Archive | January, 2014

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Whittier Christian basketball teams earn sweep behind strong second halves

Posted on 31 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Kaipo Villeza's runner early in the fourth quarter against Heritage Christian's Samson Young gave the Heralds a 42-41 lead early in the fourth quarter, Friday night at WCHS.

Kaipo Villeza’s runner early in the fourth quarter against Heritage Christian’s Samson Young gave the Heralds a 42-41 lead early in the fourth quarter, Friday night at WCHS. Photos by Erik Markus, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

When Whittier Christian traveled to North Hills to take on Heritage Christian earlier this month, the Heralds had to contend with outside shooting and a late surge, but hung on for a close win.

Friday night at Whittier Christian, the Heralds had their hands full with a completely different problem in Samson Young.

The Warriors’ 6-foot-8 forward pounded the Heralds interior for 26 points, but Whittier Christian fought back in the second half to take a 55-51 come-from-behind win.

“We had to go to a front, but even with that he was still effective,” said Sherwin Durham, Whittier Christian head coach. “In the first game, he got in foul trouble, but he stayed out of it tonight. He got his game going early, so we tried to front him and take away some of his touches with some back side help.”

The Heralds’ head coach knows that his four big men have 20 fouls to give and usually isn’t too concerned if one of them gets into trouble.

However, of those 20 fouls, 11 were called against Whittier Christian’s big men as they attempted to slow down Young. He attempted 16 free throws, sinking 10 of them.

Young’s 15 first-half points helped the Warriors build a 29-21 lead at halftime.

But the Heralds (14-7, 3-2) made defensive adjustments in the second half and chipped away on offense. Jake Rivera scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the third quarter as the Heralds moved the ball more efficiently and cut the deficit to two points heading into the fourth quarter.

Whittier Christian's Shawn Stolt hits a layup over the Warriors' Samson Young during the first quarter of the Heralds' 55-51 win, Friday night at WCHS.

Whittier Christian’s Shawn Stolt hits a layup over the Warriors’ Samson Young during the first quarter of the Heralds’ 55-51 win, Friday night at WCHS.

“All year, we talk about our defense triggering our offense, we made some stops and limited them in that quarter,” Durham said. “We felt that if we got some stops defensively and got [Rivera] some touches to get him going early, he’d deliver for us and he did that.”

That deficit was erased quickly when Christian Alvis-Labadie drove the lane for a tough layup to tie the score at 40-40.

After a free throw by Heritage Christian’s Michael Brandon, Kaipo Villeza hit a runner to give the Heralds a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Shawn Stolt padded the lead with a putback after Villeza punched the ball to him in the paint off a missed shot. The Heralds sealed the win with free throws by Ryan Esslinger, Villeza and Alvis-Labadie, who combined to go 8-for-8 from the line in the final quarter.

“We were still looking to stress the defense, we picked up the full court pressure and forced some turnovers,” Durham said. “The big play was Kaipo deflecting the offensive rebound and keeping it alive for Shawn. That got the crowd going and gave us momentum.”

The Heralds came out fluid on offense. Fighting against Young, Stolt found space in the low post and worked in six points on turn-around jumpers in the first quarter.

Alvis-Labadie added five points and Rivera added four points as the Heralds took a 17-14 lead.

Still, Durham felt like something was missing.

“I really didn’t like our focus, I think kids were elsewhere when we first started,” Durham said.

Whittier Christian's Stephen Nolin battles Heritage Christian's Samson Young for a rebound during the first half of the Heralds' 55-51 win, Friday night at WCHS.

Whittier Christian’s Stephen Nolin battles Heritage Christian’s Samson Young for a rebound during the first half of the Heralds’ 55-51 win, Friday night at WCHS.

The Warriors’ clear intention was to get the ball inside to Young and let him work. In the second quarter, he put Stephen Nolin in foul trouble en route to scoring eight points.

Senior guard Timothy Brandon hit a 3-pointer and younger brother Michael Brandon added a jumper and the Warriors (6-15, 0-5) took advantage of a Whittier Christian cold streak, outscoring the Heralds 13-4 before the half.

“We kind of got away from what we’ve been doing well, which is share the basketball,” Durham said. “We started going back to individual play and at halftime it wasn’t pretty in the locker room. We decided that we got ourselves here and we have to try and find our way out of it.”

The Heralds’ defense held Heritage Christian to nine points in the third quarter, which gave the offense a momentum that carried over into the fourth quarter.

Four Heralds scored in double digits. Stolt finished with 12 points, while Alvis-Labadie and Villeza added 11 points each.

Timothy Brandon and Michael Brandon added eight and seven points for the Warriors.

Whittier Christian will break away from the Olympic League for a brief moment to host Ontario Christian in a nonleague game tomorrow at 6 p.m.

On Tuesday, the Heralds have an important league matchup on the road at Marana

tha. The Minutemen defeated Whittier Christian 64-51 in the teams’ Olympic League opener, Jan. 14.

“They have a few extra feet on their court, it’s a college court, so we’re going to have to be in transition and get back on defense,” Durham said. “If we can do that, then I like our chances.”

Whittier Christian's Hannah Yoshihara attempts a shot during the first half of the Lady Heralds' 49-36 win over Heritage Christian, Friday night at WCHS.

