High School Boys Basketball: St. Paul holds off Pioneer comeback

St. Paul’s Henry Llera is double-teamed by Pioneer’s Luis Rangel, left, and Miguel Mena during Tuesday’s game. (Christopher Burt / Correspondent)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

WHITTIER – St. Paul High School withstood Pioneer’s furious third-quarter rally to come away with a 59-53 victory in Tuesday’s second-round game of the Titan Pride Classic boys basketball tournament.

Henry Llera scored 16 points to pace the Swordsmen (3-3), who advance to Thursday’s semifinal game against Gabrielino, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Pioneer High School.

“We were able to finish and execute at key points of the game,” St. Paul coach Shawn Clingan said. “It was a great effort by our team.

“We’re looking forward to the rest of this tournament.”

Courtney Ahamnisi turned in an impressive performance for the Titans (5-3), scoring a game-high 27 points. The Titans will next play a consolation game Thursday against King Drew at 4:30 p.m.

After Pioneer took a 46-43 lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter, St. Paul took over momentum by going on a 6-0 run and staying in front for the rest of the contest.

Paul Telles started the Swordsmem’s surge with a 2-point basket, which was followed by back-to-back field goals by Llera.

St. Paul went on to outscore the Titans to 16-9 during the fourth quarter.

St. Paul took a 28-19 lead into halftime by seizing momentum in the second quarter.

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High School Basketball: Youth is served as Los Altos defeats Santa Fe

Santa Fe’s Cristian Perez, left, and Los Altos’ David Tolmachoff battle for the ball during Monday’s game. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

By John Sherrard, Correspondent

WHITTIER – The future looks bright for a young Los Altos High School boys basketball team.

The Conquerors, led by a trio of sophomores who scored in double figures, defeated Santa Fe, 79-69, in the opening game of the inaugural Pioneer Pride Classic on Monday at Pioneer High.

Guard Cristian Espinoza had a game-high 23 points, center David Jimenez scored 14 and guard Michael Barrera added 13 points for the Conquerors.

Los Altos (3-2) had three other sophomores who totaled 18 points.

Santa Fe (3-4) was led by a pair of juniors. Forward Cristian Perez scored 22 points and guard Jonathan Parral had 20.

Los Altos, which was 2-2 in the Bosco Tech tournament to open the season, advanced to the second round of the winners bracket and will play Brea Olinda today at 3 p.m.

Santa Fe plays in a consolation game against Hoover on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

The Chiefs, who hosted and defeated a team from Sydney, Australia last week, trailed by as many as 20 points, 73-53, early in the fourth quarter before outscoring Los Altos, 16-6, in the last 4:10.

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High School Basketball Notebook: Tourney time for several area teams

By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer

Pioneer and Whittier high schools will host the Titan Pride Classic boys basketball tournament, which starts Monday and concludes Dec. 15.

The 16-team tournament field includes Pioneer, Whittier, Montebello, St. Paul and Santa Fe.

Eight games are scheduled for Monday, with Whittier and Pioneer hosting four games each.

Monday’s games at Pioneer include Santa Fe vs. Los Altos, 3 p.m.; St. Paul vs. Huntington Park, 6 p.m., and Pioneer vs. South El Monte, 7:30 p.m.

Monday’s games at Whittier feature Montebello vs. Bell, 3 p.m. and Whittier vs. Gabrielino, 7:30 p.m.

“It should be a good tournament to help us get our feet wet, and get us ready for (the Del Rio) league,” Whittier coach Joey Mata said. “Last year, we were second in league. This year, we’ve got a lot of young kids. Hopefully, we could compete in league. Our goal is to make the playoffs. Winning league would be great.”

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High School Boys Basketball: Bonita’s strong outside game leads to win over Pioneer

Bonita’s Dane Hollar, center, grabs a rebound against Pioneer in Thursday’s Blue Pride Classic tournament game at Pioneer High School. (Keith Birmingham/ Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

WHITTIER – Strong outside shooting lifted Bonita High School to a 68-40 victory over Pioneer in Thursday’s pool-play game of the 19th Annual Blue Pride Classic boys basketball tournament at Pioneer High School.

The Bearcats (3-1) successfully connected from 3-point land 12 times. Brian Mahood scored 22 points to pace Bonita, which finished in third place in its pool.

Bonita will play Hawthorne at 6 p.m. today at El Rancho High School.

