CHS sports just keeps winning

Claremont High School boys basketball is having one of the best seasons in recent history and, if they keep winning, will add a Palomares League title banner to the CHS gym.

Claremont and Diamond Bar currently have the same league record, 5-2. However, the Brahmas narrowly won the first time the teams met, so the Pack is relegated to second place. If both teams win this Thursday and next Tuesday, then the title game will take place next Thursday when Claremont hosts Diamond Bar.

But Claremont must first get by a very talented Bonita team and stave off an upset by last-place Ayala.

The Brahmas, meanwhile, will have a much easier time facing Ayala and second-to-last-place South Hills.

Claremont had a pretty easy time defeating South Hills, 65-32, Tuesday at CHS. The Pack’s strong defense essentially shut down the Huskies all night, so it was just a matter of how hot Claremont’s shooting would be.

During the first half, the Pack’s aim was slightly off, with the exception of three-pointers, which were spot on. By the third quarter, Claremont found its groove and really put the Huskies away, extending its already generous lead to 30-plus points.

Junior Matthew Dirckx led the Pack in scoring with 12 points, followed by senior Christian Jordan with 10. Senior Jacob Henry was golden in three-pointers, going three for three. Jordan pulled in seven rebounds, Henry had six and freshman Isaiah Love claimed five.

The team player award goes to sophomore Joshua Chen, who contributed seven points, plus had four steals and four assists.

If the Pack had one weakness Tuesday, it was shooting percentage. Only two players, Chen and Nat Oluseyi-oke, cracked 50 percent.

“We have shown to be a pretty good third quarter basketball team, and they stay at it. I think the chemistry is outstanding with this group and I think that has a lot to do with our success,” Coach Stan Tolliver said.

The Pack experienced several injuries early in the season. In December, Jordan was out for eight games, while Henry was out for several as well.

“We have not had our whole line up all year and we still have a couple of injuries. We are trying to get through but guys are stepping up,” Coach Tolliver said. “We are a pretty resilient team.”

Claremont also has a very young basketball team, with six sophomores and two freshmen.

Last year Claremont finished with an 8-2 record, just behind the Bearcats, who were 9-1 and league champs.

“It’s been a balanced league, probably more balanced than we have seen in the past couple of years,”?Coach Tolliver said. “We’ve got Bonita coming up next, they’re one game out and they are a good basketball team.”

The coach demurred when asked about the prospect of a league title. “We’re pushing for it, but you’ve got to take it one game at a time.”



Girls basketball

Claremont won another league game Tuesday, defeating South Hills, 60-49, at home.

The girls held on to a nice lead most of the game, but the Huskies made a come- from-behind effort in the final quarter, narrowing the Pack’s lead to just four points. However, Claremont rallied, adding seven points in the final two minutes for the win.

Sophomore Jessica Andrada led the offense with 16 points, followed by senior Camille Troncone with 13, senior Laurel Marchant with 11 and freshman Maleah Richardson with nine.

Under Coach Mike James’ tutelage, Claremont has come a long way from previous seasons, during which the girls lost all of their league games. They seem to be improving every week, even as league play winds down. For example, first-place Glendora stomped the Pack, 57-33, when the teams met in January, but last week Claremont kept it close, losing 49-41.

“We really put a lot of emphasis early in the season on our defense—learning how to help, learning how to trust each other and work together. Then we spent the last month or so getting into the gym and working on shots. It’s all starting to come together at the right time,” Coach James said.

The girls’ league record now stands at 3-4, which should be good enough for an at-large berth in the CIF tournament, according to Coach James.

If the Pack can win against Bonita on Friday in La Verne, then the girls should have sole possession of third place.

“I don’t want to be the one who has to play us in the first round [of CIF],” Coach James said.

Boys soccer

Claremont boys soccer is tantalizingly close to getting a Palomares League title after handing undefeated Glendora their first loss last week.

On Tuesday they just barely got past Bonita, winning 1-0 in double overtime at CHS. Next up was Ayala on Thursday after press time.

The Pack, 6-1-1, must win all of their remaining games while hoping that Glendora, 7-1-0 loses one more. If the Tartans tie one of their remaining games, they will share the title with Claremont.

Girls soccer

The stars aligned perfectly for Claremont High School girls soccer last Thursday night in two unexpected results.

First, the Wolfpack stunned top-ranked and undefeated South Hills with a 4-0 drubbing at home.

Senior Elisabeth Chua and junior Janelle Gutierrez each scored twice with assists from junior Sophie Jones and senior Lily Whitenack.

As the Pack celebrated their victory, last-place Diamond Bar upset second-place Glendora, 1-0. The surprising set of events put South Hills’ league title into question, if only for a short while.

As fate would have it, Claremont’s hopes of a second straight league title were dashed Tuesday when South Hills narrowly defeated Glendora, 3-2, putting the Huskies beyond reach.

Also on Tuesday, Claremont came up with a decisive, 3-0, victory over Bonita in La Verne and regained second place. Goals came from Chua, senior Savanna Beans and freshman Emily Maass.

The girls are now 5-2-1 in league and 17-4-3 overall.

Girls water polo

Claremont clinched the Palomares League championship with a stunning 20-6 victory over Bonita on Tuesday, followed by a 15-5 thumping of Ayala on Wednesday. The Pack, 7-0, has only one more league game, putting them beyond the reach of Bonita, 5-2, even if Claremont were to lose.

The girls had a remarkable season and are looking forward to the CIF tournament, which begins next week.

—Steven Felschundneff


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