Photo’s: The 2016 Tribune Boys Basketball All-Area team.
Player of the Year: Bryce Peters, Damien
Damien High School’s Bryce Peters didn’t get to hoist a trophy like he did his junior season when the Spartans won a CIF-State Division III title, but he stepped up after the graduation of two key players and helped the Spartans qualify for the CIF-SS Open Division and state playoffs his senior year.Peters, who is headed to the University of Colorado, was selected to the prestigious Baseline League first team and was an Open Division first team selection. That’s quite an honor being mentioned with the best of the best, and another reason he has been selected the 2016 Tribune boys basketball player of the year.
Damien (25-6) finished second in the Baseline to Chino Hills, who ran the table and finished as the consensus high school national champion. Damien advanced to the second round of the Open Division playoffs, which left a sour taste in the competitive Peters’ mouth.
“No, I wasn’t happy with the way we finished because I felt like we could have beaten every team, including Chino Hills,” the always confident Peters said. “Even in the Open Division I felt like we should’ve won it because of the talent we had. Plus, I’ve never been on a team that played so hard and was so competitive on and off the court. I wanted more for all of us.”
Peters averaged 22 points and five assists and broke three-time Tribune player of the year Jeremy Hemsley’s single-season scoring mark that he set last year by notching 683 points, which leaves Peters second all time in school history behind Brian Jackson.
Peters finished his career with 1,197 points and set a school record for most points in a game with 44 against Etiwanda.
“I was playing against some of my former (club) teammates like Kessler Edwards, Krystian Wilson and Miles Oliver,” Peters said of the Etiwanda game. “It was hilarious seeing the Etiwanda fans and players faces after the game when they realized that I had scored 44 and their whole team scored 45.”
Peters set other school records with most 3-pointers in a game (9) and most free throws in a game (19).
And though it was clear he was the focus of every team’s defense, he was much more than a scorer.
“Teams who focused on me gave me countless opportunities to get my teammates involved and share it with them,” Peters said. “I know I’m not a one dimensional player so getting my teammates easy points was (great).”
When asked what he’ll remember most at Damien, it wasn’t the championship, it was the rowdy student section otherwise known as “The Pit”.
“Without them (student section) the majority of our wins wouldn’t be possible,” Peters said. “At away games they made it feel like we were right at home. “They showed my teammates and I tremendous love even after a loss. I have the upmost respect for our student section because they brought the energy, pride, and sensation to the game. There’s a reason why they are the best student section in California.”
On his way to Colorado, Peters had a lot to thank
“My parents, (club coaches) Cameron and Tracy Murray and coaches at Damien have prepared me mentally and physically to compete on the college level,” Peters said. “I feel that I’m ready to succeed at Colorado.”
Coach of the Year: Tim Godley, Bonita
It’s fair to say that Bonita High School’s boys basketball team, with no player taller than 6-foot-2, exceed expectations and then some.
Not only did the Bearcats find a way to defeat eventual CIF Southern Section Division 2AA champion Ayala in the Palomares League finale 81-80 in overtime to tie for the league title, but it used that momentum to make deep runs in the section and state playoffs.
“We went into the Ayala game knowing that we would leave no worse than second,” Godley recalled. “ So our attitude was, why not take a shot at it. We started early in prepping for that game and went to the “lab” to try something different. The players really bought into what we were going to try and played great.”
The momentum carried over.
Bonita defeated Sultana, Pasadena, Palm Desert and Calabasas before losing to Oak Park in the Division 3A championship game, which was the Bearcats’ first championship appearance in 65 years.
And it wasn’t done. In the CIF State Division III playoffs, Bonita defeated La Jolla Country Day, Santa Barbara and Calabasas before losing to league rival Ayala in the Southern Regional final, 63-54, to finish a remarkable 28-7 in just the second season under Godley.
Godley, who took the Bearcats to the semifinals in his first season a year ago, has been a head basketball coach for 20 years, winning five league titles. He won three at Duarte, one at Maranatha and shared the title this season.
For his efforts, Godley has been selected the 2016 Tribune boys basketball coach of the year — an award long overdue.
“I thank God for the opportunity to be at Bonita,” Godley said. “I am so thankful for this honor, but I think it is really a reflection of our coaches and players who all contributed so much to a great season. On my bad days, they picked me up and together we tried to offer our best each time out. I’m confident we did that.”
Going into the playoffs Godley knew his boys could compete, but so much had to go their way.
“ I thought we had a chance at advancing, but you never know how far,” Godley said. “The way these guys work and how smart they’re, I thought we’d have a chance against most teams. But yes, it was great to be able to beat some bigger teams with some really great team defense.
“I knew we could score, the question was could we defend bigger guys. I think we answered that for the most part. I think in the locker room, our players believed. Being undersized by basketball standards, we had to have a plan for bigger teams. I can’t say enough about how they embraced what we tried to do.”
Tribune First Team
Jarod Lucas, Los Altos, Guard, Freshman
The sensational frosh was named the Hacienda League most valuable player and was selected to the CIF-SS Division 3AA first team after averaging 26.4 points a game to lead all California freshman in scoring. He also scored a season high 45 points in a Covina tournament game, and helped his team to a 24-4 record, it’s best finish in 41 years.
