Basketball: La Serna boys gets best of rival Cal, stays in first in Del Rio with Whittier

La Serna High's Jessie Garcia (#2), right, shoots for two vs California High at La Serna's Whittier, Calif. campus gym January 29, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

La Serna High’s Jessie Garcia (#2), right, shoots for two vs California High at La Serna’s Whittier, Calif. campus gym January 29, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)


WHITTIER — Whenever California and La Serna high schools meet, you can almost always throw out their records, in any sport.
Friday night was no exception in boys basketball as the Condors came out flying with a quick start, but host La Serna proved to be too much in the end. The Lancers came away with a 56-46 victory before a packed house at Melvin E. Locke Gymnasium.
La Serna (16-7, 5-1), which entered the game tied with Whittier for first place in the Del Rio League, and Cal (4-19, 0-6) played a typical rivalry game with both fan bases at their best.
Leading the way for La Serna was junior guard Walter Franco with 15 points (seven in the third), followed by Cedric Sobers (14) and Garcia with 13.
La Serna built a 22-12 lead late in the second quarter, ending the half on a 7-3 run.
Abel Ramirez, who scored seven points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer, saw his team fall 16 points behind the Lancers (42-26) heading into the final quarter.
La Serna coach Marino Angulo: “The kids are starting to believe this year that we are an excellent team and are a good defensive team. We’re turning things around and it’s paid off these past three years. You have to respect every team and Cal plays so hard and plays great defense.”
La Serna’s Jessie Garcia: “Finally, in my senior year we beat Cal both times. It is the first time we beat them at home in my three years on varsity. We were still pretty hyped about the win over Whittier (Wednesday) and came out a little flat. But we know the rivalry against Cal and the records don’t matter.”
Cal’s Abel Ramirez: “There’s a lot of kids on the team that have parents that went to Cal and we all grew up playing against (La Serna) when we were younger. We could have done better (Friday) and I wish we could have had the last laugh.”

Whittier 79, Santa Fe 73
Pioneer 64, El Rancho 62
Sonora 58, La Habra 39
Whittier Chr. 52, Village Chr. 44
St. Paul 70, Mary Star 55
La Mirada 35, Norwalk 26

Keppel 65, Montebello 30
La Serna 62, Cal 56
Sonora 72, La Habra 21
Village Chr. 41, Whittier Chr. 27
La Mirada 46, Norwalk 44

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Boys Soccer: St. Paul stays in first with 3-0 win over St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy

By Stephen Ramirez
St. Paul High School was one game short of a Santa Fe League boys soccer title last season.
The Swordsmen’s goal this season has been to make up the gap, and they continued in that quest Friday.
Michael Lara had a goal and two assists and Alexander Corpus scored two goals and host St. Paul stayed in first place with a 3-0 victory over St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy.
The Swordsmen improved to 13-5 overall and 6-0 in league play. They are ranked No. 6 in CIF Southern Section Division 7.
The Warriors slipped to 3-5-2 and 1-3-1.
“Leadership has been a big thing (this year),” St. Paul coach Daniel Alvarez said. “The boys have responded in everything I’ve told them. They really want to win. They are hungry.”
The Swordsmen played that way Friday, and got off to a quick start. Lara got loose down the center and scored from inside the penalty area in the fifth minute for a 1-0 lead.
He added to the advantage in the 38th and 40th minutes. Lara again got free and made a perfect cross pass to a hard-charging Corpus, who tapped it in the open net for a 2-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.
The two combined again two minutes later. Lara got open down the right side and Corpus converted Lara’s cross pass with a shot for a 3-0 lead with about 20 seconds left in the half.
“I saw the opening,” said Lara of the surge that produced the final two goals. “I knew I was faster than the defenders and I just went for it.”
St. Paul was dominant for much of the game, outshooting St. Pius-St. Matthias, 12-1 in the first half and 16-4 for the game.
The win was the Swordsmen’s eighth consecutive victory and their ninth during their past 11 games. They stayed at least one game ahead of St. Anthony, who beat St. Paul for the title last season. The Swordsmen scored a 2-0 win over the Saints two weeks ago.
“We could have won last year,” Lara said. “It was silly mistakes (vs. St. Anthony) that cost us. We came up short last year and this year we just really want it more.”

