About Fred Robledo

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

Notebook: Bishop Amat, South Hills, Diamond Bar in Aliso Cup; Walnut/Charter Oak name new coaches

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By Fred J. Robledo
Bishop Amat, South Hills and Diamond Bar girls soccer teams are among a talented field in the Aliso Cup girls soccer tournament, which features powerhouses from all over Southern California, and so far local teams have done fairly well.
Bishop Amat, which welcomed the return of super senior Sophia Serafin, has done done well, beating Orange Lutheran 4-1, then falling to a talented Hart squad, 2-1.
Serafin, who scored three goals in the win over Orange Lutheran, earned all-area first team honors as a freshman after scoring 28 goals with 16 assists. But the Stanford commit didn’t play for the Lancers her sophomore and junior seasons, partly due to injuries and club commitments. She’s been in the U.S. national team age-group player pool for a while, but her return makes the Lancers an instant Division 3 threat.
South Hills won the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title and CIF State Division 3 Southern Regional championship last year, and will compete in Division 1 this season.
The Huskies graduated super players like Hailey Zerbel, Amber Marinero and senior Skylar Robledo will be out a while with a knee injury, but the Huskies have a chance to win their group in the Aliso Cup after defeating Northwood 4-1 behind a pair of goals from Maddie Warren, and a 1-1 tie with Etiwanda in round-robin play.
Either South Hills or Etiwanda will advance in the winner’s bracket as the pool champion depending on the Etiwanda-Northwood result on Thursday.
Diamond Bar, which struggled last year, lost a close game to San Clemente 1-0, but gets a chance to bounce back in its second round-robin game on Thursday at Long Beach Poly at 5 p.m.
The eight pool winners advance to the Champions Cup and will play quarterfinal games on Saturday. Teams that finish second and third in group play will advance to consolation brackets.

Duarte, Rowland on a collision course?
Without a doubt, Duarte and Rowland are two of the best girls basketball teams in the San Gabriel Valley, and they could meet in the championship of the Duarte girls basketball title game on Saturday at 6 p.m., if both take care of group play.
But advancing to the final is no guarantee with a small, but talented 10-team field.
Duarte, competing in Pool A, opened round-robin play with a 44-5 win over Bell followed by a 48-25 victory over South Pasadena.
Rowland opened with an easy 76-19 win over Banning, but will likely have to go through Walnut. The Mustangs rolled to a 58-42 win over Knight and a 71-39 victory over Bellflower.
Walnut and Rowland compete in Pool B and will play Friday at 6 p.m., in what will likely decide the winner of its group.
Duarte’s ticket to the final likely goes through Upland, who the Falcons will play on Friday following the Walnut-Rowland game (7:30 p.m.) in what likely will decide the winner in Pool A.

New coches named in baseball, football
Bishop Amat defensive line coach Eric Peralta was named the head football coach at Walnut High this week.
Peralta was a walk-on at Bishop Amat, but he already is a teacher at Walnut, giving the Mustangs an on-campus coach. Peralta has quite a task in front of him. He takes over a squad that was 0-10 this past season and competes in the tough Hacienda League with Los Altos, Charter Oak, and West Covina.
Charter Oak baseball, which was 15-12 and tied Walnut for the Hacienda League title last season, announced that Elias Chavez will take over the baseball program. Chavez was a longtime assistant coach of Kevin Smith while he was at South Hills and Mt. San Antonio College. Ironically, Chavez and Smith will now face each other with Smith being named the head coach at West Covina a few months ago.

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Damien, Los Altos, Bonita are best in boys basketball preseason Top Ten

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What are the expectations for the East San Gabriel Valley with the 2016-17 high school basketball season in its second week and holiday tournaments in full-go mode?Not much different with the usual contenders hoping to go on deep playoff runs like Bonita, which advanced to the Division 3AA final last season, losing to Oak Park 68-49 in the championship, and then advancing to the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional semifinals.
Damien performed well in being selected to the prestigious Open Division, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing a heartbreaker to Bishop Montgomery, 58-56. Walnut advanced to the Division 1A quarterfinals and Diamond Ranch won the Division 3A title under coach Eric Cooper, but both those teams are expected to take a step back while Los Altos and Workman could be two teams that go on deep playoff runs.Here’s an early look at the Tribune top ten rankings.

