Los Alamitos boys make it to the sweet 16 of State Cup

The pride of Los Alamitos boys 2005 elite soccer made it to the sweet 16 of the California State Cup. Over 200 teams in Southern CA competed and our local boys made it all the way to the final 16. This accomplishment is a first for boys their age in our community's history. The team is coached by Donovan Martinez. Donovan is also the varsity coach of LAHS, which is one of the top ten division one high schools in California. Donovan will be moving the boys up to compete in gold level/flight I soccer the remainder of 2017 and beyond.

Local teams battle in Douglas Uselton Tourney

A handful of local team participated in the ninth annual Oxford Academy Tournament, which unfolded at Oxford Academy last week, ending on Saturday, Dec. 15.The tournament was actually renamed the Douglas Uselton Memorial Tournament, re-named after the Buena Park resident and former Patriots captain who died in a drunk driving automobile accident while driving to a school event with his father two years ago.“Everything went really smoothly this year,” Oxford Academy head coach Andy Andrew Scimeca said. “All the teams showed up and we had good turnouts, or good crowds for the entire tournament, especially on Saturday for the final games.”In all, 16 teams participated in the tournament. Cypress High captured the crown, defeating Brethren Christian 68-45 in the final round. The Centurions (9-2) bested Santiago, California, Pacifica to reach the championship matchup.Western High (Anaheim) finished in third place, besting Pacifica (Garden Grove) 73-63 in the third-place constellation contest. It will actually face Cypress High in their Empire League opener on Jan. 2 – after the holiday break ends – at Cypress High at 7 p.m.Buena Park High also competed, going 1-3. It defeated Estancia, 80-44, in the first round but dropped contests to Brethren Christian, Bishop Amat and Valley Christian.Oxford Academy went 1-3 in the tourney. It opened with loses to California High and then Santiago before earning its only victory – a 38-27 affair against Calvary Chapel. Garden Grove High defeated the host, 55-52, in its final contest.Santiago (Garden Grove) went 2-2 in the tourney. It fell to Cypress in its opener and then defeated Oxford Academy, 65-43, in the second round. The Cavaliers then took on rival Los Amigos in the third round. That contest turned out to be a thriller and preview of upcoming Garden Grove League action as the Cavaliers fell, 49-48, to Los Amigos.“That was a real heartbreaker,” Santiago head coach Al Robertson said.Los Amigos went 3-1 in the tourney, emerging victorious in all of its final three contests. However, it lost to Pacifica in the opener.Garden Grove High ended the tourney with a 2-2 record, losing to Brethren Christian in the first round. It earned a victory against Estancia but also endured a loss to Santa Margarita.