“It was the first game we actually shot the ball well,” Bonita coach Greg Eckler said. “That was the big difference. In the previous games, we shot the ball poorly. (On Thursday), we found our stroke.”

Courtney Ahamnisi recorded 12 points to pace the Titans (3-1), who will face El Segundo at 3 p.m. today at El Rancho. Pioneer took fourth place in its pool.

“Bonita shot the ball really well (on Thursday),” Pioneer coach Greg Gilmore said. “We couldn’t rebound. They killed us on the boards. I don’t think we played terrible defense – Bonita just made tough shots.”

Mahood made six 3-pointers to pace the Bearcats’ outside shooting attack. Riley Brungard also played a key role, by successfully converting from 3-point territory four times.

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High School Boys Basketball: Jerry Leon leads the way for Whittier

Whittier’s Dominic Saldana (23) drives to the basket past Schurr’s Michael Ortega during Wednesday’s game. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

MONTEBELLO – Jerry Leon scored a game-high 23 points to lead Whittier High School to a 72-59 nonleague victory over Schurr in a nonleague boys basketball game Wednesday.

The Cardinals (4-2) seized momentum by finishing the third quarter with an 18-9 run. After the Spartans (3-2) grabbed a 36-35 lead on Jason Ybara’s basket, the visiting Cardinals regained the upper hand with back-to-back buckets from Leon and Guillermo Blas.

When Ybara’s successful 3-point attempt tied the game at 39-39, the Cardinals retook the lead for good when Leon converted both of his free throws.

Whittier then put together a 12-6 run that closed the third quarter.

The Cardinals went on to secure the win by outscoring the Spartans 19-14 in the fourth quarter.

Blas also played a key role for the Cardinals by scoring

19 points.

“We’ve been working on some defensive stuff,” Whittier coach Joey Mata said. “We’re not the biggest team in the (Del Rio) league. We have pretty good shooters.

“At the half, we stressed the need to take better percentage shots. We came back inside, making 10-footers.”

Ybara had 18 points to pace Schurr.

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High School Notebook: Condors savor a great finish

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

California High School’s boys cross country team recently took part on the national stage.

The Condors made their first appearance at Saturday’s Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore., where they finished 20th with a time of 95 minutes, 37 seconds.

Leo Corcoran was the Condors’ top runner after completing the course in 18:55 to take 119th place.

Other Condors participants included Steven Vera (18:56, 121st), Jose Pacheco (19:09, 137th), Joshua Roldan (19:18, 144th), Matlazomatli Rojas (19:19, 147th), Sam Bautista (19:32, 160th) and Chris Ramirez (20:03, 181st).

Its appearance at the nationals capped a superb season for the Condors, who captured the Del Rio League title, were fourth in the CIF-Southern Section Finals Division 1 race at Mt. San Antonio College and finished second at the CIF State Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.

“To finish in the top 20, that’s not too shabby,” California coach Tony DiMarco said. “We’ll take that.”

The Condors had to navigate their way through a muddy course in Portland.

“The course was not exactly what we expected,” DiMarco said. “We knew there would be some potential rain. It was pretty crazy; you couldn’t go anywhere on the course without being a half-foot deep in water.

“That made it difficult for the athletes, but it is what it is. It’s a shame the conditions weren’t better.”

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High School Boys Basketball: La Mirada pulls away for victory in Blue Pride Classic

Alhambra’s Jon Eng tries to dribble around La Mirada’s Vittorio Reynoso-Avila during Tuesday’s game in the Blue Pride Tournament. (Christopher Burt / Correspondent)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

WHITTIER – A strong third quarter lifted La Mirada High School to a 77-50 victory over Alhambra in Tuesday’s pool play boys basketball game of the 19th Annual Blue Pride Classic at Pioneer High School.

Taelin Webb scored 26 points to pace the Matadores (2-0), who blew open a close game by outscoring the Moors 27-10 in the third quarter.

“In the third quarter, we got the ball upcourt quicker,” La Mirada coach Bryce Jones said. “We controlled the tempo and pushed the ball.

“We need to put pressure on teams early on by playing faster than them.”

Carlos Barrios led Alhambra with 24 points. Myles Ford added 16 points for the Moors (2-2).

“We didn’t have the energy and it showed (on Tuesday),” Alhambra coach Robert Blanchard said. “La Mirada is good but we should have given them a better game. Once we were down, we lost our confidence.”

