Los Altos boys basketball ranked No. 1 in Division 1A and on Open Division watch list

lucas4The Los Altos high school boys basketball team is having a historic season.
The Conquerors are 16-3 and 4-0 in the Hacienda League heading to Wednesday’s league game at West Covina.
Los Altos is ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1A and coach Jeff Lucas, who is in his 21st year at the school and also played at Los Altos when he was in high school, believes this is the first time the boys basketball team has ever been ranked No. 1.
Not only that, Los Altos has never won a CIF title in boys basketball, getting close in 2003, losing in the semifinals to Santa Margarita. Lucas says when legendary Mike Smith was at Los Altos in the 1980s, they also reached the semifinals, losing to Glendora, a team that had legendary coach and player, Mike LeDuc and Tracy Murray, respectively.
la3“I know we’ve never won a championship here, and can remember being close a couple times, the team I coached (2003) and the team in 80s,” coach Jeff Lucas said. “It’s a great honor to be No. 1. Our goals at the beginning of the season was to win at least two tournaments, which we’ve done and win 20 games, which we’re on track to do.
“CIF (playoffs) obviously follows that, and the goal is to go as far as you can. I like our team, we’ve played a good schedule and we’ll see what happens when we get there (playoffs).”
However, whether Los Altos can realistically play for a CIF championship depends on its final seven games, which includes six league games and a huge non-league game against Corona Centennial (16-5), ranked No. 9 in Division 1AA.
Los Altos is currently on the CIF-SS Open Division watch list. At the end of the season a CIF committee will select what it believes are the best 16 teams from all divisions, and place them into the Open Division to match the best of the best.
MaxPreps’ Southern Section rankings lists Los Altos at No. 20, which makes it a bubble team for the top 16. If Los Altos wins out, it could overtake some teams and possibly be taken out of Division 1A, where it is ranked No. 1, to the Open Division, where it could possibly draw Mater Dei or Chino Hills in the first round.
Los Altos will play Corona Centennial on Feb. 4 in the Mater Dei Extravaganza. Centennial is also on the Open Division watch list, and if Los Altos wins, that could punch their ticket to the Open Division should they also run the table in the Hacienda.
“You just have to play it out and see what happens,” Lucas said. “The Open Division is so stacked and would obviously be tough, but you’re guaranteed two games and a state playoff berth, so there are good things about it.
“But I don’t want to think about that right now. Our league is tough, we have a lot of tough games left and Centennial is a big task. We’ll play it out and see what happens.”
Los Altos is led by Lucas’ sophomore son, Jarod Lucas, who averages a team best 27 points and already has scholarship offers from UNLV, Albany, UC Irvine, Tulane and Cal State Northridge. And he is also taking unofficial visits to USC, UCLA, California, Stanford and is hearing from other schools like Gonzaga.
But the Conquerors are much more than just Lucas.
Julian Lopez is averaging 16 points and five players average double figures, which includes Cameron Martin, Jordan Ramirez and Matt Arellano.
“To have that balance is crucial,” Lucas said. “We have a lot of guys who are talented, playing well and playing together. That’ why we are where we’re right now.”

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Pitcher Diego Barrera denied eligibility at Damien until summer, will appeal decision

Junior pitcher Diego Barrera, who who left Bishop Amat and enrolled at Damien over the summer, was denied eligibility by the CIF Southern Section until August 2017, citing an athletically motivated transfer/undue influence, after Bishop Amat submitted paperwork that led to the challenge.
The ruling essentially ends Barrera’s junior season, however Barrera’s family is appealing the decision and has retained a lawyer.
Ed Barrera, Diego Barrera’s father, claims that Bishop Amat doctored statements attributed to him that he believes led to CIF’s decision. He is awaiting an appeal date before commenting further.
Barrera started at Bishop Amat as a freshman, and arguably was its best pitcher last season as a sophomore, finishing 9-2 with a 1.84 ERA. He is verbally committed to the University of Washington.

