Basketball Roundup: This is not a rebuilding year for Bonita, coach Greg Eckler doing a tremendous job, Bearcats win again, 55-40 over Walnut

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.”

Hacienda League
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.

Montview League
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.

Sierra League
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 one of the two schools.

Hacienda League
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.

Sierra League
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.

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  • Aaron

    Just what Eckler does…win games. Division is tough though…best shot was probably in 2005.

  • SEM Alum

    does he need a center? My sister might transfer

  • catman

    Yeah Bonita wins games and Eckler is a good coach, but Im not sure he is good enough to overlook his short comings. The little man is foul mouthed and hard on his players. Some parents out there will ignore a lot just for some wins. Ive sat in the stands and watched this guy for many years curse kids out, challenge their manhood, and be downright abusive. Even varsity fathers from last year acknowledged his abusive treatment, but no one steps up because Eckler does produce wins. It is a sad day when parents are willing to subject their children to this kind of treatment for some wins. Glad my Bonita student is not a basketball player.

  • Aaron

    Yeah he’s hard on his players. But they play hard for him. Yes I know they hate it, but they play for him because he’s a good coach. He was much harder on his players when I was in high school, he’s calmed a good bit since Coach Zylstra and Coach Miller because assistants on the Varsity bench.

  • Fred Robledo

    Catman, Eckler is no different on the sidelines than many others. Basketball coaches have a longer leash with referees than any other sport, that’s how it is. It’s the only sport where you can literally argue on almost every play, it happens all the time. Not everyone is like Phil Jackson.

  • reality

    Non potty mouthed coaches: John Wooden-Mike Kreyzewski-Tom Landry-Knute Rockne- Ara Parsegian- Jim Boheim-Dick Vermiel etc.. Call any of these guys weak? The language of students on the field and in the stands of boys and girls is crazy ugly. Is it a reflection of the coach?

  • Fred Robledo

    There are too many great coaches and mentors that I hear curse, guess I’m not that righteous. Just saying I deleted your last comment, you can make your point without describing in detail what you may or may not have heard a coach scream at a player. I

  • just sayin’

    I did “bleep” it amd it is very pertinent. It is way different yelling from the sidelines or cursing at a kid in the locler room. Even certain curse words a a bitmore mainstream than others. XXXlers choice of words for all to hear,, unfortunately, was accepted because he wins, and now swept under the rug by those who cover him.

    So you’re not righteous enough to condemn what he says and how he treats players – but righteous enough to delete a comment that reports it?

  • Fred Robledo

    A “comment that reports it?” — I can report what I hear and see, that’s my job. Taking the word from an anonymous commenter as fact is much different.

  • You can’t shelter your kids from everything. They are going to have to learn to deal with a lot of different personalities in their life (bosses, etc.) I have been to a lot of basketball games and have heard worse from other coaches. Aaron is right, Eckler has calmed down a lot since his earlier days and is a very good coach.

  • sgvpride

    I have been apart of a Big West D1 basketball for the last year, have not once heard the head man curse to get his point across. Just cause you curse and yell really loud does not mean you are reflecting leadership.

  • gametime

    Eckler is the best coach right now in the valley, BHS gets no transfers, no hold backs, no open enrollment, they get locals from LV. They win with smarts, hustle and effort. This years team has no stars no zlstra, millers, northrop, instead just a solid team that wins…again.
    His need to win does get in the way of decent behavior at times, and a low tolerance for mistakes is immature for an adult. He does create competitors and teach the value of hard work and the rewards that follow. Kids buy in so they must not hate it. The good outweighs the bad.

  • Aaron

    Brock Zylstra is the current starting PG for BYU!

  • Breakdown

    gametime – Eckler is not suitable to hold LeDucs clipboard. Wiard at Amat puts him to shame. He has a ways to go before being mentioned in the same sentence with Rice and even the JV coach at San Dimas is something Eckler can only hope to be. The 1st sentence in the last paragraph is spot on. On the fence regarding the next one. Come across too many former players that emulate his act. Not 100% sold on the last sentance either. But they win

  • Aaron

    Nice to see when the fools come out!