Leading 31-24 at halftime, the Matadores quickly seized control by going on a 18-5 spurt to start the third quarter.

Sean Porter and Webb helped fuel the La Mirada run when both connected from three-point territory.

Deion Golffin aded 13 points for the Matadores, who play Roosevelt today at 4:30 p.m. at El Rancho High School.

Alhambra will continue its tournament run by facing Sunny Hills today at 3 p.m. That game will be also be played at El Rancho.

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High School Football: La Serna’s title hopes dashed by Downey

La Serna’s Gio Long intercepts a pass in the end zone during Saturday’s CIF-SS Southeast Division Championship game against Downey. La Serna lost, 33-25. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

FULLERTON – La Serna High School’s quest for its first CIF-Southern Section title since 1967 will have to wait another year.

Jorge Reyna threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns and Justin Huff ran for 183 and two scores to lead Downey (11-3) to a 33-25 victory over the Lancers in the Southeast Division championship game at Cal State Fullerton.

It was Downey’s first CIF-SS title since 1957.

La Serna (12-2) had a chance to tie it late.

Quarterback Frankie Palmer, who threw for 104 yards, had completions of 16, 18 and 23 yards, the final one to Matthew Rosales to the Downey 10 with 35 seconds left.

But Palmer fumbled the snap and Downey recovered.

La Serna got 137 yards rushing from Gio Long and 79 on the ground from Luke Gonzales. Both players scored second-half touchdowns to give the Lancers a late chance.

Downey took control in the third quarter by scoring on its first two possessions of the second half. Reyna threw 3 yards to Jacob Cook for a 14-13 lead with 9:27 left in the third. He then completed the next drive with a 10-yard run for a 20-13 lead.

Huff made it 27-13 with a 5-yard run with 11:29 left in the game.

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High School Girls Basketball: St. Paul comes up with defensive gem

St. Paul’s Holly Shafer (44) grabs the ball from Whittier Christian’s Megan Kleber during Friday’s game. St. Paul won, 49-16. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

LA HABRA – A strong defense lifted St. Paul High School to a 49-16 victory over Whittier Christian on Friday in a pool-play girls basketball game of the Leon Davis Classic Tournament at Whittier Christian.

The Swordsmen’s defense was especially stingy in the second half as the Heralds scored just four points.

Clarissa Hernandez and Clarissa Perez each scored 10 points to lead St. Paul (3-1), which will play in today’s tournament championship game against Jurupa Valley. That game between the two pool winners is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Whittier Christian.

The Heralds (2-2), who finished third in their pool, will play in today’s fifth-place game at 2:30 p.m.

“It’s a nice win,” St. Paul coach Robert Miller said. “I liked the way we played defense.”

Miller also said of today’s game against Jurupa Valley, “It will be a great test for us but I like our chances.”

After building a 20-12 halftime lead, the Swordsmen took control by outscoring the Heralds 20-2 in the third quarter.

St. Paul, which scored the first 11 points during the quarter, started its run with a free throw by Hernandez, who then increased the Swordsmen’s lead to 23-12 with a basket.

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High School Football: La Serna ready for Downey rematch

La Serna’s Frankie Palmer scrambles for yardage during Friday’s CIF-SS playoff game against West Covina. La Serna won, 35-17. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, SGVN

La Serna High School is four quarters away from its ultimate goal.

A CIF-SS Southeast Division crown is at stake as the Lancers (12-1) face Downey (10-3) in today’s championship game at Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m.

A victory would give La Serna its first CIF-SS football title since 1967. If Downey wins, it would be the Vikings’ first CIF football crown since 1957.

Today’s game marks the second meeting of the season between the teams. On Aug. 31, La Serna defeated Downey 28-27 in week one. It was the regular season’s second game for both schools.

Things have changed considerably since that meeting, according to La Serna coach Margarito Beltran.

“That was a long time ago,” Beltran said. “They’ve gotten better and we’ve gotten better. There’s a sense of similarity because we played against them earlier in the year.

“It’s going to come down to matchups and how our kids play. Downey has some kids who are explosive. They play good football.”

One of those explosive players for the Vikings is sophomore Justin Huff, who has rushed for 2,140 yards and 22 touchdowns. Huff, who ran for 238 yards and three scores in last week’s 35-3 semifinal win over Santa Fe, is averaging 9.8 yards per carry.

Downey coach Jack Williams is thrilled with his team’s championship opportunity.

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