About Fred Robledo

Fred J. Robledo is the local sports editor for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group

Damien boys basketball will host Crespi in first round of CIF-SS Open Division playoffs

Damien (24-3) was rewarded with a home game in the first round of the CIF-SS Open Division Playoffs, drawing Crespi (24-3) in next Friday’s opener at 7 p.m. Crespi finished second in Mission League behind Alemany. The winner likely gets No. 2 seed Bishop Montgomery in the second round.
OpenD
CIF-SS Open Division
Boys Basketball

Top Half
Santa Margarita at No. 1 Chino Hills
Inglewood at Alemany
Compton at Corona Centennial
Cantwell Sacred Heart at No. 4 Mater Dei
Bottom Half
Los Alamitos at No. 3 Sierra Canyon
Roosevelt at Redondo Union
Crespi at Damien
Orange Lutheran at No. 2 Bishop Montgomery

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Are you ready for High School Baseball? Area’s best tournament starts on Feb. 27

Bonita baseball coach John Knott and South Hills coach Darren Murphy, with help from other area coaches, do a wonderful job putting together one of the best 32-team high school baseball tournaments in Southern California, and includes most of the area’s heavyweights like South Hills, San Dimas, Walnut, Chino Hills, Arcadia, St. Francis, and host Bonita. Check out the schedule, it all begins on February 27.
SOCALBASEBALL

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Damien basketball expecting Open Division invite on Friday

damienstateDamien head coach Mike LeDuc is expecting his team will be in the Open Division when the pairings are announced on Friday. And if Tuesday’s strong effort against Chino Hills is any indicator, the Spartans just might be up to the challenge.
The Spartans are 23-3 in LeDuc’s return engagement as head coach, and according to key rankings, they’re certainly in the Southern Section’s top 16. And while being in the Open Division is nothing new to Damien, it is for LeDuc, who embraces the challenge.
“We’re ranked sixth in Divsion 1AA, so that means there would be 10 teams not in Division 1AA that are better than us,” LeDuc said. “In my opinion, I believe we’re going to be in the Open Division.”

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Former San Dimas baseball standouts Jacob Castillo is at Etiwanda, and Tommy Acuna at Pomona, both both declared ineligible

jacobcastilloFormer San Dimas High school baseball players Jacob Castillo and Tommy Acuna, who both earned Tribune all-area honors for playing huge roles in the Saints’ dream season that saw it ranked No. 1 in the country by USA today before its undefeated season ended in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 semifinals in a 4-1 loss to Walnut a year ago, are both at different schools.
Castillo is enrolled at Etiwanda and Acuna is now at Pomona High under new coach Jesse Mendez, who for years made his name coaching softball at Bishop Amat and West Covina.
According to the CIF-Website for transfers, both have been ruled ineligible, and would have to appeal in hopes of having a chance to play. In the the case of Castillo, CIF noted there was disciplinary action at his former school
acuna
castillo
Both Castillo and Acuna transferred from San Dimas to Bonita in the fall, but never with the intention tommyacunaof playing baseball, Bonita coach John Knott said months ago.
Nobody at San Dimas, Bonita or the Bonita Unified School district would comment or explain why the two transferred schools within the district, nor would anyone say whether it was for disciplinary reasons. There was a lot of speculation that once the two finished the first semester at Bonita, they would transfer back to San Dimas and be ready for the baseball season. But it never happened.
Castillo, a verbal commit to San Diego State, had an insane season as a junior. As a pitcher he was 11-1 with a 0.43 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 82 innings. At the plate Castillo batted .341 with 16 RBIs.
Acuna, a University of Arizona commit, transferred to San Dimas last year from Bishop Amat and was the Saints’ best hitter. He batted .529 with 25 RBIs and 8 doubles, playing third and used as a designated hitter.

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Bishop Amat’s Torreahno Sweet shifts focus to baseball while waiting on college football offers

SWEET20By Aram Tolegian
It’s on to Plan B for some area high school football prospects whose phone never rang on signing day last week.
That means either figuring out an alternate route to the big time, or concentrating on another sport altogether. Bishop Amat’s Torreahno Sweet has chosen the latter.
Most area fans were stunned last week when the traditional recruiting process came to a close and Sweet did not receive an offer despite being one of the top running back in the Pac-5 Division this past season and setting records at Amat.
Now, Sweet has decided to put football on the back burner and focus on baseball where he’s got a chance to realize his dreams as a speedy center fielder who can switch hit.
“Baseball is kind of keeping me in the whole college/D-1 thing right now,” Sweet said. “If it happens (with football) it happens. There’s still some schools kinda looking at me.
“I would try to play both (at the next level), but if I had to play one, it would be baseball because that concussion thing, it’s scary.”
Sweet said he would consider playing football at a junior college if things don’t work out with baseball but a decision won’t be made until after baseball season.
“I was kind mad at it first, seeing my teammates sign, but at the same time if they want you, they want you and they’re going to do what they have to do to come get you,” Sweet said. “But at the end of the day, I was kind of glad that I had baseball to fall to. Because if I didn’t, that would be really bad.”