Whittier Christian’s Hannah Yoshihara attempts a shot during the first half of the Lady Heralds’ 49-36 win over Heritage Christian, Friday night at WCHS.

GIRLS VARSITY

After enduring one of her worst shooting nights a week ago, senior guard Hannah Yoshihara continued to bounce back nicely for the Whittier Christian girls’ basketball team in its 49-36 win over Heritage Christian, Friday night at Whittier Christian High.

Since going 0-for-14 from the floor in a loss to Valley Christian last Friday, Yoshihara has put together back-to-back double digit scoring efforts. Her 13 first-half points helped Whittier Christian keep a 26-20 halftime lead over the Lady Warriors.

“After that game against Valley, she was really upset about the performance, so I think she’s been playing with a chip on her shoulder,” said Grace Ricafranca, Whittier Christian head coach. “She’s been determined to provide offense for our team and we know that without her, we won’t get the wins that we need. We’re trying to feed her the ball as much as possible to keep us going offensively.”

The senior guard finished with 15 points and led the team at the break with forward Sydney Lopez in foul trouble.

Lopez led the team with 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. After Yoshihara led the team in the first half, Lopez made her presence felt late, scoring 11 points over the final two quarters.

Defensively, the Lady Heralds (12-8, 3-2) made adjustments around the perimeter, holding Heritage Christian to just two 3-pointers, a significant improvement from the nine 3-pointers the team allowed at Heritage Christian, Jan. 17.

“We definitely wanted to man them up, last time they were swinging the ball really well,” Ricafranca said. “We wanted to make sure we were there for every switch, every open shot they had along the arc and I thought our man defense did a lot better against them today.”

Whittier Christian's Sydney Lopez drives inside against Heritage Christian's Liana Minassian during the second half of the Lady Heralds' 49-36 win, Friday night.

Whittier Christian’s Sydney Lopez drives inside against Heritage Christian’s Liana Minassian during the second half of the Lady Heralds’ 49-36 win, Friday night.

Without the outside shots falling, Heritage Christian (5-17, 0-5) became stagnant in the second half as the Lady Heralds forced key turnovers.

Late in the third quarter, Sydney Lopez intercepted a Heritage Christian pass, drove the length of the court and laid it in with the left hand as she was fouled. The ensuing free throw opened up a 40-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

She added six points and six rebounds in the final quarter as the Lady Heralds cruised to their second consecutive win.

“We definitely have momentum right now, we’re still riding the momentum of that [double-overtime win against Village Christian],” Ricafranca said. “We’re a little hungry for it and we want to come back strong in the second half of league and beat Valley and Maranatha. We’re looking to improve each game.”

Along with Yoshihara’s shooting, Whittier Christian worked the high-low post well in the first half. Twice in the second quarter, Lopez got the ball in the high post, which drew an extra defender and left fellow forward Megan Kleber wide open under the basket.

Lopez recognized the switch and dished out two of her four assists.

However, led by guard Sabrina Zarifi, the Lady Warriors chipped away at the lead in the second quarter, reducing the deficit to three points on two separate occasions.

Yoshihara took care of the pressure with two late 3-pointers as the Lady Heralds went into halftime up 26-20.

Whittier Christian ran away with it in the second half.

“I don’t know exactly what it is,” Ricafranca said of her team’s ability to take control in the second half. “The game plan every game is to start strong and play aggressively, but something just snaps in the second half. If I could get them to do that in the first half, the rest of the season would be a bit easier.”

Zarifi led the Lady Warriors with 13 points. Liana Minassian, who burned the Lady Heralds with four 3-pointers in the first matchup, was held to two the second time around and finished with 11 points.

Whittier Christian will face Ontario Christian for the second time this season when the teams meet up tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.

Following the nonleague contest, Whittier Christian faces Maranatha and 6-foot-4 Channon Fluker on the road, Tuesday night.

“We have some game plans defensively that will hopefully help to contain her,” Ricafranca said. “We’re going to make it more difficult for her to get shots and try to make her uncomfortable. Hopefully it will transition into our offense. I anticipate it being a great game.”

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Defensive lapses cost Highlanders against Fullerton

Posted on 31 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Ray Flores (pictured against Troy) returned to the field for the Highlanders and scored a penalty kick goal in the 4th minute.

Ray Flores (pictured against Troy) returned to the field for the Highlanders and scored a penalty kick goal in the 4th minute.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

With its first league victory on Wednesday, the La Habra boys’ soccer team continued to control tempo early on in its home matchup with Fullerton, Friday afternoon.

The Highlanders took an early lead in the 4th minute on a penalty kick by midfielder Ray Flores, but the team became complacent in the middle portion of the game, which allowed the Indians to storm back and take the game 3-2.

Ultimately, defensive miscues in set pieces did the Highlanders in, as Fullerton (14-3-3. 4-1-1) scored two goals on corner kicks and a third on a free kick.

“I don’t know if it was fatigue, I’m not quite sure what played into that,” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra head coach. “The win on Wednesday reminded us that we still have a chance, I thought that when we scored the early goal we could continue to dictate the game.”

La Habra (7-8-3, 1-4-1) stormed out of the gates, pushing the ball into the offensive third. Ray Flores, in his first game back from injury, was awarded a penalty kick after the Indians fouled Joe Salinas in the box.

Flores promptly beat Indians’ goalkeeper Cesar Herrera to give La Habra an early 1-0 lead.

