About Steve Ramirez

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

Boys Basketball: Sonora completes impressive run to Freeway League title; defeats Buena Park, 56-40

Sonora's Sean Murphy (0) is raised up as they chant "MVP" after they play Buena Park in their Freeway League game at Sonora High School in La Habra on Thursday February 11, 2016. Sonora defeated Buena Park 56-40. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

Sonora’s Sean Murphy (0) is raised up as they chant “MVP” after they play Buena Park in their Freeway League game at Sonora High School in La Habra on Thursday February 11, 2016. Sonora defeated Buena Park 56-40. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)


LA HABRA — Sonora High School recent history includes one CIF Southern Section boys basketball title and two trips to the divisional finals.But the Raiders’ road to their fourth consecutive Freeway League title might be their best accomplishment of all.Sonora, given up for dead after back-to-back league losses in January, completed its unbelievable run to the title with a 56-40 victory over visiting Buena Park on Thursday.
Sean Murphy scored 21 points off the bench as the Raiders improved to 19-9 overall and 8-2 in league play. Kevin Marlow also had 17 points and Bryce Rutledge 11 for Sonora, which closed the league season with seven consecutive wins. It’s their fifth league title since 2011.
Joe Galvan had 13 points for Buena Park, which slipped to 20-7 and 7-3.
The key to the win was Murphy, who scored 21 points in the second half and was 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, including three during a big stretch that turned a close game into a 51-40 lead for Sonora with 2:37 to play.
Rutledge scored on a five-footer in the lane for a 42-38 lead before Murphy took over. He nailed a 3-pointer at 3:47 for a 45-38 advantage, then hit two more for the 11-point lead with just under three minutes to play.
Sonora coach Mike Murphy: “I’m just so proud of our guys. After we lost those two games, I told them we have to sweep, we have to run the table. We had to win seven in a row, and we did. We just kept getting better every game. None of these guys started last year, they were in the shadow. This was so impressive.”
Sonora’s Sean Muprhy: “I didn’t shoot well in practice. I didn’t have a great shooting year so far. I kept at it, and it went our way. It’s a great feeling.”
— Stephen Ramirez

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Basketball: Schurr can’t hold off Keppel; loses 64-61

This time around, Mark Keppel and Schurr didn’t make it such a defensive game in their last meeting of the Almont League regular season.Nelson Muronaka scored a game-high 27 points to lead Keppel to a 64-61 win. In their first meeting this season, the teams combined for 55 points.
“(Muronaka’s) our best player all year. We feed off of him (and) he’s been carrying us throughout these league games,” Keppel coach Hung Duong said. “Today, we were just trying to stay close and hopefully execute and play some defense and sneak one out. It’s never easy coming in here.”
Todd Kitagawa added 16 points and Brandon Hamaguchi scored nine in the second half for Keppel. Pablo Lopez and Kyle Mangubat led Schurr with 13 points.
— Vincent Nguyen

Alhambra 61, Montebello 32
Sonora 45, Fullerton 36
Sunny Hills 39, La Habra 36
Maranatha 61, Whittier Christian 50
La Mirada 71, Bellflower 53

Montebello 54, Alhambra 14
Keppel 67, Schurr 53
St. Anthony 69, St. Paul 58
Sonora 64, Fullerton 12
La Habra 53, Sunny Hills 26
Whittier Christian 39, Maranatha 28
La Mirada 39, Bellflower 36

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Soccer: La Mirada clinches Suburban League title with 3-0 win over Bellflower

La Mirada High's Maddie Bennett (#4) breaks away to score vs Bellflower High at the La Mirada, Calif. campus field Feb. 9, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

La Mirada High’s Maddie Bennett (#4) breaks away to score vs Bellflower High at the La Mirada, Calif. campus field Feb. 9, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)


