Guards Take Their Game To The Next Level!

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Burbank – As the memories of high school athletics slowly fade away for the majority of Bell-Jeff varsity seniors, four Bell-Jeff Guards will continue their careers at the college level.

Rishonda Napier, Jasmine Smith, Jocelyn Cervantes and Elijah Reed will depart to different parts of the US to display their skills for new and bigger crowds.

Rishonda Napier, graduated Summa Cum Laude in the top percentile of her class.

Over her four year career at Bell-Jeff, she captured 1st Team All-League, All-CIF, All-State and 2012 Daily News All Area Player of the Year. She was also a key part of the 2009 State Championship team that produced Margeaux Gupilan (currently running the hardwood floor at the University of Buffalo in New York. Rishonda was also nominated for the 2012 McDonalds All-American Team.

In her senior year, Rishonda averaged 21.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals, while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range.

She had a career-high 34 points in a 65-54 quarterfinal win at Chaminade.

Rishonda will travel east to Southern Illinois University to play for the Salukis next season.

Jasmine Smith, was also a big part of that 2009 State Championship team with Rishonda and during her storied career at Bell-Jeff earned a slew of accolades as well, including, 1st Team All-League, All-CIf and Burbank Leader All-Area Honors.

Jasmine and Rishonda led their team to 4 straight League Titles and amassed a win total that will be hard to beat. During her senior year, Jasmine averaged, 16 points, 10 rebounds per game.

Jasmine also ran track and was a big part of was part of the CIF semi-final Volleyball team that featured our next standout player Jocelyn Cervantes and will join the Spartans at San Jose State in the fall.

Jocelyn Cervantes, held serve on a different court, but was equally as successful as her basketball counterparts. Her cool demeanor, paired with a vicious spike put fear in the hearts of volleyball players across the county.

A four year varsity starter, Jocelyn led the Lady Guards to consecutive league titles and was honored with All-League, All-CIF and All-Area titles. She also helped make school history when the girls volleyball team made it all the way to the CIF finals barley losing the championship to Upland Christian Academy in a tough match. She led the Guards back the the CIF quarter finals the following year before losing a close one to number one seeded Hemet High School.

Jocelyn finished her career at Bell-Jeff  as one of the best volleyball players in the schools history winning four straight league titles, posting a 66-25-2 record, advancing to the playoff quarterfinals twice, the semifinals once and the Division IV-A championship game in 2009.

Jocelyn will stay close to home and take her game to California State University Stanislaus in Turlock, California..

Elijah Reed, the only boy in this group, definitely made his presence known on campus. This future Senior Class President was the JV long jump league champion his freshman year, played a year of varsity football as a sophomore and varsity baseball his senior year.

But basketball was his true passion. Elijah was MVP of the JV basketball team as a freshman and went on to become a three year varsity starter.

Always the hardest worker on the floor, he would guard anyone and established himself as one of the top defenders in the Santa Fe league.

During his career at Bell-Jeff, Elijah earned 1st team All-League honors and helped the team win their first league championship in 12 years. In his senior year, he averaged 12 points, 3 assists, 2.5 steals and shot 75% from the free throw line earning team MVP honors.

Elijah was the 2012 Senior Class President and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School with a 4.2 GPA his senior year. He was awarded the Science award as the top Chemistry student in his graduating class and named the Distinguished Male Athlete by the US Marine Corps.

Elijah will play for the Loggers at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington next season.

Averie Alice Guzman – was another member from the Bell-Jeff team that won Southern Section and state championships in 2009. She averaged six points, five rebounds her senior year and earned 1st Team All-Legue honors. She will join the Leopards of La Verne University next year and her team mate Marilyn Flynn will take her game to Santa Monica JC.

Story by Eric “Rico” Reed

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Bell-Jeff Gains Revenge, Reaches Quarterfinals!

July 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

It took the Bell-Jeff of Burbank girls’ basketball team a little more than six years, a trip to San Diego and two extra minutes, but the Guards finally gained a measure of revenge on La Jolla CountryDay.

After losing to a Candice Wiggins-led Country Day team in the opening round of the Div. IV state playoffs in 2003, Bell-Jeff had to patiently wait for a rematch against the San Diego Section juggernaut, but it was more than worth it Friday for the defending Div.V state champs.

Julia Tani’s 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in overtime lifted Bell-Jeff to a 43-42 victory over Country Day at UC San Diego in the third round of the Division 3A bracket at the 23rd annual San Diego Classic, the nation’s largest girls’ high school basketball tourney.

“I tried to put that game out of my mind until (Friday),” Bell-Jeff coach Bryan Camacho said. “Country Day is a great program and they have great tradition. This is where we want to be. This is the kind of tournament we want to be a part of. We’re very proud of (this victory).”

