Socal HS Update
May 22, 2012By Leroy White of West Coast Hoops
Finding motivation for Monday's USA Basketball U18 national team tryout wasn't hard for St. Anthony High's Kendall Cooper.
"I didn't want to be told `no' again," Cooper said Monday afternoon, just hours after she had been selected to join the national squad that will compete in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Puerto Rico in August.
Cooper, who is only 16, was told Sunday she hadn't made the U17 team she had originally tried out for at the trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 6-foot-3 senior-to-be, however, was one of just a few U17 hopefuls who were asked to stay for the U18 trials as well.
Cooper decided to stay, and impressed head coach Katie Meier and her staff enough with her interior play to make the team of older, more experienced players.
"I stayed focused throughout the sessions," said Cooper, who in the past has tried to play outside her skill set. "I just did what I know I can do and what people know I can do."
St. Anthony coach James Anderson called Cooper's selection "a huge honor."
"I think there was a reason for it," Anderson said. "It was a situation where a window was closed but a door was opened."
Cooper is the only 16-year-old on the 12-player roster, which includes signees from Connecticut, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas and Baylor. She will celebrate her 17th birthday during the tournament.
Cooper will join the rest of the team over Memorial Day weekend for a short
training camp in Orlando, Fla. A longer camp will be held in Colorado Springs in early August as the team prepares for the eight-team tournament, which will be played Aug. 15-19 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.
The top three finishers in August will secure berths into the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Lithuania.
- David Felton
SGVL still kickin'
While the Moore and Suburban leagues went a combined 0 for 8 last week in the CIF Southern Section baseball playoffs, the San Gabriel Valley League has all four representatives still standing.
Warren (18-9), in fact, won a wild-card game Tuesday at West Covina 7-5 and then took out Garden Grove League champions Rancho Alamitos 5-1.
The Bears finally get a home game when they host Lancaster (16-10) today at 3:15 p.m.
Johnathan Molina (6-3) will get the start for Warren against a Golden Baseball League championship team that has scored 269 runs in 26 games.
Daniel Roman (.409), Aaron Chavez (.400), Matt Barela (.375), Brandon Volpe (.343), Daniel Dominguez (.313) and Rey Sanchez (.303) have been keys for a Warren team that was in the pennant chase from the first pitch.
"We're not doing anything fancy, we just have a bunch of kids who work their butts off and do whatever we ask of them to give us a chance to win each time we take the field," coach Carl Chavez said.
Downey (15-12) beat Santa Monica 5-1 behind a strong effort from ace and SGVL Pitcher of the Year David Espindola, who improved to 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA.
The Vikings have won 12 of their last 13 games and will travel to Hacienda Heights today to take on Los Altos (19-9).
Anthony Cortez has led Downey with a .407 average and 35 hits. He's scored 14 runs and has four wins and a 2.16 ERA on the mound for coach Jess Gonzales.
Jordan Ybarra (.302), Erick Parra (.296), Alex Rodriguez (.284) and Yamel Delgado (.278) have been coming on for what Downey hopes is a deep playoff run.
"We don't want to do anything differently than we've been doing, which is getting good pitching, timely hitting and doing all the small things it takes to win ballgames," Gonzales said.
Paramount (18-9) hosts Ocean League champion Culver City (20-8) today after taking out Del Rio League champion California 4-2 last Friday.
Alex Navarette, Ulices Moreno, Giovanni Reyes, Steven Espinoza and closer Frankie Valenzuela have guided the SGVL's most stingy pitching staff, having surrendered a league-low 59 runs in 27 games.
Jesus Caporal, Aaron Pleitez, Lalo Saucedo, Randy Buenrostro, Fernando Rios, Eric Cruz and Jose Ruiz have been key offensively for reigning Dream Team Coach of the Year Cameron Chinn.
"Our starting pitching has kept us in every game and gave our bullpen the ability to hold a lead," Chinn said. "Ulices and Frankie both came in for what would be called pressure situations, but acted with poise and confidence. Both runs were unearned (last Friday) due to unfortunate bounces and tough throws, but our defense did come through when we needed them."
Gahr (17-10) is headed to Elsinore (21-5) today, and will employ a pitching-by-committee strategy as the Gladiators look at the big picture for the playoffs.
Junior lefty Andrew Encinas (6-5, 0.83 ERA) has been the backbone of the Gladiators' staff and went seven strong innings Friday to get the win. He could be used for a few innings in each of the next couple games as coach Gerardo Perez looks forward to a possible quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Bonita.
