Archive | January, 2017

Emma Zener: The Lady Highlanders Sharpshooter Breaks 1,000

Emma Zener: The Lady Highlanders Sharpshooter Breaks 1,000

Posted on 26 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Photo by Paul Luna

Lady Highlander senior Emma Zener had a day to remember. Just a few hours after she was named La Habra’s class of 2017 co-valedictorian, Zener surpassed a milestone never before reached in school history on Tuesday night.

With her 10 points against Sunny Hills on Tuesday, Zener eclipsed 1,000 for her career and helped lift the Lady Highlanders over the Lancers.

Zener came into the game seven points shy of 1000 for her career. So her average of 11 points per game seemed to make eclipsing the milestone mostly a formality.

However, the standout sharpshooter opened the first quarter ice cold.

With friends and family filling up the La Habra gym, and the PA announcer reminding everyone in attendance of the looming milestone several times, Zener began the night uncharacteristically off from behind the arc, missing her first six shots.

“Going into the game I was a little more nervous than usual because I knew that I had family coming out and people were expecting me to hit seven more points,” Zener said. “Normally I wouldn’t see seven as that many points, but suddenly reaching that milestone was like trying to get over the hump.”

Photo by Paul Luna

As the game progressed, she turned to her defense to create some easy offense and get to the basket, which is something she and her head coach Dana Khandelwal have been working on all year.

“By this point with four years on varsity teams know she’s going to shoot, so this year we have encouraged her and really worked with her on attacking the basket,” Khandelwal said.

Midway through the second quarter Zener grabbed a rebound and took it the length of the court for a layup. And one minute later she came up with a steal and another transition bucket at the rim.

Khandelwal said Zener was already a prolific three-point shooter the past three seasons, but what has set her apart this season, has been her ability to zadrive to the basket.

That setup center Hannah McArthur to find Zener open behind the arc, and she fittingly knocked down a three to reach the rare milestone with 1:47 remaining in the first half.

“At first when my shots weren’t falling I started to get a little nervous, but then once I hit those layups, I was really happy to hit my 1000th point on a three.” Zener said.

After trailing the Lancers by a basket through the first quarter, Zener’s seven points in the second helped give the Lady Highlanders a 27-17 lead at the half, and they they never looked back.

La Habra would go on to beat Sunny Hills 52-36, with Zener adding another three in the third quarter to cement this game and her forever in the record books.

“We talked about this game last night and how we wanted to get to the third spot for the playoffs,” Khandelwal said. “We actually didn’t put too much pressure on the seven points because she’s averaging 11 [per game] now anyway, so we knew she was going to get it.”

Zener plans to continue playing basketball at the next level. The newly honored valedictorian will attend Smith College in Massachusetts, where she will play basketball and pursue a liberal arts degree.

“I wanted to go to a college where I can be a student first because I’ve always loved learning more than basketball,” she said. “I realized at a D3 I can do that, basketball is just a part of who you are, it’s not your whole identity and I love the idea of an all women’s college.”

Zener said that she realized at the beginning of her freshman year if she wanted to maintain success in both the classroom and on the court, that she would have to create a regiment for herself.

“I would say it was a lot of self discipline, with telling myself I want to be the best in school and in basketball,” Zener said. “I don’t want to be just a student or just a basketball player, but a student-athlete who excels in both.”

At 1003 and counting, Zener and the Lady Highlanders (14-6, 3-2) will have their hands full when they host Troy (13-6, 5-0) on Friday night. The Warriors hold an impressive record of their own, having won an astonishing 205 consecutive Freeway League games.

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Highlanders upset rival Raiders to end drought

Highlanders upset rival Raiders to end drought

Posted on 14 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Senior Devin Howlin hit a floater in the paint with :16 left to cap the La Habra’s 64-63 upset over rival Sonora Friday night, snapping the Highlanders 21-game losing streak in Freeway League play.

La Habra’s Nicholas Vega pushes past Sonora’s Lacas Everett on their way to a 64-63 upset win over the crosstown rivals.