Bell-Jeff, whose two losses this summer have come against Harvard-Westlake of Studio City and Mater Dei of Santa Ana, rallied from a six-point deficit with three minutes left in regulation to tie the score 37-37 on a layup by Rishonda Napier with 1:07 remaining. Napier had a look at a straightaway 3-pointer as the regulation buzzer sounded, but her shot hit off the backboard and rim, forcing the two-minute extra period.

Country Day built a pair of three-point leads in overtime, but Tani scored five of her nine points in the final 1:22, including the uncontested 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Guards their first lead since the 5:05 mark of the first half.

“I honestly didn’t know how much time was left. I just heard (Coach Camacho) saying `Shoot the 3, shoot the 3,’ so I did,” Tani said. “That was my first (winning shot) and it felt so good.”

Leslie Lopez-Wood, an incoming freshman, led Bell-Jeff – which plays at 11a.m. today against Brea-Olinda or Oak Ridge in the quarterfinals – with 13points, including three 3-pointers.

Boal Chatter cont…

After losing Saturday to Brea-Olinda and Villa Park in the Division 3A draw, Bell-Jeff of Burbank concluded its tournament with a 40-29 victory over Long Beach Poly in the seventh-place game.

Rishonda Napier led the Guards with 14 points, with Margeaux Gupilan and Leslie Lopez-Wood – who rebounded from suffering a head injury against Villa Park – each adding eight points.

Bell-Jeff belongs with the bestBell-Jeff of Burbank and Brea Olinda both captured state girls’basketball titles in March.

For the Guards, their Div. V championship was the first won by any team in school history. For Brea, it was the program’s state-leading ninth crown, to go along with 16Southern Section titles.

Although the teams both celebrated at Arco Arena, Brea once again found itself in the spotlight and Bell-Jeff’s performance appeared to be more of a footnote to the success of the championship teams in higher divisions.

After their performance this summer, especially this weekend at the 23rd annual San Diego Classic, the Guards are no longer playing second-fiddle to the state’s perennial powers.

After knocking off La Jolla Country Day 43-42 in overtime Friday, Bell-Jeff suffered a 39-30 setback to Div. II state champ Brea in the 3A Division quarterfinals Saturday at UCSan Diego, just its third setback of the summer, along with losses to Mater Dei of Santa Ana and Harvard-Westlake of Studio City.

“We want to make a name for ourselves. It used to be that people would pass by us and look the other way, but not anymore,” senior guard Margeaux Gupilan said. “We want to push forward and continue to (go) higher and make everybody know who we are.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment for Bell-Jeff coach Bryan Camacho came after the loss to Brea, when Ladycats coach Jeff Sink invited the Guards to compete in their annual December tournament, considered among the best in the state, if not the country.

“We’re very blessed to be in this position,” Camacho said. “We respect everybody we play, but we don’t fear any of them. That’s why I enjoy coaching this team.”

Erik Boal – Daily News Chatter –

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Players and Coach Make All-Area Teams!

April 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Daily News just released their All-Area Teams which included several Bell-Jeff players and a coach.

For the Boys, Senior Alexis Bersabe received Honorable Mention

On the Girls side, awards were numerous: 

All Area First Team

Senior – Shelley Gupilan

Shelley earned Div. V-A Player of the Year honors and MVP of the Santa Cruz League while averaging 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals. After transferring from Keppel of Alhambra for her junior year, Gupilan made amends this season leading Bell-Jeff to a section and state championship. The Guards lost in the Div.IV-AA final in 2008.

All Area Second Team

Junior – Margeaux Gupilan

Freshman – Rishonda Napier

Honorable Mention

Senior – Elizabeth Hawthorne, Bell-Jeff, Sr.

Julia Tani, Bell-Jeff, Jr.

All Area Coach of The Year

Bryan Camacho

Camacho molded a group of experienced seniors and returners with three talented freshmen to come up with a Div. V state championship. Camacho guided the Guards to the most wins in school and area history, including victories against Chatsworth, Marlborough, Beverly Hills, Alemany, Saugus and St. Mary’s Academy (twice). click here to see a pictorial tribute to their Historical Run for the State Championship!

Top Ten Teams

1. Bell-Jeff (34-1)

2. Chatsworth (24-9)

3. Notre Dame (26-7)

4. Harvard-Westlake (22-10)

5. Knight (22-4)

6. Newbury Park (22-6)

7. Thousand Oaks (25-5)

8. Taft (18-9)

9. Oaks Christian (22-2)

10. Valencia (22-7)

Daily News – Read full story here

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