1. Damien
Without a doubt, the best show in town and already proving it with a perfect 5-0 start capped with a dominant 97-80 victory over Colony in the championship of the Sierra Vista-Covina boys basketball tournament.
Junior guard Cameron Shelton was named MVP of the tourney, and senior Justin Hemsley and Elijah McCullough were named to the all-tournament team. Add Ezekiel Alley to the group and there’s reason reason to feel optimistic about another great season for coach Mike LeDuc’s Spartans.
Shelton, who scored 39 points in the championship win over Colony, forms a potent dynamic duo along with Hemsley, who added 28 points and 16 rebounds in the title game.
Winning late in the season won’t be easy however, because Damien will compete in Division 1AA — the toughest in Southern California and will have its hands full in the Baseline League, where it has to go head-to-head against defending national and state champion Chino Hills, who is showing no signs of slowing down.

2. Los Altos
The Conquerors have the most exciting guard in the Valley in sophomore Jarod Lucas, who as a freshman averaged 26 points, five rebounds and five assists for the 24-4 Conquerors that shared the Hacienda League with Diamond Ranch. Lucas led all California freshman in scoring.
Lucas is drawing interest from all over the country, and the best is yet to come. He is a must watch for any high school basketball junkie.
Junior Julian Lopez is back after averaging 10 points and is the No. 2 scoring option, and junior Jordan Ramirez and senior Cameron Martin also are back. In fact, Los Altos only graduated one senior who rarely saw playing time, so basically the entire squad is back from a four-loss team hoping for something special.
Los Altos was somewhat unlucky having to compete in the tough 3AA Division a year ago, losing in the second round to Cathedral.
The playoffs figure to be a tough chore again, because the Conquerors will compete in Division 1A — the second toughest division in CIF.

3. Bonita
The Bearcats return a super talented guard in 6-foot-3 Joe Quintana, who shared Palomares League most valuable players honors and helped his team advance to the Division 3AA finals and SoCal regional semifinals.
Quintana averaged 22 points with six rebounds and five assists, but it will be tough replacing Tribune first-team standout Tyler Poepping along with Russell Hernandez, who also graduated. Quintana recently signed with Loyola Marymount after considering Pepperdine, UC Riverside and others.

4. San Dimas
The Saints figure to be the Valle Vista league favorites with senior Ronny Rafeh back, who was a Tribune first-team selection a year ago after averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. Rafeh also was named to the CIF-SS Division 4AA second team after helping his team finish 21-7.
Also back for the Saints is junior Donnell Leffridge IV, who earned Valle Vista first-team and all-area second team honors.
San Dimas is 3-1 after finishing third in its own San Dimas tournament, beating South Hills 67-59 in the third place-game after losing to Upland in the semifinals.

5. Workman
The defending Montview League champions have been frustrated in recent years by having solid teams that are usually placed in tough playoff divisions because of small school powers. However, with division realignment based purely on competitive equity, the small school giants are gone and the Lobos could be a contender in the 4AA playoffs after finishing 20-8 last year with another solid group back.
The Lobos are already 4-1 with impressive victories over Verbum Dei (69-59) and Compton Centennial (65-62).
Returning for the Lobos is Montview League MVP Oliver Lopez, who averaged 21 points last year. Also back are returning senior All Montview selections in Mario Pena and Art Garcia. Add to that St. Monica transfer Ike Udengwu, a sophmore guard who played on varsity for St. Monica last year and once again, the Lobos have something to feel good about.