LA MIRADA — La Mirada High School’s slow start to the Suburban League girls soccer season, which included two draws in its first three games, is now a distant memory.
Nina Powers, Natalie Day and Maddie Bennett each scored a goal as the host Matadores clinched its fourth consecutive league title Tuesday with a 3-0 win over second-place Bellflower.
La Mirada, which hasn’t lost a league game since 2012, improved to 14-4-4 overall and 9-0-2 in league play. The Matadores are ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division 4. Maria Becerra had six saves for the Buccaneers, who slipped to 7-2-2.
La Mirada, which has won eight consecutive games since back-to-back draws to Mayfair and Bellflower in January, took control early. Powers gathered in a loose ball just inside the penalty area and put it to the right of Becerra for a 1-0 lead in the first minute.
The Matadores pushed their lead to 2-0 in the 38th minute. Day, following a checking foul, made a perfect free kick that eluded Becerra in the top left corner of the goal.
La Mirada’s Natalie Day: “It’s a really big deal. Coming back from last (season’s CIF-SS championship), we definitely had high expectations. I think we came back (from earlier in the season) and have done real well. We’ve been working real hard, so we deserve it.”
Bellflower coach Justin Schroeder: “We gave up a goal in the first five (of the game), the last five (of the first half) and the last five (of the second half). I think if we didn’t give up those early and late goals, it could have been a different game, I don’t know. But that (first goal) was huge. Playing behind against La Mirada is a tough task to come back.”
— Stephen Ramirez


BELLFLOWER >> Bellflower might be the hottest boys soccer team in the CIF Southern Section right now after the Buccaneers won their eighth straight game on Tuesday in dominant fashion, 5-0, over visiting La Mirada.
The victory means Bellflower (16-4-1, 9-2-0), currently ranked No. 4 in Division 4, can clinch the Suburban League title with a win over Mayfair at home on Thursday. La Mirada (11-8-3, 7-4-0) fell behind second-place Artesia.
“I feel like this team really just started playing three or four games ago,” Bellflower head coach Brad Norman said. His team won the CIF-SS Division 4 championship last season after finishing third in the Suburban League.
— JJ Fiddler

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Boys Basketball: St. Genevieve shocks St. Paul, 59-57

Alan Santiago of St. Paul drives by St. Genevieve defender Marcel Burton during their Santa Fe League game.  PHOTO BY CHRIS BURT

Alan Santiago of St. Paul drives by St. Genevieve defender Marcel Burton during their Santa Fe League game.


SANTA FE SPRINGS — St. Paul High School will likely win its first boys basketball league title since 2009. But not the way the Swordsmen were hoping.Brandon Bolosky scored 17 points and made three free throws with 1.6 seconds left to play as St. Genevieve put itself in a position to share the Santa Fe League crown with St. Paul after scoring a 59-57 victory over the host Swordsmen on Monday.
DJ Walker had 23 points for the Valiants, who improved to 15-12 overall and 8-1 in league play. Louis Bangai scored 22 points and Jaylen Ballou had 21 for St. Paul, which slipped to 18-5 and 8-1.
The Swordsmen missed two free throws in the 21 seconds that could have clinched the game. Christian DeSilva missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.
St. Paul, after trailing 29-27 at halftime and most of the first two quarters, looked like it might secure the title after outscoring St. Genevieve 18-14 in the third quarter and 6-2 to begin the fourth for a 51-46 advantage.
But the Valiants wouldn’t go away.
Luis Escobar scored on a layup at 4:58 to cut it to 51-48 before Bolosky nailed a 3-pointer to tie it at 51 with 4:31 left. Bangai made one of two free throws for a 55-54 lead with 2:55 left, and after Walker gave St. Genevieve the lead back, he dropped in a layup for a 57-56 advantage with 1:32 left.
Both sides then missed layups with less than 40 seconds to play before Bangai and Ballou missed free throws with 21 and five seconds left.
Bolosky, after Ballou’s miss, got the ball running before half-court and threw up a desperation 3-pointer from about 40 feet that was long. But he was fouled, and made all three free throws for the 59-57 lead with 1.6 seconds left to win it.
St. Paul coach Damaine Powell: “They’re a good team, very well-coached. We missed two free throws that would have sealed the game; we missed a wide-open layup that would have sealed the game, and then we had a really dumb foul (at the end of the game). That’s four mistakes in 15 seconds. You’re not going to beat good team playing like that. It’s unfortunate. We just have to pick up the pieces and move on.”

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Girls Wrestling: West Covina, Northview dominate regionals; area sends 93 to CIF-SS championships

The CIF Southern Section Central Divison girls wrestling regional was a battle between West Covina and Northview, with the Bulldogs edging the Vikings.
West Covina scored four individual titles, with Northing getting three. The Valley scored 10 of the 14 titles, with Walnut, Gabrielino and Baldwin Park all getting one champion each.
The winners for West Covina were Grecia Monasterio (111), Jennifer Lopez (116), Yvette Garcia (160) and Janessa Munoz (235). Northview’s champs were Alyssa Martinez (101), Haven Driscoll (106) and Julia Padilla (131).
The area’s other winners were Walnut’s Mia Dow (121), Baldwin Park’s McKayla Loza (189) and Gabrielino’s Jasmine Monroe (143).
The top eight qualifiers advance to next week’s CIF-SS championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Roosevelt High School in Eastvale.


