Los Angeles Preps: Laguna Hills

1. Ethan Cochran continues to impress in the field events for Newport Harbor. Cochran, whose discus throw of 203 feet 10 inches is the longest in the nation, won the Beach Cities Invitational at Huntington Beach High in both the discus and the shot put. Cochran threw the discus 201 feet, the third time this month he exceeded 200 feet at an invitational. He won the shot with a put of 58-10, his season best. The top shot put in the nation this season is 64-11 by Coy Blair of Logan-Hocking (Ohio). Ramon Vargas of Huntington Beach and Brandon Radlinger of Servite were also double winners at the event. Blair took honors in the 110 (14.84 seconds) and 300 hurdles (39.38). Radlinger won the long jump (21-8) and the triple jump (44.5). In his first competition of the season, junior Sage Stone of Mission Viejo won the high jump at 6 feet 8 inches, his personal best.

2. Also at the Beach Cities Invitational, Jordan Agnew broke a 32-year Los Alamitos High record when she won the long jump with a distance of 18-10 1/2. The previous record, set in 1980 by Thelma Viagar, was 18-4 1/2. Persis Williams of Estancia and sophomore Michaela King of Dana Hills were double winners on the girls' side. Williams won the 100 (12.62 seconds) and 200 (26.32), while King took the top step of the podium in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles (47.40).

3. The state championship by Mater Dei boys, won Saturday against Sacramento Sheldon, was the record ninth state title for Coach Gary McKnight. The performance by Katin Reinhardt, who scored 30 points with a broken thumb and stepped up when Xavier Johnson fouled out, was simply epic. Reinhardt (30 points) and sophomore Stanley Johnson, who is only 15 years old, combined for 51 points in the 66-48 victory.

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CIF state girls basketball finals preview

March, 21, 2012
Division I

Mater Dei of Santa Ana vs. Berkeley

Mater Dei (34-1) meets Berkeley (27-2) in the Division I championship game for the second year in a row. Mater Dei won last season's game, 59-47. For Mater Dei, this will be the Monarchs’ fifth trip to the CIF state final. They are in search of their third straight championship. UCLA-bound Nirra Fields, the Gatorade state player of the year, scored 20 points against Long Beach Poly in the Southern California Regional final. Berkeley is making its record-setting 11th appearance in the CIF state championship game. Elisha Davis, who’s headed to Arizona State, scored 17 points and made four 3-pointers, against Kennedy of Sacramento in the Northern California Regional final.

Division II

J.W. North of Riverside vs. Archbishop Mitty of San Jose

J.W. North won only four games last season. Now the Huskies from Riverside (31-5) are one win away from a state championship. First-year coach Leonard De Coud guided J.W. North to its first state championship appearance in school history. The Huskies beat Santa Ana Foothill, 57-49, in the Southern California Regional final. Priscilla Brooks led J.W. North with 17 points against Foothill. Archbishop Mitty (27-5) is making its ninth appearance in the CIF state championship game and its first since 2008. Kelli Hayes scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds against St. Mary’s from Stockton in the Northern California Regional final.

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Laguna Hills girls win Div. III

March, 17, 2012

ONTARIO -- The Laguna Hills girls' basketball team is Sacramento bound.

The CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA champion Lady Hawks captured the Southern California Regional title Saturday, beating San Diego Mission Bay, 75-69, at Citizens Bank Arena. It will be Laguna Hills' second trip to the state championship game and first since taking it all in 1997.

"They played with such supreme confidence this year," Laguna Hills coach Jim Martin said. "That came through for us down the stretch."

Laguna Hills, which last month captured its fifth section title, has won 11 straight. They will face Northern California titlist Oakland Bishop O'Dowd at Power Balance Pavilion.

UC Davis signee Celia Marfone had a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds, including four makes from beyond the arc.

"We wanted Laguna Hills to play fast," Mission Bay coach Sade Wiley-Gatewood said. "But I didn't think they've be able to shoot the 3-pointer like they did."

In all, Laguna Hills (26-8) made seven 3-pointers. Center Anna Mumm had a career-high 20 in support of Marfone, and point guard Maddy Ziering-Smith posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists. She also had seven steals.