6. Bishop Amat
The Lancers have come a long way under coach Brandon Ertle and could be a viable threat in the Division 3AA playoffs, a generous placement for such a talented cast after finishing 22-6 last year.
The Lancers already are off to a 4-0 start beating Bethel Baptist 56-55 to capture the Morro Bay tournament title last week.
Jarren Ford was named the most valuable player with Gjerard Wilson and Hunter Benson named to the all-tournament team.
Wilson is only a sophomore, but he leads the team in scoring with 14 points a game

7. Walnut
The Mustangs lose prolific scoring guard Dwight Ramos, who averaged 38 points and was a Division 1A first-team selection, but the Mustangs are always in the conversation with one of the best programs in the Valley.
But let’s be honest, there will be a huge dropoff from the team that competed for a Hacienda league title a year ago and finished 24-6.
Senior Ryan Dai, junior Dane Johannsen and sophomore Eli Ramos figure to be the trio to watch, but after a 3-2 start and being placed in Division 1A because of recent success could make postseason opportunities difficult.

8. Diamond Ranch
The Panthers lose several key members from last year’s championship team that finished 25-9, including 7-foot-1 center Roman Silva and guard Ryan Haywood, who were both on the Tribune first-team. Also graduating is Tyler McLean, which could explain the 1-3 start.
But the cupboard is not completely bare. Sophomore Coree Joseph is the player to watch averaging 19 points and freshman Conner Parker will be a big help, but the Panthers might be a year away from doing damage again. The Panthers will still be a threat in the Hacienda, but clearly Los Altos is the favorite.

9. Glendora
Coach Marcus Bryan took over a tough situation a year ago replacing legend Mike LeDuc, now at Damien. The Tartans were young and struggled to an 11-16 finish, but the school with one of the richest boys basketball traditions in the Valley is back and off to a 4-1 start and figures to be at least third best behind Bonita and Ayala in the Palomares League.
The Tartans defeated Chaffey, Norte Vista and Chino in the Jurupa Valley tournament, losing only to host Jurupa Valley in the tournament.

10. Rowland
Don’t let the Raiders’ early 3-3 record fool you. The Raiders figure to battle San Dimas for the Valle Vista League title and already own impressive wins over Nogales (69-25), Bell Gardens (72-48) and Burroughs (51-49).
The most impressive result, however, was losing to Rancho Cucamonga by only six points, 68-62, in the San Dimas boys basketball tournament. Rancho Cucamonga won the tournament, is 4-0, and competes in the prestigious Baseline League with Damien and Chino Hills.
Curtis Hong is arguably the Raiders’ best player. He dropped 31 points in the Raiders’ victory over Burroughs.

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Arroyo school officials decided AGAINST hosting state playoff; team shifts to embracing road trip

“They think this is the Poinsettia Bowl,” Arroyo coach Singiser said of his players’ road trip. “They think they’re going to be running routes with Shamu. I guarantee they’re thinking that they’re going to be the ones going to Lawry’s Beef Bowl and Disneyland. They don’t know, and I don’t know.”

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By Aram Tolegian
Arroyo High School football head coach Jim Singiser figures if his team isn’t disappointed with having to play two hours away instead of being at home, then why should he be?
The Knights, who could have hosted this Saturday’s CIF State Division 5-A regional bowl game against La Jolla Country Day, will instead be on the road. School administration decided a previous engagement on campus was more important than a home game in the state playoffs.
But that hasn’t bothered the Knights one bit. They are already embracing their assignment of having to play in San Diego by asking aloud whether they’ll get a charter bus and if they can bring Subway sandwiches on the trip.
“They think this is the Poinsettia Bowl,” Singiser said of his players. “They think they’re going to be running routes with Shamu. I guarantee they’re thinking that they’re going to be the ones going to Lawry’s Beef Bowl and Disneyland.
“They don’t know, and I don’t know.”
Arroyo defeated Rancho Mirage in the CIF Southern Section Division 12 championship Saturday night thanks to a successful 2-point conversion in overtime. The Knights enter the next phase of the season at 13-1 and riding high on winning the program’s first CIF championship in 30 years.
During the lead up to last week’s game, the school was supposed to submit paperwork to CIF about whether it would be willing to host a regional bowl playoff game. Singiser said it was brought to his attention by the administration that the school had already scheduled an all-day event that would run into the night and would be unable to host a football game.
“We won our game and I really didn’t think anything of it until the next day when everybody was calling me the next day and saying “You’re playing away, you’re playing away. It should have been a home game,’” Singiser said.
“There was a conflict between the school and the administrators on what they could do on a Saturday with two major events in the same place, I guess. We’ve never been in a situation of hosting a championship game, let alone going beyond that. Strategy-wise, obviously we’d like to be at home.”
At this point in the season, and given the potential that teams will be flat having just won such a big game a week prior, any edge could prove vital. Heck, Arroyo just knocked off a Rancho Mirage team that arrived in El Monte for last Saturday’s game just 45 minutes before kickoff after traveling from the Palm Springs area.
Now, it will be the Knights facing a long road trip. And Arroyo better have fresh legs on defense because it will face a 4,000-yard passer in La Jolla Country Day quarterback Braxton Burmeister.

