San Antonio High basketball in new sports league

The San Antonio High Lions basketball team took on the Hillside High Hawks last Thursday at Claremont High School in the first competition of the newly-formed Inland Valley League.

San Antonio Principal Sean Delgado and Tamette Rappa from Hillside started the league to provide their continuation students with a more rewarding educational experience and to give students an extra push to do well academically.

The students must conform to the standards set by the CIF for eligibility including maintaining a 2.0 GPA, according to Mr. Delgado. However, it’s up to the discretion of each principal to decide how strict to be with the rules. Instead, the principals may use participation in sports as incentive for students to work harder on their studies, Mr. Delgado explained.

Ms. Rappa noted that she welcomes anything that would help motivate a student to do better. “One student would not turn in his assignments before. But now he is doing extra credit,” she said.

It’s not every day that one participates in something completely new, and there was an air of excitement in the room. The bleachers were nearly full with parents, fellow students and faculty members, many with signs showing their support along with plenty of good-natured cheers. Also in the crowd were CHS Principal Brett O’Connor, Athletic Director Rick Dutton and CUSD Superintendent Jim Elsasser.

Both teams had to shake off the jitters with early turnovers and a few too many traveling calls, but once they got their footing, competition was quite good.

The San Antonio Lions showed hustle, led by sophomore Angel Rangle who seemed to take on the role of team captain. But the Lions attempted too many three-point shots, a tendency they share with the CHS basketball team, most of which missed the mark.

The Hawks were a bit better at the basics, rebounding and setting up easy two-point plays, which made all the difference in the game. Hillside got on the board first and stayed there until the end, aside from early on when the score was tied at four.

Near the halfway point, San Antonio drew within six points, however, most of the scoring belonged to Hillside from there on, leading to a final score of 28-14.

Following the game, the Lions gathered in an adjacent courtyard for team photographs with parents and friends. In spite of the loss, they hoisted the game ball in a victory pose. Rangle said it was exciting to be involved in something new and he had confidence in his team’s prospects.

“It was our first game, so we will take the loss,” he said. “We will learn from our mistakes and it’s good, as long as we get the win next time.”

Social studies teacher Tyler Baugh became a driving force behind the new league when he asked Mr. Delgado about starting a soccer team.

“I really missed coaching being at San Antonio,” he said. “Basketball isn’t really my sport, but I am learning.”

The league is open to any continuation high school in the area. Currently, the league has four teams with two from Pomona joining the mix. They will play basketball until mid-April, at which point the competition will switch to soccer. If the current season proves successful, the league plans to offer flag football and softball in the fall.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com

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