It was a back and forth battle all night, with neither team extending the lead past 6 points the entire second half. The grueling matchup took its toll on both sides, but La Habra appeared to be the fresher team down the stretch, getting to most of the loose balls and forcing turnovers.

“Sonora is such a great team and they have a great program, so I felt like we had to play loose,” said Dave Ploog La Habra head coach. “In this city rivalry you can tense up, so our game plan was to be loose and get the shots we wanted.”

The Raiders held a 63-60 lead with just over a minute to play. After center Austin Carter missed a pair of free-throws, the Highlanders cut it to one point with just :30 on the clock.

It appeared Sonora would have the opportunity to hold for the final shot, or perhaps force La Habra to foul, but the Highlander defense forced a turnover.

“We talked a lot about having a high level of energy and really playing intense,” Ploog added.

Sonora’s Kevin Marlow denies La Habra’s Ben Peppard Friday in a close 64-63 LHHS win.

Instead of intentionally fouling, the Highlanders trapped Sean Murphy a couple feet behind the 3-point line and the refs called him for sliding his pivot foot.

“We pride ourselves this year on playing hard pressure defense” Ploog said. “I think that over the course of a game pressuring them, it forces them to make some mistakes.”

The costly turnover paved the way for Howlin’s game-winner.

“Towards the end of the game we called Devin’s number and we asked him what he wanted to do, because we want to trust our guys and their play,” Ploog said. “He wanted to take his guy one on one, he trusted his jump shot and hit a big shot for us.”

Murphy had a chance at redemption with an open look from straight away, but his shot rimmed out as time expired.

“I think we just came out flat tonight, we might have underestimated them a little bit,” Murphy said.

Sonora held a narrow lead as time ticked down in third quarter as well, but in a bit of foreshadowing Howlin drove down the lane and scored with :17 on the clock to put his team up 49-48 heading into the fourth.

“Devin’s been our leading scorer this season, he’s our leader, our best rebounder,” Ploog said of his captian.

Howlin lead all scorers with 23 points and also had a team-best 9 rebounds.

Kevin Marlow scored a team-high 21 points, and Carter had a double-double with 13 and 10 for the Raiders.

La Habra (7-11, 1-1) will continue Freeway League play Tuesday night when they host Buena Park (16-2, 0-1).

Sonora (17-3, 1-1) will look to get back on track when they host Sunny Hills (12-8, 1-1) Tuesday night.

“The good thing about basketball though, is we get to play them again at home in a couple weeks,” Murphy said.

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Lady Raiders dominate opening act on rivalry night

Lady Raiders dominate opening act on rivalry night

Posted on 14 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The Sonora girls team took the opening game of rivalry night, defeating the

Sonora’s Meghann Henderson lead the Lady Raiders with 27 points and lead them to a 60-31 victory over La Habra.

Lady Highlanders 60-31 behind Meghann Henderson’s 27-point game.

Sonora lead from tipoff through the final whistle Friday.

The Raiders took a 20-point lead into the half, but came out in the third quarter with even more intensity to extend the lead the rest of the way.

Barajas said that she talked to the team at halftime about keeping the intensity up despite the lopsided score. “This is their home court and they’re not going to just stop playing,” she added.

The Lady Highlanders offense finally started to click in the fourth quarter. Samantha Esquivel popped for 9 of her 11 points to help La Habra outscore Sonra 12-8 down the stretch, but the game was well out of reach by then.

Esquivel finished with 11 points for La Habra (11-6).

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Heights recognizes six lost firefighters

Heights recognizes six lost firefighters

Posted on 12 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

With honor: Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Honor Guard fold the flag that flew over the memorial for the fallen firefighters Saturday.

