About Steve Ramirez

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

Girls Basketball: Covina all but wraps up Valle Vista League after rallying for 45-37 victory over Wilson

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Covina and Wilson high school have taken turns winning the Valle Vista League girls basketball titles the previous two seasons, and Dominique Theus put the Colts in position to add to their trophy collection.
The senior scored a game-high 20 points and keyed a second-half surge as host Covina took a major step toward the league title with a 45-37 victory over Wilson on Monday.
The Colts, also getting 10 points from Mariah Sierra and eight from Daeanera Tuaua, improved to 15-9 overall and 9-0 in league play. Covina, ranked No. 6 in the Valley, moves two games ahead of Wilson with three games left. Wilson, which went 12-0 in winning the league title last season, slipped to 14-9 and 7-2. The Wildcats were led by Elizabeth Lau and Kaelyn Kawamoto, with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Sierra, after Lau made two free throws at 3:17, then hit a 3-pointer for a 38-37 lead with 2:48 left. Sierra then made a fast-break layup with 53 seconds left before Theus sank two free throws for a 43-37 lead with 42 seconds left to clinch it.

Covina coach Nick Masi: “I can’t be more proud of my players, my coaching staff from fighting back from unranked (to begin the season) to (possibly) league champs. I can’t be any more proud of them. I’ll be honest. Wilson was the league favorites. We knew that and (winning) it was our goal. It was something we just couldn’t do last year, but they became champions tonight by beating (Wilson) twice. That’s a big deal.”

Wilson coach Chris Roberts: “You have to give Covina all the credit in the world. We couldn’t get the shots we wanted today. It was the same thing when we ran into them at our place. They’re a very disciplined team, defensively. We tried has hard as we could, but in the end, they were more effective, defensively.”
Dominique Theus: “We were down by seven at halftime, but I told my team we have to win. We have to do what we have to do on defense, play smart and try our best on offense and come out ahead.”

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Prices are right for Wilson; Wildcats rout San Dimas in Valle Vista League showdown

Wilson's Kyle Price (3) drives to the basket past San Dimas' Omar Nasri (50) in the first half of a prep basketball game at Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

Wilson’s Kyle Price (3) drives to the basket past San Dimas’ Omar Nasri (50) in the first half of a prep basketball game at Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Wilson High School began the season as the favorite to win the Valle Vista League boys basketball title, and the Wildcats will likely live up to that preseason billing.
Kyle Price scored a game-high 19 points and Kevin Price had 16 and 12 rebounds and host Wilson solidified its hold on first place with an 82-47 victory over second-place San Dimas on Friday.

The Wildcats, also getting nine points from Eric Lee and eight each from Justin Lee and Justin Chan, improved to 15-7 overall and 8-0 in league. San Dimas, getting 12 points each from Ryan Ocampo and Omar Nasri, slipped to 10-10 and 6-2.
Wilson, keyed by the inside play of Kevin Price and some cluth 3-point shooting from Li, put this one away after using runs of 11-1 and 14-6 in the third quarter to go up 53-33. The Wilcats then outscored San Dimas, 28-11 to win by 35.

Wilson coach Willie Allen: “It was huge and the boys knew it. They knew how big this was. They didn’t want to share any league title. They wanted to make sure we won this outright.
“We had a good game at San Dimas (earlier this season) that was close, and we wanted to send a message to the rest of the league.”

San Dimas coach Bruce Robbins: “We didn’t respond very well being down. Since we made the switch (to an up-tempo attack), we hadn’t been behind. Our kids just didn’t respond, or we didn’t respond to when we missed shots. When we missed shots, our heads went into the toilet somewhere. I guess I could have done something to slow the game down, but I really didn’t want to do that because we’re trying to get a certain way to playing in our kids’ minds that we think in the long run is better for us. I kept us playing the way we want to play, and Wilson did a nice job.”

Kevin Price: “We just (keep) our composure. (Basketball) is a game of runs. They had theirs and we had to stop it and get ours.”


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Glendale spoils Kevin Smith’s Mt. SAC debut, 8-4, in 11 innings

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Kevin Smith’s debut as Mt. San Antonio College’s baseball coach didn’t go as planned on Thursday.
Nick Padilla hit a three-run double in the 11th inning and visiting Glendale spoiled Smith’s first game with an 8-4 victory over the Mounties at Mazmanian Field.
The Vaqueros, who won their first game after opening with losses to Oxnard and Cypress, also got two hits each from Jerry Ismerio and Jay Sheeley. Richie Rollice (South Hills High School) Kolby Oriti (Northview) and Carlos Martinez (Nogales) had two hits each for Mt. SAC.
Glendale didn’t waste it’s chance in the 11th. The Vaqueros loaded the bases with one out following to hit batters and a throwing error. Padilla then doubled down the right field line to score all three for a 7-4 lead.
Sheeley followed with an RBI single to make it 8-4.
Mt. SAC, which fell behind 4-0, tied it at 4 in the seventh. Richie Rollice (South Hills), Kolby Oriti and Carlos Martinez (Nogales) had singles before Edgar Cabral (La Puente), Dustin Fraley and Nico Contreras (South Hills) followed with RBI walks to make it 4-3. Boomer Baker then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Cabral and tie it at 4.
Mt. SAC coach Kevin Smith: “It’s a little bit quicker, pitchers throw a little bit harder and the game is a little bit faster (at this level), but baseball is baseball. If you catch and throw and hit the baseball in key situations you win. On the other hand, if you don’t, you’re going to lose. We didn’t do all the things we needed to do to win. I am happy with the effort the guys gave us tonight. They never gave up, worked hard. We’re OK.”