“It was great to have him back, especially for his leadership more than anything,” Aleman said. “When he’s here, it helps Israel [Alvarez] in the middle too because he doesn’t have to worry about so much.”

Midway through the half, La Habra’s energy dropped, which led to an increased number of fouls.

On the set pieces, La Habra’s defense missed the back side help. In the 26th minute, goalkeeper Richie Ruiz made a diving stop, but Fullerton’s Clayton Mohler was left unguarded on the back side and tapped in the rebound for the equalizer.

During the play, a whistle blew during the kick, which through the Highlanders’ defense off guard.

“I think that through everyone off,” Aleman said. “But still, whistle or no whistle, you have to defend properly.”

Mohler gave the Indians the lead in the 51st minute when he redirected a corner kick into the far side of the net.

Fullerton stretched the lead five minutes later off another corner kick. The ball bounced off a La Habra defender and found the left foot of defender Sammy McKay, who put it in on the near side.

“A mistake there and two mistakes here on marking cost us the game,” Aleman said. “We’re still in it though, we just have to worry about qualifying for CIF, because if we do that, anything can happen.”

It wasn’t until the 74th minute that La Habra found itself reenergized.

Driving down the right side, Israel Alvarez collected a loose ball and centered it to Austin Nazer, who used one touch to get it to Charlie Aleman on the left side for an easy goal.

The Highlanders lost another potential opportunity during the second half on a close offside call.

La Habra will try to bounce back with a home game against Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon. Sunny Hills defeated the Highlanders 3-1 in an overtime game earlier this season.

“We just need to come out, we should have beaten Sunny Hills the first time, I thought we dictated that game, but the red card killed us,” Aleman said. “We just need to remember our assignments on marking and we’ll be all right.”

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Lady Highlanders continue climb with road win at Fullerton

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra forward Brooke Mays looks for an open teammate in the offensive third during the first half of La Habra's 3-1 victory at Fullerton, Thursday afternoon.

La Habra forward Brooke Mays looks for an open teammate in the offensive third during the first half of La Habra’s 3-1 victory at Fullerton, Thursday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

Sometimes it takes a little momentum before everything starts clicking. Thursday afternoon in Fullerton, everything began clicking again for the Lady Highlanders, who earned a 3-1 win over the Lady Indians.

If La Habra’s loss to Sonora last Thursday was its wake-up call, then consider the Lady Highlanders’ big win against Buena Park on Tuesday the confidence boost to get everything right against Fullerton.

The Lady Highlanders could have given up when a ball slipped through the legs of keeper Avery Barboza, however Brooke Mays took leadership and kept La Habra in the driver’s seat.

“Brooke is our leader, especially offensively, when she doesn’t play well, we don’t create as much,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “This last week or so, I have been challenging her that she’s got to step up her game … It’s just her realizing her importance, stepping up and playing a good game because we rely on her.”

In the 36th minute, just 4 minutes after Fullerton (6-9-3, 1-4-1) evened the score, La Habra responded, regaining the lead and momentum.

Tied 1-1, Mays received a through ball into the box. With defenders closing in on her, she dribbled the ball deep inside the Lady Indians’ zone holding off two defenders.

She patiently waited for help, before she sent a through ball across the box for Noemi De Santiago who tapped in the goal for the lead.

“The passing for the second goal was great, everyone was open, everyone was moving,” Mays said. “I think we are getting into a rhythm.”

The Lady Highlanders (9-7-2, 3-3-0) stumbled into this week having dropped three straight against Troy, Sunny Hills, and Sonora.

“The girls stopped working hard,” Sanger said. “The culture in our program had become negative, girls were getting down on themselves.”

Sanger picked up his first loss against Sonora since his entry to the program, and was motivated to supercharge his team.

“We had three or four hell days, where they just ran for a few hours,” Sanger said. “What I wanted to see was positivity come out. When they are at their worst moments of running, after two hours of just pure sprinting, I saw teamwork. I saw them start to cheer each other on and get through these things together. We started working as a team and the last two games we played as a team.”

Earlier in the week the Highlanders visited Buena Park and put their season back on track with a 7-1 win, which served as a morale boost and included four goals from Mays.

“Considering I didn’t score against Sunny Hills, Troy, or Sonora I was kind of due, so I thought I’d take advantage of it while I had the chance,” Mays said.

Challenges lie ahead for the Lady Highlanders, who visit Sunny Hills and welcome Troy next week.

“We need to be defensively disciplined,” Sanger said. “We need to pray, because we are missing some of our main players.”

The Highlanders will look to continue to put pressure on their offense but remain committed to defense.

“We’re not just going to sit back, we are going to try and play soccer,” Sanger said. “If we give up a few goals playing good soccer it will happen.”

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Raiders fall behind early in loss to Sunny Hills

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

A shot by Sonora's Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 73rd minute of Sonora's 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.

A shot by Sonora’s Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 74th minute of Sonora’s 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After a rather lopsided win last Friday, the Sonora boys’ soccer team dug itself into a hole, falling 2-1 against Sunny Hills on the road.

The Raiders were shut down through the first 70 minutes, but by then the Lancers were in cruise control.

Sonora’s offense sputtered throughout most of the game, but in the 74th minute midfielder Juan Villalobos scored to cut a 2-0 deficit in half.

With time quickly racing off the clock, the Raiders were desperate to even the score.

