What can be done to fix the CIF-SS basketball playoffs? Overall record and league play means nothing and where you compete in the playoffs is still a mystery

“I’d like to see league play have more of an impact in division make-up, seeding and home game assignments. I think the system now devalues league play quite a bit.”Damien boys basketball coach Matt Dunn

By Bob Keisser, Staff Writer
Bracketology in CIF-Southern Section basketball requires an advanced degree in demographics. Or at least some knowledge of the game Twister.
The CIF State playoffs convene Friday and Saturday in Sacramento with state titles at stake in six divisions each for boys and girls. But for the Southern California schools that reached this pinnacle, they had to succeed in their league – or not – and then sort out exactly where they belonged in the 12 divisions the CIF-Southern Section apportioned in basketball. There also were all of the factors, and non-factors, involved.
Oddly, the leagues they competed in during the regular season were not factors.
Even more strange is the record they had during the regular season was less of a factor than one would expect.
And there was nothing remotely orderly about the placement of teams based on what we’ve come to expect in the playoffs. Continue reading

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Breaking News: Damien and St. Lucy’s lose appeal, will join Parochial league in 2014-15 season

Damien and St. Lucy’s lost appeals with the CIF-Southern Section on Wednesday in hopes of remaining in the Sierra League. Damien lost by a vote of 14-6 and St. Lucy’s lost 13-7. Damien and St. Lucy’s are expected to be placed in Parochial Leagues (beginning 2014-15) barring the outcome of a legal fight in the courts, which is expected next. CIF sent a memo to athletic directors in November with recommendations for Area Placement for the 2014-18 cycle. One of those recommendations included moving Damien and St. Lucy’s, part of the Sierra League and Mt. SAC area, under the Parochial umbrella. That could pair Damien/St. Lucy’s with Bishop Amat, St. Paul, St. Francis or a number of different scenarios when new leagues are configurated.

STORY: Damien High and St. Lucy’s lost their final appeal cases Wednesday concerning area placement in a session before the CIF executive committee Wednesday. That means instead of the private schools staying in the Mt. SAC area, they are forced to switch to the parochial area for the four-year cycle beginning in 2014-15.
Damien, an all-boys school, and St. Lucy’s, an all-girls school, no longer will be part of the Sierra League after next spring. Where they will wind up will not be decided until a future re-leaguing meeting.

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Baseball: Bishop Amat rallies in seventh for 5-4 victory over Alemany; Diamond Bar pounds Los Altos 9-1; South El Monte, Mountain View and El Monte win

Video of Bishop Amat’s seventh-inning rally to pull out a 5-4 win over Alemany and interviews with Amat coach Andy Nieto and Adam Alcantara….

By Steve Ramirez
Bishop Amat High School, despite its slow start, has held the belief that it’s still a very good baseball team.
The Lancers are beginning to live up to that billing.
Adam Alcantara had the game-tying RBI and Daryl Daniels scored the winning run in the seventh on a throwing error and host Bishop Amat rallied for a 5-4 victory over Alemany in a nonleague game on Wednesday.
The Lancers, who lost four of their first five, scored their second-consecutive win to improve to 3-5. Ruben Cardenas had three hits for Alemany, which slipped to 7-3.
Bishop Amat, after scoring three runs in the sixth to make it 4-3, then tied it at 4 on a single by Christian Moya, a walk to Anthony Walters and a two-out, RBI single by Alcantara. Daniels, who reached on a fielder’s choice, then scored the winning run on a throwing error by shortstop Ryan Alvarez.
Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto: “When you play the teams we’ve played, the margin for error lessens. You have to play a baseball game as clean as possible and that’s what we were suffering. We weren’t able to finish the fight, finish the game. But these guys rally around each other. They were up, they weren’t going to be front runners. Win or lose, they were going to take their best swings. That’s an Amat trademark.”
Bishop Amat’s Adam Alcantara: “We knew we didn’t want to lose another (close game). You can’t give up. You can’t put your head down when you’re down 4-0. You just have to keep going.”
Alemany coach Randy Thompson: “(Bishop Amat) did a good of battling. (Rene DeLeon) has been our closer. He hadn’t given up a run all year. Yes, their hitters battled to put the ball in play, but we could have prevented those by taking care of the first batter each inning. That’s baseball.”
Wednesday’s Baseball Results
Hacienda League

West Covina 3, Diamond Ranch 2, 10 innings (Tuesday’s result)
Diamond Bar 9, Los Altos 1
Bonita 6, Rowland 0
Mission Valley League
South El Monte 10, Rosemead 7
Mountain View 3, Arroyo 2
El Monte 9, Gabrielino 7
Bishop Amat 5, Alemany 4

Diamond Bar jumps on Los Altos: In the new Hacienda League format teams face each other twice in the same week.
Winning on Wednesday doesn’t count more, but it sure makes things a lot easier for Friday’s rematch.
Diamond Bar (7-1,2-1) totaled 10 hits, got a complete-game performance from senior Zeph Walters and took advantage of three Los Altos errors while cruising to a 9-1 win.
“Anytime you can win the opener it’s important,” Brahmas coach Eric Shibley said. “With the change in the league format this year, getting the first win is huge. You don’t want to be guessing and chasing that second game.”