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Gabrielino takes over Mission Valley League race with 58-43 win over South El Monte

South El Monte's Enrique Duarte (2) scrambles for the loose ball with Gabrielino's Eli Peters, left, and teammate Gary Hawkins in the first half of a prep basketball game at South El Monte High School in South El Monte, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

South El Monte’s Enrique Duarte (2) scrambles for the loose ball with Gabrielino’s Eli Peters, left, and teammate Gary Hawkins in the first half of a prep basketball game at South El Monte High School in South El Monte, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Pasadena Star-News)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
The race for the Mission Valley League boys basketball title is Gabrielino High School’s to lose.
Eli Peters scored a game-high 23 points and had eight rebounds and Gabrielino took over first place with a 58-43 victory over host South El Monte on Wednesday.
Grant Kirchhoff had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Bryan Phan had 13 points for Gabrielino, which improved to 17-3 overall and 5-0 in league play. South El Monte, getting 18 points from Eduardo Hernandez and 12 from Alex Ortiz, slipped to 10-5 and 4-1.

The key for Gabrielino on Wednesday, like it was in its 67-45 victory over El Monte last week, was the third quarter. Gabrielino was 10 of 15 from the floor during that stretch and opened the quarter with a 16-9 surge to go up 42-28 following three inside shots by Kirchhoff and a 10-footer by Peters.

Gabrielino coach John Carney: “It’s nice. We’ve talked before that its another step in the process, where we want to go and how we want to get there. But I was telling the guys, the second half of league is going to be tougher than the first half. We’re where we want to be, but it’s going to be harder than the fist half.”
Eli Peters: “We definitely got more intense (during the second half). We had that fire. We just kept rolling.”

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Girls Soccer: Late goal keeps San Dimas in control of Valle Vista League; Bonita shocks Diamond Bar, 1-0 in OT

HACIENDA SHOCKER: Big news on Tuesday is that Bonita knocked off defending Hacienda league champion Diamond Bar 1-0 in overtime. That momentarily puts Los Altos (12-2-3, 6-0-1) in sole possession of first with Diamond Bar (12-3-3, 5-1-1) second and Bonita (6-9, 4-2) in the title hunt on the outside looking it. Next Tuesday is the biggie when Diamond Bar visits Los Altos…


Damien 4, Chino Hills 1
Claremont 1, Charter Oak 1
South Hills 1, Ayala 1
Chino Hills 4, St. Lucy’s1
South Hills 3, Ayala 2
Claremont 3, Charter Oak 0

San Dimas' Morgan Quaternik (18) celebrates after scoring in the second half of girls soccer, Wilson High at San Dimas High in San Dimas on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2014. San Dimas won 1-0. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

San Dimas’ Morgan Quaternik (18) celebrates after scoring in the second half of girls soccer, Wilson High at San Dimas High in San Dimas on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2014. San Dimas won 1-0. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
San Dimas High School has been the dominant girls soccer program in the Valle Vista League in recent years, and that doesn’t appear to be changing this season.
Senior Morgan Quaternik scored in the 72nd minute and the host Saints solidified their league lead with a 1-0 victory over Wilson on Tuesday. San Dimas stretched its league winning streak to 40 games.
San Dimas, with senior Daisy Duran getting the assist, improved to 13-6 overall and 8-0 in league play. The Saints are 2 1/2 games ahead of Baldwin Park, which beat Nogales on Tuesday. Wilson, which got 11 saves from senior goalie Minerva Lopez, slipped to 9-7-3 and 5-3 in league play. The Wildcats lost 1-0 for the second consecutive day, also losing to Nogales on Monday.

Duran, who was stopped by Lopez on a shot from just inside the penalty area in 66th minute, forced a cornerkick in the 72nd minute. She then lofted a crossing passing, which Quaternik was able to head to the left of Lopez for the 1-0 advantage.

San Dimas coach George Duran: “It was really important, because of the last time we played (Wilson), playing them in the rain with one girl down. It was really important. The girls wanted to come out here (and get the win) on our field.”
Wilson coach Ricardo Recinos: “That was the gameplan. They have the size, the speed, so we wanted to let them come to our side and try to get the counter attack. We had a couple of them, but unfortunately, we couldn’t put them in.”

San Dimas’ Morgan Quaternik: “Daisy and I connect really well together. She always finds me when she takes cornerkicks. When she was running up to (kick it), I just knew where I was supposed to be and when I was supposed to drop by head. I just felt it.”
Wilson’s Minerva Lopez: “It was last minute, and nothing you can really do about it. All we can do is learn from our mistakes.”

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Boys Basketball: Walnut holds off Diamond Bar to take control of Hacienda League race

By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Walnut High School didn’t win the Hacienda League boys basketball championship Monday. But the Mustangs took a major step.
Jeff Huang scored 20 points and Walnut took control of the league race after withstanding a furious second-half surge from Diamond Bar to score a 56-53 victory over the visiting Brahmas.
Walnut, also getting 9 points each from Zuri Williams and Richard Rycraw improved to 16-5 overall and 6-0 in league play to hold a two-game lead over Diamond Bar, which slipped to 7-14 and 4-2.

The Brahmas, after two free throws by Williams with 14 seconds left, had a chance to tie the score, but Bobby Meshesha missed back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds. Leo Li led the Brahmas with 17 points.
Walnut, after making 15 of 26 shots, including five 3-pointers in the first half, looked like it might cruise to the win after taking a 38-19 lead after the first two quarters. But Diamond Bar got back into it, holding the Mustangs to two field goals in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 43-37 going into the fourth before getting within three on an Evon Shubin putback with 57 seconds left to play.

Huang made one of two free throws to push it to 54-50 with 54 seconds remaining. Meshesha then missed a short jumper with 26 seconds left. But Huang couldn’t convert two free throws before Li nailed a 3-pointer with 14.3 seconds left to cut it to 54-53.
Williams was fouled on the in-bounds’ pass and calmly sank two free throws to push it to 56-53. Meshesha was short on a 3-pointer with about 8 seconds left before grabbing the rebound on a ricochet for a desperation attempt, which was short at the buzzer.

Walnut coach Josh Cameron: “They’re are our true rival. No one is going to quit on that rivalry, whether you are up by 20 or down by 20. But our guys were resilient. We have some three-year varsity players, so they are used to this.”
Diamond Bar coach Henry Frierson: “It’s not the way we drew it up. We got two good looks at the rim, and in a game like this that’s all you can ask for.Bottom line, is that we just dug ourselves too deep of a whole in the first half. The second half we made a valiant effort. But it was just too little, too late.”