“We started cheating a bit, not marking our guys on the wing,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “You can’t play 15 minutes of that style and expect to win.”

In the 65th minute with a 1-0 lead, Lancers’ forward Nick Vazquez tapped in a perfect cross to give his team their eventual winning goal.

“Our plan is to become a little more offensive minded, possession with a purpose,” Witt said. “You can play east to west, but if you’re not moving the ball north to south from goal to goal, you’re not being effective.”

The Raiders (5-4-3, 2-2-1) wanted to build off an impressive performance from Eli Rico-Torres who put in five goals in two games last week. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Sunny Hills defenders contained Rico-Torres and controlled the pace of the game.

Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora's 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.

Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora’s 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.

“We came in with a gameplan and we only played that gameplan for 45-50 minutes of the game,” Witt said.

The Lancers (9-4-5, 2-1-2) played a competitive first half coming into the half up 1-0 with a goal on a set piece by defender Miguel Tapia.

With the lead, the Lancers turned up their defense and silenced the Raiders offense until it was too late.

“We lacked enthusiasm, we lacked energy, we put some good subs in there, they brought some life into our midfield,” Witt said.

With the loss, the Raiders fall to 2-2-1 in league play. The Lancers jumped over the Raiders with the victory and have moved into a tie for second place in the Freeway League.

The Raiders return to action at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Troy High School.

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Troy’s power too much for Lady Raiders at home

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

In its Freeway League opener, the Sonora girls’ soccer team played a near flawless defensive game against Troy, only allowing a goal within the final minute of the second overtime period in a 1-0 loss.

Unfortunately, the Lady Raiders couldn’t replicate that same performance the second time around, falling to Troy 4-0 in wet and muddy conditions, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

The Lady Warriors took control early, putting in two goals in the 11th and 15th minutes as the forwards constantly applied pressure.

“We knew it was going to be a battle and we told the girls that if they didn’t come out with energy, we’d fall behind and that’s what happened,” said Alex Bengard, Sonora head coach. “In the second half, we stepped up our intensity level and the game changed a little bit, but it was too little too late.”

Senior forward Aliyah Jones put in Troy’s first goal in the 11th minute. An attempt by Amalia Serna to clear a corner kick bounced right to Jones, who tapped it in to the near side.

Four minutes later, midfielder Alexis Fuerte put a ball up top for Kaycee Hoover, who lofted a shot over goalkeeper Johanna Hultberg for a 2-0 lead.

Midfielder Caitlin Haugen added a goal for Troy (12-4-3, 5-1-0) just before halftime on a header to the near side off a corner kick.

The Lady Raiders strung together good offensive possessions at times, most of which involved Serna down the right side.

Sonora’s best attempt in the first half sailed out of bounds when Serna tried to cross from the corner.

The Lady Raiders’ fortunes were a little better in the second half. In the 43rd minute, Yesenia Navarro attempted a shot that swung wide off a cross from Serna.

Anna Saucedo then put Sonora’s first shot on goal in the 64th minute, but it was easily hauled in by Troy goalkeeper Hailey McKinley.

Fuerte added Troy’s fourth goal in the 73rd minute when her shot bounced off the cross bar and barely crossed the goal line.

The Lady Raiders (6-9-5, 2-3-1) will attempt to turn things around when they host Fullerton next Tuesday at 3 p.m.

“The game is over and we have to move on, what’s done is done,” Bengard said. “We have Fullerton at home, which is nice. We got a lot of our road games out of the way early, so we’ll get them at home and hopefully we can nick them..”

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Highlanders earn first league win on overtime goal by Salinas

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ soccer team avoided going winless in the first round of Freeway League games, with a 2-1 overtime win over Buena Park, Wednesday afternoon at home.

La Habra had opportunities to put it away without the overtime period. Towards the end of regulation, the Highlanders put themselves in good positions to score but could not convert on a few good opportunities, including a shot off of the goal post in the 78th minute.

When overtime came around, the Highlanders came out with a huge amount of energy and scored just over a minute into the period. Kolby McInally took a free kick near midfield and put a pass into the box. The ball was kicked around before it came to Joe Salinas, who put it in for the eventual game-winning goal.

“I was just trying to get the ball into the box,” said the Senior captain McInally, “We knew that they have had some trouble with set pieces and that we had a good chance to take advantage of those. I just put the ball in the box and it bounced right to Joe.”

The Highlanders (7-7-3, 1-3-1) needed the win after starting league play 0-3-1. The win leaves the team with a chance to claw back into playoff contention. Things should be easier with guys coming back from injury, most notably, senior captain Robert Coronado and midfielder Ray Flores.

Coronado has missed the entire season after suffering a leg fracture in the team’s season opener.

“It is looking like Ray will be in there for us against Fullerton,” McInally said. “That will be huge for us. He is really strong in the middle and a great player on both sides of the ball.”

“Our other captain, Robert Coronado has a doctor appointment a week from today,” added head coach Earvin Aleman. “If all goes well he will be available by the end of next week. We have gotten off to a bad start but this win will give us some confidence and it will only be easier as guys start to come back from injury.”

Along with the pass that led to the game-winning goal for La Habra, McInally also had the first goal for the Highlanders early in the first half.

The Highlanders had a corner kick, but the Coyotes won the ball originally. The ball was then cleared out and Israel Alvarez got a hold of it. He crossed the ball back in right to McInally and picked up the assist on the goal.