Q&A with Los Al football coach John Barnes

Los Alamitos High football program has been under the leadership of head coach John Barnes for over 40 years now. Over the years the Griffins have had some success, and they will be looking to add to their successful tradition this year. Barnes has been bolstering his squad this summer by entering his team in a couple passing tournaments and summer practices.Fall practices began August 13 and the Griffins are looking sharp, and are well on their way to make a run at the league title. OCNN caught up with Barnes recently during their first week back and got to ask what he thinks about this year’s squad.What’s your outlook on this year’s season?“We got a lot of returning players. We have about 11 to 12 starters on both sides back, and we have a lot of really good athletes. Probably the best we’ve had in the past four or five years.We’ve covered some bases. Right now after two days of practice we still need a ton of work but we’re on the right path. I think we’re expecting big things.”How far do you see your team making it in the league?“Well you know everybody always says, ‘we’re going to win the CIF title.’ Our goal is to win our league and then go win the CIF title. It is two steps. Win your league first then go and win the CIF title.”With the amount of talented players you have on your squad, is there any egos that get in the way of practice?“This is one of the best teams I’ve ever coached for good attitude. We don’t have any divas. You know guys who look the other way when we talk. They are just really good kids and they are hard-working guys.”How do you feel about your team’s summer league performances?“We had a great summer camp. They worked hard. We did a lot of good things. Passing league, we went to the tournament in UCLA and finished second, with about 20 or something teams. At the Edison tournament we beat Bosco in the first game of the tournament. That was really good, after that we didn’t do as great on defense as we’d like, but we did on offense. We scored a lot of points. We played by far the toughest bracket down there: Serra, Bosco, Centennial Corona. It was the who’s who of football. We played real well.”Yeah, you guys played really well over the summer and you have some talented players on your squad. What do you believe is the strongest part of this Los Alamitos football squad?“I don’t know. We just have a good team.”You guys have been playing hard this summer. How do you feel about this year’s squad?“Yeah we’re good. We have to be better coached. We need to have more enthusiasm, but we’re just starting. I’ve done this for 44 years. I don’t panic. Every day is a process to try and get better. We were better this morning than we were on Saturday. Hopefully we will be better this afternoon. That’s why we watch film and do all this to get better. Then it’s up to the players to do it. They have got to want it as bad as the coaches do.”You’ve been coaching here a while now. How do you keep it fresh?“I’m always excited. I woke at five this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I told myself I need to sleep but I couldn’t. I’m excited. I want to get down here and watch some film from the other day. Start the day and get out on the practice field. That’s something I have no control over. It’s just who I am. It’s in me. That’s who I am. It’s never been a job. It’s always been a joy. It’s difficult at times, and frustrating at times but the whole process has been a fun thing for me. And we’ve had a lot of success. If I hadn’t won a bunch of championships and games I’d probably wouldn’t be here right now. I still enjoy it.”With all the success there will inevitably be some hurdles your team will need to get over. What do you think is your team’s biggest obstacle this season?“We need to get game experience as fast as possible, and get confident in games.”How do you feel about this year’s league?“Tough. Everybody but Marina can win it. It’s going to be a competitive league.”Who are you top players to look out for?“Denzal Brantley, Styler White at safety, runningback, and Devon Cornea at corner, runningback. Jake Stouffer and Jon Jennings the two big defensive tackles, and Matt Locher at linebacker. Blake Johnson at linebacker. Jack Delanko our quarterback. Joe Wysocki.”What do people need to know about Los Alamitos this year?“They’ll know they’ve been in a tough game when the game is on, and we are going to be real good.”

Cypress girls softball continues streak

@font-face { font-family: “Times New Roman”;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }Cypress College recently won the State Championship in baseball and Cypress High School won the CIF Baseball Championships, while Cypress Girls Softball League, 8U Softball All-Stars went undefeated to win the State Championship, competing in Lancaster on July 5-7 for the SoCal ASA State Tournament.The softball team is managed by Kay Timm and Coaches Ray Townsend, Rama Maline, and Dave Veloz. This is the first year ASA has recognized the 8U Division as an actual tournament in state competition. There were 84 8U gold teams competing within eight districts making up the Southern California area. There were 16 teams who moved on to represent their districts, with two from each district.Cypress went 5-0 to become the first 8U State Champions through the course of the tournaments and qualifying. The team played in 35 games, scoring 225 runs while only allowing 74 in six summer tournaments.

Lady Patriots win final two games

The Oxford Academy Lady Patriots girls basketball team defeated St. Margaret’s 49- 21 and Brethren Christian 52-20 last week.With the victory, Oxford’s goes undefeated in league with a record of 12-0 and are crowned the Academy League champions, the first basketball title in the school’s history. The victories extended the Patriots overall win streak to 17 games and improved the teams record to 22-3 for the season. In league play, the Lady Patriots averaged scoring 49 points a game, while holding opponents to under 30. In fact there were only three games where the margin of victory was less than 10 points, two versus Sage Hill and once against Whitney, while Sage Hill was the only team to score more than 37 points in a game. One of the reasons for success during league was strong team play and consistent performance from the starting five and timely contributions when needed from the reserve squad. The starting five consists of three freshmen; center Austyn Masuno and guards Mylee Madrazo and Angie Gagnon. Rounding out the starting five are sophomore guard and co-captain Sophia Chan and junior forward Jocelyn Lopez. In the front court, Masuno averaged 19 points 14 rebounds a game and scored a double-double in every game this year, while Lopez averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds a game. The guards were led by Chan’s consistent stat line of 7 points, 2 assists, and 4 steals per game. Madrazo was the primary ball handler and averaged 7 points and 2 assists a game, while Gagnon averaged 7 points a game and made a three-point basket in 23 of the 25 games. “The Second Wave” plays an important role for Oxford led by senior guard and co-captain Stephanie Cha who provides leadership to the young team. Junior guard Celine Tran always provides a defensive spark and hits key shots during her opportunities. Freshman guard Jessica Pham was called up from the junior varsity team mid-year and has filled in nicely when needed. In the front court, junior forward Ashleigh Perez has made many key plays throughout the season and earned player of the game honors versus Sage Hill while junior forwardDebra Graver can always be counted on to keep opponents off the boards. The next step for the Lady Patriots is to prepare to make an impact in the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA playoffs, where the team is currently ranked No. 2. Although this is the Lady Patriots first appearance in the CIF playoffs in six years, the team is going in with high expectations. Head coach David Clifton expects the Lady Patriots to be ready. “The team worked hard all year and achieved our original goal of becoming league champs, but CIF is the second season and we need to be ready to play,” Clifton said. For Division 5AACIF Playoffs, the Lady Patriots received a bye in the first round and will host the winner of Connelly of Anaheim vs. Academy of Academic Excellence. The second round game will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at Oxford Academy.