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Boys Basketball: Gabrielino too much for El Monte; Damien rolls past South Hills; Glendora held to 24 in blow-out loss to Etiwanda

Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News

Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News

Gabrielino High School came up short in its quest to win the Mission Valley League boys basketball championship last season.
The Eagles are determined to come through this time, and they took another step Friday night.
Grant Kirchhoff scored a game-high 23 points and 19 rebounds and Gabrielino remained perfect in league play with a 67-45 victory over host El Monte.

Bryan Phan had 16 points for Gabrielino, which improved to 16-3 overall and 4-0 in league play. The Eagles are at South El Monte on Wednesday. South El Monte was 3-0 going into a league game vs. Arroyo on Friday.
Jacob Moran and Joe Chavez scored 10 points each for the Lions, who slipped to 13-8 and 2-2.
Gabrielino put this one away after outscoring El Monte, 41-13, in the second and third quarters.

Gabrielino coach John Carney: “It’s nice to get another win on the road against a league team. We didn’t’ play as well as we would have liked. But we got the win, and we’re moving on.”
El Monte coach Eric Tabatabai: “They keep coming and it’s very fast-paced. When our guys got a little tired, we made some turnovers that resulted into easy layups. You have to play the whole game. The middle of the game was definitely costly.”
Gabrielino’s Grant Kirchhoff: “It’s a great victory for us,” Kirchhoff said. “We’re kind of on the road to winning league, so this was one stepping stone.”
- Stephen Ramirez, @SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Damien got a spark from its defense in the second quarter and came from behind to beat an upset minded South Hills team, 66-49, Friday night.
The win keeps the Spartans, (18-3, 4-0)the Tribune’s top-ranked team, on top of the Sierra League standings as they head for their matchup with Chino Hills next Wednesday that will be for first place.
Trailing by eight points, the Spartans went on a 15-0 run in the last 3:18 of the second quarter to take a 25-18 lead at the half and take control of the game.
The Huskies (10-11, 1-3) started the second quarter on a 10-2 run, including 3-pointers by Jacob Estrada and Josiah Sotomayor that gave them an 18-10 lead with 4:20 to go in the half before Damien put the blitz on.
The Spartans had three players in double figures, led by Jeremy Hemsley with 22 points. Malik Fitts had 14 points and Tyler Ginyard had 12. Jacob Estrada had 15 points to lead the Huskies and Chris Martin had 11.
Damien coach Matt Dunn: “I thought we played really hard. We just didn’t make shots. Even though we weren’t shooting well we were rebounding and playing defense and eventually our defense got us going.”
- John Honell
No typo, Etiwanda holds Glendora to what must be an all-time low, although I can’t remember the last time the Tartans didn’t score in the 30s. Thomas Rico led Glendora with eight points. The Tartans are just counting the days they get shipped to the Palomares League.

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Wrestling: Charter Oak rallies for 39-33 win over South Hills



By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

South Hills High School was hoping to use rival Charter Oak Thursday as a stepping stone toward the Sierra League wrestling crown.
The visiting Chargers had other ideas.
Jack Castorena scored an 11-7 decision and Daniel Garcia won by fall as Charter Oak won seven of the final nine bouts to rally for a 39-33 victory over the host Huskies in a league dual match.
Charter Oak, which won eight of the 14 matches, including five by fall, improved to 2-1 in league play. South Hills, which won four of the first five, all by fall, slipped to 2-1.
The key bouts came back-to-back at 120 and 126. Castorena, after South Hills took a 27-24 lead on an 8-5 victory by Christian Flores (113) over Luke Knight, fought back from an early deficit against Jacob Andrade to go up 8-5 with a near-fall at 1:12 in the third period before getting a takedown with 30 seconds left for the 11-7 win.
Garcia then overcame an early deficit to score a win by fall over Ivan Martinez in 2:23. Joe Alexander clinched it, giving Charter Oak a 39-27 lead with a win by fall in 3:36.

Charter Oak coach Tom Cote: “I told our guys down 24-6 that we had to make our comeback and that’s what we did. They are a really strong team, with some really good wrestlers. We didn’t get a possible matchup at 132 (between Charter Oak’s Joe Alexander and South Hills’ Kevin Kelly) and that worked out in our favor.”
South Hills coach Robb Froh: “We knew we had to get out to a big lead. We knew their upper weights were pretty tough, so we knew we would need that lead to build some momentum. We just didn’t come through in some of the lighter weights like we thought we would. There were a lot of matches that were pivotal. We just didn’t come out and perform like we needed to.”

Charter Oak’s Daniel Garcia: “We just have a lot of heart. When you see that score, it just time to turn it up and bring (our) score higher.”

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Boys Basketball: Walnut maintains lead in Hacienda, holds off Los Altos

WALNUT BOYS Walnut’s Richard Rycraw, right, blocks a shot by Los Altos’ Jayson Jones in the Mustangs’ 65-55 victory on Wednesday.
– Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

By Steve Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Walnut High School maintained its first-place lead in the race for the Hacienda League boys basketball title Wednesday. But just barely.
Senior Rob Harrelson scored a game-high 20 points, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch and area No. 3 Walnut withstood a fourth-quarter blitz from visiting Los Altos to score a 65-55 victory at home in a league game.

Fellow seniors Lawrence Besong and Richard Rycraw had 19 and 12 points, respectively, for the Mustangs, who improved to 14-5 overall and 4-0 in the Hacienda League. Freshman post player Jayson Jones had 17 points and 19 rebounds to lead area No. 4 Los Altos, which slipped to 13-5 and 2-2.
Walnut led 51-36 with just under five minutes left before Los Altos, keyed by 5 points from Jones, used a 17-5 blitz to pull within 56-53 with 2:23 left. Harrelson then followed two free throws by Zuri Williams with a 3-pointer with 1:03 left to all but clinch it.