Tyler Poepping, Bonita, Guard, Senior
The 5-foot-6 guard played well above his size in earning Palomares League first team honors and being selected to the CIF-SS Division 3AA first team by averaging 16 points a game with his clutch outside shot. He played a key role in helping the Bearcats reach the CIF-SS Division 3AA finals and CIF-State Southern California regional semifinals. Bonita finished an impressive 28-7.
Joe Quintana, Bonita, Guard, Junior
The 6-foot-2 point guard shared Palomares League most valuable player honors after leading his team to to a co-championship with Ayala, and then helping his team advance to the CIF-SS Division 3AA finals and CIF-State Southern California regional semifinals. Quintana, also a Division 3AA first-team selection, averaged 22 points with six rebounds and five assists per game.
Ryan Haywood, Diamond Ranch, Guard, Senior
The Hacienda League first-team selection and CIF-SS Division 3A second team honoree helped lead the Panthers to the Division 3A championship, a 53-48 win over Chaminade. Haywood scored 20 or more points nine times and averaged 14 points a game. He scored 16 points in a close 48-45 victory over Beverly Hills in the semifinals.
Dwight Ramos, Walnut, Guard, Senior
The San Gabriel Valley’s best pure scorer averaged 28 points and had five games scoring 40 or more points, including a pair of 45 point outbursts against Upland and Bishop Amat, both victories. Ramos, named to the Hacienda and CIF-SS Division 1A first team, was also a big reason the Mustangs advanced to the Division 1A quarterfinals and finished with an impressive 24-6 record.
Harrison Kay, Bishop Amat, Forward, Senior
The 6-foot-11 center was a big reason the Lancers finished 22-6, averaging 17.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and two blocks per game. He was named to the Camino Real and Division 3A first team, and also was the Arroyo tournament most valuable player. He had 24 double-double’s and a sensational 24 point, 17 rebound game in a 58-40 win over Santa Monica
Ronny Rafeh, San Dimas, Forward, Junior
The Saints’ junior was named the Valle Vista League most valuable player after leading the Saints to the league title, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds in league. For the season Rafeh averaged 12 points with nine rebounds and shot at a 55 percent clip. He also was named to the CIF-SS Division 4AA second team and helped the Saints finish an impressive 21-7.
Isaiah White, Damien, Forward, Senior
The Spartans senior was a big part of their success, finishing second in the Baseline to undefeated Chino Hills, who won the mythical national title after winning the CIF-SS and state open division titles. White, who earned Baseline League first-team honors, was a deadly outside shooter, averaging 15 points and seven rebounds per game for the 25-6 Spartans, who won the Sierra Vista tournament and MaxPreps Holiday Classic Ford Dealers Division.
Justin Hemsley, Damien, Forward, Junior
The younger brother of three-time Tribune player of the year Jeremy Hemsley, now at San Diego State, stepped up big-time, averaging eight points and eight rebounds to earn Baseline League second team honors — quite an accomplishment in one of the toughest leagues in the state and nation. With Bryce Peters and Isaiah White gone to graduation, Hemsley will take on a bigger role as a senior.
Roman Silva, Diamond Ranch, Center, Senior
The 7-foot-1 center is one of the most underrated big men in high school basketball. Silva was dominating late in the season and was named the CIF-SS Division 3A player of the year after a clutch performance in the championship game, scoring 22 points with 10 rebounds in leading his school to its first championship in a 53-48 victory over Chaminade. For the season, Silva averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds, but averaged 24 points a game in the divisional and state playoffs.
Tribune Second Team
Justin Alfonso, Arroyo, Guard, Senior
Tyler McLean, Diamond Ranch, Guard, Senior
Justin Chan, Wilson, Guard, Senior
Nick Hart, West Covina, Guard, Senior
Alan Matron, Workman, Guard, Senior
Jonathan Hu, Rowland, Guard, Senior
Jacob Acosta, West Covina, Guard, Senior
Malik Corey, Diamond Bar, Guard, Junior
Jamie Strong, Glendora, Forward, Junior
Elijah McCullough, Damien, Forward, Sophomore
Tribune Third Team
Liam Ryan, Damien, Center, Senior
Ryder Ruiz, Bishop Amat, Guard, Senior
Paul Cooper, Northview, Guard, Senior
Ruben Bermudez, Bassett, Guard, Senior
Russell Hernandez, Bonita, Guard, Senior
Jordan Montenegro, Walnut, Guard, Senior
Donnell Leffridge IV, San Dimas, Guard, Sophomore
Julian Lopez, Los Altos, Guard, Sophomore
Angel Rivas, Covina, Guard, Junior
Alex Hernandez, South El Monte, Guard, Senior
James St. Louis, Bishop Amat, Forward, Senior
Final Top Ten Rankings
1. Damien (25-6)
2. Bonita (28-7)
3. Diamond Ranch (25-9)
4. Los Altos (24-4)
5. Walnut (24-6)
6. Bishop Amat (22-6)
7. San Dimas (21-7)
8. Workman (20-8)
9. Wilson (15-12)
10. Baldwin Park (14-11)
Baseline: Chino Hills
Camino Real: St. Anthony
Hacienda: Diamond Ranch, Los Altos
Mission Valley: Gabrielino
Palomares: Ayala, Bonita
Valle Vista: San Dimas