Pioneers grinding way to opening of league play

The Western High baseball team is grinding out eight games in 12 days as they prepare to open up Empire League play next week. The Pioneers were 10-7 heading into this week, while still in the midst of the Beach Pit Tournament. They were 2-2 in the Anaheim Lions Tournament just prior to getting into the Beach Pit. In a 4-2 win over Culver City, the Pioneers were led by pitcher AnthonyEquiarta, who pitched seven innings, scattering seven hits with three strikeouts. Equiarta also had a hit, run and RBI. Shortstop Jeremiah Vison was 2 for 4 with a triple and two runs. Chris Morgan had a double and two RBIs. Mark Hyun had an RBI and Garrett Scott had a hit and run scored. Prior to that game, the Pioneers had a 4-0 win over Viewmont of Utah, with Darren Hernandez pitching the complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits, with 10 strikeouts.The offense pounded out 13 hits. Equiarta was 3-3 with a run scored. Vison was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Iram Jimenez had a hit, run and RBI. Hyun had a RBI. Scott was 2 for 4 with a run and stolen base. But the Pioneers stumbled in a loss to Capistrano Valley in their final game of the Lions Tournament and then opened the Beach pit with a 3-1 loss to Saugus. The Pioneers looked to get back on track as they had three more Beach Pit games this week (past our deadline) and will open Empire League play at home against Kennedy on April 13, at 3:15 p.m. Pioneer softball tops Pioneer High The Western High softball team defeated Pioneer High, 7-3, last week at Western High. The Pioneers were led by Julie Gakere who was 2 for 3 with a double, 4 RBIs and a run scored. Emily Muro was 2 for 3, with a double and two runs. Pitcher Jennifer Hartman pitched seven innings, with three runs allowed and a strikeout. The Pioneers are hosting a double-header against Valley Christian of Cerritos on Saturday. The first game will be at 9 a.m. with the second about 20 minutes after the end of the first game. They will open Empire League play on April 12 at Kennedy High, at 3:15 p.m.

Cypress College legends come home

Cypress alum and NBA great Mark Eaton calls the state of Utah home. After spending so many years playing for the Utah Jazz as one of the league’s most dominant centers, it is no surprise that Eaton has a certain fondness for the state that supported him during his playing heyday. But his real home is in Orange County. Cypress College is part of his homegrown roots.He came back home last weekend to take part in several activities honoring him and fellow Cypress College alum Swen Nater. The two big men and their towering presence on the basketball court were at the center of attention Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, when the duo both had their jerseys retired at Cypress College and were celebrated at the Cypress College Foundation’s 39thAnnual Americana Awards, which was held at the Disneyland Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, respectively.Both Eaton and Nater were both feted as the 2014 39thAnnual Americana Awards “Man of the Year.” The ceremony at Cypress College on Feb. 21 was a little bit louder and raucous than it was at the elegant pageantry of the Americana Awards as both Eaton and Nater joined their mentor and coach Don Johnson in being honored during halftime of the Cypress women’s basketball game.The mood was celebratory and fun to watch as Eaton, Nater and Johnson received thunderous congratulatory applause and a standing ovation from the student body and Cypress College officials. There is plenty to celebrate about both Eaton and Nater. Nater didn’t play a lick of team basketball at the high school he attended. Eaton had thoughts about being an automobile mechanic.Both men found grace and a door opening to the world of what they can do on the basketball world thanks to the discovery of Tom Lubin and the guidance of Johnson.Eaton has made a big splash recently, going back to his high school alma mater at Westminster High to see his jersey retired. Cypress College, however, is the defacto place where Eaton took up his basketball roots. Now a motivational speaker, Eaton and Nater came under the tutelage of the legendary Johnson. It was Johnson who took both big men under his wing and crafted their skills to become great basketball players.More importantly, Johnson helped shaped the two men’s character-not only as a coach-but also as a mentor and educator. Nater starred for the Chargers, leading Cypress to a state title before enjoying stardom at UCLA and professionally, where he played 12 years, including stints in the NBA and ABA (American Basketball Association).Nater led the NBA and the now defunct ABA in rebounding. According to statistics, he is the only player to hold that distinction. He still holds the franchise (Milwaukee Bucks) mark for rebounds in a single game and can still boast of still having the all-time mark at the California community college level for hauling down most boards in a contest (39).That’s some pretty impressive stuff. But what Eaton has managed to do might rival his Cypress College contemporary. All Eaton did was become the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year on two occasions and earn a spot on the league’s All-Defense Team seven times.