Walnut coach Josh Cameron: “You always get concerned. But I was very proud of them. I told them (after) that when you play good teams, they’re never going to give up. Los Altos came at us. We had to earn this win. It’s a good lesson for us to learn.”
Los Altos coach Jeff Lucas: “We’ve been resilient all year. We have a good group of guys. We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but you can credit Walnut with that. It was a great effort by the guys coming back, but against a good team, it’s hard to comeback from that far. That run cut it to three, but had we played better earlier and been closer, than it would have given us the lead.”
Walnut’s Rob Harrelson: “We were calm. We just had to run our offense. It was tight, but at the end of the game we were able to hit our free throws and our shots.”

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Girls Basketball: El Monte moves into first Mission Valley League with win over rival South El Monte

By John Honell
El Monte hasn’t hung a Mission Valley League girls basketball championship banner in its gym since 1991.
The school isn’t ready to hoist the banner quite yet but, its 41-29 win Wednesday night over South El Monte has put the Lions in sole possession of first place.
The Lions defense was the key to the win as it held high scoring Dorothy Tuala to eight points, all of them in the first half.
Sophomore Emmy Pham led the Lions (10-6, 3-0) in scoring with 16 points but her real contribution came on the defensive end where she fronted Tuala and helped hold her scoreless in the second half.
The Eagles (11-6, 2-1) used a 12-3 run to close the second quarter taking a two-point lead into the locker room at the break.
El Monte coach Christine Butler: “We were going to front her (Tuala) and get good weak side help. If they were going to try and pound it in to her we were going to have two people on her and force their outside girls to look for some shots.”
South El Monte coach Jose Herrera: “Our offense goes through Dorothy. (Pham) did a phenomenal job on Dorothy, credit to her, but I’m proud of the way our kids fought back. The school has only won one game in the last four years and the all-time school record for wins in a season is 12, so we’re in uncharted waters.”

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Basketball Rankings: Damien, Bonita continue to show the way


1. Damien (16-3)
Pointing toward Chino Hills showdown
2. Glendora (15-5)
Counting days it leaves Baseline
3. Walnut (13-5)
Won 9 of 11
4. Los Altos (13-4)
Enjoying return to area elite
5. Wilson (13-7)
Will ‘Cats lose in VVL?
6. Diamond Ranch (10-8)
Contending in Hacienda
7. Bonita (12-5)
Downward spiral continues
8. Rowland (9-9)
In league title mix
9. Workman (12-5)
Nothing changes in Montview
10. Gladstone (13-2)
Lost showdown with Workman

1. Isaih Mendoza, Mountain View, 24.1
2. Jeremy Hemsley, Damien, 22.2
3. John Paul Rodriguez, Workman, 21.5
4. Mathew Arguello, La Puente, 18.2
5. Ernest Ugoagu, Diamond Ranch, 18.0
6. Rob Harrelson, Walnut, 15.7
7. Andrew Bullock, Nogales, 14.6
8. Jonah Mendoza, West Covina, 14.4
9. Jesus Hernandez, Rowland, 14.4
10. Eduardo Hernandez, South El Monte, 14.2
11. Malik Fitts, Damien, 13.9
12. Eddie Howard, Duarte, 13.2
13. Edvin Peraza, La Puente, 12.6
14. Enrique Ramirez, La Puente, 12.6
15. Joshua Andarza, Bishop Amat 12.4

1. Bonita (16-2)
Toyed with Walnut
2. Bishop Amat (16-5)
Held its own vs. Serra
3. Diamond Ranch (13-4)
Gets its shot at Bonita next week
4. Walnut (9-7)
Looked good vs. Bonita
5. South Hills (12-6)
Swept in Sierra last week
6. Covina (11-9)
Team to beat in VVL
7. Diamond Bar (8-10)
Seeking top 4 finish in league
8. Wilson (11-8)
Lost to showdown vs. Covina
9. South El Monte (11-6)
Rounding into form
10. Workman (9-8)
Rebounded from poor start

1. Kaelyn Kawamoto, Wilson, 14.7
2. Jessica Rosas, Gladstone, 14.7
3. Dymond Mitchell, San Dimas, 14.1
4. Dominique Thesus, Covina, 12.7
5. Tiyana Watkins, El Monte, 11.3
6. Mackenzie Barnes, Duarte, 10.8
7. Jordan Veal, San Dimas, 10.7
8. Katie Taylor, Northview, 10.6
9. Kathy McKiernan, Duarte, 9.8
10. Bridget Phu, Rosemead, 8.9

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Soccer Rankings: Sierra Vista, South Hills remain at No. 1



1. Sierra Vista (13-0-1)
Dons just keep on rolling
2. Damien (8-3-2)
Keeping pace in Sierra
3. Diamond Bar (10-5-1)
Team to beat in Hacienda
4. Baldwin Park (10-3-2)
Sets the tone in Valle Vista
5. Los Altos (5-5-4)
Off to slow start in league
6. Arroyo (8-1-3)
Doing it right in Mission Valley
7. El Monte (8-1-0)
Played Arroyo tight
8. Bishop Amat (6-3-2)
Staying close in Del Rey
9. Duarte (9-4)
Lost to Sierra Vista last week
10. Diamond Ranch (7-3-2)
Sitting in second in Hacienda

1. Mario Saenz, Sierra Vista, 18
2. Sebastian Ocampo, Sierra Vista, 15
3. Andre Gamboa, Diamond Bar, 11
4. Guy Horcasitas, Diamond Bar, 11
5. Kelly Craft, Diamond Bar, 8
6. Manuel Medina, Los Altos, 8
7. Julio Sanchez, Duarte 8
8. Michael Flores, Sierra Vista, 8
1. South Hills (12-1-1)
Found its match vs. Chino Hills
2. Bishop Amat (12-5-2)
Setting the pace in Del Rey
3. Diamond Bar (9-2-3)
Needed own goal to tie Los Altos
4. Los Altos (9-2-3)
Showed heart vs. Diamond Bar
5. Sierra Vista (11-3-0)
Ruling Montview
6. St. Lucy’s (6-8-1)
Lost its last three
7. Charter Oak (8-6-0)
Holding its own in Sierra
8. San Dimas (8-6-0)
Holding lead in Valle Vista
9. Wilson (9-6-3)
Can it knock off the Saints?
10. Azusa (5-3-3)
Keeping pace with Sierra Vista

