About Steve Ramirez

Steve Ramirez has covered prep sports for San Gabriel Valley Newspapers since 1989.

South Hills routs Charter Oak to take Frozen Ropes Classic title

By Stephen Ramirez
South Hills High School looked every bit like one of the top baseball teams in the state on Saturday.Karlos Morales had four RBIs and Brandon Dieter three and the Huskies, ranked No. 2 in California by Cal-Hi Sports, rolled to a 13-3 victory over Charter Oak in the Frozen Ropes Classic at Mt. San Antonio College’s Mazmanian Field.Nick Lugo also had a double and triple and scored three runs for South Hills (5-0). The duo were co-MVPs of the tournament.
Ronnie Parham had a triple and Julian Rodriguez a RBI for Charter Oak (4-1), which advanced to the final by beating CIF Southern Section Division 2 No. 4 Yucaipa in the semifinals.
The Huskies, who have dedicated the season to assistant coach Tom Quinley, who is out with an illness, had 14 hits and scored in every inning but the third.
“We’re 5-0 and have big expectations,” South Hills coach Darren Murphy said. “But we’ve put those expectations on ourselves. We just fullfilled what we wanted to do. We wanted to win this tournament. We played four good ball games and tonight, we played a great ball game.”
“I’m really proud of this team. We pounded the ball tonight against a really good team, and we’re ready to go (to league play).”
South Hills wasted little time in getting started. The Huskies scored two runs before Rodriguez threw his second strike.
The senior walked Jacob Amaya on four pitches before hitting Daniel Genna with his next offering. Morales then lined a triple to right-center field for a 2-0 lead.
Dieter followed with a sacrifice fly to center for a 3-0 advantage.
South Hills made it 6-0 in the second.
Chris Camarena led off with a single and advanced to second on a hit-by-pitch to Lugo. Amaya doubled to left for 4-0 lead. Morales then brought his RBI total to four with a single to right to score Lugo and Amaya for the six-run lead.
“I was just looking for something to drive,” Morales said. “I knew he was going to give me a fastball with a 2-0 count. I just put a good swing on it.”
Morales helped Charter Oak cut it to 6-2 in the third.
He walked the first two batters before a fielding error scored Paul Sanchez. Bret Clemetson then scored on a wild pitch to pull the Chargers within four. Morales settled down and ended the threat by striking out Diego Flores.
South Hills put it way with four runs in the fourth for a 10-2 lead.
Nick Lugo led off with a double before Amaya reached on a two-base error to make it 7-2. Genna bunted for a single before Dieter followed with a two-run double for a 9-2 lead. Jacob Dominguez doubled to make it 10-2.
“It’s a big season for us,” Dieter said. “We have a lot of expecations. We just have to keep working hard and show what we can do.”

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CIF State Wrestling: Northview’s Eddie Flores and Steven Comstock, Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores advance to semifinals

The area may have sent its smallest contingent in more than a decade to the CIF State wrestling championships in Bakersfield, but the cream definitely rose to the top on the first day.
Northview’s Eddie Flores (106 pounds) and Steven Comstock (170) and Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores (120) advanced to the semifinals in their respective weight classes to lead the local efforts on Friday at Rabobank Arena.
Northview heavyweight Jackson Serna and Rowland’s Richard Rojo (106) rebounded from early losses and won third-round consolation matches to advance to Saturday and stay alive for a top-eight medal.
The meet continues Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. with consolation matches. The semifinals are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., with the finals at 7 p.m.
Flores looked every bit like the best 106-pound competitor in the state, advancing to the semifinals with a win by fall in the second round and a major decision in the third round. He then beat Selma’s Tristan Lujan, 3-1, in the quarterfinals. He faces No. 5 Cole Reyes, of Frontier, in the semifinals.
Comstock looked fully recovered from last week’s knee injury after getting a win by fall in the second round before advancing to the semifinals by beating Concord De la Salle’s Jonathan Hackett 6-3 in the third round and Sultana’s Joey Griego 5-4 in the quarterfinals. He gets top seed Anthony Mantanona, of Palm Desert, in the semifinals.
Sidney Flores placed fourth and third during the past two weekends at CIF-SS meets, but looked like one of the better 120 competitors on Friday. He won by fall over Frontier’s Ryan Morphis in the third round before a 5-4 victory over De la Salle’s Patrick Ramirez in the quarterfinals. He gets top seed Ethan Leake, of Clovis Buchanan, in the semifinals.
Northview’s Dom Arellano (113), Gabriel Cortez (132) and Ricky Marin (138); Rowland’s Armamdo Murrillo (132); Charter Oak’s Gustavo Garcia (152) and Santa Fe’s Ronny Peraza (152) lost in the consolation rounds and did not advance.

