A couple of random thoughts …

Another of the bright young prospects is among us. La Serna first baseman Aaron Ashton hit his fourth home run of the season and had three hits and three runs batted in against Whittier to bring his batting average to to .448 with a team high 19 RBIs. Not too shabby for a 6-foot-3, 175-pound sophomore up from last year’s freshman team. …
Coach Jim Kruse has a couple of impressive youngsters, one of them being minute-sized sophomore second baseman Samantha Duran. The speedy, left-handed hitting leadoff batter is 11 for 23 (.478) with a team-high five RBIs.4. … And nobody plays the game any harder than center-fielder Janelle Carrasco, generously listed at 5-feet tall, but covers the field and runs the bases like a 6-footer, reminiscent of Alex Hernandez, who was of similiar physical stature and excitement producing and affectionally referred to the past three seasons as (“Little One.” she also wore No. 1), now playing for Mt. San Antonio College. …
And speaking of playing the game hard, does anyone do it better than Whittier center-fielder Daniel Enriquez? Through eight games, he was 15 for 27 (.556), and is there anyone who commits to the batted ball in the outfield any better? …

More names coming as the season moves on. …

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2009 WDN girls water polo All-Area teams

Player of the Year: Danelle Kenny, La Habra, senior
Coach of the Year: Jim Crowther, La Habra
First team
GK -
Morgan Klingfus, La Habra, sophomore
2M - Michaela Pierandozzi, La Serna, senior
UT – Lily Martinez, Montebello, senior
UT – Giselle Maranjo, Montebello, sernior
UT - Justine Ramos, La Serna, sophomore
UT - Selina Rivera, Whittier, senior
UT - Michelle Schrader, La Habra, senior
Second team
GK - Leticia Perez, Montebello, sophomore
GK – Kim Welch, California, senior
2M - Nancy Ruano, Montebello, senior
UT - Sarah Greenwood, La Serna, senior
UT - Kara Jacob, La Habra, senior
UT - Nikki Matyus, La Serna, senior
UT - Julia Pecina, La Habra, senio

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La Habra’s Kenny 2009 WDN GWP Player of the Year

Danelle Kenny
This season:
She was the area’s most dominating performer in a sport where size and strength creates a huge advantage.
The 6-foot senior, a four-year varsity player and a three-time all-CIF selection, was the Highlanders’ offensive power in 2 meters. In leading them to a 26-6 record, she scored 129 goals and had 41 assists. Rarely was she not double and triple teamed by opponent defenses, and concentrating on defending against Kenny meant leaving any of three or four other sharp shooters open, which would prove costly.
On the defensive side, her strength made her a force as she recorded 41 steals. A soccer player for 12 years, she began playing water polo her freshman year at the urging of coach Jim Crowther.
What she said: “It was a successful season. Kind of a shocker at the end (6-5 loss to Los Osos in Division V championship game). Maybe, if we had moved the ball around a little more … I saw my role as being a leader, running the offense. I needed to be in the right place at the right time. Also having the right things to say to the girls when its needed, if they get down and need to be picked up.

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Defense anchors 2009 Daily News GBKB All-Area First team

Defense wins championships. At least that’s the popular belief. Of course, you still have to score points, or there will be a lot of scoreless ties.
Members of the 2009 All-Area girls basketball team can do both, score and play defense.
Boy, can they play defense!

Player of the Year Andrina Rendon, arguably the area’s most complete package, leads the group. St.Paul’s 5-foot-8 junior forward averaged 23.3 points a game, the program’s second-best numbers all time, seven rebounds a game and was one of the Del Rio League co-champion Swordsmen’s (19-10, 6-2) key defenders in the lane.
The rest of the All-Area first team features players from programs whose success primarily was generated by aggressive, in-your-face defense, willing to take a charge and sacrifice a body in pursuit of loose balls and rebounds.

Whittier’s Kala (kah-LAH) Amico, a 5-foot-5 senior point guard, averaged 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and six assists, shot 70 percent form the free throw line and was among the area leaders with 42 3-point baskets in leading the Cardinals to a 23-5 record and the Del Rio League championship (10-0).
But it was her helter-skelter, not-stop approach to defense that included 99 steals and a multitude of other disruptions that marked her for opposing coaches. If you had the ball, you knew she was coming, just not from where.

Ericka Arroyo-Villeza, California’s (13-14, 6-4) bundle of energy, 5-foot-2 senior guard who helped break opponents’ press and then orchestrated the Condors’ attack, averaged 7.8 points and nearly five steals a game. Like the others on the all-area team, her physical approach sets her apart from — and above — the norm.

Ivory Hallstein, a Condor teammate, brings size (6-feet tall) and creativity to the center position. Just a sophomore, she averaged 12.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and two assists. Just as important, she was a force inside with 48 blocks and forcing penetrators to alter their shots.

Whittier Christian’s Whitley Brown, a 5-10 senior forward, was healthy again after spending much of her junior season recovering from knee surgery following her sophomore year. An excellent passer and rebounder, she averaged 11.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, nearly three assists and two steals for the Cardinals (16-12, 3-7). She also made 30 3-point baskets.

Luna Amico, who formed with twin Kala the area’s most potent one-two pressure defensive combination, also was one of the area’s top offensive players. A 5-6 senior forward/guard, she averaged 14.3 points and made 54 3-point baskets. She also was one of the area’s best rebounders, averaging 8.1 per game, half of them off the offensive board.