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Softball Rankings: No change at the top; Bishop Amat still No. 1, followed closing by Chino Hills and Ayala

Bishop Amat, winners of seven consecutive games, continues to look like the best team in the area.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

Here’s this week’s area softball top 10
1. Bishop Amat (7-2) —
The Lancers, after losing two early, are rolling with seven consecutive wins. They’ll test rival their streak vs. St. Paul today.
2. Chino Hills (10-4) — The Huskies have a deceiving record that’s been hampered by a tough schedule. They are still the favorite going into Sierra League play.
3. Ayala (8-2) — The Bulldogs look like Chino Hills’ chief challenger in the Sierra League. They enjoyed another solid week, with the only loss to a strong Los Osos squad.
4. South Hills (9-3) — The Huskies of West Covina are rounding into form, advancing to the finals of the Charter Oak tournament before losing to Corona Centennial.
5. Bonita (6-3) — The Bearcats look like the team to beat in the Hacienda League after reaching the Charter Oak Tournament semifinals.
6. Charter Oak (8-2) — The Chargers show how tough the Sierra League is, going 3-1 at their tournament, including a win over one of the top teams from Whittier in 2012 semifinalist La Habra.
7. Northview (4-4) — The Vikings have a solid start, advancing to the San Dimas Tournament semifinals and splitting four games at the Charter Oak tourney.
8. St. Lucy’s (3-5) — The Regents, who went 1-2 for the week, should make some noise in the Sierra League. But this still looks like a team finding its way.
9. San Dimas (6-6) — The Saints have been even keel until now, but their strength will be shown in Valle Vista League play.
10. Duarte (5-2) — The Falcons, the favorite in the Montview League have looked impressive in their last two games, outscoring the opposition, 37-0.

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Covina rallies to knock off Northview 4-3 in VVL opener; Charter Oak upsets South Hills 8-7; San Dimas, Nogales win, Glendora loses

Covina-Northview photo gallery

By Steve Ramirez

COVINA — All the talk about the chase for the Valle Vista League baseball title this season has centered on Northview, Nogales and San Dimas.
Covina showed Tuesday it’s ready to enter the fray.
Brian Maag, Adam Valdez and Jesus Perez had RBIs and pitcher Joseph Wills got the last four outs in relief as the visiting Colts rallied for a 4-3 victory over rival Northview in the league opener.
The Vikings (6-2) had the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings before Wills closed to the door for Covina, which improved to 5-3.
Covina, trailing 3-1, rallied for a 4-3 lead after an error, a bunt single by Daziel Rodriguez, two walks and two hit-batters.
Northview, following a lead-off double by Anthony Amaya, had runners on second and third in the seventh. But Wills closed the door with back-to-back strikeouts.
Covina coach Terence DeWan: “We know this league is tough from top to bottom. We just try to focus on pitching and playing one inning at a time. We’ve played some good teams, both in the fall and in preseason, so we felt good coming into today. The kids stepped up and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Northview coach Darren Murphy: “We had plenty of opportunities. It’s frustrating, but their pitchers stepped up and got outs.”
Covina’s Joseph Wills: “You just have to have faith in your defense. You have to have confidence they are going to make the plays. This was a big game. All of our guys were excited. As a team, we just rallied.”
Tuesday’s results
Sierra League Baseball
Charter Oak 8, South Hills 7
Damien 10, Claremont 4
Chino Hils 4, Ayala 3
Valle Vista League Baseball
Covina 4, Northview 3
Nogales 2, Baldwin Park 1
San Dimas 9, Wilson 3
Baseline Leauge Baseball
Los Osos 6, Glendora 2

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Baseball Rankings: South Hills moves on up; Northview a close second