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Northview’s Eddie Flores, Jackson Serna repeat as CIF-SS Masters wrestling champs

By Stephen Ramirez
ONTARIO >> Northview High School’s Eddie Flores and Jackson Serna were two of the top wrestlers in the area at their weight class all season and the duo lived up to that billing Saturday.Both scored individual titles to lead the area efforts at Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The area qualified 11 competitors for next week’s CIF State championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Area power Northview, which won its 14th divisional title last week, finished second with the two champions and six total qualifiers. St. John Bosco, with nine qualifiers, was first.
The other area qualifiers were Northview’s Dominick Arellano (113 pounds, third), Gabriel Cortez (132, sixth), Ricky Marin (138, fourth) and Steven Comstock (170, fourth); Rowland’s Richard Rojo (106, sixth) and Armando Murrillo (132, eighth); Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores (120, third), Charter Oak’s Joaquin Garcia (152, fifth) and Santa Fe’s Ronny Peraza (152, seventh).
Serna, the No. 6 heavyweight in the state by The California Wrestler, won a Masters title for the second consecutive season. He was steady in following up last week’s win at the Inland Division championships, scoring four wins by decision and one by fall. He beat Sultana’s Austin Gillham 2-1 in a final. Gillham is ranked No. 7 in the state.

He took a 2-0 lead in second period with an escape and penalty point before holding on for the 2-1 victory.
“It’s great,” Serna said. “To be two-time Masters champion is amazing. But it’s not what I train for. I train to be state champion.
“I had some close matches. I should have scored more, but I got the job done. I’m proud of my team. I did it for my team.”
Eddie Flores was also a repeat winner, taking the 106-pound title with a 7-2 win in the final over Downey’s Jonathan Prata. Flores is ranked No. 1 in the state.
He used n takedown and an escape for a 3-2 lead before getting a takedown and nearfall in the closing seconds for the five-point decision.
“It feels great,” Flores said. “Last year I made it to the final and won by default, so for anyone having any doubts, there it is. I got the ‘W’ in the finals.”
Sidney Flores was a strong third at 120 after finishing fourth at last week’s Central Division championships.
He lost to Santa Ana Calvary Chapel’s Luciano Arroyo in the quarterfinals on Friday before going 3-0 on Saturday, including a 10-4 decision over Alta Loma’s Alex Nunez in the third-place bout.
“Last week was tough,” Flores said. “I had a tough day (last) Saturday and I used that as motivation for this week. I came across two guys who I lost to last week and (beat) this week, so that was great.”
Northview’s Angelina Gomez won at 101 pounds to lead the area.
Gomez defeated Riverside King’s Marissa Ritchie, 6-0.

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Northview wins CIF-SS girls wrestling title; Vikings’ Angelina Gomez, San Dimas’ Tiki Jaime and McKayla Loza score individual titles

San Dimas’ Jaylene Tiki Jaime, top, hugs her Head Coach and father Jesse Jaime, bottom, after winning the 150-pound championship match during Saturday’s CIF-SS Girls Wrestling Championships at Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, CA Saturday, February 11, 2017. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Press Enterprise)

By Stephen Ramirez
Since its inception, the San Gabriel Valley has owned the CIF Southern Section girls wrestling championships.That didn’t change Saturday.
The area produced three individual champions, 24 qualifiers to the CIF State championships and Northview scored the team title in dominating fashion.

Baldwin Park’s McKayla Loza, front, reacts after defeating Eastside’s Dymond Guilford, back, in the 170-pound championship match during Saturday’s CIF-SS Girls Wrestling Championships at Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, CA Saturday, February 11, 2017. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Press Enterprise)

The Vikings, led by 101-pound champion Angelina Gomez, had five top-eight medalists and won the event with 175.5 points, compared to 160 for second-place Hillcrest. Walnut was fifth at 97 points, with San Dimas sixth at 71.
The other area champions were San Dimas’ Jaylene Tiki Jaime, who won by fall at 150, and Baldwin Park’s McKayla Loza (170), who also scored a victory by fall to win a title for the second consecutive season.
Also qualifying for the state championships, scheduled for Visalia on Feb. 24-25, are Northview’s Haven Driscoll (106, third), Brittany Wynn (111, second), Julia Padilla (143, third) and Deidra Valles (170, fifth); Walnut’s Justine Barredo (101, sixth), Jeselle Corpus (116, sixth), Mia Dow (121, second), Alyssa Gomez (137, sixth) and Brianna Harrison (160, sixth); Bishop Amat’s Janeice Alcocher (160, eighth) and Vivanna Garcia-Reveles (189, fourth); El Monte’s Jennifer Garcia (126, eighth) and Nelly Mendoza (137, seventh); Gabrielino’s Cassidy Do (106, sixth) and Skye-Lynn Bojorquez (150, fourth); San Dimas’ Haley Valdez (126, third); Diamond Ranch’s Trina Nguyen (106, second); Schurr’s Sarah Zaragoza (121, fifth); Monrovia’s Mary Tuite (121, eighth); California’s Roxanna Barragan (150, sixth) and Baldwin Park’s Makayla Hernandez (189, second).