The Coyotes (5-8-2, 1-3-1) and Highlanders are now tied at the bottom of the Freeway League standings. La Habra will play a big game against Fullerton on Friday and will have a chance to make a statement.

The Indians will be without talented forward Yazi Hernandez, who suffered a knee injury two weeks ago in a game against Sonora.

“It was great for our guys to pick up a win today,” Aleman said. “Just not having to see a zero in the win column is huge for our guys. If guys can get healthy and we can put the ball in the net, the team will be okay.”

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Early leads lift La Habra basketball teams to sweep of Buena Park

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Highlanders guard David Desatoff takes a shot over Buena Park's Zarvontay David during the first half of La Habra's 64-49 home win, Wednesday night.

Highlanders guard David Desatoff takes a shot over Buena Park’s Zarvontay David during the first half of La Habra’s 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Desatoff led La Habra with 26 points. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ basketball team defeated Buena Park, 64-49, at home on Wednesday.

“We worked hard on offense,” said David Ploog, La Habra head coach. “Against Sonora we didn’t score a lot so we did a lot of shooting and did a few plays and I think that helped us out.”

The Highlanders (13-8, 2-3) came out strong on defense against Buena Park and held the Coyotes to 6 points. La Habra led 15-6 going into the second quarter.

La Habra pushed the ball on offense in the second quarter and scored 25 points against Buena Park (8-14, 0-5).

David Desatoff got a defensive rebound early in the quarter and passed the ball down the court to Adam Cooley, who finished the play with a shot under the basket.

The Highlanders led 40-27 going into halftime.

“We wanted to make sure that we stayed in front and make them shoot jump shots because they were able to get a lot of layups,” Ploog said. “We knew if we took away their layups and made them take jump shots, we had a good chance. We talked a lot about defense, forcing harder shots.”

La Habra kept the pressure on Buena Park in the third quarter both on offense and defense.

Defensively, Buena Park focused on shutting down Desatoff in the second half after he scored 26 points in the first half.

Adam Cooley puts in a reverse layup over Buena Park's Joe Galvan during the first half of La Habra's 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Cooley scored 20 points.

Adam Cooley puts in a reverse layup over Buena Park’s Joe Galvan during the first half of La Habra’s 64-49 home win, Wednesday night. Cooley scored 20 points.

The Coyotes tried to penetrate the gaps on offense, but the Highlanders’ defense kept them from scoring. La Habra led, 50-38, going into the final quarter.

La Habra tightened up on defense in the fourth quarter, making it hard for Buena Park to make its shots.

David Desatoff led the team in scoring with five three-pointers and a total of 26 points, all of which were scored in the first half. Adam Cooley followed with 20 points.

“I was ready to shoot, I thought it was going to go in, and it went in,” Desatoff sad. “I wanted to get my other teammates open and pass the ball to our open guys.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Fullerton at home on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re a very aggressive team,” Ploog said. “We have to beat that aggressiveness and practice a lot in dealing with aggressive defenses so that we’re prepared for pressure and we’ll work on our offense again to counter that pressure, work on our screening, and work on our offensive press.”

La Habra's Amanda Cuervo works with the basketball against Buena Park's Lorena Chavez during the fourth quarter of La Habra's 62-19 home win, Wednesday night.

La Habra’s Amanda Cuervo works with the basketball against Buena Park’s Lorena Chavez during the fourth quarter of La Habra’s 62-19 home win, Wednesday night.

GIRLS VARSITY

The La Habra girls’ basketball team annihilated Buena Park High School, 62-19, at home on Wednesday.

The Highlanders (11-9, 4-1) moved the ball well in the first quarter allowing Emma Zener to sink a 3-pointer less than thirty seconds into the game.

“Coming off a win on Friday, it was a big win for us and I tried to keep them focused for this game,” said Jim Bohn, La Habra head coach. “I think we came out a little flat in the beginning of the game, but after a few words of wisdom they decided to step up and start playing.”

La Habra played strong on defense, which forced multiple turnovers by the Coyotes (4-8, 0-3).

Megan Chancellor stole the ball early in the first quarter and drove the ball down the court for a layup. La Habra led 12-7 going into the second quarter.

The Highlanders pushed the ball on offense in the second quarter and scored 32 points, advancing the score to 44-18 going into halftime.

“I wanted them to continue to work on their offense,” Bohn said. “I told them that we want to control our opportunity on offense also. We have to practice for other games that are coming up too and what it allowed us to do was to run some of that half court offense that we need. The main thing is to stay focused and keep that intensity so we could have a bigger lead, which allows everyone else to get involved in the game.”

La Habra came out strong on defense in the third quarter and shut down the Coyote’s offense, preventing them from scoring. La Habra led Buena Park, 58-18, going into the final quarter.

Both teams continued to fight in the fourth quarter, but La Habra didn’t let down its guard on defense and held the Coyotes to only one point.

The Highlanders controlled their turnovers in the game, allowing them to be more aggressive on offense.

“That’s one of the things we’ve been working on,” Bohn said. “At practice yesterday, all of it was just on press break and it paid off tonight. We still have a few areas we need to tweak. We have to get ready for Fullerton on Friday, which will be another good game. We’re at home so we’re happy with decreasing some of those turnovers.”