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Girls Basketball: Cantwell rallies for 47-44 win over St. Monica to move into first-place tie in Camino Real League

Cantwell-Sacred Heart High girls basketball vs St. Monica High at CSHM's Montebello, Calif campus gym January 28, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)

Cantwell-Sacred Heart High girls basketball vs St. Monica High at CSHM’s Montebello, Calif campus gym January 28, 2016. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Whittier Daily News)


MONTEBELLO — Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary knew it had one chance to earn at least a share of the Camino Real League girls basketball title.
The Cardinals made sure they didn’t waste the opportunity on Thursday.
Lily Perkins scored 20 points and had two key baskets during the final 30 seconds as host Cantwell rallied for a 47-44 victory over St. Monica to move into a first-place tie with the Mariners.
Kathy Pinnock had nine points, including two crucial 3-pointers in the final two minutes, for the Cardinals, who improved to 18-6 overall and 4-1 in league play. Molly Tomlin had 12 points for the Mariners, who slipped to 15-6 and 4-1.
St. Monica scored a 47-42 victory over Cantwell earlier in the season. Both teams have three league games left.
It looked bleak twice in the second half for the Cardinals. The Mariners, after outscoring Cantwell 18-6 in the second quarter, held leads of 10 points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth. But each time the Cardinals rallied.
They cut St. Monica’s lead to 41-37 with 2:24 left following a 3-pointer by Valeria Lizarraga and two free throws by Perkins.
Pinnock then drained consecutive 3-pointers to give Cantwell a 43-42 lead with 1:02 left,
St. Monica got the lead right back following a 10-foot turnaround by Gloria Scipioni with 50 seconds remaining.
Cantwell followed with a turnover, but Tomlin was short on a 9-footer in the lane with 28 seconds left.
Perkins then followed with a layup and a 44-43 Cantwell lead with 15 seconds left.
Brianna George missed an inside shot with 10 seconds left before Perkins followed with a layup to clinch it at 47-44 with two seconds left.
Cantwell coach Matt Zamora: “There’s nothing more that I can say about this team other than they are resilient. When we needed it tonight, we got it. It’s a big-time game and a big-time win for this school.”
Cantwell’s Lily Perkins: “It was just our composure. We had our composure the whole game and I think that’s what kept us in it. Kathy’s (3-pointers) got us the momentum. We did good. We played as a team, got a team win. We needed this. This game was a big one. At halftime, we got kind of scared, but we stayed in it.”

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Basketball: La Serna boys rally for 44-43 win over Whittier to move into first-place tie in the Del Rio League

La Serna's Andrew Ramos (42) celebrates their win over Whittier in their Del Rio League boys basketball game on Wednesday January 27, 2016. La Serna defeated Whittier 44-43. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)

La Serna’s Andrew Ramos (42) celebrates their win over Whittier in their Del Rio League boys basketball game on Wednesday January 27, 2016. La Serna defeated Whittier 44-43. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News)


WHITTIER — There will be a title chase during the second half of the Del Rio League boys basketball season after all.
La Serna made sure of it Wednesday.
Jessie Garcia scored 23 points and made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left as the Lancers tied host Whittier for first place after rallying for a 44-43 victory over the Cardinals.
Cedric Sobers also had 10 points for La Serna, which improved to 15-7 and 4-1.
Miguel Salazar and Anthony Rios had 12 points each for Whittier, which slipped to 15-7 and 4-1.
The Cardinals had a chance to win it, but Salazar’s desperation heave from half court fell short at the buzzer.
La Serna, which trailed by 12 points late in the third quarter, rallied to trail, 39-34 after three quarters before coming back from a five-point deficits in the final two minutes. Garcia started the rally with a 3-pointer to cut Whittier’s lead to 43-41 with 1:08 remaining.
Devon Glover then had a steal before making 1 of 2 free throws to get it to 43-42 with 52 seconds left. Salazar, who had just three points in the second half, missed a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left. Garcia then drove the lane and threw up a 10-foot floater that was long. But he was fouled Rios with two seconds left.
He calmly made both for the win.
La Serna’s Jessie Garcia: “We just executed well (down the stretch). We ran our plays. I knew we were going to win. I could see (that Whittier was tentative) in their eyes. Once I saw that in their eyes, I knew we were going to win.”
— Stephen Ramirez