Northview, which is beginning to match its boys team’s title mettle, won the tournament for the third time in four seasons.
“We all bleed black and gold,” said Northview assistant Larry Medina, himself a former state medalist. “We try to live on with that legacy of winning championships. We just tried to do what we could, prove everybody wrong. They proved the doubters wrong.”
Loza, after winning at 189 last season, just kept on rolling, winning at 170 in impressive fashion. She scored three wins by fall, including pinning Eastside’s Dymond Guilford in five minutes, six seconds.
She built leads of 5-1, 8-4 and 11-6 before putting Guilford on her back with 54 seconds left in the third period.
“I’m excited,” Loza said. “It’s my second year in a row. I have so much joy.
“I knew what was there. I just went for it.”
Jaime was equally impressive in the 150 bout. The sophomore, whose older sister Daishea Jaime won at 121 in 2015, had five wins by fall in the tournament, including pinning Hillcrest’s Melissa Lopez in 2:21 in the final.
She got four quick points following a takedown and near fall before pinning Lopez 21 seconds into the second period.
“I’m really happy about this,” said Jaime, who was eighth at 160 last season. “I worked so hard for this.
“I just wanted to get it over with. I’ve been working so hard … I feel good about this.”
Gomez was solid in winning at 101. She built a 4-0 lead against Corona’s Shandrea Shelby before holding on for a 4-2 decision.
“I feel good,” Gomez said. “I get to see my mom in (Visalia). I do this for her, and my family in Texas.
“I was a little nervous, but I kept telling myself to relax and be confident and that’s what I did.”
Northview almost had two champions. Wynn lost in overtime to Norte Vista’s Monika Garcia in the 111 final. She had a 4-0 lead before giving up a reversal and near-fall to trail 5-4 with a minute left in the match. But she scored a late point before losing on a takedown in overtime.

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Northview gets top seed for CIF-SS dual championships

Northview High School, which has won nine CIF Southern Section dual wrestling championships, is in strong position to add to its lore.
The Vikings received the top seed for the Central Division when pairings for Saturday’s dual championships were announced by CIF-SS. Northview, ranked No. 1 in the division all season, will face Charter Oak in the first round. All Central Division matches are at Alta Loma High.
The host Braves are the No. 2 seed and face Covina in the first round.
Northview has won the division each of the past two seasons and has won five titles during the past six seasons.
All six divisions will be contested at home sites. The first round is at 11 a.m., with the quarterfinals and semifinals at 3 and 5 p.m., respectively. The finals are scheduled for 7.
The other hosts are Huntington Beach Marina (Coastal), Corona Santiago (Eastern), Goleta Dos Pueblos (Northern), Redondo Union (Southern) and Lakewood (Western).
— Stephen Ramirez

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Baldwin Park’s Tony Zane remembered as offensive guru, friend

Tony Zane in 2009 while coaching  at Bassett High School in August 26, 2009. (SGVN/Correspondent photo by William Hallstrom/SGCITY)

Tony Zane in 2009 while coaching at Bassett High School in August 26, 2009. (SGVN/Correspondent photo by William Hallstrom/SGCITY)