Freshman Emma Zener led the team in scoring with four 3-pointers and a total of 17 points, all of which were scored in the first half. Megan Chancellor followed with 14 points.

“It’s more of like a relief because I feel like I’ve been trying to prove myself as a freshman on varsity,” Zener said. “I’m just really relieved that I actually made those shots and it feels really great.”

La Habra’s next game will be against Fullerton at home on Friday at 6 p.m.

“We’re going to prepare in a few ways,” Bohn said. “We have to work to make sure again that we control turnovers. In the first game against Fullerton, the ball and the point scoring were spread very well. That’s what we have to do and get everybody involved. It’s the second half of the league and, like I told them, the first half is over and we have to prove ourselves in the second. I’m sure Fullerton will come in ready to play and we have to be ready too.”

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Sonora holds off Sunny Hills on the road, Lady Raiders fall

Posted on 29 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora's Adam Marlow drives in for a layup while Sunny Hills' Elijah Kim attempts to block from behind during the first half of Sonora's 62-60 win at Sunny Hills, Wednesday night.

Sonora’s Adam Marlow drives in for a layup while Sunny Hills’ Elijah Kim attempts to block from behind during the first half of Sonora’s 62-60 win at Sunny Hills, Wednesday night.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

In his first two seasons as a starter on the varsity basketball team, Sonora senior guard Adam Marlow had not been able to celebrate a Raiders victory at Sunny Hills High.

On Wednesday night, with the score tied 56-56 and 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, the senior took matters into his own hands by driving the lane and dropping in two tough layups to lead to a 62-60 victory over the Lancers.

“This was huge, I’ve never won here, it feels pretty good,” Marlow said. “[Coach] Murphy told me to step up, be the senior on the team and make a big shot and see what I had inside. It was open, so I just took it and made it count.”

Marlow finished with 12 points, saving his two best shots until the team needed them in the fourth quarter.

Josh Rodriguez and Ben Rico led the Raiders with 17 points each and Christian Rhodes provided a huge boost off the bench with 10 points.

The trio combined to score 23 of Sonora’s 27 points in a second quarter that saw the Raiders turn a four-point deficit into a 42-30 halftime lead.

“Last year, they got up early on us and we couldn’t get it back, so this year we talked about that in practice,” Marlow said. “We knew they would make a run and that we would have to get it back. It shows how tough we are as a team and how much we’ve grown over the past year that we can take a punch like that and keep fighting.”

Sonora's Christian Rhodes drives the lane against Sunny Hills' Martin Kim during the first half of Sonora's 62-60 win. Rhodes provided 10 big points off the bench.

Sonora’s Christian Rhodes drives the lane against Sunny Hills’ Martin Kim during the first half of Sonora’s 62-60 win. Rhodes provided 10 big points off the bench.

The Raiders struggled against Sunny Hills’ aggressive defense in the second half, but Sonora’s zone defense also slowed down the Lancers’ fast-paced offense.

That was, until Max Thurman took over. The senior guard scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and single-handedly led the charge to tie the score late in the fourth quarter.

He also made four of the Lancers’ eight 3-pointers.

“They were tough, we practiced a lot for them and we were pretty ready,” Marlow said. “They’re quick and they shoot 3s, so you know what you’re going to get, but it’s still tough to stop.”

Added Murphy, “I’m glad there wasn’t another minute left in that fourth quarter, because they were charging.”

The Raiders (19-3, 5-0) had to overcome a lightning fast Sunny Hills start. The Lancers made their first seven shots of the game, taking a 15-5 lead and forcing Murphy to call two timeouts.

After the second timeout, the Raiders switched to the zone defense and the offense found its rhythm.

The Raiders took the lead immediately in the second quarter thanks to a 7-0 run. Rhodes and Rico each scored eight points in the quarter and Rico’s slick no-look pass to Steven Murphy for an easy layup increased Sonora’s lead to seven points with 2:15 remaining in the half.

Sonora's Josh Rodriguez works with the basketball against Sunny Hills' Elijah Kim during the first half of the Raiders' 62-60 win, Wednesday night.

Sonora’s Josh Rodriguez works with the basketball against Sunny Hills’ Elijah Kim during the first half of the Raiders’ 62-60 win, Wednesday night.

While the Raiders were flowing, Sunny Hills (14-8, 4-1) went cold from the floor in the second quarter, making just 3-of-16 shots from the floor and only 1-of-9 3-pointers.

Murphy prevented any second chance opportunities by grabbing seven rebounds in the quarter. He finished with 10 rebounds and four points.

“I wish we could have given him the ball a little bit more tonight,” Murphy said. “We don’t win the game without Steven tonight.”

Rodriguez added seven points in the quarter and the Raiders pushed the lead to 42-30 at the break. Sonora outscored the Lancers 27-11 in the quarter.

Thurman scored nine points in the second quarter and made 4-of-6 free throws after he was fouled on two 3-point shots.

The Lancers’ Ryan Tan and Tim Ahn combined for three 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Sunny Hills claw back before the wild finish.

Both teams came into the contest tied undefeated in the Freeway League. The Raiders will start the second round of league play on the road against Troy, Friday.

“This is the biggest win we’ve had all year,” Murphy said. “Now we get Troy on Friday with just one day of preparation, that’s going to be a difficult challenge.”

