2015 TRIBUNE BOYS BASKETBALL ALL-AREA
Player of the Year: Jeremy Hemsley, Guard, Senior, Damien
Jeremy Hemsley is leaving Damien High School as one of the most celebrated players in area history and capped his senior year in style with a CIF-State Division III championship to go with the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA championship he won as a sophomore in 2013 when he was named sectional player of the year.
There have been great area scorers like Glendora’s Tracy Murray, who averaged 44 points a game in 1988-89 to set the CIF-SS mark for most points in a season with 1,505 and the Tartans’ Casey Jacobsen, who is the state’s all-time career scoring leader with 3,284 points (1996-99).
But there may never have been a more complete player than Hemsley, who leaves Damien as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,262 points while also leading the team in assists in each of the past three seasons, and becoming the school’s second all-time assists leader. Hemsley also was one of the team’s best rebounders the past two seasons, and in four years on varsity won more games and playoff games that anyone in school history.
“He’s a winner, that’s the most important thing to know about him,” Damien coach Matt Dunn said of Hemsley. “He never once worried about his own stats, he worried about winning all the time.
“He could have scored 30 points whenever he wanted, and I know most kids will say that stats don’t matter and that winning matters the most, but I can honestly say when Jeremy says those things he means it and showed it throughout his career at Damien.”
Hemsley averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists his senior year and was named the Baseline League most valuable player after leading his team to the league title.
That alone was quite an achievement considering the Baseline is considered one of the toughest leagues in the state that includes Chino Hills, which advanced to the Division I state finals and Etiwanda, a team that advanced to the CIF-SS Open Division finals.
Hemsley also was named to the prestigious CIF-SS Open Division first team and has been selected the Tribune player of the year for a third straight season.
“Everything has been a blessing the past four years and I’m blessed to go to a school like Damien,” Hemsley said. “I’m going to miss it, but I think I left my mark and did what I needed to do. The way we closed out the season and my career, I wouldn’t of wanted it any other way.”
After finishing 1-2 in the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs, Damien set its sights on the Division III state title, beating top-seed Cathedral, 68-62, to capture the Southern California Division III regional title.
But the Spartans weren’t finished, adding another trophy by knocking off Northern champion Moraga-Campolindo 70-57 in Cal Berkeley’s Haas Pavillion for the Division III state title and Damien’s first in school history.
Hemsley finished the championship game with a stat line that defined his career, scoring 20 points to go with 10 rebounds and six assists.
That unselfishness for a star player is what Dunn will miss the most, sharing his thoughts in the moments after Damien’s state title.
“This is very exciting and I am thrilled, but it’s sad to think this is my last game with him,” Dunn said of Hemsley. “He has been a great player and a great person, and he has set a high standard here. That’s a lot for future players to live up to and shoot for.”
Hemsley, ranked one of ESPN’s top 100 senior recruits, is on his way to San Diego State where he believes his hard work will pay off again.
“Being a complete player takes care of everything,” Hemsley said. “I want to be the best I can and if I put in the work, I’ll get there. I’m super excited for what’s next, but I’m going to miss my brothers at Damien. We had a lot of fun and good times together.”
Coach of the Year: Matt Dunn, Damien
Damien coach Matt Dunn was selected coach of the year after leading the Spartans to the CIF-State Division III championship with a 70-57 win over Moraga-Campolindo for the Spartans’ first state title in school history. In his 12th year at Damien, Dunn joins La Verne Lutheran coach Eric Cooper as the only area boys basketball coaches to lead his team to a CIF and state championship, having won the Division 3AA title in 2013. The Spartans finished 29-5 and also won the Baseline League title, which is arguably the toughest league in the Southern Section that includes Chino Hills and Etiwanda.
A.J. Bigornia, Glendora, Guard, Senior
One of the purest shooters in the Valley averaged 18 points for the Palomares league co-champions, earning Bigornia Palomares first-team honors. This is Bigornia’s third all-area first-team selection. He was part of a Tartans squad that reached the Division 2AA quarterfinals, though an injury down the stretch limited his playoff action.