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St. Paul’s Rendon 2009 WDN GBKB Player of the Year

Player of the Year: Andrina Rendon, St. Paul, junior
Coach of the Year: Willie Pittman, Whittier

First Team
G -
Kala Amico, Whittier, senior
G - Ericka Arroyo-Villeza, California, senior
C - Ivory Hallstein, California, sophomore
F - Whitley Brown, Whittier Christian, senior
F - Luna Amico, Whittier, senior
Second team
G -
Loren Gurrola, Whittier, junior
G - Callie Rohrbacker, Whittier Christian, junior
G - Briana Vasquez, La Serna, senior
F - Michelle Webb, Santa Fe, senior
F – Skye Savini, St. Paul, senior
Honorable mention
Cantwell -
Valerie Carrasco, junior; La Serna - Jenny Alvarez, senior; Montebello - Candice Garcia; Pioneer - Jenny Martinez, senior; forward; Santa Fe - Alexus Guerrero, junior; Schurr – Jeanette Ramirez, senior; St. Paul - Jazmine Afusia, senior, Angela Van Sickel; Whittier - Rebecca Garcia, junior; Whittier Christian - Kirsten Schaefer, senior.

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Size, savvy keys for 2009 WDN BBKB All-Area first team

With Player of the Year Derrick Williams leading the way, the 2009 Daily News All-Area boys basketball team has more height than it has enjoyed in recent seasons.
The group also is blessed with speed and leadership that would make any coach happy.
Williams, La Mirada’s 6-foot-8, 215-pound center who has signed with USC, brings his 25 points and 10-plus rebounds a game as a starting point.

From there, other members of the first team are:
Jordan Sachs,
a 6-5, 180-pound senior guard, whose versatility gave coach Mark Stewart more options than usual when setting up game plans.
Sachs averaged 27.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in leading the Highlanders to a 21-8 record overall and second place (8-2) in the Freeway League.
Sachs made 33 3-point baskets (shooting 53 percent), made nearly 80 percent of his free throws, averaged four assists and three steals per game.
His ability to penetrate, score from the outside and distribute the ball to teammates make him the complete package. He has signed with Westmont College.
Ryan Kelly, La Mirada’s 6-foot, 175-pound, senior play-making point guard, put pressure on opponents by challenging the basket and forcing them to make a decision between him and Williams close to the basket.
Kelly averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, two steals a game and made 41 percent of his 3-point attempts as the Matadores posted a 27-4 record that included an 11-1 mark as co-Suburban League champion and Division II-A semifinalist.
The All-Area center is La Serna’s Matt Bridge, a 6-7, 190-pound senior, whose presence on the floor forced opponents to alter their plans and helped the Lancers to a 17-10 record that included a 10-0 run through the Del Rio League.
“With Matt back there, we were able to extend our defensive perimeter because he was a shot-blocker, an intimidator, a defender, and a rebounder,” coach Mike Lowe said. “He did a lot of things that often are overlooked in the statistics.”
Averaging 9.7 points and seven rebounds for the season, he saved his best for last with an impressive CIF playoff effort against a very athletic San Bernardino team, scoring 14 points and recording eight rebounds and two steals in a 63-62 loss.
California’s Michael Arceo fills one All-Area forward spot after serving as the Condors’ go-to-player this season.
The 6-3, 175-pound senior averaged 15.2 points and 7 rebounds as California finished 12-13 overall and second in the Del Rio League with a 5-5 mark.
Arceo made 39 3-point baskets, scored at least 25 points three times and had 41 steals.
When the Condors’ best returning player left the team before the season began, it was Arceo who stepped up to become a team leader.
Montebello’s Andrew Torres completes the All-Area first team and is one of the area’s most complete players.
A 6-2, 210-pound forward and the All-Area team’s only junior, Torres can bring the ball up court against pressure, penetrate the lane, shoot from the 3-point line and muscle for rebounds against larger players.
He averaged 16 points for the season but 19 points a game in league leading the Oilers to an 18-11 record overall, including 7-3 for second place in the Almont League. He also grabbed seven rebounds a game and had a hand in eight more points with four assists per outing.
“He wasn’t our biggest player, nor our best 3-point shooter,” coach Marino Angulo said. “But he could score from outside or inside, and we could post him up and he’d get to the (free throw) and score from there. He was our best ball handler and could create his own opportunities as well as for the other players.”

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La Mirada’s Williams WDN BBKB Player of the Year

Player of the Year: Derrick Williams, La Mirada, senior
Coach of the Year: Mike Lowe, La Serna

First Team
G - Ryan Kelly, La Mirada, senior
G - Jordan Sachs, La Habra, senior
C - Matt Bridge, La Serna, senior
F - Andrew Torres, Montebello, junior
F - Michael Arceo, California, senior
Second Team
G - Steven Saenz, St. Paul, senior
G – Mark Nichiporuk, La Mirada, senior
C - Mike Crosby, Pioneer, senior
F - Connor Gillette, La Mirada, junior
F - Aaron Valdes, La Serna, sophomore
Honorable mention
Cantwell –
Jeffrey Taylor, senior, Mark DeLuna, senior; El Rancho - Jeremiah Salcedo, senior; La Habra - Ryan Nygren, senior; Pioneer - Michael Saldana, senior; Santa Fe – Joey Marquez, junior; St. Paul - Willie Duff; Whittier – Matt Quintero, senior; Whittier Christian - Miller Brown, sophomore, Luke Esslinger, senior.

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Great weather, good baseball, who could ask for anything more?

St. Paul scored in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat La Serna, 5-4, in a North Orange County baseball game Saturday at Rio Hondo College.
A great setting, excellent facility, outstanding weather, good baseball, good programs, playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
A real rivalry could be developed here, with the teams playing their opening games of the season against each other on a regular basis.
Something to think about.

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