Intro: On Bishop Amat vs. St. John Bosco 15:40 mark: Central Division, Charter Oak-Glendora; Summit-San Marion 29:30 mark: Southeast Division, La Serna-St. Francis; Cathedral-La Mirada 41:30 mark: Mid-Valley Division, Pomona-Sierra Canyon; San Dimas-Viewpoint 46:00 mark: Southwest Division, La Habra-Villa Park
Girls Basketball Top Ten Preview by Keith Lair
The Duarte High School girls basketball program has been no stranger to success.
The Falcons have had four 20-plus winning seasons in the last four years and have been to the CIF Southern Section playoffs every year since 2010. They went to the CIF State tournament in 2010 and reached the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS divisional playoffs last year.
But the Falcons appear to have stepped up their game. They have hired Scott Wiard as head coach. Scott helped his father, Richard, to two CIF State and five CIF-SS titles at Bishop Amat.
“They’ve had a pretty good run the last five years and we’re trying to build on that,” Scott Wiard said. “The kids are used to competing at a high level. We’re trying to build a CIF championship program and when we came from Amat we thought we can do it here.”
The Wiards, with Richard as an assistant coach, will find the cupboards are not bare. The Falcons have two of the best players in the west San Gabriel Valley, which is why they earned the preseason No. 1 position.
Six-foot-seven sophomore Patricia Morris is back, along with a top point guard and a top scorer.
Morris averaged 9.2 points and nine rebounds on a team that went 20-9 last year.
“From May until now she is so much better,” Wiard said. “She presents problems with her height. She is such a good athlete. She played tennis and has improved her footwork. She will be pretty special for us.”
And then there is senior Mackenzie Barnes, who led the Falcons in scoring last year playing point guard.
“I think in girls basketball if you have a really good point guard and a big girl in the middle, you’ll be pretty decent,” Wiard said. “We’re pretty blessed because we are fortunate to have both.
“(Barnes) does the right things and gets in the right spots and she’s gotten a lot better.”
Then there’s junior Ryley Thompson, one of the top 3-point shooters in the valley. Seniors Karmeece Robinson and Sofia Calvo also return. Freshman Delanye Thompson, Ryley’s sister, is expected to see playing time off he bench. Continue reading →
This simple Tweet went viral late Friday with a lot of folks thinking I lost my mind for thinking Amat could be on the same field with St. John Bosco. I stand by what I wrote, that I like their chances, and what I mean by that is I like their chances for a mammoth upset. But am I ready to predict it? No. Nobody in their right mind would pick Amat if you were asked to bet the mortgage on it. But I don’t think it’s impossible and I do believe it will be a winnable game in the fourth quarter. I was wavering on Charter Oak and Glendora before finally settling on Charter Oak. I watched the first game and Charter Oak handled Glendora up front. That’s going to be the difference again. But it will be closer than 28-7 the second time around. I love San Dimas’ chances against Viewpoint after watching how close Covina came to beating them. I picked San Dimas to upset Paraclete and get to the finals and not changing my mind now. I also like Sierra Canyon to beat Pomona in a not-so-close game. In other out of area games, take St. Francis in an upset over No. 1 La Serna and go with La Mirada to reach the finals over Cathedral. I also have La Habra all day over Villa Park.
Friday’s CIF-SS Playoff Schedule and predictions
All games start at 7:30 p.m., unless noted
Bishop Amat vs. St. John Bosco at Cerritos College, 7 p.m. — Robledo (Bosco); Aram (Bosco) Southwest Division
Villa Park at La Habra — Robledo (La Habra); Aram (Aram) Southeast Division
La Serna at St. Francis — Robledo (St. Francis); Aram (La Serna)
La Mirada at Cathedral, 7 p.m. — Robledo (La Mirada); Aram (La Mirada) Central Division
Charter Oak vs. Glendora at Citrus College — Robledo (Charter Oak); Aram (Charter Oak)
Summit at San Marino — Robledo (San Marino): Aram (San Marino) Mid-Valley Division
Pomona vs. Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills HS, 7 p.m. — Robledo (SC); Aram (SC)
San Dimas vs. Viewpoint at Agoura HS, 7 p.m. — Robledo (San Dimas); Aram (San Dimas)
1. DAMIEN Damien boys basketball standout Bryce Peters, who signed a national letter of intent with Colorado and is the headliner for the Spartans’ defending Division III state champions, was asked what it has been like since legendary area coach Mike LeDuc took over.
“He looks re-charged,” Peters said. “It’s been great. He’s excited for something new.”
LeDuc is one of the winningest boys basketball coaches in section history with 826 career wins. LeDuc won four CIF championships and 15 league titles in nearly 30 years at Glendora before deciding the time was right to return to Damien, where he began his coaching career from 1979-86 before moving to Glendora in 1987.
The opportunity to take over at Damien became available when Spartans coach Matt Dunn, who won a divisional and state title with the Spartans, bolted for St. John Bosco.
“I’m not coming in with the expectation of doing what they did last year, they had a real special team,” LeDuc said. “Our goal is to win as many games as we can and be the best we can possibly be.
“Last year was an incredible year for Damien basketball. Now, we’ve got a new group of kids who are going to write their own story.”
And that group is still pretty special, which is why Damien leads the way as the Tribune’s top-ranked squad as the season gets underway this week.
“The (change) has been great,” LeDuc said. “Of course Glendora was special and there are a lot of memories there. But this is something new and I’m excited about it.”
LeDuc always has let scorers score, so expect Peters to average more than 20 points with a supporting cast that will compete in the super tough Baseline League and be among the favorites in Division 1AA.
Along with Peters, the Spartans return junior Justin Hemsley, the brother of Jeremy Hemsley, who was the back-to-back player of the year now at San Diego State.
Add to that Elijah McCullough, Kaleb Wilborn and 6-foot-7 transfer Isaiah White from Upland to round out what will likely be the starting five.
Peters averaged 14 points last year as the third option behind Jeremy Hemsley and Malik Fitts.
“Bryce is a very, very talented player and this is going to be his opportunity to shine, lead and show what he’s capable of doing,” LeDuc said. “Last year he had to play a different role, this year it’s different and I expect him to have a fantastic season.”
If you have any scores or stats from any local high school sporting events call them into the desk at 626-544-0992 or 0991 or scores@SGVN
Girls basketball Glendora 49, Don Lugo 33 — Kayla Sera scored 12 points to lead the Tartans (1-0) to a nonleague victory.
Girls soccer Rowland 9, Don Lugo 0 — Melanie Romero had six goals and goalkeeper Victoria Miranda recorded a shutout to lead the Raiders (1-0) to a nonleague win. Melissa Rodriguez scored twice and Tyesha Valles scored a goal for Rowland. Garey 0, Long Beach Jordan 0 — Goalie lliana Gallegos had three saves for the Vikings in a scoreless draw. Garey will host Western Christian on Monday at 3:15 p.m.