    Maxpreps era:
    Eckler 163-40.
    Leduc 149-64.
    Dunn 120-58

  • gametime

    perhaps it should be best boys coach in the valley currently, would guess of records over the past 5 or 6 years he would look pretty good against whomever, LeDuc and Dunn are great coaches no doubt but given the talent level he out coaches them most recent seasons. No one said he will win a citzenship award, the intensity is too much for that, but his not some evil dude either

  • Breakdown

    Aaron – lately you have been the King of Fools – but I guess thats what happens when the extent of you info comes from chats with pops and Maxpreps. Notice I didn’t mention Dunn, but maybe I should have. During your search of records, did you also happen to come across Glendoras FOUR semifinal appearances? (05,06,08,09). In a higher division? Could probably throw in Lokar and his CIF title at Amat (not ready to count Cooper yet) in that mix too as guys better than your skater-dude. He’s probably coaching his kid somewhere.

  • Aaron

    Maybe I’m wrong for not including Cooper. What does he have I think three CIF titles and two state titles in the latter half of the decade? If anything the rest of the coaches are small fish and Cooper the Shark. However, Cooper has done it with immense talent. The others coach their players up.

    And if you for one instance believes that Greg Eckler doesn’t get every single ounce out of his players you’re wrong. Have you ever spoken with him outside of basketball…or do you just sit in the stands and criticize. If you honestly think his assistants would coach with him if he was truly a rotten person you obviously are a sad judge of character.

    When was the last game you watched that he coached? The last one I watched was last year…and compared to the years I was in high school he’s a good bit different than he used to be.

  • sgvpride

    You can do many things when you have the horses to run. Damien, Glendora, Bonita have all been blessed with talented basketball players. Now don’t try to tell me that the kids that come into these schools have never picked up a basketball before. Bonita should not even be in the HL. That is another discussion for another day. Just don’t go talking about “coaching up”. Maybe good coaching but not in the terms of “coaching up” talent. The talent is there they just have to coach that talent.

  • Rank the coaches

    Why is it we rank the players, rank the schools yet never ever take an honest look at ranking the coaches? Fred has said it’s career suicide to rank those you’ll eventually have to interview but what does say about the sportswriters? Why not rank them as well?

  • I agree with gametime. Eckler is improving on his yelling and people might not realize his good qualities. Players know from their Freshman year that classwork comes first. Eckler will not let a player use a grade probation. He believes that if a player isn’t getting it done in the classroom then they need to focus on that before basketball. He checks grades throughout the semester and notifies parents to make sure they are aware that their child is struggling. He does have good quailities, but everyone focuses on a negative that he is improving on as he matures as a coach.

  • Bonita Dad

    My son currently plays on the Bonita team. I’m not sure what else Eckler has to do to prove that he is clearly the best HS basketball coach in the Valley. To even compare him to the San Dimas JV coach is completely absurd. A comparison like that honestly has to be a joke. Also, we beat Rice’s team AGAIN this year and Rice has a D1 propect currently playing on his team. Eckler has no player at that level but he still won. Eckler has more passion and works harder with his team than any other HS b-ball coach I have ever seen. He demands hardwork and the best effort possible from every one of his players. It is awesome! By the way, Catman mentioned that its a sad day when parents are willing to subject their “children” to this kind of treatment for some wins. Guess what my son as well as the rest of the boys Eckler coaches are no longer “children” and most of them are a few months away from becoming legal adults old enough to go to war for our country so I would hope they can handle a competitive high school basketball. Maybe if these boys had parents that didn’t keep treating them like “children” they would be able to handle the realities of competing and becoming the best you can be at whatever you do in life because that is exactly what Eckler is teaching my son.

  • Coach XXXler

    Hey Bonita Dad – San Dimas JV coach has won over 600 games and therer gym is named after him. Do some research. If they name Bonias gym after eckler it would have to be %#@$! gymnasium

  • Aaron

    I didn’t know Gary Prestesater had over 600 wins…thought it was over 400. Must be nice being the AD.