High School Boys Basketball Preview: Cantwell looks to take final step

Jose Estrada, right, is one of the leading players this season for Cantwell-Sacred Heart, ranked No. 1 by the Whittier Daily News. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

The Cantwell Sacred Heart High School’s boys basketball team put together an impressive run last year in finishing with a 27-6 overall record and advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4A championship game.

The Cardinals, who fell to Pacific Hills 65-42 in the 4A final, are hoping to clear that hurdle this season. They are ranked No. 1 by the Daily News and No. 5 in the CIF-SS Division 4A preseason poll.

George Zedan’s squad has started the 2012-13 season strong with a 6-2 record.

The backcourt duo of senior Jose Estrada and junior Joey Covarrubias lead the way for the Cardinals.

Estrada is averaging a team-high 16.1 points per game. Covarrubias ranks second at 11.5 points per game.

Junior guard Emiliano Mejia also has played a key role while averaging 9.5 points per game. Sophomore forward Balsa Dragovic is the Cardinals’ leading rebounder at 7.3 per game.

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High School Boys Basketball: Gabrielino cruises past St. Paul in tournament semifinal

Eli Peters of Gabrielino dribbles around a St. Paul defender in semifinal action of the Titan Pride Classic on Thursday. Peters scored 21 points in the Eagles’ 68-32 victory. (Christopher Burt)

By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer

WHITTIER – Gabrielino High School took control quickly and went on to a 68-32 victory over St. Paul in Thursday’s semifinal game of the Titan Pride Classic boys basketball tournament.

The 1-2 punch of Tyler Shimamoto and Eli Peters led the Eagles (6-3), who advance to Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game against Price at Pioneer High. Price beat Brea Olinda 63-42 in Thursday’s other semifinal.

Shimamoto paced the Eagles’ attack by scoring 23 points while Peters added 21.

The Eagles, who seized momentum instantly by taking a 21-6 lead after one quarter, strengthened their hold by grabbing a 35-9 advantage going into halftime.

St. Paul (3-4) will play in the third-place game against Brea Olinda, at 6 p.m. Saturday at Pioneer.

Peters and Shimamoto each scored 12 points to lead the Eagles’ first-half effort. Gabrielino’s defense also played a major role, holding the Swordsmen to no field goals during the second quarter.

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High School Girls Soccer: Bishop Amat blanks La Serna 1-0

By John Sherrard, Correspondent

WHITTIER – The Bishop Amat and La Serna high school girls soccer teams have taken similar roads recently in the CIF-Southern Section postseason.

Both were CIF-SS runner-ups last season and each have won a championship in different divisions.

Bishop Amat (5-2-1), however, got the upper hand Thursday with a late goal to pull out a 1-0 win over host La Serna in a nonleague game.

“The girls stepped it up (Thursday) and defensively we played really well,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said.

“Neither of these teams deserved to lose, but we’ll take the win.”

With less than six minutes remaining, Amat senior defender Demi Lomeli took a corner kick from senior midfielder Yazmin Montoya and knocked the ball in with her shin, just two yards in front of the far post for the game’s lone goal in the 74th minute.

Prior to the goal, Montoya took a corner from the same spot but the La Serna defense knocked the ball away.

“I was hoping it (ball) would come back, because I knew there was open space in the back,” Lomeli said, who scored her first goal of the season. “She (Montoya) crossed it and I thought it was coming in slow motion toward me. I was just sprinting in, hoping I could get anything since it was a tough game and I just threw myself and my left leg hit it.”

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High School Boys Basketball: La Mirada rally falls short

La Mirada High’s Khalil Stevenson puts up a jumper during Wednesday’s game against Capistrano Valley in the North Orange County Championships at Sonora High. La Mirada lost, 58-50. (Leo Jarzomb / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

LA HABRA – La Mirada High School’s comeback fell short in a 58-50 loss to Capistrano Valley in Wednesday’s pool-play game of the North Orange County Championships at Sonora High.

Khalil Stevenson scored a game-high 16 points for the Matadores (6-2), who finished second in their pool and will play today at 6 p.m. in a consolation bracket game at Troy High.

The trio of Jake Virnig, Jacob Short and Ayman Farah led the victorious Cougars (2-6), who captured first place in the three-team pool.

After falling behind 51-41 in the fourth quarter, La Mirada made a late push by going on a 9-3 run that cut the Cougars’ lead to 54-50.

Charlie Reid paced the Matadores’ surge by scoring four points.

Stevenson also made a three-pointer during the Matadores’ rally.

La Mirada, however, did not draw closer as the Cougars scored the game’s last four points. They included a key lay-up from Sebastian Strickler and Virnig’s two free throws.

Shaky free-throw shooting also hurt the Matadores, who converted just one of 10 chances from the free-throw line.

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High School Notebook: La Habra girls hope to ride momentum into league

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

La Habra High School captured first place at the recent Lady Highlanders Classic girls basketball tournament.

The Highlanders (8-1) defeated Thousand Oaks 60-53 in Friday’s championship game. Amy Wilbourn paced the Highlanders with 23 points.

Wilbourn, who earned tournament most valuable player honors, also had five rebounds, five assists and eight steals against Thousand Oaks.

Highlanders teammates Allyson O’Brien and Megan Chancellor also were named to the all-tournament team.

“It was a competitive game,” La Habra coach Jim Bohn said. “We definitely played very well on both sides of the court.

“We were tested in a lot of those games. It’s a good development for us as we move forward into (the Freeway) league.”

La Habra started its tournament run by beating Rowland 57-33 on Dec. 3.

The Highlanders followed that up with victories over Capistrano Valley 54-42 and Eagle Rock 60-39 before besting Thousand Oaks.

The Highlanders next host La Serna in a nonleague game at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Then they open league Dec. 20 at Sonora.

“It’s a tough league to play in,” Bohn said. “In all of our games, our team has played very well. Our goal is to give our best when we step on the court.”

O’Brien leads the Highlanders in scoring by averaging 25.9 points per game. Wilbourn averages 13.3 points and 5.3 steals.

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