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Arroyo wins first title in 30 years in thrilling overtime victory, 35-34

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By Aram Tolegian
There was never a doubt. The Arroyo High School football team was going for the glory.
arroyo1Having just scored in overtime to get within one point of Rancho Mirage in overtime of the CIF Southern Section Division 12 championship on Saturday night, Knights head coach Jim Singiser didn’t waver. The veteran head coach sent his offense out on the field for one play to make history, and sophomore quarterback Ernesto Camacho found receiver Devin Knight, who scooped the sinking pass just before hit the turf for a successful 2-point conversion and a 35-34 win.
“That’s how we do things in El Monte,” Singiser said. “We’re down a couple guys on defense and we just thought if we get down there, why screw around and exchange (possessions)? We’re 21/2 yards away from a CIF championship. I like our guys and 2 or 3 yards.”
With the win, Arroyo improved to 13-1 and brought home the school’s first CIF championship since 1986. The Knights will now move on to the CIF State regional bowl playoffs. They will find out next week’s opponent on Sunday. Rancho Mirage finished 11-3.
The two teams entered overtime tied 27-27 after a grueling second half. Arroyo’s defense was obviously still feeling the effects, because Rattlers running back Kyle Whitfield went 25 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the extra period.
Arroyo took a little more time, but the Knights got within one on a sneak by Camacho to make it 34-33. Singiser arroyo2called timeout, not to decide whether to go for two but to solidify what the play was. Camacho took the snap and headed right before firing a pass to Knight, who had come open in the front right corner of the end zone. Still, though, Knight had to secure the tricky catch while falling to the ground.
“I was thinking ‘don’t drop it,’ ” said a tearful Knight. “I just had to zone all the crowd out and make sure I caught that ball. It was probably a foot off the ground, at most. It was an amazing feeling. I just started crying. Best feeling in the world.”
Added Camacho: “I knew we were going for two. He (Singiser) wanted to win the game right there. I just threw (the pass) out there. I kinda threw it soft, but he (Knight) came up with it and we won the game.”
Rancho Mirage appeared to be in good position to win the game in regulation. The Rattlers used a time-consuming arroyo3drive to get inside in the Arroyo 10-yard line with just over four minutes to play. But a holding penalty stalled things out and star kicker Daniel Whelan, who figures to sign with a major college in February, missed a 35-yard field goal wide to the right.
Strangely, it was Arroyo kicker Jesse Ortiz who had the big night. The junior boomed a pair of 41-yard field goals in the second half, the second one tying the score with 10:08 to play.
Arroyo controlled the first half despite being the visibly smaller team. The speedy Knights were able to burn the Rattlers’ defense thanks to another big showing by Camacho, who fired two touchdown passes in the first half to Yezdan Marquez. Arroyo led 21-13 at halftime.
A blocked punt that the Rattlers picked up for a touchdown made things closer in the third quarter. Rancho Mirage took its first lead on a 9-yard touchdown run by Whitefield late in the quarter.