The Chrome wins the second jewel

California Chrome liked the Pimlico course the moment he arrived and proved it by coming in first at the Preakness States on Saturday, May 17, winning the second jewel in the Triple Crown. Owner, Mr. Coburn was ecstatic and trainer, Art Sherman “had always dreamed of a horse like The Chrome.” Victor Espinoza, jockey, was a winner as well winning $5.76 Million in the year 2014. The Chrome’s home base is the Los Alamitos Race Track, owned by Dr. Ed Allred. Dr. Allred is on his way to spending millions in the expansion of the main track to a full mile oval and is in the process of fulfilling a commitment for 700 thoroughbred stalls. The Los Alamitos grandstand is scheduled for refurbishing as well. Big time horse racing is coming to Los Alamitos.

Cypress girls basketball eliminated from playoffs

The Cypress High girls basketball team tried double teams, zone defenses and basically threw the kitchen sink at Chino Hills star Janessa Thropay. It wasn’t enough. Thropay had 26 points to lead the Huskies to a 61-39 win over Cypress in the CIF-SS Division 1A quarterfinals last week at Cypress High.When the Centurions were able to contain Thropay, Ally Seebalac picked up the slack for the Huskies.Seebalac had three big three pointers, and finished with 17 points. “She was just too good tonight,” Cypress Coach Nathaniel Rivera said of Thropay. Cypress was led by Alison Nelson with 11 points and Haley Morikawa with eight. Aggie Manu and Justina Yoo each chipped in six points.The Centurions fell behind 12-5 after the first quarter, but rebounded close the gap to just a 23-22 Chino Hills lead at halftime. But the Huskies regained control in the third quarter, outscoring Cypress, 21-9 in that quarter. Seebalac hit a three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer that pushed the lead to 44-31.Morikawa hit a jump shot in the key early in the fourth to cut the lead to 44-33, but the Huskies went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 51-33. Nelson hit a three pointer about midway through the quarter to stop the run and cut the lead to 51-36, but the Huskies would keep control from there.The Centurions were 19-10 this season, going 8-2 in the Empire League to take second place. They defeated Dana Hills and Summit High to reach the quarterfinals. It was a solid season for which Rivera praised the team. He said their effort was a big part of their growth. “I’m proud of these girls,” Rivera said. “They don’t give up, they never give up, which is a very good attitude.”

A sporting night in Hawaiian Gardens

The Fedde Sports Complex was busy Monday, April 13, as a couple of Hawaiian Gardens Little League teams took over the place with soccer going on at an adjacent field. It was a night of softball and baseball for the evening as squads from the Greater Bellflower Little League and Long Beach Plaza Little League invaded the Hawaiian Gardens turf for a couple of hours of missed swings, stolen bases and clutch running from the youth teams.On one field, the Hawaiian Gardens Red Hots softball team battled with the Lady Trojans of the Greater Bellflower Little League. The Red Hots dominated early and seemed to be in control of the game throughout the contest, leading all the way up to the bottom half of the last inning of play, holding a 6-4 lead.Up until the last inning, the Red Hots managed to stay ahead of the Lady Trojans, a team they had lost to earlier in the season, with some great defensive plays and solid hitting. Then the bottom fell out for the Red Hots as the Lady Trojans' bats came alive at the right time. The Lady Trojans scored three runs in the last part of the final inning to come away victorious with a 7-6 win.On the opposite diamond, the Orioles did their best against a much bigger, more physical Long Beach Plaza Bulldogs team.