Rich Rios, George Castillo and Paul Versteeg each have at least three wins for the Gladiators.
Sophomore Jaime Estrada (.443, 31 hits, 26 RBIs) and KJ Franklin (.395, 32 hits, 24 RBIs and an area-best seven home runs) were this year's SGVL Co-MVPs, but Perez said Edgar Morales (.438, 35 hits, 19 RBIs) has been as consistent as anyone on his roster.
"We are obviously taking each game as it comes and pitch by pitch, but we also have to look at the big picture with our pitching and we think going by committee gives us the best chance to get deep," Perez said. "We feel really good about where we are as a team both mentally and physically and are excited to get back out on the field (Tuesday)."
Humbert is Suburban MVP
Going 22-5 and running the Suburban League slate unscathed has its privileges.
Junior pitcher-catcher-infielder Greg Humbert has unseated high-profile Arizona State-bound teammate Jordan Aboites as the Suburban League MVP.
Humbert, who throws right-handed and bats left, hit league-bests .451 with 38 hits, and was tied for an area best with Poly's Chris Castellanos, Los Al's Jacob Nix and Downey's David Espindola with eight wins and had an ERA of 1.50.
Aboites hit .372 with 32 hits, 19 RBIs and pitched consecutive shutouts in must-wins against Bellflower and La Mirada in consecutive weeks to wrap up the school's first undefeated league championship since the early 1960s.
Bryant leaves for Poly
Cabrillo baseball coach Erick Bryant decided to tender his resignation and join head coach Toby Hess and assistant Mark Clabough at Poly to make up one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the area.
Bryant, the ace of the Jackrabbits' 1985 Moore League co-championship team, would routinely get three or so players to show up at practice and yet his passion and dedication toward the players that showed up never wavered.
"I was treated very well by the school and its administration and have nothing bad to say about it," Bryant said. "It was frustrating that I didn't get kids all year like all the solid programs do and that not many come out for baseball, but I enjoyed my time and built some very important relationships. But I'm thrilled to join Toby's program and come back home to Poly."
For his part, Hess is just as excited.
"We're going to have the experience of three head coaches on my staff and each of us brings something different to the table that makes this a very unique situation," Hess said. "I am thrilled to have Erick come back home where he led the program to a very high level in his playing days."
With that news, Cabrillo is accepting applications for its head baseball coaching position. According to Jags AD Rick Lamprecht, it is a walk-on position, with no teaching job available. Interested parties can send resumes to Lamprecht at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the school at address, 2001 Santa Fe Ave., Long Beach, CA 90810.
- Brian Reed-Baiotto
Rams face familiar foe
The CIF-SS Division III softball playoffs have worked out well for Millikan High.
The Rams, the third-place team from the Moore League, went on the road to defeat Sea View League champ San Clemente 3-1 last week. They will play host to Oxnard in the second round today at 3:15 p.m.
This week, the Rams (23-8) are home against the Yellowjackets (16-11), who knocked them out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals last season, 8-0.
Harper said he feels Millikan has a much better chance against Oxnard, which topped Cerritos 2-1 in the first round, this time around.
"The best thing is that we don't have to go to Oxnard," Harper joked. "Oxnard is a good team. We haven't played them this year, but we are familiar with them. They are not an unknown entity. Maybe half of their kids were with them last year. We know their pitcher (Alexis Edwards, who is 12-6 with a 1.30 ERA) and will prepare for her.
"I really don't think (last year's) score was indicative of the game. ... I think we are a much better team this year. I think if we can keep it close, we can beat them."
The Rams are hoping that Oxnard, because of last year's win, comes in a little overconfident.
"I hope they overlook us," Harper said. "I think we can play with anybody we play."
The key for Millikan will be the continued solid pitching from Megan Liter (11-5, 2.59 ERA) and the re-emergence of his big hitters, first baseman Liz Snow (.406, 33 RBIs, 5 homers) and third baseman Eris Perez (.322, 21 RBIs), who have been off of late.
"We need to get a couple of our big kids hitting," said Harper, whose team is hitting .377 as a whole. "That's not something we are doing like we did last year. We're not hitting on all cylinders right now."
Wake up, Lakewood
In the first round, Lakewood got a reminder just how tough the CIF playoffs are - the No. 3 seed Lancers edged Dana Hills 4-3 in eight innings.