South Hills moves on up.
Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

Here’s this week’s area baseball top 10
1. South Hills (6-1) — The Huskies take over the top spot after evening its series with Northview with an 8-3 victory. South Hills, which beat Claremont, 6-2, to open Sierra League play, also has a victory over Bonita on its resume.
2. Northview (6-1) — The Vikings are the real deal. Their resume includes winning the Dick’s Sporting Goods Invitational, which included area heavyweights South Hills, Bonita and Los Altos, and beating traditional power Millikan last week.
3. Nogales (8-0) — Longtime Nobles coach John Romano earned his 600th win last week, but lost in the hoopla is Nogales is off to its best start in recent memory.
4. Bonita (6-1) — Don’t sleepwalk on the Bearcats, who look as solid as ever. Bonita’s only loss is to South Hills. They rebounded from it with a 7-5 win over San Dimas last week.
5. Diamond Bar (6-1) — How good are the Brahmas? We might find out this week when they play a home-and-home against Los Altos. Diamond opened Hacienda League play by splitting a pair with West Covina, which has also lost just once.
6. Glendora (7-2) — The Tartans, the lone area entry in the Baseline League, get lost on the radar, but Dan Henley has another strong group. Glendora went 2-1 last week, beating Etiwanda and Upland.
7. San Dimas (6-2) — The Saints came down to early, losing to Bonita in extra innings. But they will make noise in the Valle Vista League title chase, which they begin this week with a home and home vs. Wilson.
8. Baldwin Park (6-1) — How good the Braves are should be answered this week when they play Nogales twice.
9. West Covina (8-1-1) — The Bulldogs earned a respectful split against Diamond Bar. Diamond Ranch (4-4) is up next.
10. Los Altos (5-2) — The Conquerors split two games last week to hold on to the No. 10 slot. They’ll have the opportunity to move up with games vs. Diamond Bar on the docket.
11. Damien (3-3) — The Spartans could be in trouble. They opened Sierra League play with a loss to an improved Ayala squad, and now end the week with a trip to favorite and No. 1 South Hills.
12. Bishop Amat (2-5) — The Lancers, who won on Monday, are still bogged down by a tough nonleague slate. But the league season is fast approaching, which should see them get on a roll.

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Baseball Notebook: Diamond Bar off to hot start, faces Los Altos this week

Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

By Steve Ramirez

Diamond Bar High School started strong last baseball season, only to see it come apart in Hacienda League play.
The Brahmas, who won their first five nonleague games this season, are determined to not let it happen again, and they’ve already received some early answers after splitting a league series with West Covina last week.
Diamond Bar improved to 6-1 after rebounding from a 4-1 loss to the Bulldogs at home with a 14-3 shellacking on the road.
“It meant a lot (to beat West Covina),” Diamond Bar coach Eric Shibley said. “I think the guys showed the type of character they have. We made some adjustments after the first game.
“But the kids didn’t drop their heads and were ready to play.”
Diamond Bar’s strength this season has been in a the return of 10 players who had significant playing time in 2012. They’ve showed that experience early on.
The keys have been senior Zeph Walters, who is hitting .500 with 10 RBIs, and sophomore infielder/pitcher Jacob Cooke, who is hitting .500 with seven RBIs. Senior pitcher Sean Patton, who got the win against West Covina, is 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA.
“We have so many returners from last year and they’ve all contributed,” Shibley said. “They are just playing very well right now.
“Our strength of schedule is not the toughest, but I like how the guys have come out. We’ll find out more about ourselves this week.”
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Charter Oak softball tournament: South Hills and Centennial square off in today’s championship at 3

Bonita’s run ends in semis: Centennial High School of Corona took advantage of every opportunity and got another outstanding pitching performance by junior Alyssa Valinches to knock off Bonita 5-1 in Friday’s semifinals of the Charter Oak softball tournament.

South Hills advances to championship: For about two hours each day, the South Hills High School softball team can forget about its internal issues.
The Huskies have been able to put aside the turmoil surrounding longtime coach Scott Fisch when they step between the lines.

Charter Oak Softball Tournament at Big League Dreams in West Covina
Wednesday’s quarterfinal results
South Hills 7, La Serna 6
Monrovia 4, La Habra 0
Centennial 7, Schurr 0
Bonita 3, Charter Oak 1
South Hills 4, Monrovia 1
Centennial 5, Bonita 1
Championship, Saturday, 3 p.m.
South Hills vs. Corona Centennial

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South Hills opens Sierra League with 6-2 victory over Claremont; Ayala beats Damien, 7-3

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
WEST COVINA — Claremont’s Josh Chua spoiled South Hills pitcher Adrian De Horta’s shutout attempt with a two-out double in the seventh inning that scored Matt Rhinehart, and the Wolpack scored again on Nick Costello’s RBI single.
But De Horta, obviously tiring down the stretch, finished the complete game to lead South Hills to a 6-2 victory in the Sierra League opener for both schools.
“What was that, a 10 or 12 pitch at-bat?” De Horta said of his battle with Chua. “But I tip my hat to him, he hit that change-up. You always want the shutout, but the win is what counts. I’m just glad I was able to finish.”
South Hills (6-1, 1-0), which split a pair of games this past week against Northview, including its only loss in the Dick’s Sporting Goods tournament final over the weekend, is in search of its 11th straight league title and third straight in the Sierra.
Claremont dropped to 3-3 and 0-1. In another Sierra League game, Ayala defeated Damien 7-3.