By Naomi Osuna
La Habra Journal

Family and friends of La Habra Heights Fire Department gathered together on January 7 for a Memorial Dedication Ceremony to honor the lost lives of six firefighters.
On September 2, 1955, in the area that would later become La Habra Heights, six brave firefighters paid the ultimate price to protect the safety of others during the “Hacienda Fire”. The La Habra Heights and Los Angeles County Fire Departments dedicated a monument and plaque to these six firefighters.
La Habra Heights Mayor Kyle Miller, explained that what prompted him, and many other people to hold this memorial originally started with LHH Fire Chief Graft.
The Fire Chief, through some wild fire training programs, learned of this incident and brought it to the attention of the council and the mayor.
“We were all in it from the beginning,” Miller explained.  “Our rule was to really support what he wanted to do.”
Miller went on to explain, “you always want to support public safety officers, particularly La Habra Heights because it is such a fire danger.”

Remembrance: La Habra Heights Councilman Roy Francis stands with Anita Morgan, by the new memorial that honors her father, Captain Glenn Rockey, who was killed fighting the Hacienda Fire in what is now La Habra Heights in1955.

The granite monument was donated, with an engraving describing the details of the fire and named Captain Glenn Rockey, and his five young crew members: Franklyn Fay, Terry Kelly, La Verne Pendergast, Gregory Sambrano and William Strack, all of whom were 16 or 17 years old.
Miller said that it took a lot of people, including many from the fire department, who donated their time, to bring the memorial to life. The foundation for the monument was dug up by firefighters who volunteered their time.
“When you’re doing the right thing, for the right reason, a lot of people are happy to help,” he said.
Miller added that he thought that it will serve as a constant reminder that fires can happen at any time, and you can never be over prepared.
“I hope it will affect the community in knowing that they will have an example of something tragic happening and do all that they can to prevent it,” he said.
Graft explained he wanted the community to be aware of the sacrifices that were made by the firemen and to use it as a teaching tool for the young firefighters.
Graft expressed his gratitude that the community is aware of this tragic event and grateful that their young firefighters have been able to reflect on what transpired years ago.
Retired fireman and current La Habra Heights Council Member Roy Francis explained that the community has changed over the 60 years since the Hacienda Fire. But feels that the residents should know about the events that took place to help maintain their community as it is.
“I’m hoping that when this gets out people will realize that this really did happen, and this happens all the time,” he said. “This will make everyone aware that these are some things that shouldn’t be taken lightly, any kind of fire, and we all learn from these things.”

A Hacienda Fire History

The Hacienda Fire that claimed the lives of six firefighters in what is now La Habra Heights, caused many changes in the way firefighting is done.
The 1,150-acre fire on September 2, 1955, caused a back blast fire.
Captain Glenn Rockey of  Los Angeles County Fire Department  Engine 4 went in to  rescue the five juvenile members of Los Angeles County Probation Forestry Camp Crew 5-1.
Rockey and the five teens succumbed to burn injuries.
Seven others were severely injured in the fire.
As a result of the deaths and the deaths on the Canyon Fire or Canyon Inn Fire in 1968, the Los Angeles County Fire Department discontinued the practice of using juveniles to fight fire.
The Hacienda Fire, which burned in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, ranks as the thirteenth deadliest fire by Cal Fire.
The fire has been studied and new fire fighting methods were put in place for better containment methods and to help ensure greater safety to fire fighters.

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LH council approves more money for construction

LH council approves more money for construction

Posted on 12 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

With the construction projects of the La Habra Civic Center underway, city staff found that some areas needed additional funding.  The City Council approved an additional $1.7 million on enhancements to the various buildings in the projects.
The additional funding will include $685,000 at the new city hall. The improvements will include significant parking enhancements.
According to city staff, the existing parking lot lights will be replaced with new energy efficient lighting. In addition, a drive-through lane for customers to drop off USPS mail and city water bills will be constructed. Other improvements include the placement of two electric vehicle-charging stations in the parking lot and the installation of sufficient power conduits and outlets to allow for the use of the parking lot area for future civic events.
The La Habra Police Department will receive $475,000 in enhancements with the installation of bullet resistant glass along the exposed part of Euclid Street and an increase to the perimeter wall height from six feet to eight feet.  There will be further improvements to the parking lot to increase capacity and functionality and replacement of the existing outdated and underpowered emergency generator.
With the planned closure of Orange Street adjacent to El Centro/Lions Park, the city will apply $400,000 to widen Orange Street to accommodate straight in parking, expanding parking along the existing park parking lot, and creating a new parking lot on the south side of the Library, adjacent to La Habra Boulevard.
The source of the additional money will come from various sources.
• $1,301,000 from the General Capital Projects Fund
• $200,000 from the Gas Tax Fund (Since much of the enhancements have to do with parking and road fixes)
• $125,000 from Traffic Impact Fund
• $125,000 from the Water Fund

