Thursday Night Countdown: It’s do-or-die statement time for the Hacienda and Mission Valley League

“Come Thursday, it’s going to be the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and I guess we’ll find out if defense really does win championships. I believe in our defense and I think we have the ability to stop the El Monte offense.” South El Monte coach Ibis Aguilar

Thursday pregame preview: El Monte’s already won its first league title since ’79, now it wants it outright … Rowland wants to win a league title and knock West Covina out of the playoffs. It’s league finale night in the Hacienda and Rowland, read on … You can follow updates on the @sgvtribpreps widget for Rowland-West Covina. I will also keep track of other games with @sgvtrib_Mike and @chemicalAT for El Monte-South El Monte, with JP Hoornstra tweeting updates of Bonita-Diamond Bar at @jphoornstra Rosemead at Mountain will be tweeted by Keith Lair at @KeithLLair Thursday’s games and predictions Hacienda League West Covina at Rowland, 7 p.m. — Robledo (WC); Aram (WC) Bonita at Diamond Bar, 7 p.m. – Robledo (Bonita); Aram (Bonita) Diamond Ranch at Walnut, 7 p.m. — Robledo (DRanch); Aram (DR) Mission Valley League South El Monte at El Monte, 7 p.m. — Robledo (El Monte); Aram (EM) Rosemead at Mountain View, 7 p.m. — Robledo (MView); Aram (Rosemead) Arroyo at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Gabrielino) Aram (Arroyo)

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Girls Volleyball: Rosemead celebrates first MVL title in 12 years by sweeping Gabrielino


Rosemead-Gabrielino photo gallery

By Keith Lair
Rosemead High School’s volleyball team claimed its first Mission Valley League title in 12 years in convincing fashion on Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers, who last won the title in 2000 when coach Emily Hausler was a Rosemead freshman, defeated Gabrielino in three games in a league showdown.

“It was like knocking down walls, but we did it,” senior outside hitter Priscilla Franco said. “It feels great. We worked so hard all these four years. We feel we earned it. We knew it would be difficult, but with hard work and dedication and fundamentals, there was no way we could lose.”
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West Covina looking for new wrestling coach after resignation of one of the area’s all-time best, Donnie Stephens

Longtime West Covina High School wrestling coach Donnie Stephens resigned to be part of the U.S. National Wrestling program in Colorado Springs, where Stevens is in the running to take over one of the national programs for girls wrestling. Stephens was one of the area’s top coaches for boys and girls, leading the boys to the CIF-SS dual and individual crown in 2006, and the dual title in 2011. Murphy led the girls to back-to-back state titles in 2011 and ’12. West Covina athletic director Brian Murphy is seeking a wrestling coach to take over the boys and girls wrestling program. Those interested should contact Murphy (951) 212-3724.

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Who will go deeper in the playoffs, Charter Oak in the Inland or Bishop Amat in the Pac-5?

I could have expanded the question for all area teams. This might be the first year in a long time that none of our area teams reach the semifinals in any division. Not sure if or when that happened before, but if Amat or Charter Oak don’t reach the semifinals will anyone in the Hacienda get to the final four in the Southeast? Will anyone in the Montview, Mission Valley or Valle Vista reach the Big 5 in the Mid-Valley? Not sure any Montview teams will be hanging around that long in the Northwest, either. The team with the best chance is San Dimas, and the team with best chance after that, believe it or not, is Charter Oak.

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Why was Tesoro coach Brian Barnes fired? Was it over a cheap shot?

Was Tesoro head football coach Brian Barnes really fired over a controversial play earlier in the season when one of his players took out the El Toro High kicker? That’s one of the rumors floating around, but hard to believe a coach with Barnes’ track record of success would be fired over a cheap shot. Nobody at El Toro is explaining why Barnes was removed with a 6-3 record and chance of making the playoffs. Maybe there is simply more to it, but you can read the Orange County Register story and decide for yourself. I posted the video that caused all the controversy below.

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