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Bishop Amat baseball struggling, loses 9-2 to Chatsworth to fall to 1-4

“We’re not going to sacrifice the integrity of our program for rankings and records. We’re going to continue to play as difficult a schedule as we can. We think our body of work over the last six years, which includes three CIF championships, is one of the top programs in Southern California. Win or lose, we’re going to play a tough schedule and when all is said and done, we’re hoping our schedule has prepared us to play for a championship.
“It doesn’t get any easier, we got Lakewood, Tesoro, Alemany, Agoura, and you got to welcome the challenge. We’re scuffling right now, but we’re going to find a way to lick our wounds and pick ourselves up. We need to find out who the real tough guys are. We need to circle the wagons together and find out what we’re made of. This program has flourished for many years, and now it’s gut-check time.”
Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto, who talks at length with the Scouting Guru at the 9:15 mark.

By Jack Pollon
It was about time the Chatsworth baseball team scored some runs.
After scoring two runs or less in five of their first eight games, the Chancellors broke out Wednesday for a 9-2 intersectional victory against perennial state power Bishop Amat at USC’s Dedeuax Field.
The big blow came from No. 9 hitter Garrett Kueber, who tripled home three runs in the fourth.
Kueber, who only had one hit the entire season, lined a fastball into left-center that rolled all the way to the wall.
“I was looking for a fastball and just went with it,” Kueber said. “I squared up real good on that pitch. It felt good.”
Chatsworth coach Tom Meusborn added: “It was a great time for it. He stung it.”

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La Mirada football coach Mike Moschetti setting the bar on recruiting

One of the biggest complaints from players and parents is their high school football coach doesn’t do enough to promote players in hopes of earning a scholarship. Whether that’s working the phones with college recruiters or creating video highlight tapes to send out, seemingly everyone believes they’re good enough to play somewhere. Aram Tolegian wrote a great piece on La Mirada football coach Mike Moschetti, who has made it his mission to promote every player possible. This ought to make area coaches cringe with how hard Moschetti is working, but you have to admire his effort.
“A lot of schools have players, it’s just that nobody knows about them. When our football season is over, we make all our kids highlight tapes and start sending them out to every school in the country. We have guys who are relentless. Not just sending the film out, but you’ve got to email. We have 10 to 12 different coaches who are making phone calls every single day making sure the tape gets watched. — La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti.

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Nogales coach John Romano gets 600th victory as Nobles stay undefeated with 2-0 win over Temple City

Nogales-Temple City photo gallery

By John Honell
The 2-0 Nogales victory over visiting Temple City on Tuesday afternoon was more than just another early season high school baseball game.
It was win No. 600 in the storied 35-year career of Nobles coach John Romano.
“If nothing else gets written today I just want to thank everybody that has played for me,” Romano said. “If I hadn’t had baseball in my life, I don’t know what I would have done. I was able to make a nice career because all the kids were so unselfish when they played here.”
The Rams (3-2) went with ace Gabe Juarez, who pitched a four-hitter and gave up two runs in the fourth inning.
“He’s (Juarez) my number one guy,” Rams coach Barry Bacon said. “If he’s (Romano) going to win 600, I’m going to put my best guy on the mound and he’s going to have to beat him.” (To continue reading, click thread)

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Bishop Amat’s girls basketball season ends in 52-34 loss to Long Beach Poly

Amat-Long Beach poly photo gallery

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
— Bishop Amat girls basketball coach Richard Wiard knew the Lancers would have a tough time against athletically-gifted Long Beach Poly, a program Wiard said has been the best defensively in Southern California over the past 20 years.
But Long Beach Poly was much more than that during Tuesday’s CIF-State Southern California Division I Regional semifinal, burying nine 3-pointers in rolling to a 52-34 victory over the Lancers.
The ninth-seed Jackrabbits (28-5) will face second-seed Canyon Springs in Saturday’s regional final at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario at 2 p.m.
Canyon Springs advanced with a 70-58 win over Vista Murrieta, and Saturday’s winner will advance to the state championship in Sacramento on March 22.
“Nine 3-pointers?” Jackrabbits coach Carl Buggs said. “That’s news to me. I knew we hit a lot of them and when we’re hitting like that we’re tough to beat.
“But give Bishop Amat a lot of credit, they made us work and it was closer than the score.”
Jackrabbits Junior guard Arica Carter buried four 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 15 points and Kansas State-bound Keyla Morgan finished with 11 points.
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