The $20.7 million La Habra Civic Center improvement project consists of improvements and construction related to six municipal buildings, including:
Relocation of La Habra City Hall and US Post Office, rehabilitation of the Veterans Hall Building, rehabilitation of the La Habra Historical Museum, rehabilitation roof repairs of the police department.
And construction of a 4,250 square foot addition to the Community Center to house the Women’s Club, the La Habra Art Association, and the Boy Scouts; and Rehabilitation and improvements to the Police Department.

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LH Rotary honors performing students

LH Rotary honors performing students

Posted on 12 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jane Williams
La Habra Journal

Jessica Harms came to Rotary’s Student of the Month Lunch December 15 to receive the outstanding senior in fine arts award at Whittier Christian.   Along with major roles in her school’s production as the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella” and Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” she also has been Peggy in “Godspell,” Anita in “Westside Story,”  and performed in “Cats”all produced by Biola’s Youth Theatre.
She went on to perform in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Almost Maine,” and “Chemical Imbalance” in which she portrayed Ambosia Jekyll  at Whittier Christian.

Photo Jane Williams
Outstanding performers: Sonora’s Alexis Arreguin Whittier Christians’ Jessica Harms and La Habra’s Wyatt Logan were recognized by the La Habra Rotary club for their dedication to performing.

These were straight theatrical plays, but it is musical theatre that is her passion. She has taken theatre classes all four years and taken jazz, ballet, and hip hop dance classes, tap class, and private lessons.
She is a member of Whittier Theatre Company which last year made a trip to New York City, saw several shows, toured the sights, and best of all took master classes. One was in stage combat. She can apply appropriate make up for many different roles and ages.
After she received her award she rewarded the Rotarians with a snippet of “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Alexis Arreguin represented Sonora’s fine arts stars.  A singer in the school’s  choir and a member of the Orange County Student Union for three years. Last year he performed three pieces at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s all Boys Youth Chorus Festival in January.
In theatre he had the lead in Peter and the “Starcatcher,” and Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” and supporting roles in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” and the musicals “Music Man” and “Guys and Dolls.”
Arreguin also spent the summer after his junior year operating the sound and managing the stage and lights for Mysterium Theatre in La Habra, and has been an I-Path mentor
At the same time he manages to participate in Girls’ League as its secretary as well as secretary of Friday Night Live in ninth and tenth grade and Strings Club last year.
He also is a member of Sonora’s National Honor Society, and has taken an active role in Sonora’s food drive which this year supplied food and gifts for 96 families.
He has already been accepted at Cal State Fullerton, and has applied to the following top theatre schools at Juilliard, Carnegie Mellon, NYU and Cal Arts. He plans to major in English and hopes to have a career in acting. And to demonstrate his skill he recited a portion of  his lines from Shakeapeare’s “As You Like It” which he performed last year, complete with some extraordinary animation.
La Habra’s Wyatt Logan has an uncanny knack for reproducing any accent he has heard.  He learned that while traveling around England with the Fullerton’s Children Rep in a kilt and convincing the natives he was from Scotland.  It was in elementary school that he decided to join a pal and try out for one of the group’s plays.  He quickly discovered performing gave him joy.
He began his career at La Habra performing as Walter Cunningham in “To Kill a Mocking Bird”  and went on to play Scrooge in “The Christmas Carol,” The Porter in “MacBeth,” Anthony in “I and You,” and Piggy in “Lord of the Flies.”  He will cap his high school career as Captain Hook in the production of “Peter Pan” this March, and hopes to be cast in the final play, “Robin Hood,” of the year.
He decided to attend La Habra High where Brian Johnson, the organizer of  Fullerton Children’s Rep, runs the program.
It was a fortunate choice as the Logan family was thrown into traumatic times when his father, a police officer, was seriously injured and needed multiple surgeries during which time he became addicted to acting. It was Johnson, Logan’s grandfather and his faith which supported him throughout this time.
It also helped that theatre became a family undertaking as his mother began sewing costumes for productions and working backstage, and his sister has joined the theatre program as a freshman.  The three of them now live with the grandparents and help them out.
Logan plans to go to a Cal State close to home so he can continue to help out and encourage his sister.
He is currently represented by a small agency and will continue to audition for TV and film parts.  With some urging from his principal, he gave a quick demonstration of the differences between English, Scot, and Irish accents before capping the performance with a Russian accent he is currently working to master.