By Stephen Ramirez
Tony Zane, who won two CIF Southern Section football titles at Baldwin Park, coached two CIF-SS players of the year and is considered one of the top offensive minds in area history, passed away Friday.
Zane was hospitalized for nearly three months with a respiratory problem before succumbing. He was 76, and is survived by his wife, Shirley, and daughter, Tatiana.
There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Friday at Christ’s Church of the Valley, which is at 1404 W. Covina Boulevard in San Dimas.
Zane, along with friend and former Baldwin Park head coach Ty Pagone, put the Braves on the area football map. They came to the area school, with Pagone as head coach and Zane as offensive coordinator, in the 1970s. Baldwin Park soon rode the ladder to success. The duo helped the Braves to the Desert-Mountain Conference title in 1980, with Zane, who succeeded Pagone when the latter retired before the 1990 season, leading the Braves to the 1991 Division IV title.
Overall, Zane coached 31 years at Baldwin Park, the final 13 as head coach. He won 47 playoff games and 16 league titles. He retired in 2002, but did resurface for a few years, becoming Bassett’s offensive coordinator in 2009 for then Olympians coach Leon Ward.
“He was a good friend. We went to high school together and coached together for 30 years or so,” Pagone said. “He was a good friend and brilliant football coach. He was good with people, good to kids.
“He was an innovator. We were doing things that so many are doing now, even what you see with Green Bay (with the spread offense). He was doing stuff like that 20 years ago. Nobody before did stuff like that. That all came from Tony’s mind.”
And Baldwin Park was the beneficiary.
The Braves, with Zane calling the shots, became a tough team to defend, and opposing defensive coordinators stayed up nights trying to figure a way to stop Zane’s high-powered attack.
“He and Ty Pagone, they were the earliest throwers in the Valley,” said Maranatha coach Steve Bogan, who won four CIF-SS crowns at South Hills and was also one of the area’s best defense backs during the 1970s, playing for Edgewood. “I can remember being defensive coordinator against him. One game, we had our cornerback out. We were (hoping) that Tony (wouldn’t) find (the backup), because he will find him and when he does find him, everything changes. We won, but they threw three touchdown passes in a quarter and half once Tony figured it out, going at him, at him and at him.
“Tony had as good an eye (for the game) as anyone ever had. He and Ty Pagone where the pioneers of chuck and duck.”
The beneficiaries of Zane’s schemes were quarterbacks Mike, Norm and Greg Santiago; Michael Johnson, Marc Ruiz and Richard Robles to name a few. All were proficient passers under Zane, with Johnson (1984) and Ruiz (1991) earning CIF-SS Player of the Year in Division III and IV, respectively.
“I am extremely heartbroken,” Johnson, who has coached at the FBS level and in the NFL, wrote on his Facebook page. “We lost a great man yesterday. My high school coach, my mentor and my number one supporter after my father passed away. He was there for me every step of my journey as a player, coach, husband and father. Tony Zane was truly loved and will be missed by many. He is leaving something we all should strive for, a legacy of greatness.”
Mike Ryan, who coached with Zane at Baldwin Park and later with Bogan at South Hills, said Zane was always on the cutting edge of football strategy. He was a guru in the truest sense of the word.
“We were one of the very first teams in (Valley) to (use) computers to scout opponents in 1990,” Ryan said. “We were running programs to look at offensive tendencies and more in 1990, back in the floppy disk era. We were a four wide, motion and multiple formation, pick you apart like New England but throw the ball deep on a post-corner type of team like the old Raiders before all those were popular, trendy, or common place.”
Said former Baldwin Park athletic director Mike Zimmerman: “Tony started the West Coast Offense before Bill Walsh. He was an offensive genius.”
But Zane was not all Xs and Os. There was another side that only those in his inner-circle saw.
“Tony was a real good person and a real good friend,” said Zimmerman who now lives in Florida. “We were a family. Back in the mid-1980s, 90s all us coaches were all together on the same page. We’d sit and have lunch together and Tony would be the king. He’d tell stories and jokes. We’d look forward to brunch and lunch, because that’s when we’d all get together and listen to what Tony had to say. It was times that we’ll never forget.”
Said Ryan: “He was just so much fun to be around. He was hilarious. He kept you in stitches, and he would see something and set it all into laughs that would have people crying.”
Zane was also extremely loyal to his friends, former coaches he worked with and his players. His loyalty to Lawrence Phillips, the late former star who had legal problems most of his adult life before dying in prison last year, is well-documented. But there were other former players he helped through the years.
One is Duarte’s James Heggins. The Baldwin Park alum, who completed his first season at Duarte last fall, has won league titles for Baldwin Park and Duarte. Heggins was on Baldwin Park’s 1991 CIF-SS title team.
“(He) supported them after they left, and took care of players long after they graduated,” Ryan said. “Such an incredible heart.”
Ryan didn’t play for Zane, but he said he became a better coach and person for knowing him.
“He was a great guy.” Ryan said. “He was the first person who really befriended me when I came to California and Baldwin Park in 1989. His sense of humor, quick wit, engaging smile, and intense football mind impressed me and helped me be a better coach and friend.
“Our coin flips after games, our lunch meetings, and all the tears from laughing so hard will always be part of me. It’s hard for me to be sad. I mean, he’s gone, but he was such a fun person, lively and living life, that I just don’t see him wanting anyone to be sad.”

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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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