1. Jaline Miranda, Azusa, 17
2. Alison Kung, Wilson, 17
3. Hailey Zerbel, South Hills, 16
4. Samantha Verduzzco, Los Altos, 11
5. Jessica Lopez, Sierra Vista, 11
6. Jackie Zemeno, South Hills, 10
7. Amber Marinero, South Hills, 9
8. Daisy Duran, San Dimas, 9
9. Ashley Bell, Diamond Bar, 9
10. Helna Kisor, Diamond Bar, 8
10. Caitlan Greenup, Wilson, 8

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Basketball: Bishop Amat girls’ big effort comes up short against highly-regarded Serra, 61-55

amat shot

By Steve Ramirez
@SteveRRAmirez on Twitter

Bishop Amat High School knew it could not match the talent level of visiting Serra, which is one of the better girls basketball teams in the CIF-Southern Section.
The Lancers had to make up for the deficit with effort, and host Bishop Amat made a good account of itself, pushing the Division 4AA No. 1 Cavaliers before falling, 61-55, in a Del Rey League game on Tuesday.
Caila Hailey scored a game-high 16 points and Cydney Bolton had 13 for the Cavaliers, who improved to 15-2 overall and 2-0 in the Del Rey League. Bishop Amat, getting 15 points from Paulina Santana and 13 each from Dagmar Ramirez and Janae Chamois, slipped to 16-5 and 1-2.
Amat, which led for much of the first half, looked like it might pull the upset after it rallied back from an 11-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to twice pull within a bucket with less than a five minutes to play, failing to convert each time.
The Lancers, using an 11-4 blitz keyed by two baskets by Ramirez and one from Santana, cut it to 50-48 with 4:33 left on a 3-pointer by Amanda Alvarado, but with a chance to tie, Santana missed on a shot at 4:08.
Chamois, after Brijaye Brackett scored inside, cut it to 52-50 following two free throws with 3:31 to play. Amat then withstood back-to-back misses by Serra, but an Amat turnover after a pass inside, gave it back to the Cavaliers with 2:51 left.
Serra closed the final three minutes with a 9-5 run to win 61-55.

Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard: “They are a terrific team and I was very pleased with our effort. We never gave up. A couple of things went against us in the third quarter, but we never gave up. I was very, very pleased with that. Our effort was good the whole night. We made some mistakes. We didn’t get some rebounds we have to get, we threw the ball away. But (Serra is going to force) that. There’s a reason why they are so good. But by in large, I was very pleased with our effort.”

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Charter Oak’s Big Lou to coach SoCal All-Stars in the Canyon Coast Classic


Charter Oak coaching legend Lou Farrar will coach a group of Southern California All-Stars against a team from Arizona on Monday in a the Canyon Coast Classic all-star football game at Riverside City College.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
The SoCal roster features Charter Oak’s Donavin Washington and Eric Prevost, South Hills Adam Goss and Chino Hills’ Chazz Eldridge.

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Boys Basketball: Workman outlasts Gladstone, 52-46

By John Honell
LA PUENTE — Champions can keep their composure in tight situations and find ways to win close games.
The Workman boys basketball team showed why it has won four of the last five Montview League championships by coming from 10 points behind in the second half to beat Gladstone 52-46 in overtime Friday night.
The win kept the Lobos (12-5, 5-0) tied with La Puente atop the league standings. It was the first league loss for the Gladiators and only their second loss of the season.
The Gladiators (13-2, 4-1) sent the game into overtime with a last-second shot by Ben Reaves, but the Lobos started overtime with back-to-back 3-pointers by Alan Matro and J.P. Rodriguez and went on to win.

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Girls Basketball: Bonita lets Walnut back in, then slams the door, 60-50


By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
For the Bonita High School girls basketball team, the question is not if it will win the Hacienda League title, but whether it will be challenged.
The Bearcats got an answer Wednesday, but not quite the one head coach Darren Baumunk was looking for, after he was forced to reinsert his starters during the fourth quarter to secure a 60-50 victory over host Walnut.
Nikki Wheatley scored 21 points and Kandyce Smith had 14 as Bonita, ranked No. 9 in CIF-Southern Section Division IAA, improved to 16-1 overall and 3-0 in the Hacienda League. Walnut, getting 11 points each from Kim Mayekawa and Britney Yee, slipped to 9-6 and 1-1.
Bonita, also getting 11 points from Ariana Abo, blitzed Walnut early. The Bearcats closed the first quarter with a 15-3 surge to lead 24-8 before enjoying leads of 37-19 at halftime and 46-20 early in the third quarter.
The game got interesting down the stretch.

Bonita coach Darren Baumunk: “I was pleased with how we played the beginning. “We got off to a quick start, which was the first time this year we’ve gotten to that quick of a start. We pushed the ball and got to play our tempo early, and it got to a point where we (could insert the younger players). It was a struggle for them, and they have to understand it’s not going to be the last time to show what they can do. They have to step up.”
Bonita’s Nikki Wheatley: “We have a solid team. We struggled a little bit (in the second half), so we had to go back in. But I think the other girls did good, they just have to work on their passing a bit. I think it was a solid win, all around.”

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UPDATE: Bonita boys basketball coach Greg Eckler quit after halftime wrestling incident

By Fred Robledo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
MONDAY UPDATE: Bonita boys basketball coach Greg Eckler, who abruptly resigned on Friday after 12 years in charge, asked players to wrestle as a form of discipline during halftime of a 43-40 loss to Diamond Bar on Jan. 8, resulting in a minor head injury to one of the players, according to Bonita Unified Assistant Superintendent Curtis Frick.
The injury was not serious and the player returned to play the second half, explained Frick.
After parents complained to school officials the following day about what allegedly took place, Eckler opted to resign when confronted by school officials. Eckler could not be reached for comment.