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Lady Raiders halt Santa Margarita late

Lady Raiders halt Santa Margarita late

Posted on 08 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The Sonora girls basketball team grabbed its first lead on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, then held Santa

Sonora’s Elizabeth Yoshitake drives past a Santa Margarita defender Saturday at Mater Dei High School.

Margarita without a field goal the rest of the way to down the Eagles 32-29 Saturday afternoon in the Matt Denning Hoops Classic at Mater Dei High School.


The Raiders (10-5) trailed nearly the entire game and entered the fourth still down a point 28-27. Elizabeth Yoshitake drained a 3-pointer to begin the fourth and Sonora never relinquished the lead again.

Sonora held a 32-29 lead with :22 remaining and possession of the basketball. The Eagles last-ditch effort to force Sonora to the free throw line took a little too long because they still had five fouls to give. With :03 to play, junior Lainie James actually missed the free throw, but the Eagles half-court shot fell well short.

The Eagles missed on 11 consecutive field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, largely due to the Raiders defensive pressure late in the game. Their lone score in the fourth quarter came on a Jessica Fracker free-throw.

Sonora Head Coach Melissa Barajas attributed the hard fought victory to her team playing top notch competition all season.

“Our kids are battle tested,” Barajas said. “Things weren’t necessarily going our way on offense, but we stuck with it, we were battling on defense, battling on the boards and that is something we were not as strong with early in the year.”

Yoshitake lead all scorers with 12 points. Meghann Henderson finished right behind with 11 for Sonora.

Tori Anderson lead the Eagles with 11 points.

The Matt Denning Hoops Classic was the Raiders’  final tuneup before Freeway League play begins. Sonora will host Buena Park (9-4) on Tuesday night, then head to La Habra (11-4) to take on the Lady Highlanders on Friday.

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Raiders pounce on Wildcats

Raiders pounce on Wildcats

Posted on 08 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

 Austin Carter and Kevin Marlow combined for 16 in the opening quarter to give Sonora an early lead and the Raiders outpaced Wildcats the rest of the way to win their seventh straight Friday night at Brea 83-57.

Sonora’s Kevin Marlow puts one up against Brea  in the Raider’s 85-57 win Friday.

After winning four consecutive games over top notch competition to take their division at the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego over the break, the Raiders were brimming with confidence, and it showed early on in Brea.

Marlow’s hot shooting from downtown continued. The senior shooting guard sank a pair from downtown early and notched 9 first-quarter-points.

“Marlow has been playing at a really high level,” said Head Coach Mike Murphy. “He gets from point-A to point-B as fast as anybody.”

Carter dominated the paint with 7 points to give the Raiders a commanding 22-5 lead over the Wildcats heading into the second quarter.

“I’ve been at Sonora for 27 years and I’ve never had anybody as strong as him,” Murphy said.

“We try to establish ourselves inside at the beginning of the game, it spreads out the offense,” Marlow said. “We like to feed Austin and that forces the defense to collapse to double him, and that really opens it up for our shooters.”