"We knew they'd be all over Celia," Mumm said. "We had to step up."

A three by Brooke Shimazaki gave the Lady Hawks a nine-point lead with just under four minutes remaining. The advantage shrunk to four but Laguna Hills buckled down defensively and made its free throws.

"I'm just thrilled about this outcome," Martin said.
UC Davis has be pretty happy that its basketball program is getting a couple of recruits who are still playing.

Celia Marfone of Laguna Hills and Molly Greubel of Santa Ana Foothill have led their teams to the Southern Section Regional Championships today at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.

Marfone has been the big presence for Laguna Hills (25-8) which won a state title in 1997 with 6-foot-6 Tayyiba Haneef in the post. Laguna Hills hopes to beat top-seeded Mission Bay (26-6) today, 10 a.m., in the Division III regional finals. Even though the Hawks don't have anyone like Haneef, Marfone (6-0) and Anna Mumm (6-2) provide two posts that provide a solid foundation. They also have a junior guard in Maddy Ziering-Smith who can distribute the ball as well as score.

Marfone is averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds; she had 20 points and 22 rebounds against Mission Hills Alemany in the regional semifinals, a 58-49 victory. Mumm, a junior, is averaging just 5.5 points but has averaged 10 rebounds and blocked 105 shots this season. Ziering-Smith is averaging 16.8 points with four assists and four steals per game.

Mission Bay is coached by former Lynwood High star Sade Wiley-Gatewood, who won state championships as a point guard when she was in high school. She's coaching a team with tall athletic guards that will be a handful for Laguna Hills, which has now won five section championships.

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Laguna Hills wins 3AA title in double OT

February, 29, 2012

ANAHEIM -- It took two extra periods, but the correct result was finally achieved -- and what a result it was.

Fourth-seeded Laguna Hills went toe-to-toe with the state's No. 18 team, Mission Hills Alemany, and persevered through two overtimes, 59-55, to win the Southern Section Division 3AA Championship Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

The victory marked the fifth section title for Laguna Hills (22-8), but it was in doubt. They trailed in the opening quarter, 8-2, and at the end of regulation they lost all momentum on a last-second basket by Alemany (29-3) tied the score.

Actually, the basket came after the final buzzer, and any betting person would have put his cash on the Warriors.

But they slugged through the first overtime and finished, 53-53, and by the time the second OT rolled around, neither team had much left. There was only one field goal, and that was a big one -- Maddy Ziering-Smith hit a three-point basket with 37.4 seconds left to give Laguna Hills a 58-55 lead.

With 5.3 seconds left, she made one of two free throws.

Laguna Hills should have won the game in regulation. The Hawks led, 45-43, and forced Alemany into a rushed, long three-point shot that bounced off the backboard; Hannah Johnson got the rebound and put it back uncontested, but the red light behind the basket -- signaling the end of the game -- clearly went off. Laguna Hills players celebrated at midcourt, but the three officials gathered at the scorer's table, then called it good, sending the game into overtime tied at 45-45.

Celia Marfone led Laguna Hills with 22 points, and Maddy Ziering-Smith had 19. Jeena Bonutto, who hadn't scored in the playoffs, converted two three-pointers -- one that gave the Hawks a 43-40 lead with 28 seconds left in regulation, and another in the first overtime that gave them a 52-49 lead.

Leslie Lopez-Wood scored 23 and Hannah Johnson 10 for Alemany, which made only 21 of 70 shots, including six of 33 (Laguna Hills made eight of 33) and had three players foul out, Alex Moon (9 points), Johnson and Adaora Obi (6).
1. Laguna Hills set an Orange County record by winning its 25th consecutive league title, the Hawks emerging atop the South Coast League Finals on Saturday. All 14 wrestlers qualified to the Central Division meet, where Laguna Hills will try to win an eight straight section title. Seven wrestlers won league championships: Martin Garcia (108), Andre Cabrera (134), Miguel Ramirez (140), Wyond Mills (147), Joe Applegate (154), Jason Newcomer (162) and Joaquin Alejo (287).