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Boys Basketball Rankings: Damien, Los Altos, Bonita, Bishop Amat lead way

Boys Basketball Rankings
1. Damien (20-2)
— Big week is here, Etiwanda next followed by Chino Hills, Friday.
2. Los Altos (16-3) — Is 4-0 in Hacienda with West Covina next.
3. Bonita (14-5) — Lost to Colony 60-57 in SoCal Shootout, but 4-0 in Palomares.
4. Bishop Amat (16-4) — Huge win over St. Anthony, then lost two of three.
5. Walnut (15-6) — Beat San Dimas in SoCal shootout and 3-1 in Hacienda.
6. Diamond Bar (14-7) — Back-to-back losses to Claremont and St. John Bosco.
7. Workman (15-5) — Facing all sub. 500 teams in Montview.
8. San Dimas (13-8) — Lost showcase games to Damien, Walnut.
9. Charter Oak (12-6) — Is tied with West Covina for third in tough Hacienda.
10. West Covina (12-9) — Needs a signature win in Hacienda.

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Girls Basketball Rankings: Rowland defends top spot, Los Altos rises to No. 2

Girls Basketball Rankings
1. Rowland (18-1)
— Has fought off all challengers to earn top spot.
2. Los Altos (17-2) — Perfect 4-0 in Hacienda, winners of 13 straight.
3. Walnut (17-3) — Have been good, but not as good as rival Los Altos.
4. Glendora (18-3) — Shocking 40-36 loss to Bonita, now Palomares wide open.
5. Duarte (18-4) — Facing all sub. 500 teams in the Montview.
6. Covina (18-4) — Had its chance at home against Rowland, but fell short.
7. Diamond Bar (17-4) — At 3-1, in three-way tie for first in Palomres, Bonita next.
8. Bonita (13-7) — Beat Glendora and has won four straight.
9. Bishop Amat (15-6) – Lost big one to St. Monica for Camino Real League lead.
10. West Covina (14-8) — Solid 3-1 in Hacienda, but big games ahead.

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Girls Soccer Rankings: Glendora, Bishop Amat remain strong, West Covina to No. 3

Girls Soccer Rankings
1. Glendora (13-3-1)
— Is 4-0 in Palomares with Clarmeont (4-0) showdown looming.
2. Bishop Amat (15-3) – Is No. 2 in Division 3 after big La Salle win.
3. West Covina (8-2-7) – Cinderella Bulldogs lead the Hacienda at 3-0-1.
4. South Hills (8-7-1) — Is trying to stay in Palomares league chase at 2-2.
5. Nogales (8-3-2) – Has only allowed 13 goals in 16 games.
6. Rowland (10-5-2) – In three way tie in Valle Vista with Covina, Wilson.
7. Covina (8-5-1) – Big victory over Rowland to remained tied for first in Valle Vista.
8. Los Altos (7-7-5) — Slow 1-1-2 start in the Hacienda.
9. Charter Oak (10-4-1) – Is falling fast in Hacienda, dropping to 1-3.
10. Wilson (6-5) — Has played well in Valle Vista at 3-1.

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Boys Soccer Rankings: Baldwin Park, Sierra Vista, La Puente, Glendora lead way

Tribune Boys Soccer Rankings
1. Baldwin Park (11-1-3) – Since starting No. 1, has done everything to prove it deserves it.
2. Sierra Vista (9-3-3) – Is 3-0 in the Montview and headed for Nogales showdown.
3. La Puente (8-0-4) – Is undefeated and only allowed six goals all season.
4. Glendora (7-4-2) – Big game against Claremont for first in Palomares.
5. Nogales (9-3-3) — Will play Sierra Vista Wednesday for sole possession of first.
6. El Monte (9-4) – Has nine goals and just one against in Mission Valley.
7. Walnut (8-5-1) – In the Hacienda mix at 2-1 and with 1-0 win over Los Altos.
8. Los Altos (10-5-2) – Won three straight, including big one over Chino.
9. Arroyo (9-4-1) – Dropped second game in Mission Valley League.
10. Damien (6-6-1) — Damien falling in tough Baseline, drops to 2-2.

