About Steve Ramirez

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

Wrestling: Northview, San Marino receive top seeds for dual championships

By Stephen Ramirez
Northview and San Marino, arguably the top two wrestling teams in the area, received top seeds in their respective divisions when the CIF-Southern Section released pairings Thursday for Saturday’s the dual championships.
The Vikings, who won a dual title last season, are No. 1 in the Central Division, with San Marino taking the top spot in the Western Division.
The 16-team tournaments will be Saturday at selected sites. Preliminary rounds begin at 11 a.m., with the finals slated for 7:15 p.m. The six host sites are Alta Loma High School (Central), Marina (Coastal), Carter (Eastern), Dos Pueblos (Northern), Redondo (Southern) and Millikan (Western).

Northview has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of Colton and Norte Vista in the quarterfinals. Other area first-round matchups are Bonita vs. Walnut, San Dimas vs. No. 3 Ayala; Hillcrest vs. Charter Oak and Diamond Bar vs. No. 2 Bloomington.
San Marino faces Lakewood in the first round of the Western Division. Other area first-round matchups are Arroyo vs. California; Montebello vs. Millikan; La Canada vs. Gabrielino and Santa Fe vs. No. 2 Downey.
Bishop Amat is No. 2 in the Northern Division and faces Channel Islands in the first round.
Bassett, which won its first league title in nine seasons with a Miramonte League championship, is no. 3 in the Southern Division. The Olympians face Fillmore in the first round. The other area first-round matchup is Montview League champion Duarte vs. La Puente,
Sonora, which won the Freeway League, faces San Clemente in Coastal first-round matchup.
GIRLS REGIONAL PREVIEW
Northview will host the CIF-SS Eastern Region girls wrestling championships on Saturday.
The event features some of the top competitors in the area. Preliminary rounds are slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the finals scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Other regionals are slated for Tustin, Pioneer Valley and Upland high schools. The CIF-SS finals are scheduled for next weekend at Roosevelt High School, with the state finals slated for Visalia Convention Center on Feb. 27-28.
Regional host Northview, which won the CIF-SS meet last season, is led by seniors Izzy Valles (137 pounds) and Daisy Velasquez (143) and sophomore Deidra Valles (150).
Other key area athletes competing are El Monte’s Brianne Penunuri (101) and krissiana Fregoso (11); San Dimas’ Haley Valez (116), Daishea Jaime (121) and Monique Barajas (126); Walnut’s Alyssa Barredo (101), Lauren Cuellar (111) and Sarah Arellano (131); Sierra Vista’s Angelica Ochoa (160) and West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez (116).

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Boys Soccer: El Monte boys soccer edges Mountain View, 2-1

 El Monte's Jesus Garcia, top, scores past Mountain View goal keeper Michael Garcia (74) in the first half of a prep soccer match at South El Monte High School in El Monte, Calif., on Thursday, January 29, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

El Monte’s Jesus Garcia, top, scores past Mountain View goal keeper Michael Garcia (74) in the first half of a prep soccer match at South El Monte High School in El Monte, Calif., on Thursday, January 29, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

By Jared Pine
EL MONTE — After tying its previous meeting with Mountain View this year, the El Monte High School boys soccer team defeated the Vikings 2-1 with a goal from Ramon Rodriguez in the 77th minute for the Mission Valley League victory at home Thursday afternoon.
The win gives El Monte (10-6-2, 7-1-1) a game and a half lead over Mountain View (9-6-3, 5-2-1) in the league standings. The two teams were nearing their second 1-1 tie this season, but with just three minutes left in the game, El Monte earned a corner kick. The Spartans directed the kick out of the box, but when the ball came back in, Rodriguez was there and put his head on the ball amidst the Vikings’ defensive scramble, knocking the ball just over the line for the go-ahead goal.
Mountain View had a chance to answer in the final minute after Mauricio Rodriguez got a yellow card just outside the box on the goalkeeper’s left side. Valera Moises took the free kick for the Vikings, which was punched out by goalkeeper Jose Paredes. The ball was controlled by Roberto Alvarez, who took one dribble to control the ball and lifted it toward the goal. Paredes jumped up for the floater and knocked it over the cross bar, and Mountain View couldn’t get a shot off on the ensuing corner kick right before time expired.

