About Steve Ramirez

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

All-Area Boys Water Polo: Daniel Arellano led Montebello water polo to CIF-SS title game

MONT WPOLO

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Daniel Arellano
Montebello, senior

The best feeling in the high school water polo world, Daniel Arellano said, is scoring a goal in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 finals.
“You would score a goal, look over at the stands and your teammates and hundreds of people are cheering for you,” the Montebello High School senior said. “It is a really good feeling.”
The sad part for the Oilers’ point man was suffering a 12-8 loss to Laguna Beach in that game.
“It was the first time we had been to the finals in my four years,” he said.
It could have almost been labeled a homecoming of sorts. The Oilers had not been to the finals in five years; but they had made regular appearances in the finals for the previous six seasons. On this team, nearly every starter had played together since all were 6-year olds competing in the City of Commerce water polo program.
“These were guys I grew up with,” Arellano said. “They were my guys. When we came in as freshmen we wanted to win a CIF title. At the end, it did not happen, but we had not been (in the finals) in awhile. It as a great experience.”

– Keith Lair
COACH OF THE YEAR
Luis Flores
Montebello

First team
Ian Hernandez, Montebello, senior
George Mooney, La Serna, junior
Geovanni Morales, Schurr, sophomore
Mario Moran, Montebello, junior
Nicolas Murillo, El Rancho, senior
Mark Naranjo, Montebello, senior
Tim Overbeck, La Serna, sophomore
Second team
Frank Cope, La Habra, senior
James Galindo, El Rancho, senior
John Paul Genie, Whittier, senior
Zach Jenkins, La Serna, freshman
Darin Moore, La Habra, senior
Anthony Najar, El Rancho, senior
Ryan Walty, La Serna, junior

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All-Area Girls Tennis: Whittier Christian’s Christie Wan makes Round of 16 her swan song

WC tennis

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Christie Wan, Whittier Christian, sophomore
Christie Wan is ready to take the next step in her tennis career.
Apparently that will not include high school tennis. The sophomore finished her Whittier Christian High School season reaching the CIF-Southern Section individual tournament’s Round of 16 at the Seal Beach Tennis Center.
“Next year I will most likely not be in high school tennis,” she said. “I will make my decision during the summer. It depends on how good I do the rest of this year and next summer. If I do really well in USTA (tournaments) I will not play in CIF.”
In two years of Olympic League play, Wan has not lost one game. She was eliminated in the sectional tournament last year. She won the sectional title this year and lost to Constance Branstine of Villa Park, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-2 in the Round of 16.
“I could have done better,” Wan said. “I felt that when I lost during the individuals, it was to a girl that I think I should have not lost to. I think I should have won.”
She said she will likely remain as a student at Whittier Christian.

– Keith Lair
COACH OF THE YEAR: Wally Lee, California
FIRST TEAM
Singles

Kallysta Lopez, La Serna, sophomore
Alejandra Vasquez, Santa Fe, senior
Melissa Summers, Whittier Christian, freshman
Doubles
Whittier: Natasha Nerenberg, senior and Raquel Rice, junior
Whittier Christian: Makenna Fuehrer, junior and Katia Diaz, sophomore
California: Celeste Chavez, senior and Xochitl Rodriguez, senior

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ALL-AREA GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY: Whittier’s Sopia Rodriguez rebounded from injury to win league title

whit xc

RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Sophia Rodriguez
Whittier, senior

The 2014 cross country season could have gone to waste for Sophia Rodriguez.
The day before the Woodbridge Invitational in September, the Whittier High School senior was complaining about soreness in her leg. An initial diagnosis was a stress fracture. Three weeks later, it was diagnosed as a strained tendon in her foot.
“I wore a boot for two weeks,” she said. “I thought my season was over. I did everything I could, pool exercises, riding a stationary bike so if I came back I would not so out of shape.”
Rodriguez came back all right. She won the Del Rio League championship at Legg Lake in her first league cluster meet race of the season.
“My last race and I knew I wanted everything,” she said. “I went for it. I was really surprised the El Rancho girls did not stay with me. It was an amazing feeling and I could not believe it. When I finished. I was in shock.”