Coach Andy Miramontes hoped that will help his Lancers (26-5) focus for today's Division II second-round game at Canyon Springs (15-8).
"We are in the playoffs now," he said. "Everyone wants to beat us and move forward. I hope last game was a wake-up call. It's the playoffs and anything can happen. I hope they take what happened in the last game and use it to their advantage. We lacked urgency. We've drilled that into the last few days. Hopefully, they put it together tomorrow and the rest of the playoffs."
The Lancers have a talented roster that could make a deep run in the playoffs. It was the same way last year, when Lakewood was bounced in the second round.
"Those players (from last year) should have definitely learned from the mistakes," Miramontes said. "Anybody can get beat."
Lakewood has one of the best hitting teams around, but capitalizing on all the hits has been a bit of an Achilles' heel. It's cost the Lancers a couple of games this year and almost did again last week against Dana Hills.
"You gotta cash them in," Miramontes said.
Tryouts for the Long Beach Prep team that plays in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League will be held May29 at Glacial Gardens Ice Arena at 6:10p.m. The tryout fee is $25.
The team is open for all high school-age players in the Long Beach Unified School District, along with St. Anthony High.
In its first season, Long Beach, under the guidance of coach Rob O'Rourke, finished the season as the league's runner-up. It will look to win the title this time around.
For more information on the team or tryouts, contact team manager Cheryl Stanovich at email@example.com.
- Dave Werstine
Second chance for Bears
It's one thing for a team to lose in a CIF-SS championship match. It's another for a team to lose when not playing its best.
That's why the Warren High boys volleyball team is looking forward to the opportunity of playing in the Southern California Regionals, even though it will have to toil in Division I after playing in Division III in the Southern Section playoffs.
The Bears were the top seed in the Division III sectional and Saturday were defeated 3-1 by No. 2 seed South Torrance, a team Warren had beaten in the Redondo Power Classic in April. Tonight at 7, the Bears will play at Clovis Buchanan (near Fresno) in the first round of the regional tournament.
Warren coach Brad Simons on Monday said his players are eager to get back on the court.
"I think the boys see the missed opportunity from Saturday and they kind of saw how maybe they came in tight and never rebounded from it," Simons said. "I have chatted with a few of them today and they seem excited to have another challenge, maybe another chance to at the very least finish the season playing more like we had been against good competition."
Buchanan (36-5), also nicknamed Bears, on Friday won a Central Section championship, coming from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Clovis West 3-2. Buchanan is led by senior setter Jon Ferrari, senior outside hitter Tim Moses and sophomore libero Aaron Samarin.
Warren has been led by, among others, senior outside hitter Nick Alvarez and senior opposite Dean Kendall.
If Warren (31-4) - seeded sixth in the regional - should emerge victorious over third-seeded Buchanan, it would play either No. 2 seed Loyola or No. 7 seed Poway on Thursday in the semifinals. The regional title match will be contested Saturday at Irvine Valley College at 7:30 p.m.
Warren was defeated 2-0 by Loyola in the Redondo Power Classic. Those scores were 25-22, 25-20. The Cubs lost to Mira Costa on Saturday in the Division I Southern Section title match.
VC's Palmer signs
Cassie Palmer played three years of varsity volleyball at Valley Christian, and it paid off as she has signed a letter of intent to attend Molloy College in New York on a volleyball scholarship.
Palmer, an outside hitter, helped the Crusaders to a third-place finish in the Olympic League and a trip to the CIF-SS Division II-A playoffs.
Palmer was selected second-team all-league.
- Robert Morales
Poly sophomore Ariana Washington leaped into the all-time area leaders list in the 100 and 200 meters with her breakthrough victories in 11.45 and 23.52 seconds in the Southern Section Division I championships at Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday.
Washington's times in the 100 and the 200 were the best by an area runner since 2005, the fastest in the state this season and No. 2 nationally.
In the 100, Washington moved into third on the all-time area list behind Shalonda Solomon of Poly, who ran 11.35 in 2003 Southern Section Division I final and Ebony Collins of Wilson's mark of 11.44 in the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships.
In the 200, Washington moved into a tie for ninth on the all-time area list.
Jordan junior La Troya Franklin finished second to Washington in both the 100 and the 200 on Saturday with career bests of 11.63 and 23.90.
Franklin's mark in the 100 equaled the Jordan school record set by Lisa Winston in 1982 and moved her into a tie for ninth on the all-time area list.