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Girls Basketball: St. Paul completes sweep of Bishop Amat

 St. Paul players celebrate their win over Bishop Amat after their Del Rey girls basketball game at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday January 29, 2015. St. Paul defeated Bishop Amat 53-38. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

St. Paul players celebrate their win over Bishop Amat after their Del Rey girls basketball game at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday January 29, 2015. St. Paul defeated Bishop Amat 53-38. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

By Stephen Ramirez
SANTA FE SPRINGS — There was no league title at stake when the St. Paul High School girls basketball team hosted Bishop Amat on Thursday. It just seemed that way.
That’s what sweeping your rival for the first time in nearly three decades will do for you, especially one that has had the upper hand in the series.
Clarissa Perez scored 19 points and Adrianna Gonzalez had 14 as the Swordsmen beat the Lancers for the second time, scoring a 53-38 victory in a Del Rey League game at St. Paul.
St. Paul, which won at Amat (69-45) on Jan. 13, improved to 14-10 overall and 2-3 in league play. Bishop Amat, getting 14 points from Jurhandi Molina, slipped to 7-15 and 0-5.


St. Paul, after falling behind, 16-7, after the first quarter, put together a 14-minute stretch in the second, third and four quarters where it outscored the Lancers, 27-4, for a 45-28 advantage late in the fourth. The stretch included keeping Bishop Amat scoreless for more than eight minutes over the final seven of the third and the first of the fourth.

St. Paul’s Clarissa Perez: “It’s a great feeling to sweep Amat. Coach (Robert Miller) said its the first time in 24 years we’ve swept Amat. It’s a great win for us, and I’m very proud of all my teammates.”

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Girls Basketball: Youthful Covina looking like Valle Vista League favorite

By Stephen Ramirez
Youth is being served for the Covina High School girls basketball team, and so far, it’s been a good thing for the Colts.
Covina, with a lineup that features two sophomores and a freshman, is 11-8 and sits atop the Valle Vista League with San Dimas at 2-0.
Freshman Allison Ayala, with a 12 points per game average, has led the way, along with sophomore swing player Mariah Sierra, who is averaging 10 a game, and sophomore point guard Diana Navarro, a transfer from Azusa who is averaging 11.3 in the four games since becoming eligible.
The elder is senior Princess Nava, who is averaging 7.7 a game.
“We’re real young, but we knew we had to go young if we were going to have a chance to win league,” said Covina coach Nick Masi, who guided the Colts to the league title last season. “At the beginning of the season, they just weren’t ready, but we were hoping if we start them early, and give them the minutes and experience, that they’d be ready for league. Low and behold, they really stepped up.”

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Giambi brothers; Jim Bastion join South Hills’ Wall of Fame

giambis

By Stephen Ramirez
WEST COVINA >>
South Hills High School is arguably the elite baseball program in the Valley, and Tuesday the school paid homage to that history.
Brothers Jason and Jeremy Giambi and coach Jim Bastion had their numbers retired in a ceremony in the school’s gym. All three retired jerseys (7, 7, 20) will rest on the gym’s wall of fame, joining Shawn Wooten and Cory Lidle.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Jason Giambi said. “It’s really an honor. I had some incredible times (at South Hills); played for some incredible coaches; had incredible teammates. The biggest thing is that I am truly honored.”


Jason Giambi is considered one of the top players in area history and deserving a spot on South Hills’ Mt. Rushmore. He was a three-sport star, including hitting .394 in three varsity seasons before helping Long Beach State to the 1991 College World Series and played in the 1992 Olympics. His 20-year MLB career features being a five-time All-Star, two Silver Slugger awards and the 2000 American League MVP. He’s played with the Oakland A’s, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and the last two seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Giambi, a lifetime .277 hitter with 440 home runs, is currently a free agent.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have my jersey retired,” Giambi said. “I’m so glad (South Hills) coach (Darren) Murphy has brought back that pride. That was the one great thing about being a New York Yankee, they always brought back the older players, because there is such tradition. There were tremendous times (at South Hills) and it’s definitely an honor to stand up here.”
Jeremy Giambi’s baseball career almost mirrored that of his older brother. He hit .383 in three seasons for the Huskies, who he led to a CIF-Southern Section title. He then helped Cal State Fullerton win a College World Series championship in 1995 before spending five seasons in MLB.
He hit .263 with 52 home runs in stints with the Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.
“This is a special moment for my family,” Jeremy Giambi said. “I appreciate everything that’s going on at South Hills. I want to thank everyone here to making this a special evening.”
Bastion, who coached South Hills for 23 seasons, was the foundation to the program being among the best in the area. He guided the Huskies to nearly 400 wins and three Southern Section titles in five trips to the finals.
“It’s just a situation that I can look around the room and say thank you very, very much,” Bastion said. “I appreciate it. I want to thank you very much for all the love you’ve given me and hopefully, all the love I can give out.”

Speaking of this story, yes, Deadspin went there ..

