firm.
“That’s the backbone, we say defense wins games,” Rosemead coach Jay Gauthier said. “We said coming into this that you don’t try to outscore them, you’ve got to shut them down.
“When we get in trouble is when try to outscore people. So defense is first priority. We had a winning streak on the line, so you know everybody is always gunning for us.”
Rosemead improved to 12-7 overall and 3-0 in league. Arroyo fell to 11-8 overall and 2-1 in league. In recent years, the two programs have taken turns going on long winning streaks in league only to have the other team end it. The league title has mostly been won by
Bonita 67, Walnut 46
The Bearcats’ Ariana Abo hit two 3-pointers to start the game and Bonita (16-3, 4-0) opened up a 12-0 lead. Bonita capitalized on five turnovers by Walnut (1-3 in league) to take a 28-7 lead after one quarter of play. Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley had a game-high 21 points, while Stephanie Vana chipped in with 10 points. Walnut was led by Reetika Singh’s 14 points and Angela Aie’s 13 points.
Diamond Bar 57, Rowland 44
Jasmine Nguyen led Diamond Bar (12-5, 3-1) with 15 points while Yewande Alabi chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds. Norah Wu added 10 points and six rebounds. Rowland was led by Alice Liao with 17 points.
Charter Oak 35, Claremont 26
Marrissa Suarez led the Chargers (7-12, 2-1) with 12 points and Taylor Hawkins contributed nine points.
Valle Vista League
Wilson 49, Baldwin Park 30
The Wildcats were led by senior Angela Choie, who had a season-high 15 points, including five 3-pointers. “They (Baldwin Park) kept helping defensively inside and we just kicked the ball out to Angela who was ready behind the arc,” Wilson coach Tracy Calton said. Wilson (14-5, 4-1) also got 10 points and 10 rebounds from junior center Kelli Calton. Baldwin Park (4-13, 2-3) was led by Tiffany Rojas with 10 points.