By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter

Greg Eckler, who built the Bonita High School boys basketball team into one of the top programs in the Valley, has resigned as head coach, citing personal reasons.
Assistant coaches Mark Shores, Randy Bell and Mark Miller will direct the team, which played a Hacienda League game at Rowland on Friday night.
“For personal reasons, coach Greg Eckler has chosen to resign his coaching position at Bonita High School,” Bonita athletic director Eric Podley said in a statement released by the school. “We would like to thank coach Eckler for his 12 years of coaching at Bonita High School. We appreciate his dedication and leadership of the program. He has helped to make Bonita basketball one of the premier programs in the Valley. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Eckler, who was hired prior to the 2001-02 season, won six league titles over the past eight seasons, including the past three Hacienda League crowns, winning 35 of 36 games. Bonita, which also won the Miramonte League twice during his tenure, had won 28 consecutive league games before the streak was snapped with a 51-40 loss at Diamond Ranch last January.
The Bearcats were 12-3 going into Friday night’s game at Rowland. They had opened league play with a 43-40 loss to Diamond Bar at home on Wednesday.

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Girls Basketball: Paulina Santana scores 27 points to lead Bishop Amat into Arroyo Tourney finals; Lancers beat Cantwell, 50-40

By Steve Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
Bishop Amat High School has won the Gary Houston Memorial Christmas girls basketball Classic so much over the years, it’s almost like the Lancers’ home tournament.
Bishop Amat, which has won the 19th annual even 11 times, will get a chance tonight at an even dozen.
Paulina Santana scored a career-high 27 points, including 12 in a key second-quarter run, and the Lancers advanced to the championship game with a 50-40 victory over Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary in the semifinals Friday night at Arroyo High School.
Janae Chamois also had 11 points for Bishop Amat, which improved to 7-1. The Lancers will face South Torrance, a 43-41 winner over Oak Hills, in tonight’s title game at 7:30 p.m. at Arroyo High School.
Sylvia Garcia had 21 points for Cantwell, which slipped to 6-3. The Cardinals will face Oak Hills at 6.
Bishop Amat, getting 12 points on four 3-pointers from Santana in the second quarter, led 26-22 at halftime before using two surges to lead 41-29 at halftime. Cantwell countered with an 11-3 run in the fourth quarter before losing, 50-40.
Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard: “We were OK (Friday). I don’t think it was our best defensive game. I know it wasn’t our performance. But obviously, we shot the ball well. But we can’t win a lot of games if we don’t get scoring closer to the basket. Our two starting post players had four points. We have to get the ball closer to the basket.”
Cantwell coach Omar Villalta: “We’re a resilient bunch. We’re not going to die. We pushed the ball. We play the speed game. We knew, even down 16, that if we push the ball, play defense, we will be fine.”

Bishop Amat 50, Cantwell 40
South Torrance 43, Oak Hill 41

Bishop Amat vs. South Torrance, 7:30 p.m.

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Boys Basketball: Bonita gets defensive, uses key third quarter to beat South Hills, 59-33, in La Canada tourney game

By Stephen Ramirez
@steverramirez on twitter
Bonita High School has fielded one of the more-consistent boys basketball teams in the area in recent years, and that has changed this season
Kyle Gray and Russell Hernandez scored 14 points each and Bonita outscored South Hills, 23-4 in the third quarter as it won for the fourth time in five games with a 59-33 victory over the Huskies in a La Canada Holiday Classic pool play game at La Canada High School.
Dane Hollar had 12 points for Bonita, which improved to 4-1. The Bearcats also forced 26 turnovers.
Darius Scott had nine points and Darik Pradia had eight for the Huskies, who slipped to 4-4.
Bonita, which was 7 of 27 from the floor in the first half and 21 of 56 for the game, limited South Hills to just two field goals and four shots in the third quarter. The Bearcats forced 10 turnovers in the quarter and outscored the Huskies, 23-4 for a 42-23 lead before cruising in the fourth quarter.
Bonita coach Greg Eckler: “Overall, the intensity for this team has been really good. The second half today was really good. We still have a long way to go as a team. The big change (Tuesday) was in the second half. We kind of cranked up the defense and shot the ball better.”
South Hills coach Marc Hart: “We had more turnovers than shots in that third quarter. Their zone pressure caused us a lot of problems.
“We were a totally different team in the second half. The first half I thought we played really well.”

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Girls Basketball: Big second half lifts Bishop Amat over Muir; faces El Rancho in Covina Tournament semifinals on Friday; Bonita, Cantwell also advance

By Steve Ramirez, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
When the Bishop Amat High School girls basketball team finds its rhythm, the Lancers are very difficult to beat.
They showed how tough Wednesday night.
Paulina Santana scored 13 points and Bishop Amat used a 31-5 blitz during a 10-minute stretch during the second and third quarters en route to a 55-25 victory over Muir in a Covina Tournament quarterfinal game at Covina High School.
The Lancers, also getting 10 points each from Janae Chamois and Jurhandi Molina, improved to 3-0. They will face El Rancho, which beat South Hills, 53-49, in Friday’s semifinals at 8 p.m. at Covina High School.
Muir, getting 13 points from Tierra Adams and nine from Chy’annea Hodges, slipped to 3-3.

Bishop Amat coach Richard Wiard: “We struggled in the first half. I can’t remember the last time when we didn’t make a (3-pointer) in the first half. We shot pretty bad. We’re a better shooting team than we showed in the first quarter. But I thought we were pretty good on defense the whole game, and that’s key for us. If we’re good on defense, we’re usually in every game.”
Bonita 50, Arroyo 7
Cantwell 69, Ayala 63
El Rancho 53, South Hills 49
Bishop Amat 55, Muir 25
At Covina HS

Bonita vs. Cantwell, 6:30 p.m.
Bishop Amat vs. El Rancho, 8 p.m.