Coach of the year: Dan Whittington, Whittier
First team
Ruth Blanco, St. Paul, freshman
Stephanie Cortez, California, senior
Alma Colindres, El Rancho, junior
Brenda Dorantes, Whittier, junior
Samantha Huerta, La Mirada, junior
Esmerelda Morales, El Rancho junior
Sophia Sousa, Whittier, sophomore
Second team
Amy Baray, Whittier Christian, freshman
Ilse Cacho, California, senior
Lesley Flores, La Habra, sophomore
Melissa Gutierrez, El Rancho, senior
Sabrina Padilla, Montebello, junior
Catalina Pantoja, Whittier junior
Rochelle Viramontes, Whittier, sophomore

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ALL-AREA BOYS CROSS COUNTRY: Samuel Bautista was consistent for Del Rio champ California

Cal's Sam Bautista is Boys Runner of the Year

Cal’s Sam Bautista is Boys Runner of the Year

RUNNER OF THE YEAR: SAMUEL BAUTISTA, CALIFORNIA, SENIOR
He was Mr. Consistency.
Samuel Bautista ran California High School’s fastest time, for any cross country meet, at the early season Great Cow Invitational. A couple of weeks later he went even faster at the Woodbridge Invitational.
“Even though I have only coached him the last couple of years, he has been the most consistent kid since his freshman year,” California coach Angelica De La Rosa said. “This year was no different. He set his mind to the times he wanted to hit and the things he wanted do with the team. He was there with a very consistent season.”

– Keith Lair

First team
Cisco Cuellar, California, junior
Aleksie Dominguez, St. Paul, senior
Christian Duran, La Serna, senior
Noel Echeverria, California, junior
Brian Ochoa, Whittier, senior
Julian Romero, California, junior
Alex Trejo, California, senior
Second team
Thomas Browning, Schurr, senior
Benny Castillo, California, senior
Andres Falcon, St. Paul, junior
Josua Gutierrez, Schurr, sophomore
Vicente Funes, La Mirada, sophomore
Benjamin Lyzenga, La Habra, senior
Nathan Rangell, Montebello, junior

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Basketball: St. Paul beats Cantwell in battle of the area’s girls top teams; Whittier boys stay hot, advance to El Rancho semifinals

hoop
For the second consecutive night, two of the area’s best met on the basketball court. This time on the girls side, as area No. 2 St. Paul knocked off No. 1 Cantwell, 54-50. On the boys side, Whittier continued with its undefeated season, beating Sunny Hills in an El Rancho tourney quarterfinal.
Here’s Thursday’s results and Friday’s schedule
THURSDAY’S SCORES
BOYS
EL RANCHO TOURNAMENT
Quarterfinals

Ayala 55, Heritage Chr. 36
Whittier 75, Sunny Hills 62
Bonita 71, Washington Prep 49
Marina 71, El Rancho 41
Consolation Quarterfinals
Montebello 85, Baldwin Park 60
Summit 52, St. Paul 40
Schurr 56, Warren 51
Huntington Park def. Alhambra
BEVERLY HILLS TOURNAMENT
Cantwell 67, Santa Monica 64
GIRLS
GLENN-NORWALK TOURNAMENT

St. Paul 54, Cantwell 50
Downey 37, Whittier 24
Santa Fe 51, Valley Chr. 24
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN TOURNAMENT
St. Joseph 71, Mary Star 31
Whittier Chr. 55, Rolling Hills Prep 14
FOUNTAIN VALLEY TOURNAMENT
Schurr 44, San Juan Hills 36
CLAREMONT TOURNAMENT
La Mirada 41, Ontario Chr. 26
NONLEAGUE
Bishop Conaty-Loretto 33, Pioneer 27
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE
BOYS
EL RANCHO TOURNAMENT
SEMIFINALS

Ayala vs. Whittier, 6 p.m.
Marina vs. Bonita, 7:30 pm.
Fifth-place Semifinals
Heritage Chr. vs. Sunny Hills, 3 p.m.
Washington Prep vs. El Rancho, 4:30 p.m.
Consolation Semifinals
Montebello vs. Summit, 6 p.m.
Schurr vs. Huntington Park, 7:30 p.m.
13th-place Semifinals
Baldwin Park vs. St. Paul, 3 p.m.
Warren vs. Alhambra, 4:30 p.m.
CORONA DEL MAR TOURNAMENT
California vs. Culver City, 4 p.m.
VALLEY CHRISTIAN TOURNAMENT
Whittier Christian vs. Flintridge Prep, 8 p.m.
NONLEAGUE
Woodbridge at Sonora, 7 p.m.
GIRLS
WHITTIER CHR. TOURNAMENT

Rolling Hills Prep vs. Mary Star, 3 p.m.
Rowland vs. La Habra, 4:30 p.m.
San Gabriel vs. Los Altos, 6 p.m.
Whittier Chr. vs. St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m.
GLENN-NORWALK TOURNAMENT
St. Paul vs. Downey, 8 p.m.
Whittier vs. Cantwell, 5 p.m.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY TOURNAMENT
Schurr vs. Western, 4:30 p.m.
NONLEAGUE
El Monte at Montebello, 4:45 p.m.
Woodbridge at Sonora, 5:30 p.m.