2. One of the year's best rivalries on the wrestling mat has been between Century League heavyweights David Trujillo of Villa Park and Carl Hulick of Esperanza. They are ranked 1-2 in Orange County, with Trujillo winning their first two matches. But in the Century League finals, Hulick emerged victorious, 3-2, by virtue of his third period takedown.

3. Across the board, Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar may have the greatest rivalry in Orange County. On Saturday, the schools' two elite water polo programs faced each other in the finals of the Southern California Championships, where Newport scored a 6-5 victory over the section's top-ranked Division 1 team. Carly Christian's three goals led the way for the second-ranked Sailors (21-4), who shut out the Sea Queens for almost 11 minutes in the middle of the second half. It was only the second loss for CdM (23-2), which had beaten Newport in their first three meetings of this season.

4. Mater Dei and Brea Olinda both lost girls' basketball games -- in Orange County -- in the same week! Usually if that happens, it's during a national tournament week in December such as the Tournament of Champions. But Mater Dei lost on Friday to Los Angeles Windward, 65-62, the state's No. 2 team losing to the No. 1. Earlier in the week, Brea was trounced by Anaheim Canyon, 64-46, behind Lindsay Uyematsu's 21 points and Christina Salvatore's 18.

5. Esperanza might be O.C.'s most exciting boys' basketball team right now. The Aztecs defeated Anaheim Canyon, avenging an earlier loss by scoring a uncommonly low-scoring game, 42-38, thanks to a 19-4 advantage in the fourth quarter. Jack Bazan led the way with 17 points, and Dillon Wasinack had seven. The Aztecs have played five games in a row decided by four points or less. Esperanza (16-8) has victories this season over Foothill (21-5), Canyon (20-6), Villa Park (15-11), Tustin (19-6), Woodbridge (18-7), and Trabuco Hills (15-10).
1. There aren't many sports where this quote is acceptable, but wrestling is one of them: "I wanted to go out and beat up on some kids," Miguel Ramirez told the Orange County Register after pinning all four of his opponents Saturday in the Laguna Hills Invitational. Ramirez, a 140-pounder for Laguna Hills, was returning to action after having been out with a back injury. The Hawks won their meet by producing five champions. Ramirez and Yorba Linda's Garret Myers (120) shared lower weight MVP, and Laguna Hills' Jason Newcomer (160) and Edison's Greg Meline (170) shared the award for the upper weights.

2. Mater Dei's girls' basketball team got pushed into the second half on Saturday in its victory over JSerra. With sole possession of first place in the Trinity League on the line, the Monarchs (18-2) held a 33-30 halftime lead and a 51-41 margin before pulling away for a 70-46 victory. Nirra Fields and Jordan Adams scored 24 and 20 points, respectively, for Mater Dei, which was ranked No. 11 in the nation in the ESPNHS Powerade Fab 50. Mater Dei's girls are ranked higher nationally than the boys, who registered at No. 15 last week.

3. Santa Margarita has spent the season in the shadows of girls' basketball, but with freshman transfer student Zaier Williams gaining her eligibility on Friday, the whole complexion of the program changes. The athletic guard can change the landscape, and scored 24 points in her debut, a 57-52 victory over San Diego Cathedral Catholic on Saturday. The Eagles (9-13) have been in rebuilding mode and are winless in four league games; that will probably change.

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O.C.: Games of the week

November, 18, 2011
Tesoro (6-4) vs. Edison (8-2) at Orange Coast College, Friday, 7 p.m.
If the team that showed up two weeks ago against Mission Viejo shows up against Edison, then Tesoro might deliver one of the upsets of the night against the Sunset League champion. If the team that showed up last week against San Clemente shows up against Edison, it could be a long night for the South Coast League's third-place team. Running back Nate Tago (12 TDs, 110 yards/game) and quarterback Matt Adam (7 TDs, 5 int.) have to find a way against an Edison defense that doesn't get the recognition it deserves: it has allowed more than 14 points only twice this season, a 22-20 loss to Mater Dei on the last play of the game, and a 27-14 setback to top-seeded Servite. The offense is led by quarterback Chase Favreau (15 TDs, 5 int., 169 yards/game), who is a serious running threat; he averaged 81 yards against four of Edison's five best opponents, Mater Dei, Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor and Los Alamitos. But he gained only one yard against Servite. That might be the kind of effort necessary for Tesoro, which has 16 underclassmen in the starting lineup, to advance past the first round of the Pac-5 Division.