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Boys Basketball: South Pasadena uses a quick start to sink Charter Oak in Glendora Tourney opener

South Pas defeats CO

By Stephen Ramirez
@steverramirez on Twitter
South Pasadena High School has opened the boys basketball season with a couple of close losses.
The Tigers made sure Tuesday that wouldn’t happen a third time.
Joey Toyama scored 18 points and Greg Luck had 10 and South Pasadena used a 12-0 start en route to a 55-25 victory over Charter Oak in the first round of the Glendora Tournament at Glendora High School.
The Tigers, who also got six points each from Logan Wong and Christian Lee, improved to 3-2. They will face Glendora, which beat Northview, 61-22, in tonight’s quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m.
Dakota Golden had eight points and Joe Bonilla seven for Charter Oak, which slipped to 0-3.
South Pasadena, which has a two-point overtime loss to Eagle Rock and a 1-point setback to Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies to open the season, made five of its first nine attempts to jump out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter and 15-2 early in the second quarter. The Tigers, after Charter Oak used a 9-5 run to get back into it, closed the half with an 11-3 blitz and a 17-7 run in the third quarter to win going away.
South Pasadena coach David Lutzeier: “Early on, we shot the ball well. We kind of went flat for a little while, but I was proud of the way they shot the ball late in the game. They shot with confidence.”
Charter Oak coach Jason Rochwerg: “We came out flat and it was one of those things that carried throughout the game. We really didn’t take care of the ball like we normally do. I just think we couldn’t find any rhythm. Give South Pasadena credit. That 1-3-1 (zone) they ran, our kids couldn’t make the adjustment. Unfortunately, we picked a bad night to have a bad shooting night on top of it.”
Upper Bracket

Damien 94, vs. Bassett 33
Serrano 48, San Dimas 34
Don Lugo 75, West Covina 69
Walnut 76, Jurupa Hills 48
Lower Bracket
Rowland 64, Baldwin Park 37
Burbank 74, Sierra Vista 30
South Pasadena 55, Charter Oak 25
Glendora 61, Northview 22
Damien vs. Serrano, at Glendora, 4:30 p.m.
Don Lugo vs. Walnut at West Covina, 7:30 p.m.
Rowland vs. Burbank, at Rowland, 4:30 p.m.
Glendora vs. South Pasadena, at Glendora, 7:30 p.m.

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Boys Basketball: Glendora beats Thousand Oaks 47-42 to capture Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista tournament

Glendora to the finals: Brea Olinda put a scare into Glendora High’s basketball team on Friday night, but the Tartans still found a way to win.
A.J. Bigornia scored 29 points, including his 3-point basket with 1:22 remaining in overtime, that carried Glendora to a 64-62 win in the semifinals of the Tip-Off Classic at Northview High.
The Tartans will play Thousand Oaks, a 75-52 winner over Ontario’s Colony High in tonight’s championship game. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Northview.


By Stephen Ramirez
@steverramirez on Twitter
Glendora High School has won some big boys basketball games in recent years.
The experienced gained from those wins played a part for the Tartans on Thursday.
Thomas Rico scored 17 points and Brandon Brothers had 14 and Glendora outscored Walnut, 9-2, down the stretch to secure a 54-47 victory over the Mustangs in a Sierra Vista-Baldwin Park Winter Tip-Off Tournament quarterfinal at Baldwin Park High School.
Kyle Bracy had 10 points for the Tartans, who improved to 3-0. Glendora will face Brea Olinda, 47-37 winner over Keppel, in Friday’s semifinals, scheduled for 6 p.m. at Northview High School. The other half of the bracket pits the winners of Colony-Claremont and Diamond Ranch-Thousand Oaks at 7:30 p.m. at Northview. The title game is slated for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Northview.
Walnut, getting 19 points from Zuri Williams and 13 from Rob Harrelson, slipped to 2-1.
Bracy and Joseph Alvarez, with the score tied at 45 with just over three minutes to play, combined on two free throws for a 47-45 advantage before Brothers pushed it to 48-45 on a layup with 1:51 left to play and A.J. Bigornia followed with a 3-pointer for a 51-45 lead at 1:06.
Alvarez got a key rebound and two free throws for a 53-45 lead with 19 seconds left. Walnut’s Ben Lunblade, after a Alvarez free throw, made a putback at the buzzer to account for the 54-47 final.
Glendora coach Mike LeDuc: “I think it (experience) does help. But you have to remember, we haven’t played a game that meant anything since July. The first two games we (had big leads), so it’s our first challenging game. Well, you have to get back into the sink of these type of games, games where you have to make good decisions and good execution.”
Walnut coach Josh Cameron: “It’s a tied game with two minutes and our big kid (Richard Rycraw) fouls out. We gave up some offensive rebounds that led to some fouls. They ran a great screen play that led to an open shot, they hit the big shot and got them the lead. Credit it to them, they made some big shots down the stretch and we didn’t it. That was the ball game.”

Thursday’s quarterfinal results
Glendora 54, Walnut 47
Brea Olinda 47, Keppel 37
Colony 63, Claremont 56, OT
Thousand Oaks 63, Diamond Ranch 44
Friday’s Semifinals
Northview High School

Glendora 64, Brea Olinda 62, OT
Thousand Oaks 75, Colony 52
Saturday’s championship
Glendora 47, Thousand Oaks 42

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San Dimas will have ticket presale for Friday’s Mid-Valley Division title game, plus video of the Saints opponent, Paraclete

fjsandimasDon’t want to fight the ticket lines on Friday for the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title game between host San Dimas and Paraclete?
San Dimas has a solution for you — a presale.
The school announced today that they will be selling tickets to the game on Thursday and Friday between 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tickets costs $10 for adults, and $5 for students with an ID and children under age 14.
The school also announced that additional parking will be made available at McKinley Boys Home, which is on Cypress, north of Lone Hill Ave.