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Damien plays better in second loss to Chino Hills, 104-93; Is Open Division next?

ryanBy Michelle Gardner
The first time the Damien and Chino Hills boys basketball teams squared off, the Huskies prevailed by 28 points and the game wasn’t even that close.
The second meeting was far more competitive, but in the end it was Chino Hills still emerging victorious 104-93 on Tuesday. The win keeps the Huskies (26-0), ranked No. 1 in the country in multiple national polls, unbeaten and clinched the Baseline League title with one game left in the regular season.
But head coach Steve Baik wasn’t completely satisfied. While his team has proven it can score at will, it has been giving up more points than the veteran coach would like to see.

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Soccer: South Hills girls go undefeated in Palomares; Ganesha boys stun No. 1 Garey


marinero1South Hills girls soccer defended its No. 1 ranking in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 with a 2-0 victory over Claremont in the Palomares League finale on Tuesday, getting goals from Hailey Zerbel and a penalty kick from Skylar Robledo in the closing minute to head to next week’s playoffs with an 18-1-5 record and a lot of momentum.
The Huskies clinched its second league title in school history and first since 2007. But the Huskies were determined to finish undefeated in league, and they did just that, running the table to go 10-0.
Hannah Shields’ free kick set up Zerbel’s goal in the 29th minute, giving the Arizona State-bound striker her team leading 20th goal of the season.
“I can’t even describe how it feels, I’m speechless, we’ve been waiting for this the last four years,” Zerbel said of winning the league title. “We were so close the last few years and we finally got it. It’s a huge accomplishment for our team.”
South Hills coach Scott Mocabee knows he has a great offense, but the Huskies have been equally good on defense, recording their fifth straight shutout.
“We gave up six goals in the first half of league and then shut them all out the second half of league,” Mocabee said.“If we can tighten up the back four and keep this going I think we can make a run (in the playoffs.)
With two goals from Ganesha’s Gerardo Cazares and another from Imar Figueroa, the Giants, ranked No. 3 in Division 5, knocked off No. 1-ranked Garey 3-2 to capture the Miramonte League title on Tuesday in a winner-take-all.
Ganesha boys knocks off No. 1 Garey
With two goals from Ganesha’s Gerardo Cazares and another from Imar Figueroa, the Giants, ranked No. 3 in Division 5, knocked off No. 1-ranked Garey 3-2 to capture the Miramonte League title on Tuesday in a winner-take-all.
Ganesha (14-2-6, 8-0-2), tied Garey 1-1 earlier in the season (19-3-3, 8-1-1) and Tuesday’s win could push the Giants to the top seed when the pairings are announced
Los Altos girls turn it around
One of the biggest turnarounds of the season came during Hacienda League play for the Los Altos girls soccer team, who started 4-7-3, which included a lopsided 5-1 loss to South Hills and a 3-1 loss to Diamond Bar.
But the Conquerors rebounded to capture the Hacienda League and are now 12-7-3 and 8-0-1, hoping to go undefeated in league when it visits Diamond Ranch in Thursday’s league finale at 5:30 p.m.
“It wasn’t just that we figured things out, we were missing a lot of girls early in the season for various reasons, whether it was illness, or deaths in the family, we never got to put the starting lineup I wanted all along until we got to league,” Los Altos coach Chris Reeder said.
Los Altos isn’t tearing it up offensively, it rarely does. But Reeder’s teams always play defense, and that’s obvious because it has allowed just five goals in league.
“I’d be lying if I told you after the preseason we would be vying for the league championship, but I knew we would compete and they’ve bonded better than I thought they would. We haven’t loss since Christmas break.”
With the Division 3 playoffs starting next week, Los Altos finally cracked the CIF-SS rankings by checking in at No. 10.
Reeder likes his teams’ chances, and feels the Conquerors’ could be a sleeper.
“South Hills (No. 1) is clearly the class of our division, but when they beat us 5-1 we had three defensive starters out,” Reeder said. “If we play them again are we losing, 5-1? No way. I’m not foolish enough to not think they’re a great team, but with the way we’re playing now it would be a different game if we met again.”
Damien, Los Altos boys hoping for big finish
In boys soccer, the Hacienda and Baseline Leagues titles and playoff scenarios will likely come down to the final games with Los Altos and Damien needing wins in their league finale’s.
Los Altos (13-6-2, 7-2) trails Diamond Ranch (15-5-1, 8-1), ranked fourth in Division 5, but the Conquerors host the Panthers Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Since Los Altos beat Diamond Ranch 2-1 earlier in the season, a victory would complete a sweep and not only allow Los Altos and Diamond Ranch to tie for the league title, but Los Altos would head to the playoffs as the league champion because of its head-to-head results against the Panthers.
Damien (9-3-5, 5-2-2) has no shot at the Baseline league title, that likely belongs to Chino Hills (14-5-2, 7-2), but the Spartans can take over sole possession of second with a victory at Los Osos (9-6-5, 6-2-1) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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