Huntington Beach (8-2) vs. Loyola (8-2) at L.A. Valley College, Friday, 7 p.m.
Huntington Beach hasn't had a football team this formidable since Tony Gonzalez was an Oiler in the early 1990s. The question is, in this battle of second-place teams, can the public school knock out the private one? Michael Chislock (23 TDs, 5 int., 195 yards/game) will have something to say about it. Chislock leads an HB offense that's averaging 35 points, and the defense held opponents to two touchdowns or less six times. No matter how good Chislock is, he will likely need significant support from running back Nolan Biegel in order to keep Loyola's defense honest. Even though Loyola is averaging nine points fewer, the Cubs have played a significantly tougher schedule heading into the Pac-5 playoffs. They beat Newport Harbor by 27 points while HB won by 28. Also Loyola has a 28-14 victory over St. John Bosco, the kind of signature victory that Huntington Beach is hoping to pick up.

Lakewood (7-3) at San Clemente (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Can Lakewood go deep into Orange County and emerge victorious? Any team that can hang with St. John Bosco -- as the Lancers did in a 35-31 loss -- should be able to represent in the Pac-5. Brock Dale (26 TDs, 5 int.) has averaged 189 yards passing and the offense has scored fewer than 31 points only once, a 38-21 loss to fourth-seeded Long Beach Poly (9-1). This may be San Clemente's best team ever, which means this is the year to make some playoff noise. They have the quarterback in Utah-bound Travis Wilson (16 TDs, 6 int., 159 yards/game), running back in Mike Elespuru (12 TDs, 120 yards/game), and a first-rate offensive line led by one of the nation's top prospects, Kyle Murphy. The defense is allowing less than two touchdowns per game. Both teams have a common opponent in Long Beach Cabrillo; San Clemente won its opener, 35-6, and Lakewood won three weeks ago, 31-6. One of Lakewood's losses was a forfeit to Compton (3-7), a team that it beat 54-0.

Esperanza (7-3) vs. El Toro (9-1) at Trabuco Hills HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
Only three players in Orange County have rushed for more yardage than Troy Poole's 1,584 -- which he did in only nine games. That's what makes this the game of the night in the Southwest Division, the clash of styles. Esperanza's running game against El Toro's passing game led by Conner Manning (26 TDs, 4 int.), whose 271.1 yards per game is second to Northwood's Ricky Bautista (283.5). Jacob Funari has also rushed for 1,002 yards and 15 TDs. Esperanza has its own passing threat in Mike Tumlinson (21 TDs, 11 int., 191.1 yards/game), who is completing 66 percent of his passes during the regular season. Espy averages 36 points and El Toro 41; this has shootout written all over it.

Laguna Hills (7-2) vs. Cypress (8-2) at Western HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
Laguna Hills was undefeated before losing its last two games heading into the Southwest Division playoffs. The Hawks -- selected as an at-large team -- have something to prove. Wanting to do it, and doing it, are different things and Vincent "Bug" Rivera may have something to say about it. The running back for fourth-seeded Cypress is a difference maker; his 31 touchdowns are second only to Saddleback Valley Christian's John Curran (38), and Rivera is averaging 9.0 yards per carry. Believe it or not, both teams have only one victory over an opponent with a winning record.

Woodbridge (5-5) vs. Rancho Alamitos (9-1) at Bolsa Grande HS, Friday, 7 p.m.
For winning the Garden Grove League, Rancho Alamitos was rewarded with the third-place team from the Southern Division's best league, one that lost to second-seeded Corona del Mar, 31-30, three weeks ago. Derek Calderon (13 TDs) leads Woodbridge with 136.6 yards/game, while Brett Hurley (21 TDs) paces Rancho Alamitos at 131.9. This could go to the wire, which would be familiar territory for Woodbridge: two of its last three games have been decided by one point.