Sonora's Megan Matsumoto attempts a shot against Sunny Hills' Jennifer Vinh during the second half of the Lady Raiders' 46-34 loss, Wednesday night.

Sonora’s Megan Matsumoto attempts a shot against Sunny Hills’ Jennifer Vinh during the second half of the Lady Raiders’ 46-34 loss, Wednesday night.

GIRLS VARSITY

With a chance to keep sole possession of third place in the Freeway League, the Sonora girls’ basketball team struggled to hit shots and grab rebounds in a 46-34 loss to Sunny Hills, Wednesday night at Sunny Hills High.

After fighting for an early lead, the Lady Raiders struggled against Sunny Hills’ quick defense in the second and fourth quarters.

Marissa Dunn led the Lady Raiders with 11 points and eight rebounds, but no other Sonora player scored more than five points.

After having a couple breakout performances, Meghann Henderson managed just four points, all on free throws.

“We tried to run some stuff to get her the ball, but at the same time we really need some other girls to step up and help with the offensive load,” said Melissa Barajas, Sonora head coach. “Everybody in the league knows to try to stop her, so we need other kids who are willing to step up, make free throws and finish layups.”

On the defensive side, Sonora (9-11, 2-3) struggled to contain Sunny Hills’ Justis Simpson, who scored a game-high 21 points.

Simpson scored six of those points in the second quarter as the Lady Lancers turned a three-point deficit into a 20-14 halftime lead.

Guard Jennifer Vinh crippled the Lady Raiders with back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter as Sunny Hills opened up a double-digit lead.

Sunny Hills (12-9, 2-3) cruised to victory in the fourth quarter.

Sonora's Meghann Henderson forces a turnover and rushes down the court on a fastbreak opportunity against Sunny Hills, Wednesday night.

Sonora’s Meghann Henderson forces a turnover and rushes down the court on a fastbreak opportunity against Sunny Hills, Wednesday night.

Lauren Fruto led Sunny Hills with eight rebounds, while Simpson and forward Victoria Vo added seven rebounds each.

“I just think that we aren’t very tough yet,” Barajas said. “Even though they’re a little faster, we felt like we were able to make them take shots and speed up the game, but in order to do that we had to rebound. We let them get every offensive rebound they wanted and that completely defeats our style of play.”

The Lady Raiders have lost back-to-back league games and it won’t get any easier with a road game against Troy coming up on Friday.

Sonora finished the first round of league play tied with Sunny Hills for third place at 2-3.

“We just have to pick up our intensity, I just don’t feel like we’re competing at a varsity level,” Barajas said. “We don’t win loose balls, we don’t play with the toughness that it takes to compete at this level. We need to get that from them in practice.”

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Lady Heralds fight through second overtime challenge to beat Village Christian

Posted on 29 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Web_LHJ_WCHS_LaSerna_GBB_306by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

SUN VALLEY – For a brief time, it appeared as if the Whittier Christian girls’ basketball team would suffer the same heartbreaking fate that it endured in its overtime loss last Friday night.

The Lady Heralds were forced into overtime again on Tuesday night against Village Christian and struggled with turnovers, which allowed the Lady Crusaders to take a three-point lead with free throws.

But Hannah Yoshihara hit her biggest shot of the night, a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining to force a second overtime in which the Lady Heralds took momentum and the win, 57-52, Tuesday night at Village Christian School.

“We were holding our heads down a little bit until Yoshihara hit that 3-pointer,” said Grace Ricafranca, Whittier Christian head coach. “It gave us a revival of energy, it was really good. This does a lot for our confidence going forward and gives us momentum going into the second round of league.”

Sophomore Makenna Coleman scored six of her eight points in the second overtime and broke a 52-52 tie with a rebound and put-back. Coleman also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.

Yoshihara led the team with a season-high 20 points and sealed the win with three free throws down the stretch.

“From the beginning we wanted to control with the high-low post, but they weren’t giving it to us defensively,” said Grace Ricafranca, Whittier Christian head coach. “But we had Yoshihara, who was getting hot early from the outside, so we wanted to keep feeding her. Toward the end, we pulled it out on the high-low post.”

The bounce-back win was big for Whittier Christian (11-8, 2-2), which took a nine-point lead in the third quarter before the Lady Crusaders came back with free throws and a game-tying 3-pointer by Breanna Dominguez.

Village Christian (8-14, 1-3) forced the Lady Heralds to switch up their defensive game plan with 3-point shooting. The Lady Crusaders made eight long range shots, five of them coming in the first half.

“We just were having a hard time rotating to their shooters,” Ricafranca said in regards to the team’s second half struggles. “The whole night, we wanted to come out and switch on their shooters, but our bigs were scared to come out. Luckily we fought through it, but there was a lack of communication there.”

But Yoshihara was there to respond for the Lady Heralds with five 3-pointers of her own, four of which were made in the first half as Whittier Christian led 23-20 at halftime.

Forward Sydney Lopez added six points in the second half and recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out within the final minute of the fourth quarter.

The teams were tied 42-42 at the end of regulation.

Both teams struggled to score in the first overtime as the Lady Heralds tried to force passes and Village Christian went 0-for-5 from the floor.

Tied 45-45 going into the second overtime, the scoring picked up. Dominguez hit another 3-pointer and Avery O’Neal hit a jump shot.