Bishop Montgomery 51, Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary 39
Pioneer 78, Cal 69
El Rancho 60, Santa Fe 59
Troy 67, La Habra 37
Sonora 60, Buena Park 51
St. Paul 55, Bosco Tech 44
Mayfair 74, La Mirada 50

Whittier 55, La Serna 42
Cal 47, Pioneer 34
El Rancho 68, Santa Fe 22
Troy 63, La Habra 26
Sonora 59, Buena Park 23

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Changes coming to all high school playoff formats after CIF Southern Section vote

lh celebration

LONG BEACH >> It’s a new day in the CIF Southern Section.As many expected, Proposal SS522, which is known as the “Playoff Groupings by Competitive Equity” proposal, passed at Wednesday’s CIF-SS council meeting at the Grand in Long Beach.The proposal was approved by a vote of 74-10-1. The voters were made up of representatives from the 88 leagues in the Southern Section, as well as a handful of at-large representatives.School enrollment size will no longer determine playoff divisiod, nor will league placement. Instead, each school in each sport will be evaluated on an annual basis by their performance over the last two years, using regular season record, strength of schedule and playoff performance to determine what division they’ll be placed in starting this for the 20-16-17 season.Power rankings updated each year will determine playoff divisions for each sport. Six different teams in one league could all end up in different divisions if that’s where the power rankings place them.The new proposal will affect every “bracketed” sport in the CIF-SS, including football, volleyball, soccer, basketball and baseball, among others. Not affected would be “meet” championship sports like cross country and track and field.
CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod: “I’ve been saying and I believe that this is as big a change as we’ve made in our history, in a 100 years.”
— Mike Guardabascio

LONG BEACH — Without any debate or conjecture, the CIF-Southern Section passed a historic motion on Wednesday that will drastically alter the way playoff divisions are grouped.Instead of grouping playoff divisions by league, they will now be grouped by teams based on competitive equity beginning with the 2016-17 school year. The motion applies to all sports.This means that teams from the same league could be placed in different playoff divisions depending on their competitive equity rating based on the past two season’s worth of data. Teams will find out their playoff divisions each August and their placement can change annually.The motion passed Wednesday with a vote of 74 to 10, with 1 abstention. As for the local tally, only the Hacienda League voted against it. The Baseline League, which has only one local team in Damien, also voted against it.
West Covina AD Brian Murphy: “I don’t think it’s so much that we weren’t in favor of it. My perspective, and I’m not going to speak for the rest of the schools, is that I think it’s a good idea for all sports, except for football. And I don’t think we know how football is going to play out as far as how they’re going to re-division it and how they’re going to do their rankings. Some of us weren’t comfortable with maybe a second place or third-place team not guaranteed entry into the playoffs depending on how the divisions played out. I’m curious how they’re going to do the rankings and do the divisions. Where does Los Altos get placed? This year they missed the playoffs and two years ago they made the finals. Do they get moved up a division?”
Damien baseball coach Andy Nieto: “I look at it different, doesn’t make it right or wrong. I would welcome the challenge and try to figure out how to compete at that next level.”
— Aram Tolegian

Stephen Ramirez’s take: I like the new plan, which should allow most playoff brackets more balanced than they have been in the past. The only problem I see is a “tweener” program, which can get stuck in a playoff division it’s not competitive in. If it has some success, but not a lot, or is not really bad, it can get stuck. But I like it, because in theory all the divisions in all sports should be competitive. But the really challenge will come when and who sets up the divisions. Let’s hope its not like the now defunct Bowl Championship Series computer. Give it time.

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