Despite the dominant start, the Raiders never really put the game much farther out of reach, outscoring the Wildcats just 61-54 the rest of the way.

Murphy acknowledged afterwards that executing for a full four quarters is something that his team still needs to work on.

Sonora’s Sean Murphy splits Brea defenders on his way to the basket in the Raider’s 85-57 win Friday.  

“I thought we came out with great energy in the first quarter, we shared the ball and moved the ball really well,” Murphy said. “What often happens with high school kids, once we got up by 20, everybody was out there for their own, the ball wasn’t moving, we weren’t sharing and we kinda stopped executing.”

“We jumped on them early, but I think we got complacent a little bit and took our foot off the gas pedal,” Marlow said. “I think we executed ok, we just didn’t play with the same intensity as we usually do, but that’s something we can work on and easily fix.”

 Carter finished with a game high 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. Marlow was close behind with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Sophomore Maceo Reddick finally got Brea going, scoring 7 of his 10 points in the second quarter. Tyler Clark led the Wildcats with 13 points, all of which coming in the second half.

The Raiders (16-2) will begin Freeway League play Tuesday night at home when they host Buena Park (14-1). Much like last season, the Coyotes figure to be the Raiders toughest competition in league.

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Highlanders start year off with win

Highlanders start year off with win

Posted on 04 January 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Bryant Freese
La Habra Journal

La Habra extended its’ winning streak to four games after a 65-51 victory over Vista del Lago High School Wednesday night at La Habra.

The Highlanders started off the game slow, giving up easy points in the paint and multiple offensive rebounds while not being able to create open shots of their own on the offensive end.

“I think they were just so hyped because it was their first home game of the year so a lot of it had to do with some jitters,” said La Habra Head Coach Dave Ploog after the game. “We also had to figure out their speed, they were a very quick team, so once we figured out how to move the ball better we got better shots.”

The Highlanders lack of defense was a problem in the first half of the game, especially early on in the first quarter. Vista del Lago made very few perimeter shots, a majority of their buckets came from inside the paint after blowing past the defense and on offensive rebounds which allowed easy put-backs around the rim.

La Habra was in a full-court press in the first half, which allowed the speed of the guards from Vista del Lago to break the press and create open opportunities in the paint.

Even with Vista Del Lago not making many perimeter shots, the Highlanders trailed 12-11 after the first quarter.

“We talked a lot at halftime about giving them more space and seeing if they could shoot outside, and we even did some zone defense to make them shoot outside.” Ploog said. “I think they only made maybe one three in the whole game, so I think our plan worked to make sure they didn’t get as many shots around the basket.”

A large part of the Highlanders improved play throughout the game was thanks to senior forward Devin Howlin, who led the way for La Habra with 17 points including 11 points in the second quarter on 3/3 shooting from behind the three-point line.

Howlin got open looks for his teammates and hit clutch shots throughout the game to extend the lead for the Highlanders, including a momentum grabbing three-point basket with 10 seconds remaining in the first halftime to give La Habra a 35-28 lead going into the locker room.

“He’s a very explosive player and he’s very fast. The thing he does well is get to the basket and over the course of the game it makes a difference because he can make layup or kick it out for jump shots. When he goes our team goes.” Ploog said of Howlin’s impact on the team.

The Highlanders came out of the locker unsatisfied with their seven point lead, starting off the seconding half with a 4-0 run to extend their lead to 11 points just minutes into the quarter forcing Vista del Lago to call a timeout to regain their composure.

La Habra, however, would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game. The Ravens made every effort to narrow the gap but the Highlanders continuously answered back with a basket to hold the lead in double digits until the clock hit zero.

“We’re playing more aggressive, we’re playing more up-tempo. The guys are feeling positive, it’s a lot of energy from the whole team,” Ploog said. “I want to make sure we play with this style, this energy and this attitude that we have going into league, hopefully this will give us some confidence as the league season comes up next week.”

The Highlanders will hit the road for a matchup with California High School Friday night at 6 p.m.

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