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Basketball: Sonora outlasts La Mirada in a battle of top teams; Whittier improves to 6-0, wins El Rancho Tourney opener


By Stephen Ramirez
LA MIRADA >> There’s usually not a lot of emphasis on winning for high school boys basketball teams during December, which is often reserved for learning and improving.
Wednesday was the exception.
Christian Rhodes scored a game-high 24 points to lead visiting Sonora to a 53-51 victory over region rival La Mirada in a nonleague game that featured the Nos. 2- and 3-ranked teams by the Whittier Daily News.
Josh Rodriguez had 17 points for the Raiders (4-1). Kendall Lauderdale had 15 points and Anthony Newman and Vittorio Reynoso-Avila 13 each for the Matadores (4-1).
La Mirada, which trailed by as many as 13 points during the second half, had a chance to win it at the end. But Rendwick Helaire’s 3-pointer was short with three seconds left. Lauderale forced a jump ball with one second left on the rebound, But the possession went to Sonora, clinching it.
“These guys are our rivals,” Rhodes said. “Their fans had been talking some trash, and we didn’t say anything. But it feels good to beat them after everyone doubted us.”


WEDNESDAY’S SCORES
EL RANCHO TOURNAMENT
First Round

Ayala 63, Baldwin Park 47
Heritage Christian 51, Montebello 43
Sunny Hills 60, St. Paul 59
Whittier 68, Summit 64, OT
Bonita 65, Warren 36
Schurr vs. Washington Prep
Marina 62, Alhambra 57
El Rancho vs. Huntington Park
Beverly Hills Tournament
Westchester 47, Cantwell 45
Corona del Mar Tournament
Edison 64, California 49
Artesia Tournament
Palm Springs 62, La Serna 37
THURSDAY
Quarterfinals

Ayala vs. Heritage Chr., 3 p.m.
Sunny Hills vs. Whittier, 4:30 p.m.
Schurr-Wash. Prep winner vs. Bonita, 6 p.m.
El Rancho-Hunt. Park winner vs. Marina, 7:30 p.m.
Consolation Quarterfinals
Baldwin Park vs. Montebello, 3 p.m.
St. Paul vs. Summit, 4:30 p.m.
Warren vs. Schurr-Wash. Prep loser, 6 p.m.
Alhambra vs. El Rancho vs. Hunt. Park loser, 7:30 p.m.
Beverly Hills Tournament
Cantwell vs. Santa Monica, 6 p.m.
GIRLS
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN LEON DAVIS CLASSIC
Wednesday

San Gabriel 58, La Habra 57
Thursday
Mary Star vs. St. Joseph, 6 p.m.
Rolling Hills Prep vs. Whittier Chr., 7:30 p.m.

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Basketball: El Rancho boys, Whittier Christian tournaments take center stage

Schurr will be one of the 16 teams in the El Rancho Blue Pride Classic

Schurr will be one of the 16 teams in the El Rancho Blue Pride Classic

The tournament basketball schedule is kicking into high gear this week, with El Rancho hostings it’s annual boys Blue Pride Classic and Whittier Christian hosting the girls Leon Davis Classic.
The El Rancho tournament is a traditional bracket format, with Whittier Christian using pool play.
Here is the schedule:
EL RANCHO’S BLUE PRIDE CLASSIC (Runs Wednesday-Saturday)
First Round
Wednesday
New Gym

Baldwin Park vs. Ayala, 3 p.m.
Montebello vs. Heritage Chr., 4:30 p.m.
St. Paul vs. Sunny Hills, 6 p.m
Whittier vs. Summit, 7:30 p.m.
Main Gym
Warren vs. Bonita, 3 p.m.
Schurr vs. Washington Prep, 4:30 p.m.
Alhambra vs. Marina, 6 p.m.
El Rancho vs. Huntington Park.
WHITTIER CHRISTIAN LEON DAVIS CLASSIC (Runs today through Saturday)
POOL A: La Habra, Los Altos, Rowland, San Gabriel
POOL B: Whittier Chr., Mary Star, St. Joseph, Rolling Hills Prep
Today
San Gabriel vs. Rowland, 6 p.m.
La Habra vs. Los Altos, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday
St. Joseph vs. Rolling Hills Prep, 6 p.m.
Whittier Chr. vs. Mary Star, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday
Los Altos vs. Rowland, 6 p.m.
La Habra vs. San Gabriel, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday
Mary Star vs. St. Joseph, 6 p.m.
Rolling Hills Prep vs. Whittier Chr., 7:30 p.m.
Friday
Rolling Hills Prep vs. Mary Star, 3 p.m.
Rowland vs. La Habra, 4:30 p.m.
San Gabriel vs. Los Altos, 6 p.m.
Whittier Chr. vs. St. Joseph, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday
Pool A4 vs. Pool B4, 1:30 p.m.
Pool A3 vs. Pool B3, 3 p.m.
Pool A2 vs. Pool B2 (3rd place), 4:30 p.m.
Pool A1 vs. Pool Ba (Championship), 6 p.m.
Today
San Gabriel vs.