1. Alyssa Martinez (Northview); 2. Justine Barredo (Walnut); 3. Trina Nguyen (Diamond Ranch); 5. Grace Padilla (Rowland); 6. Alicia Barrera (Sierra Vista); 8. Amairani Villa (Nogales).
1. Haven Driscoll (Northview); 2. Victoria Orozco (Sierra Vista); 3. Brianne Penunuri (El Monte); 3. Cassidy Do (Gabrielino); 5. Claire Garcia (San Marino); 7. Samantha Ma (Baldwin Park).
1. Grecia Monasterio (West Covina); 2. Victoria Gutierrez (San Dimas); 3. Lauren Cuellar (Walnut), 5. Krystal Velazquez (Sierra Vista); 5. Cristal Reyes (El Monte), 7. Steph Mondragon (Rosemead), 7. Alejandra Maldonado (Schurr).
1. Jennifer Lopez (West Covina), 2. Tiffany Juarez (Diamond Ranch), 3. Jeselle Corpus (Walnut), 3. Hannah Macias (South El Monte), 5. Julia Hooper (Northview), 8. Bianca Arenas (San Dimas).
1. Mia Dow (Walnut), 2. Sarah Zaragoza (Schurr), 4. Ana Maria Hidalgo (Northview), 5. Yessenia Deangel (El Monte), 7. Mary Tuite (Monrovia), 8. Briana Santos (Nogales).
3. Clarissa Gaeta (West Covina), 4. Brianna Vilchis (Sierra Vista), 5. Casey Youn (Arroyo), 6. Jennifer Garcia (El Monte), 7. Melissa Sanchez (Walnut), 8. Alondra May (Rosemead).
1. Julia Padilla (Northview), 2. Kelly Jimenez (Rowland), 3. Sarah Arellano (Walnut), 5. Amanda Calvanico (San Dimas), 6. Marissa Arechiga (Santa Fe), 8. Bobbie Devery (Baldwin Park).
3. Alyssa Gomez (Walnut), 4. Nelly Mendoza (El Monte), 5. Denae Rojas (Whittier), 6. Rosie Bolanos (Bassett), 7. Jackie Alzate (West Covina), 8. Angelica Garcia (Northview).
1. Jasmine Monroe (Gabrielino), 2. Mia Leon (Northview), 3. Natalie Romero (Bonita), 4. Roxanna Barragon (California), 5. Valerie Alacron (Bassett), 6. Alex Garcia (El Monte), 7. Maricela Ramos (Walnut), 8. Mercedes Gamboa (Arroyo).
2. Mariah Ramirez (Walnut), 3. Deidra Valles (Northview), 5. Valerie Clark (Bassett), 6. Marleen Hernandez (Diamond Ranch), 7. Aylin Garcia (Arroyo), 8. Chasity Cortez (Rowland).
1. Yvette Garcia (West Covina), 2. Alyssa Palmer (Bonita), 3. Brianna Harrison (Walnut), 4. Jaylene Tiki Jaime (San Dimas), 5. Skye-Lynn Bojorquez (San Gabriel), 6. Carissa Clark (Bassett), 7. Anisa Garcia (Northview).
2. Serena Carillo (Northview), 3. Makayla Hernandez (Baldwin Park), 4. Sophie Garcia ( La Canada), 5. Breanna Estrada (El Monte), 6. Natalia Puig-Falcon (Walnut), 8. Andrea Montes (Azusa).
1. McKayla Loza (Baldwin Park), 2. Kayli Carruthers (San Dimas), 3. Talia Schroeder (Northview), 4. Angelica Avila (Azusa), 5. Jezabel Diaz (Gabrielino), 6. Adzareli Ramirez (El Monte), 7. Cheyenne Garcia (La Canada).
1. Janessa Munoz (West Covina), 2. Briena Lopez (El Monte), 4. Miranda Marquez (Northview), 5. Alyssa Sanchez (Baldwin Park), 6. Kayla Villaescusa (South Hills), 7. Allison Zamorano (California), 8. Veronica Hernandez (South El Monte).

7. Savannah Meave (Bishop Amat)
4. Gillian Almanza (Bishop Amat)
4. Vivianna Garcia-Reveles (Bishop Amat)

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