San Dimas is on the verge of another title after 61-28 blowout; La Serna back in title game; Muir, Monrovia, St. Francis, Rio Hondo Prep all lose

What an incredible night of what could have been. Well, it was for San Dimas, but the rest of the SGV was rolling for a while too. Muir looked like it was on the verge of knocking off undefeated Norwalk and St. Francis had a chance of upsetting one of the best teams in the state, Serra. But both couldn’t get it done in the fourth to pull it out. Three-time defending Mid-Valley champ Monrovia won’t get its dream final against San Dimas. The Wildcats fell behind early and rallied to take the lead over Paraclete in the fourth quarter. But the Cats got beat in the final minute and so did their chances of becoming the first SGV school since the 70s Temple City Rams to win four straight titles. Rio Hondo Prep is another that won’t get a chance to defend its title after losing to Salesian. But Frankie “Football” Palmer is going to his third straight championship game and looking for his first ring. But this night was about San Dimas. From 0-4 to the verge of a tile, they’re something special and not even Paraclete is going to stop them.

saintsceleSan Dimas marches on: Nobody was talking about San Dimas in September. But as coach Bill Zernickow always says, September doesn’t matter, December does.
His words ring true again and now the Saints are hoping to get fitted for one.
San Dimas will finally get its chance to win its second CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship since 2009 after running all over host Arroyo for a 61-28 victory in the semifinals on Friday, snapping the Knights’ 11-game winning streak.
And it was all ground and pound.
San Dimas running back Joseph Mayorga went nuts, rushing for a school-record 327 yards and four touchdowns. And he wasn’t alone, Fausto Martinez rushed for 215 yards, two TDs and Manny Elizalde finished with 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Monrovia falls in final minute: Andrew Jimenez kicked an 18-yard field goal with 39 seconds left and host Paraclete ended the Wildcats’ dream of four consecutive CIF-Southern Section titles with a 22-21 victory over Monrovia in a Mid-Valley Division semifinal Friday night.
Muir’s championship bid comes up short: For one half on Friday night, everything was going according to script for the Muir High School football team. Then, the lights went out on the Mustangs’ offense and visiting Norwalk rallied from two touchdowns down at halftime to knock off Muir with a 35-28 win and earn a spot in next week’s CIF-Southeast Division championship game.

Tonight’s CIF-SS Semifinals Results
Mid-Valley

Paraclete 22, Monrovia 21
San Dimas 61, Arroyo 28
Championship: San Dimas will host Paraclete next Friday
Southeast
La Serna 28, Burbank 21
Norwalk 35, Muir 28
Western Division
Serra 22, St. Francis 16
Chaminade 49, Lompoc 14
Northeast Division
Salesian 35, Rio Hondo Prep 20
Mission Prep 41, Desert 14

For updates of tonight’s games, click thread

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GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Bonita’s dynamic duo of Nikki Wheatley, Kandyce Smith lead No. 1 Bearcats

BONITA GHOOP

By Fred J. Robledo

Bishop Amat and Bonita high schools have gone back and forth the past few years in the East San Gabriel Valley, taking turns as the Tribune’s No. 1 girls basketball team with both earning CIF-Southern Section titles along the way, Bonita winning in 2011 and Bishop Amat in 2012 and a runner-up last season.
Nothing’s changed for the areas top programs, except the playoff road is more difficult.
Both teams moved to Division 1AA, arguably the toughest in Southern California, which includes Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Lynwood and other heavyweights.
However, with the creation of the new “open division,” which takes the top 16 teams in the CIF-SS at the end of the season, some divisions like 1AA could become more winnable with the top teams pulled out for the “open division” winner take all tournament.
It’s something Bishop Amat and Bonita will keep close tabs on during the season along with young Workman, a team that competes in Division 4AA with powers Harvard-Westlake, Windward and Bishop Montgomery. If those private powers are selected to the “open division”, Workman may finally be in a position to make a deep tournament run.
But there’s no arguing Bonita, Bishop Amat and Workman are clearly the class of the East San Gabriel Valley for the 2013-14 season. Here’s a look at the Tribune’s preseason top ten:

TO SEE A BRIEF LOOK AT THE TOP TEN, CLICK THE THREAD
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Boys Basketball Top Ten Preview: Defending CIF champ Damien and super junior Jeremy Hemsley lead the way