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SoCal Shootout: Walnut gets the best of San Dimas; La Canada also wins

San Dimas' Spencer Bandow (right) tries to push his way past Walnut's Agassi Goantara (24) during the SoCal Shootout at the Felix Center at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Walnut defeated San Dimas 54-49. (Correspondent photo by Trevor Stamp)

San Dimas’ Spencer Bandow (right) tries to push his way past Walnut’s Agassi Goantara (24) during the SoCal Shootout at the Felix Center at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Walnut defeated San Dimas 54-49. (Correspondent photo by Trevor Stamp)

By Stephen Ramirez
AZUSA — Walnut and San Dimas high schools are ranked Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, in this week’s San Gabriel Valley Tribune boys basketball rankings. Both lived up to that billing Saturday.Agassi Goantara scored 24 points and hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch and the Mustangs got the best of Saints with a 54-49 victory in a Southern California Shootout game at Azusa Pacific University’s Felix Event Center.Eli Ramos also had 15 points for Walnut (15-6). Donnell Leffridge IV and Ronny Rafeh scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, for San Dimas (13-8).

“It’s a good win,” Goantara said. “We all knew it would be a tough game. But we played through it. We played good defense to get the (win).”
Walnut, which led 28-26 at halftime, rallied from a 37-33 deficit in the third quarter. Ramos got the Mustangs even at 42 on a 3-pointer with 4:46 left in the fourth quarter before Goantara gave them the lead for good at 50-47 on a 3-pointer with 1:49 left.
Leffridge made two free throws to cut it to 50-49 with 1:37 left. But Eric Song followed with an inside shot for a 52-49 lead.
San Dimas was then called for an illegal screen with 24 seconds remaining, which allowed Andrew Lee to clinch it with two free throws with 23 seconds to play.
“I was feeling great,” Goantara said of his 3-pointer. “When I shoot the ball I see it going in. I just got the ball and trusted my shot.”
La Canada 74, Los Osos 69 >> Sean Estes scored 30 points and Patric Panoosi and Ryan Graves had 15 each for the Spartans, who rallied from double-digit deficit in this battle of ranked CIF Southern Section teams.
Justin Kouyoumdjian also had 14 points for La Canada (18-4), which is ranked No. 2 by the Pasadena Star-News and No. 4 in CIF-SS Division 1A. Iysaiah Rojas scored 20 points for the Grizzlies (12-8), ranked No. 12 in 2AA.
“We changed our defense intensity (in the second half),” Estes said. “We locked up defensively and the shots fell for us. We came back and kept pushing.
“It’s a good win. It’s good practice for us when we get to the playoffs.”
Los Osos, which also got 13 points from Obaro Ujor, led 42-31 at halftime before La Canada blitzed the Grizzlies with a 22-6 third quarter. The Spartans opened the quarter with a 16-2 surge and took a 47-44 lead following baskets from Graves and Estes with 2:57 left.
La Canada opened the fourth with an 8-4 run to take a 61-52 lead before Los Osos made one final push.
Shane Johnson made a 3-pointer and Phillip Young and Rojas made layups to key an 11-2 run to tie it at 63 with 2:38 left.
Ian Murphy then followed two free throws by Panoosi with a 3-pointer for a 66-65 lead with 2:23 left.
But La Canada closed with a Graves’ 11 footer before Estes and Kouyoumdjian hit two free throws each to clinch it at 71-66 with 23 seconds left.
St. John Bosco 68, Diamond Bar 54 >> The Brahmas got a sour taste of what it’s like to face a team from the Open Division.
Makani Whiteside scored 16 points and Alpha Okoli and Tarrean Brown had 15 each for the Braves (13-9).
Malik Corey had 20 points and Kelly Avery 10 for Diamond Bar (14-7).
Diamond Bar trailed just 23-23 late in the first half before the Braves closed the second quarter with an 11-4 surge to lead 34-26 at the break. St. John Bosco opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run for a 42-28 lead before going up 63-43 early in the fourth quarter on a consecutive baskets by JoJo Bush (14 points) and Okoli.

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