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Boys Basketball: Late surge pushes Braves over Sierra Vista in Battle of Baldwin Park

forsaleBy Stephen Ramirez
@steverramirez on Twitter
There was nothing but bragging rights on the line Wednesday night at Baldwin Park High School.
For the host Braves, that was enough.
Corey Garcia scored 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, and the Baldwin Park boys basketball team scored a 51-45 victory over intra-city rival Sierra Vista in a pool-play game at the fourth annual Sierra Vista-Baldwin Park Winter Tip-Off Tournament.
Juan Garcia also had 14 points for the Braves, who improved to 1-1. Corey Garcia also had 12 rebounds.
Steven Baron had 12 points and Christian Lopez and Brian Marquez nine each for the Dons, who slipped to 0-2.
Baldwin Park, which put together a 10-0 run in the second quarter en route to a 25-17 lead at halftime, overcame a sluggish third quarter with a solid performance down the stretch.
The Braves, after Sierra Vista closed to within 33-31 following a 3-pointer by Baron late in the third, used a 15-8 surge to go up 48-39 with just over a minute to play following four consecutive free throws by Corey Garcia, a 9-foot turnaround by Bernard Granados and a 3-pointer by Juan Garcia.
Baldwin Park coach Israel Anguiano: “It’s big, it’s bragging rights. I go hang out with (Sierra Vista coach Herman Flores) from time to time. I want to make sure I have that upper hand every time we meet at a pizza place or something. As far as the kids go, it’s a nice game for both schools. You could see the stands were filled. I’m very proud of my kids.”
Sierra Vista coach Herman Flores: “It’s an excellent rivalry and it’s intense. The kids sometimes lose focus, but our inability to make free throws hurt us today, our inability to make layups hurt us today. In the moment of the game, the kids just threw the ball away. It’s just early-season mistakes, but we’ll continue to work on it. We came back and had every opportunity to win it, but we missed 14 free throws.”

West Covina 60, Garey 31
Northview 56, Arroyo 34
LA Fremont 79, Aquinas 43
South Hills 70 Don Lugo 66, (OT)
Bell Gardens 77, Edgewood 36
Rowland 55, Azusa 23
Baldwin Park 51, Sierra Vista 46
Walnut 89, La Puente 55

At Baldwin Park

Glendora vs. Walnut, 6 p.m.
Claremont vs. Colony, 7:30 p.m.
At Sierra Vista
Brea Olinda vs. Keppel, 6 p.m.
Diamond Ranch vs. Thousand Oaks, 7:30 p.m.
Friday Semifinals
at Northview, 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Saturday championship
At Northview, 7:30 p.m.

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Boys basketball: New era at Northview begins with 74-47 loss to D-Ranch in Sierra Vista/Baldwin Park tourney; scores updated

By Stephen Ramirez
@steverramirez on Twitter
Early-season tournament play is usually a work in progress for most high school boys basketball teams.
But for Diamond Ranch, the good more than outweighed the bad on Tuesday.
Ethan Jarrell scored 19 points and Bert Sheffer had 17 and the Panthers overcame a slow start to score a 74-47 victory over Northview in a Sierra Vista-Baldwin Park Winter Tip-Off Tournament pool play game at Baldwin Park High School.

Diamond Ranch, also getting 10 points each from Ryan Talmadge and Chidi Udengwu, improved to 2-0. Northview, getting 13 points from Xavier Bernal and 10 from Oscar Silva, lost its first game under new coach Eric Johnson. He succeeded long-time Vikings coach Ron Rice, who retired last season.
The Panthers, who missed their first five shots and trailed 5-0, used a 20-9 run during the end of the first quarter and the start of the second to seize control before halting a Northview rally with a 15-8 run in the third quarter to seal it.
Diamond Ranch coach Loren Grover: “I thought we gave a pretty good defensive effort most of the game. We still have some things to work on, but I thought anyone who played, is certainly giving their best effort.”
Northview coach Eric Johnson: “They hit a lot of big shots. We worked on trying to get to their shooters, but give them credit, they knocked them down.”

In other games Tuesday
– La Puente’s 62-51 win over Garfield Tuesday, junior Enrique Ramirez dropped 28 points and Cisco Gomez notched 17.
–Christian Espinoza scored 19 points, Allan Li had 17 and Michael Barrera had 14 in Los Altos’ 82-28 win over South East in Bosco pool play

Help me help you follow the tournament by emailing results to fred.robledo@sgvn.com or tweeting to me @sgvnsports. I’ll attempt to update everything by the end of the night. I’ll retweet your final scores as well.
Fourth Annual Boys Basketball Sierra Vista-Baldwin Park Winter Tip-Off Tournament
Pool A: Glendora, Bell Gardens, Edgewood
Pool B: Thousand Oaks, West Covina, Garey
Pool C: Colony, Baldwin Park, Sierra Vista
Pool D: Walnut, LA Garfield, La Puente
Pool E: Brea Olinda, South Hills, Don Lugo
Pool F: Claremont, Rowland, Azusa
Pool G: Diamond Ranch, Northview, Arroyo
Pool H: Kppel, Fremont, Aquinas

Monday’s round-robin results
Glendora 99, Edgewood 21
Colony 84, Sierra Vista 34
Walnut 84, LA Garfield 45
Brea Olinda 54, Don Lugo 39
Diamond Ranch 62, Arroyo 19
Claremont 80, Azusa 21
Thousand Oaks 74, Garey 28
Mark Keppel 65, Aquinas 37

Tuesday’s round-robin
Diamond Ranch 74, Northview 47
La Puente 62, Garfield 50
Claremont 59, Rowland 36
Colony 83, Baldwin Park 26
Glendora 74, Bell Gardens 37
Keppel 64, Fremont 50
Brea Olinda 46, South Hills 39
Thousand Oaks 92, West Covina 47

Wednesday’s games at Sierra Vista HS
West Covina vs. Garey, 3:15 p.m.
Northview vs. Arroyo, 4:30 p.m.
Fremont vs. Aquinas, 6 p.m.
South Hills vs. Don Lugo, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday’s games at Baldwin Park
Bell Gardens vs. Edgewood, 3:15 p.m.
Rowland vs. Azusa, 4:30 p.m.
Sierra Vista vs. Baldwin Park, 6 p.m.
La Puente vs. Walnut, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday’s Quarterfinals
At Baldwin Park
Glendora vs. Walnut-La Puente winner, 6 p.m.
Claremont vs. Colony, 7:30 p.m.
At Sierra Vista
Brea Olinda vs. Keppel, 6 p.m.
Diamond Ranch vs. Thousand Oaks, 7:30 p.m.

Friday Semifinals
at Northview, 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Saturday championship
At Northview, 7:30 p.m.

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