damienno.1

By Stephen Ramirez
Damien High School enjoyed a magical season in 2012-13.
The Spartans, after some heart-breaking close calls in recent years, finally broke through, winning the school’s first CIF-Southern Section boys basketball title, with the 3AA Division crown and advanced two rounds in the state playoffs.
What do they do for an encore?
Win another?
The task won’t be easy. Damien, for one has moved to four levels to Division 1AA, but with star Jeremy Hemsley, who went from inexperienced sophomore to Area Player of the Year, anything is possible. But for now, coach Matt Dunn will concentrate on the journey, which begins next Friday with a nonleague game at home against Sunny Hills.
“This is obviously a whole new group,” said Dunn, whose Spartans begin the season ranked No. 1 in the area. “We return some guys, but we have guys with new roles, and guys who are new, so the dynamic of the whole group changes. They’re better be a fire (to repeat). At this point, no one really cares what happened last year. This is its own individual journey.
“I think our guys understand that. We practice hard. I think we have a pretty high potential, but we have a ways to go to meet that potential, too.”
It’s starts with Hemsley, who is the key for Damien. The junior, who also was Division 3AA Player of the Year, averaged a team-high 19 points per game, while also bringing in 6.1 rebounds per contest. But also, if there was a key play to be made, Hemsley made it, including scoring seven points down the stretch to clinch last season’s title run in the championship game.
“I think he can be a lot better,” Dunn said of his star. “He’s the hardest worker on our team. I think he’s bigger than stronger, improved his shooting and he’s improved as a leader. Last year, he was a leader by example, now we need him to be more vocal.”
Damien, which lost first team All-Area guard Jared Dizon to graduation, also features junior wing Malik Fitts, who is expected to fill Dizon’s role as the No. 2 option; junior wing Isaiah McCullough and forward Thaddeus Smith. But this is a deep, experienced squad that features nine returning players.
“We have an awful lot of potential,” Dunn said. “Offensively, this is the most talented team we’ve had. And I think our kids are really good about sharing the ball. That’s a good place to start.
“But we don’t talk about winning and losing, just improving and reaching our potential. If this team is able to do that, I think at the end of the season, we’ll have a chance to win some games and see what happens then.”

FOR THE REST OF THE TOP TEN, CLICK THREAD. (Note, Chino Hills, Ayala and Claremont will not be included in the Tribune rankings. They will still be part of our Sierra League coverage, but they will be ranked and considered for all-area exclusively in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, our sister paper.
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Arroyo coach Jim Singiser on preparing for San Dimas’ Wing T: “If they go out and drop 50 or 60 on us, then I’ll tell you it was a difficult task.”

singiserBy Aram Tolegian
A short week punctuated by a holiday is not exactly the most optimal situation for trying to teach a bunch of teenagers how to defend the Wing-T offense.
But Arroyo coach Jim Singiser said he and his staff will make the best of it as they prepare for Friday’s semifinals showdown against San Dimas.
The Saints run the Wing-T offense, which some teams simply don’t ever see otherwise until they play San Dimas. That’s the situation Arroyo is in this week and it’s got Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday to contend with, too.
“If they go out and drop 50 or 60 on us, then I’ll tell you it was a difficult task,” Knights coach Jim Singiser said. “Our scout team can’t run in two days what San Dimas has been running in five years. That’s the problem, you can’t simulate it.
“And even if you can, San Dimas will do it better on Friday.”
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Monrovia at Paraclete, Friday’s Weather Forecast Hi 53, Low 39 with chance of rain .. Tribskin Pick’em semifinals

STORY: “They have to play in the same weather we do,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “They’re probably a little more used to the cold weather. I was talking to (Paraclete head coach) Norm (Dahlia) and their kids don’t like freezing-cold weather. They might play in it more than we do, but it’s not like they’re hyped up for it to be freezing cold.”

That’s Lancaster, I can’t look at this schedule and not wonder what it will be like for Monrovia at Paraclete this week. Even snow isn’t out of the equation. I’ll bet Paraclete keeps this one at 7:30, just to make sure its a tad cooler. Now the big question for us, who’s gonna cover this sucker? Steve, Aram, Keith, any suggestions? And what are your thoughts on the other semifinal games? My Muir-La Serna prediction and San Dimas-Monrovia finals call is right on track.
lanaster

TRIBSKIN PICK’EM: Aram Tolegian and I will go head-to-head picking football games throughout the season. He edged me out the past two seasons, but it’s not happening this year, not when we’re playing for a Slater’s 50-50 burger.

Aram Tolegian (11-5, last week); (186-75, season total)
Fred Robledo (15-1, last week); (193-68, season total)

Last Week: I’ve blown this open over the last two week and now lead by seven over the football expert. I went 15-1 in the second round, my only loss taking Rancho Cucamonga over Norco. Aram also lost that game plus he also lost taking Dominguez over Norwalk, Diamond Bar over La Serna, Carpinteria over El Segundo, Santa Fe over Burbank.

This week: Sticking with my pre-playoff predictions in the Mid-Valley and Southeast .. I like San Dimas facing Monrovia and if it happens, San Dimas gets the championship game at home. I’ve still got Muir meeting La Serna in the championship, nothing’s changed. I’m going on a limb and taking St. Francis over power Serra and Rio Hondo Prep over Salesian.

Friday’s Semifinals
Mid-Valley

Monrovia at Paraclete, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Monrovia); Aram (M-Town)
San Dimas at Arroyo, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (San Dimas); Aram (SD)
Southeast
Burbank vs. La Serna at Cal Hi, 7:30 — Robledo (La Serna); Aram (Frankie Football)
Norwalk at Muir, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Muir); Aram (Muir)
Western Division
Serra at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (St. Francis); Aram (Serra)
Lompoc at Chaminade, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Chaminade); Aram (Chaminade)
Northeast Division
Rio Hondo Prep at Salesian, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (RH Prep); Aram (Salesian)
Desert at Mission Prep, 7:30 p.m. — Robledo (Mission Prep); Aram (MP)

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