In overtime with Arroyo trailing 34-27, I went live on Periscope to capture the final moments and it couldn’t of been more dramatic with Devin Knight catching the do-or-die two-point conversion in the corner from quarterback Ernesto Camacho for the game-winner, 35-34 over Rancho Mirage for the Division 12 title and Knights’ first since 1986. Watch it, and the celebration that follows. Great interview toward the end with coach Jim Singiser and Camacho.

Before the game, coach Jim Singiser let us broadcast his pre-game speech live, watch

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Damien basketball pulls away to beat Colony 97-80 for the championship of the Covina/Sierra Vista tourney title

Damien wins title: A dynamic duo has formed for the Damien High School boys basketball team. Guard Cameron Shelton and Forward Justin Hemsley each had a double-double as the two-man show took over the second half of a 97-80 win over Colony in the Sierra Vista/Covina tournament championship game on Saturday night.
Shelton, who was named tournament Most Valuable Player, led all scorers with 39 points. 24 of those coming in the second half after Damien (5-0) had a narrow 43-42 lead at halftime. He added 11 rebounds. Hemsley scored 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
“(Shelton) had an incredible tournament,” Damien head coach Mike LeDuc said. “He did a little bit of everything for us. He can score. He can rebound. He can pass and handle the ball well. He gets his hands on a lot of balls and gets a lot of steals. He’s also a great leader.”

THURSDAY’S QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE
Top Half at Sierra Vista High

Schurr 67, Northview 54
Damien 98, Don Lugo 31
Bottom Half at Covina High
Colony 80, Covina 45
Monrovia 52, Keppel 39
Friday’s
At Northview High School
Damien 79, Schurr 54
Colony 80, Monrovia 39
Saturday’s Championship
At Covina HS

Damien 97, Colony 80

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Los Altos football falls short in Division 6 title game, 21-14; Did miss call change the game?

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Los Altos falls short: The atmosphere was certainly championship caliber, but the sloppiness of the play resembled something closer to Week 1.
Ultimately, in a game decided by mistakes and missed calls, the Los Altos High School football team saw its dream season come to an end in a 21-14 loss to visiting Paraclete in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship on Friday night.
“Five questionable fumbles all went to Paraclete, what are you going to do?” Los Altos head coach Dale Ziola said. “That was the whole game. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’m super proud of the kids. They worked so hard for so long.”

Changing point? It appeared Tyler Nevens was down at the 2 and Los Altos would have a chance to finish the late third-quarter drive and take a 14-7 lead, but officials ruled he fumbled the ball into the endzone and Paraclete recovered. That led to Paraclete taking a 14-7 lead and Los Altos having to rally to tie and eventually fall, 21-14.

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Host San Dimas and South Hills fall in boys basketball tourney semifinals

San Dimas and South Hills fall in semis: Upland broke open a close game in the third quarter then made free throws down the stretch to hold off San Dimas in a 71-63 semifinal win in the Gary Prestesater boys basketball tournament at San Dimas on Friday night.
In the other semifinal, Kelvin Wright led Rancho Cucamonga with 15 points and Toby Okwuokei added 11 as the Cougars beat South Hills 52-42.The Highlanders will play Rancho Cucamonga for the championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m, while San Dimas will take on South Hills at 6 p.m. in the third-place game.

FRIDAY’S SEMIFINALS
Rancho Cucamonga 52, South Hills 42
Upland 71, San Dimas 63
Saturday’s championship
Rancho Cucamonga vs. Upland, 7:30 p.m.
Third-place game
San Dimas vs. South Hills, 6 p.m.

Monday’s Round Robin
Rancho Cucamonga 73, Bell Gardens 27
South Hills 59, Burroughs Ridgecrest 46
Upland 79, Arcadia 45
San Dimas 48, Alta Loma 43

Tuesday’s Round Robin
Rowland 72, Bell Gardens 48
Arcadia 65, Silverado 44
Burroughs Ridgecrest 47, Kaiser 40
Alta Loma 83, South Hills 80, OT

Wednesday’s Round Robin
Upland 67, Silverado 59
Kaiser 60, South Hills 54
Rancho Cucamonga 68, Rowland 62
San Dimas 64, Bell Gardens 23

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