CHS winter sports yield mixed results
Claremont High School sports launched into Palomares League play over the past week with mixed results but plenty of action.
It all got going Thursday when both the boys and girls soccer teams notched up victories against Bonita.
Toward the end of the boys basketball opener against Bonita on Friday night, the Bearcat fans started chanting, “We own this house,” which unfortunately was the truth as the Bearcats outscored the Pack in every quarter on their way to a 65-42 win.
Bonita got out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minute and never looked back, forcing Claremont to perpetually play catch-up. The boys played hard, and at times it looked as though the Pack would rally, only to watch as Bonita extended their lead.
In all fairness, Claremont matched Bonita in rebounding and overall hustle but their shooting held them back. Bonita’s defense was just too good, but the Pack has to work to hit the easy shots or this will be a very long season.
Highlights came from senior Harlan Maass, who hit three-pointers at several crucial moments on his way to a team high of 11 points, and junior Tyler Fraser, who had 10 points and was very consistent with the easy field goal.
Unfortunately, the Pack really needed to beat Bonita, because on Tuesday they faced Ayala, generally regarded as the toughest team in the league. The Pack did in fact lose, 95-73, but played well in what turned out to be a high-scoring game. Maass was the top scorer at 18 points followed by Kyle Scalmanini with 11. In all, 10 players put points on the board.
The Pack’s record is now 0-2 in league and 13-4 overall.
Early Friday evening, the girls basketball team also took on Bonita with pretty much the same result as the boys: the Bearcats went ahead by five points right away and led the all the way to a 46-22 victory.
The Pack continues with its growing pains—the team largely consists of sophomores—and on Friday their biggest struggle seemed to be too many turnovers. Christina Carazo definitely deserves credit for hitting a couple of key three-point plays, as does Camille Troncone for general hustle.
Claremont’s goal this year is to improve on last year while developing as a team. All of the girls deserve credit for spirit as they work to improve.
“It’s always the goal to get better and to learn, but some of the stuff is just mental. You have to match the mentality of the game and understand what is happening to you, and how to focus in and do what you have to on the court,” said Coach Darryl Kennedy.
“We are not winning loose balls, we are not rebounding the way we should—boxing out the way we should—and we are not setting screens on offense. If you don’t do this, every league game is going to be a war,” he said.
Claremont is now 0-2 in league and 10-7 overall.
A side note, and maybe a challenge to Claremont students and parents: Bonita had nearly three times the number of fans in attendance for the girls’ home game. Fans can really boost a team’s confidence, particularly when they fall behind, and it is a bit embarrassing when the visiting team’s fans can shout down the home crowd.
The girls have been on a real tear lately and some are saying this could be the best team in years. The potential was evident Thursday during their Palomares League opener as they shut out the Bearcats 3-0. Goals came from junior Mackenzie Boulware, senior Danielle Lagrave and junior Katie Weaver.
The Pack struggled a bit on Tuesday, particularly in the first half of their home match against Ayala. The girls seemed to have trouble with organization, which gave their opponent opportunities that may not have arisen otherwise.
The Bulldogs got on the board first after Claremont was called for a foul directly in front of their net early in the second half. With a free kick of barely 10 yards, Ayala’s Diane Eckstrom easily beat goalkeeper Sydney Fortson, who otherwise had a flawless game.
Claremont evened the score a few minutes later when rising-star freshman Sophie Jones caught a pass from Boulware and sent a blistering shot that found the net’s left corner.
Through the remaining regulation time, and two overtime periods, they played to a stalemate and both teams had to settle for a tie. Claremont now stands at 1-0-1 in league and 13-2-3 overall.
Claremont had two away games to open league play, but that did not slow them down as they won both in a decisive manner.
Last Thursday they blanked Bonita, 3-0, with goals from Osvaldo Lopez, Jonah Evans and Haider Alkafaji. Then on Tuesday they easily handled Ayala, 3-1, with Jack Kolodge scoring twice and Patrick Luevano once.
“We have a lot of new guys right now, a young back four [defense] but veteran center mid-fielders, two at least who played last year,” said coach Fred Bruce-Oliver following the Ayala game.
“Looks like our strength is up top because we are scoring goals,” he said, referring to his offensive game. “I think [Diamond Bar] is the team we are going to have to get a result from in order to take the lead going into the fourth game. I saw them play and they are very good.”
Girls Water Polo
Claremont welcomes Gary Cheever as the new coach for the girls water polo team.
He has seven years of experience as a coach, beginning with a stint as the head girls coach at Chino Hills High School. After two years, he picked up the job leading the boys program but left Chino Hills for an opportunity at his alma mater Don Lugo. He continues to run the boys program for the Conquistadors, a practice which is fairly common.
The girls record is 6-5 overall. They lost the league opener to Bonita 14-10 and lost again on Tuesday to Ayala 14-3. Like several other Claremont teams, the water polo team is young, with one freshman, five sophomores, two juniors and three seniors.
“So far it’s pretty good. They are having fun and working hard,” sad Coach Cheever. “League is tough—we have two powerhouse teams between Bonita and Ayala with very strongly respected programs. Our girls are exited to have a chance to compete with them.”