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South Hills alum Randy Aguirre succumbs to cancer

Randy Aguirre, who wrestled at South Hills before coaching at Covina and starting the wrestling program at Palisades, died last week after a battle with brain cancer. He was 30.
There will be a prayer/vigil for Aguirre on Thursday from 6- 9 p.m. at the Church of our Heritage, which is located at 21300 Via Verde in Covina.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday at noon at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which is at 344 West Workman Avenue in Covina.
Aguirre was a 4-year letterman at South Hills and was captain his senior season. He also wrestled at Mt. San Antonio College and San Francisco State University. He was an assistant at South Hills before becoming the head coach at Covina and later Palisades.
His Palisades team competed at the Tustin Tournament and finished 18th.

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Mt. SAC baseball team to deliver toys to Queen of the Valley Hospital children’s ward

mt. sac baseball

The Mt. San Antonio College baseball team is getting into the holiday spirt.
Members of the team will deliver the toys it has collected as part of its second consecutive toy drive to the children’s ward at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina. The players are scheduled to visit the hospital at 2 p.m.
“I wanted our players to enjoy the season of gift-giving, but in a way that they could appreciate it in a better way for those who are suffering,” Mt. SAC coach Kevin Smith said. “Every one of our players contributed to this toy drive and I’m very appreciative of that.”
— Correspondent John Sherrard contributed to this post

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Adrian De Horta leads South Hills baseball toy drive on Sunday

One0time Tribune Baseball Player of the Year Adrian De Horta will return to his alma mater South Hills to lead a toy drive that will benefit the children’s ward at Queen of the Valley in West Covina.
The toy drive will be held Sunday at the South Hills baseball field from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
De Horta, now playing professionally in the San Diego Padres organization, will be at the field along with members from the current Huskies baseball team to accept any unwrapped toys.
The toys will be collected and dropped off at Queen of the Valley later this month.

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San Dimas Tournament: Upland too much for the host Saints


By Stephen Ramirez
SAN DIMAS >> Eventually, the light will go on for the San Dimas High boys basketball team.
But until then, the Saints will just have to live with the growing pains.
Wednesday night was another hard lesson for the San Dimas.
Isaiah White scored 20 points and Chris Sanchez had nine to lead Upland to a 53-46 victory over the host Saints in the San Dimas Gary Prestesater Classic.
Ryan Ocampo had 18 points and Donnell Leffridge 10 for San Dimas, which slipped to 0-2. Upland improved to 1-1.
“We’ve played two tough teams,” said San Dimas coach Gordon Hamlow, who is in his first season with the Saints after more than a decade at Rowland. “Alta Loma and Upland are good teams. We played hard … We’re still a work in progress. We’ve got things to learn. It’s not four years of guys learning the same things. It’s learning new stuff.”

OTHER SAN DIMAS TOURNAMENT SCORES
Victor Valley 67, Arcadia 65
Rancho Cucamonga 70, Rowland 51
Burbank Burroughs 72, Roosevelt 70

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South Hills wins Cory Lidle Memorial Baseball Tournament

shills base

South Hills continued its recent dominance of the Cory Lidle Memorial Baseball Tournament last week.
Frank Martinez hit two home runs and earned tournament MVP as the Huskies went 6-0, including a 3-2 win over Alta Loma in the championship game.
South Hills, also keyed by senior Jacob Ramos with two wins and three saves, won the tournament for the second consecutive season and scored its third win overall.
The charitable tournament was started in 2006 by local baseball coaches Darren Murphy and Tom Quinley. Lidle was a former star at South Hills who played Major League Baseball. He was killed in a plane crash in 2006.
South Hills coach Darren Murphy: “Timely hits and great pitching gave us a chance to win the ninth annual tournament. It’s great to win this tourney, which takes on special significance with the Lidle connection to this school, as Cory is a former player.”
— Stephen Ramirez

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Boys Water Polo: Los Altos to get second chance, beats La Serna to advance to second consecutive final

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

Los Alto’s Guillermo Ocasio reacts after scoring his second goal in a row against La Serna in the second half of a prep water polo semifinal at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Los Altos won 16-11. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez

DIAMOND BAR — All the Los Altos High School boys water polo team, after losing in the CIF-Southern Section finals last season, was a second chance.
The Conquerors will get it.
Justin Contreras scored six goals and George Millard had five to lead Los Altos to a 16-11 victory over La Serna in a Division 5 semifinal at Diamond Bar High School.
Guillermo Ocasio had three goals for Los Altos, which improved to 21-8 and will face Claremont in Saturday’s final at William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. The time will be announced Thursday morning. The Conquerors lost to Glendale in last season’s title game.
George Mooney had three goals for La Serna, which finished 20-12. The Lancers also got two goals each from Perry Louwers, Elias Acosta and Steven Marcy.
The key moment came early in the fourth quarter when it used back-to-back turnovers to score three consecutive goals for a 13-9 advantage. Contreras followed with two back-hand shots to push it to 15-10.
Los Altos’ Justin Contreras: “I said in the beginning of the year we’re going back to the finals to get that ring. I mean it. I really wanted to get back to the finals. It’s my senior year, and I’m going out with a bang.”
Los Altos co-coach Bobby Contreras: “I told the kids before the game that we’re going to make mistakes. But its what we do to fix the mistake. Getting down 3-0, it was a mistake. As long as we kept making the effort to correct the mistake, we were going to be OK. I thought the boys played a very good defensive game against (La Serna’s) attackers.”
La Serna coach Jim Armstrong: “We knew that even though we beat than twice this year we were going to see a different energy out of them tonight. We saw it. Sad part, from our perspective, is that we had them down 3-0, and, after falling behind, came back to lead 7-6 and had momentum. But we had some untimely mistakes and bad passes and they took advantage.”

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Girls Volleyball: San Dimas wraps up ninth consecutive Valle Vista title with sweep of Wilson

San Dimas' Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

San Dimas’ Hannah Doonan (C), right, hugs teammate Genna Henderson (C) after defeating Wilson 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 to win the league title during a prep volleyball match at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter


SAN DIMAS — San Dimas High School has fielded the dominant girls volleyball team in the Valle Vista League in recent years, and that didn’t change this season.
Lea Fischbach had 14 kills and the host Saints won their ninth consecutive league championship with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 victory over Wilson on Tuesday.
Hannah Doonan had 10 kills for San Dimas, which improved to 20-5 overall and 10-0 in league play. San Dimas has won the title outright eight of the past nine seasons. They shared the championship with former league member Ganesha in 2008.
Scarlette Sun had seven kills for Wilson, which slipped to 16-6 and 8-2.
San Dimas’ Lea Fischbach: “I think this was one of our best (matches). We were really excited (to play). We all wanted really bad to be league champions. That’s what pushed us to play really hard. This was our best (match) in league.”

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Girls Volleyball: Glendora rallies for four-set win over Bonita; Tartans stay undefeated in Palomares League

Glendora's Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)

Glendora’s Jessica Garcia (C) (23) along with Becca Lowden (C) (12), Marissa Montoya (16) and Sarah Smith (10) reacts after scoring against Bonita in the second game of a prep volleyball match at Bonita High School. Glendora won, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9.
(Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)


By Stephen Ramirez
steve.ramirez@langnews.com
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

LA VERNE >>
Glendora High School, after four years of being banished to the Baseline League, finally has a reasonable chance at a league title, and the Tartans are not wasting the opportunity.
Becca Lowden had 16 kills and Glendora took another step toward a Palomares League girls volleyball title with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-9 victory over host Bonita on Tuesday.
The Tartans, also getting 12 kills from Marissa Montoya, improved to 17-6 overall and 8-0 in league play. The Bearcats, getting 17 kills from Riley Inman, slipped to 11-10 and 3-5.
Glendora, after a sluggish start, dominated the last two sets. The Tartans, getting four kills from Jade Brockett and two each from Lowden and Montoya, scored 12 of the first 15 points in the third set before closing with a 6-3 surge to win 25-17.
Lowden then had seven kills as the Tartans secured the match by scoring 15 of the first 20 points and 10 of the final 14 to easily win set four, 25-9. Lowden had a cross shot to make it 24-9 before a mis-hit gave Glendora the match.
Glendora’s Becca Lowden: “It’s great. It’s like we finally are where we need to be, with the competition (in this league). It’s great that all of our hard work pays off.”

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Tribune Football Rankings: Bishop Amat still the one

amatfans
TRIBUNE TOP TEN FOOTBALL RANKINGS
1. Bishop Amat (5-3) — League title within its grasp
2. Glendora (7-1) — Showdown vs. South Hills looms
3. West Covina (6-2) — Dismantled Los Altos
4. Northview (7-1) — Rival Covina standing in the way
5. Charter Oak (4-4) — Can it challenge West Covina?
6. Pomona (4-4) — 5-2 on the field
7. Diamond Ranch (6-2) — Don’t sleep on the Panthers
8. South Hills (4-4) — Has found it at the right time
9. San Dimas (5-3) — Will be rooting for Covina this week
10. Damien (3-5) — Slippin’ and a slidin’

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