But Tammy Adereti, who finished with six assists and forced multiple turnovers, completed a three-point play and Coleman added six points and three offensive rebounds to give the Lady Heralds the lead before Yoshihara’s free throws.

“The thing we love about Tammy is that she does the things that don’t show up on stat sheets, she’s one of our best defenders on the team and she made good plays for us today,” Ricafranca said.

Dominguez led the Lady Crusaders with 17 points and Hadiqa Nayani added 10 points. Kelsie Perdue led the team with 15 rebounds.

Whittier Christian will play Heritage Christian at home, Friday night. The Lady Heralds defeated Heritage Christian 51-48 on Jan. 16.

“We want to look to be more aggressive, we kind of fell asleep in the second quarter the first time through,” Ricafranca said. “That allowed them to get wide open shots. If we come out more aggressively, pressure them on the outside and force them to go inside, it will help our offensive flow when we come down with the ball.”

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Heralds give Village Christian all it can handle in close loss

Posted on 29 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Christian Labadie (shown here against Troy) finished with a team-high 17 points by carving through the defense and hitting tough layups.

Christian Labadie (shown here against Troy) finished with a team-high 17 points by carving through the defense and hitting tough layups.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

SUN VALLEY – Leaving everything on the floor, the Whittier Christian boys’ basketball team nearly shocked the Olympic League, but fell to a favored Village Christian team 65-58, Tuesday night at Village Christian School.

The Heralds used quick ball movement to open up the floor offensively and stuck to its game plan of using the high-low post game to keep the pressure on the Crusaders throughout.

“We really talked about shocking the world today,” said Sherwin Durham, Whittier Christian head coach. “Just a couple little mistakes here and there did us in, but I love my guys, they gave us the effort and they gave them all they wanted tonight. Our system is working for us, hopefully it’s uphill from here.”

Down by double-digits in the second and third quarters, the Heralds fought back and reduced the deficit to as low as three points after Jake Rivera hit a 3-pointer and subsequent free throw with 1:29 remaining in the game.

After a pair of free throws put the Crusaders back up by five points, Ryan Esslinger’s 3-point attempt rimmed out and Village Christian escaped with the victory.

Sophomore guard Christian Labadie led the Heralds with 17 points and was fearless on offense, constantly driving in for acrobatic layups despite a major size disadvantage.

Rivera added 11 points and forward Jimmy West came off the bench to put up nine points, seven of which were scored on long jumpers.

“He was pumped for the game, I kind of looked at my guys’ eyes before the game to see if there was any fear in there and I didn’t see any, and he came out with the effort and it trickled down to everybody else,” Durham said of Labadie. “As far as the acrobatic shots, we’ll take that as a sophomore, but we’re hoping they’ll be stronger during his junior and senior seasons.”

Jimmy West had a strong game with nine points off the bench in the Heralds loss at Village Christian, Tuesday night.

Jimmy West had a strong game with nine points off the bench in the Heralds loss at Village Christian, Tuesday night.

However, the Crusaders (16-3, 4-0) retaliated with Bear Henderson and Bennie Boatwright, who put up 19 and 17 points respectively.

Forward Marsalis Johnson, who put up a triple-double against the Heralds last year at VCS, scored just nine points and fouled out in the fourth quarter.

“We had Johnson in foul trouble early, so we wanted to bring him out a little bit and if he was down low, work against him,” Durham said. “We wanted to take one of their big guys away from them and make their coach go to the bench. Our defense is the strong suit of our team this year, when we need stops we’re able to get them.”

Labadie set the tone early for the Heralds, scoring seven of the team’s 13 first quarter points as Whittier Christian trailed 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Behind Boatwright’s 3-point shooting, the Crusaders pushed the lead to 32-16 midway through the second quarter.

However, West led a Heralds charge late in the half with seven points, including a 3-pointer. Rivera added four points in the quarter as Whittier Christian reduced the deficit to 34-26 at halftime.

“When the high post is able to knock down shots, it opens up things down low,” Durham said. “That’s been working for us a lot lately. We aren’t content with the loss, but we are content with the effort.”

The Crusaders again pushed the lead to double digits behind Henderson’s five third quarter points.

But the Heralds (13-7, 2-2) saved the best for the final quarter. Whittier Christian reduced the deficit to six points with five minutes remaining. Shawn Stolt found room inside for four points, while Labadie continued to carve through the defense for four more.

Then after Johnson’s fifth foul, a technical foul was called against Village Christian coach Jon Shaw, which led to three made free throws and possession.

Later in the quarter, Rivera’s four-point play pushed the Heralds to its smallest deficit at 61-58 before guard Jerrick Ahanmisi hit two free throws and Matt Shashaty hit a layup at the buzzer.

Ryan Esslinger scored six of his eight points in the fourth quarter and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

The Heralds came into the contest as winners of nine of their last 11 games. Durham hopes that the result will prove to his team that they can compete with anyone in the league moving forward.

Whittier Christian hosts Heritage Christian, Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The Heralds defeated Heritage Christian 57-54 on the road, Jan. 16.

“I think we’ve got respect, we’re just going to keep taking it one game at a time,” Durham said. “I think my guys need a little rest, so we’ll go light and then really start preparing on Thursday. We still want to perfect that high-low game because I think we’ll see a little more zone. They also have a big man, so we’ll see if we can get him in foul trouble and make them work the bench.”

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