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Basketball: Cantwell boys beat Alemany to advance to Maranatha Tourney semis; girls drop 54-51 heartbreaker to South Torrance in Downey Tourney title game

It was both good news and bad news for the Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary basketball teams. The boys, arguably the top team in all of SGVNland, beat Alemany, 64-52 to advance to the Maranatha Rose City Classic semifinals. The girls weren’t as fortunate as Jaryn Fajardo hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to give South Torrance a 54-51 victory over the Cardinals in the Downey Tournament championship game.
Here’s a recap of both games:

BOYS
Cantwell 64, Alemany 52

Division I signees Gligorije Rakocevic and Balsa Dragovic combined on 22 rebounds, with Rakocevic scoring 13 points as the Cardinals advanced to the Rose City Classic semifinals.
Cantwell will face host Maranatha at 8 p.m. on Friday. The Minutemen beat Oak Park, 60-53.
GIRLS
South Torrance 54, Cantwell 51

Jaryn Fajardo hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to lead South Torrance to a 54-51 victory over the Cardinals in the championship game of the Downey High School girls basketball tournament.
Kasey Takahashi scored a game-high 20 points and Fajardo had 16 to lead South, which improved to 4-0. Cantwell, which overcame a double-digit lead in the first half, received 19 points from Lily Perkins and 13 from Vanessa Espinosa, slipped to 3-1.
“Turnovers really hurt us,” Cantwell coach Matt Zamora said. “We were able to overcome it, but sometimes when you get down too soon, it’s hard to get out of it.
“But we gave a great effort in the second half.”
OTHER SCORES
BOYS
Bosco Tech Tournament

Whittier 73, Bosco Tech 71
Pioneer 75, South Hills 53
Buena Park Tournament
Whittier Chr. 64, Magnolia 26
GIRLS
La Habra Tournament

Burroughs 40, Whittier Chr. 18
Crescenta Valley Tournament
La Canada 47, Whittier 28
South El Monte Tournament
Riverside King 68, La Serna 20
El Rancho 61, Los Osos 48
Bishop Conaty-Loretto 39, Pioneer 37
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE
BOYS
Buena Park Tournament

California vs. Tesoro, 7:30 p.m.
La Habra vs. Valencia, 6 p.m.
Crean Tournament
St. Paul vs. Santa Fe Christian, 5 p.m.
Bosco Tech Tournament
Pioneer vs. Artesia, 6 p.m.
Whittier vs. Diamond Bar, 7:30 p.m.
Mission Viejo Tournament
La Mirada vs. La Costa Canyon, 7:30 p.m.
GIRLS
Crescenta Valley Tournament

Whittier vs. Lancaster, 5 p.m.

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Cantwell beats Renaissance in opener

cantwell mar
By Stephen Ramirez
PASADENA >> Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary boys basketball coach George Zedan said before the season that the first month would be a learning experience that would feature ups and downs.
Tuesday was one of the good moments.
Jacob Davidson scored 13 points and Balsa Dragovic had 11 to lead Cantwell to a 53-46 victory over Renaissance Academy in the first round of the 11th Rose City Roundball Classic at Maranatha High School.
The Cardinals (1-0), who advanced to the CIF State Division IV regional finals last season, also got 10 points from Antonio Cortez and eight from Gligorije Rakocevic. They advanced to face Alemany, a 63-51 winner over Cajon, in Thursday’s quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m.
Marquise Mosley had 25 points to lead the Wildcats (0-1), who will face Cajon in the consolation bracket at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“I was really pleased with our effort against a very good team,” Zedan said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, and we turned it over a ton. But overall, I was very happy with the win, especially with Renaissance being a very good team.”

OTHER SCORES
BOYS

Bosco Tech Tournament
Whittier 98, Serrano 63
Buena Park Tournament
Santa Fe 60, Magnolia 47
Northwood 61, Whittier Chr. 49
Diablo Inferno Tournament
Sonora 75, Esperanza 63
GIRLS
Downey Tournament

Cantwell 50, Kennedy 42
La Habra Tournament
La Habra 49, San Dimas 21

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