Joshua Andarza, Bishop Amat, Forward, Senior
The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 14 points and eight rebounds for a Lancers team that finished 20-9 and advanced to the Division 3A second round. He was also the only Lancers player selected to the Camino Real first-team. He had a season-high 29 points against league champion Bell-Jeff, and tallied 19 points and 13 rebounds in a win over South Hills.
Zuri Williams, Walnut, Guard, Senior
The Hacienda League player of the year finished his senior season in style, helping the Mustangs go undefeated in league while averaging 14 points, four rebounds and four assists per game. Williams also played a huge role in helping the Mustangs reach the Division 1A semifinals, and was named to the Division 1A first team. He scored a season-high 29 points in a win over Antelope Valley.
Malik Fitts, Damien, Guard. Senior
The 6-foot-5 wing player could do it all, hitting big shot after big shot to average 17 points and seven rebounds for the Baseline league and Division III state champs. Fitts earned Baseline league first-team honors and has college offers from Wyoming, Portland and UC Riverside, but is also listening to other offers. In the 70-57 win over Moraga-Campolindo for the state title, Fitts finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Brandon Brothers, Glendora, Forward, Senior
Brothers could score inside and outside in helping the Tartans to the Palomares League co-title with Ayala. Brothers, who averaged 19 points a game, shared the Palomares league MVP award and was named to the Division 2AA first team. He also played a big role in the Tartans’ run to the Division 2AA quarterfinals.
Bryce Peters, Damien, Guard, Junior
One of the areas best pure shooters averaged 14 points, four assists and four rebounds for the Baseline and Division III state champions. In the 70-57 win over Moraga-Campolindo for the state title, Peters finished with 12 points and four assists. In arguably the toughest league in Southern California, Peters earned Baseline first-team honors to go with his first all-area first-team selection.
Dwight Ramos, Walnut, Guard, Junior
After transferring from Mater Dei to play with his hometown team, Ramos was an immediate hit, averaging a team-high 20 points with six rebounds for the undefeated Hacienda league champions, earning Ramos first-team all league honors. In the Mustangs’ Division 1A semifinal loss to Loyola, Ramos had his best game of the season, pouring in 36 points to go with seven rebounds.
Christian Espinoza, Los Altos, Guard, Senior
The guard earned Hacienda League first-team honors, averaging 16 points, six rebounds and four assists per game for the Conquerors, who finished 20-9. He helped his team reach the Division 3AA second round before losing to eventual finalist Gahr.
Kyle Gray, Bonita, Guard, Senior
Was one of the hottest players late in the season and a big reason why the Bearcats advanced to the Division 3AA semifinals for the first time in 10 years. The Palomares all-league selection averaged 12 points, four rebounds and two assists per game but shot 76 percent in the playoffs. He had a double-double in the semifinal loss to Gahr and averaged a team-best 16.7 points in the playoffs.
Kyle Price, Wilson, Guard, Senior
The Valle Vista League most valuable player helped the Wildcats to the league title by averaging 15 points. Only 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, Price had back-to-back 21 point performances against San Dimas and Covina, and a 19 point game late in the season against Rowland that helped wrap up the league championship.
Joe Quintana, Bonita, Forward, Sophomore
Roman Silva, Diamond Ranch, Center, Junior
Ryan Herrera, Walnut, Center, Senior
Jesus Hernandez, Rowland, Guard, Senior
Alban Fletcher, Pomona, Guard, Senior
Micah Robinson, Damien, Guard, Senior
Kenny Walter, Bonita, Guard, Senior
Andres Guevara, Covina, Guard, Senior
Omar Nasri, San Dimas, Forward, Senior
Ryan Ocampo, San Dimas, Guard, Senior
Christian Mora, Bishop Amat, Forward, Senior
Jarick Santos, Bishop Amat, Guard, Senior
Michael Barrera, Los Altos, Guard, Senior
FINAL AREA TOP TEN RANKINGS
1. Damien (29-5)
2. Glendora (25-5)
3. Walnut (25-6)
4. Bonita (23-7)
5. Los Altos (20-9)
6. Diamond Ranch (20-9)
7. Wilson (21-6)
8. Bishop Amat (20-9)
9. Workman (20-8)
10. Covina (20-9)
Camino Real: Bell-Jeff
Mission Valley: Gabrielino
Palomares: Glendora, Ayala
Valle Vista: Wilson