Bell-Jeff Softball Leads Way During 2011-12 Campaign!

August 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK – No other team has been as successful at Bellarmine-Jefferson High over the last two years as the school’s softball squad.

Over that span, the Guards have captured consecutive Santa Cruz League championships and made back-to-back appearances in the CIF Southern Section Division VII tile game.

Although Bell-Jeff fell in the title game to Pomona Catholic this past season, 1-0 — it also lost to the same team in 2011, 7-6 — the Guards still put together a wildly successful season. In addition, the Guards can take come comfort that they lost no seniors to graduation. On top of that, the team also fielded just two juniors last season.

Under first-year Coach Florencio Galindo, the Guards (23-6-2) did put together the most successful season in school history in terms of victories. The team also captured its third straight Santa Cruz League championship and outscored its opponents, 56-0, in four playoff victories.

The Guards were attempting to win the third CIF title in the school’s 68-year history. The Guards girls’ basketball team captured championships in 1997 and 2009.

It was also the third time in 37 years that a team from the city was able to make it to a softball championship. Burbank High won a 3-A crown in 1975, which serves as the area’s lone CIF softball title.

The team was paced by sophomore transfer Mia Acosta, who was at her best in the playoffs. The All-CIF Southern Section Division VII first-teamer and Santa Cruz League Player of the Year allowed just one run in the playoffs and none in league play, while posting a 13-3 overall record.

The team also received outstanding efforts from sophomore infielder Sofia Placios (.593 average, 36 runs batted in, 18 extra-base hits) and sophomore outfielder Jaylen Watson (.452, 31 RBI, 33 runs scored).

Bell-Jeff began the 2011-12 school year with a successful run by its girls’ volleyball team in the fall. Bell-Jeff (14-7-2) advanced to the CIF Division IV-A quarterfinals, losing to No. 1-seeded Hemet in a dogfight, 21-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-14,15-8. The Guards also secured their sixth straight Santa Cruz League title.

Senior outside hitter Jocelyn Cervantes (Cal State Stanislaus) was a driving force for Bell-Jeff. Cervantes, who earned her third All-CIF Division IV-A accolade, her second straight league player-of-the-year honor and her fourth All-Area award, had to overcome the struggle of having to rely on a new setter last season.

During her four-year tenure, Bell-Jeff won four straight league titles, posted a 66-25-2 record, advanced to the playoff quarterfinals twice, the semifinals once and the Division IV-A championship in 2009, all under Coach Miguel Segura.

Also in the fall, Bell-Jeff cross-country runner Charles Salomon won the boys’ race at the Santa Fe League finals at Griffith Park. Salomon, who finished in 16 minutes 28 seconds on the three-mile course, helped pace the Guards to a second-place finish.

In the winter season, the Guards girls’ basketball team put together another fine season under former coach Jaclyn Johnson, who stepped aside following the season to take a position at Santa Monica College.

Bell-Jeff was paced by a pair of four-year standouts: Rishonda Napier (Southern Illinois University) and Jasmine Smith (San Jose State).

Napier, a McDonald’s All-American candidate, was named to the All-CIF Division IV-AA first-team for the third time. In addition, Napier was named the Santa Cruz League player of the year and made her fourth All-Area team. Napier averaged 21.7 points a game to go along with nearly three assists and three steals.

Smith, who earned first-team all-league and All-Area accolades, averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Bell-Jeff (24-6) captured its fifth straight Santa Cruz League title. The No. 6 Guards advanced to the Division IV-AA semifinals where they fell to No. 7 Gardena Serra, 71-54. The team also won a game in the Division IV state playoffs against Los Angeles Baptist, 70-60, before falling to St. Bernard, 65-51.

It was the Guards’ fifth straight appearance in the division semifinals, something no other team in city history has been able to accomplish.

The Bell-Jeff boys’ basketball team led by senior Elijah Reed, (University of Puget Sound), also qualified for the playoffs after placing fourth in the Santa Fe League.

Another fine accomplishment came in the spring season in track and field. For the first time in school history, a relay team was able to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Track and Field Championships at Mt. San Antonio College.

Unfortunately for Bell-Jeff’s 400-meter relay foursome of London Webster, Jonathan Smith, Josh Martinez and Jalen Henry, it failed to finish in the Division IV final race.

Jeff Tully

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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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Daily News All-Area Basketball Team!

April 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – After beginning her career with a Div. V state title in 2009, the only thing missing to bookend Napier’s impressive run was another championship. Read more

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Two Are Tops In League!

March 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Girls’ basketball: Bell-Jeff’s Napier and Benedicto of Providence get player-of-the-year honors. There was little doubt that the Bellarmine-Jefferson High and Providence girls’ Read more

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State Run Ends For Guards!

March 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Basketball: Storied careers of Napier, Smith come to a close in 65-51 loss to St. Bernard. In many ways, Saturday evening represented the end of an era for the Read more

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Napier Helps Lift Guards To State Win!

March 10, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — Napier pours in 26 points to pace Bell-Jeff to a 70-60 victory against L.A. Baptist in tourney opener. The Bellarmine-Jefferson Read more

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Bell-Jeff Brings The Energy!

February 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ basketball team played with an energy and excitement Thursday night that Read more

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Bell-Jeff Returns To Elite Status!

February 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK – Guards secure fifth consecutive Santa Cruz title, increasing league winning streak to 37. Read more

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Guard Win Stokes Rivalry!

February 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Whether or not a rivalry grows between the Antelope Valley High and Bellarmine-Jefferson girls’ basketball teams remains to be seen, especially since the schools are no longer in the same division.

If one does develop, however, then it could be surmised the Antelopes will look for revenge, once again, after Bell-Jeff held on for a 43-36 victory in the Oaks Christian Shootout on Saturday afternoon.

The victory was the second in three games for Bell-Jeff (16-6) over Antelope Valley (12-7) in 11 months, as the Guards, sixth-ranked in Division IV-AA, eliminated the Antelopes, 77-73, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Division III-A playoffs.

Antelope Valley, ranked fifth in Division III-AA, exacted payback this season in a 53-39 victory on Nov. 30.

“This was our third time against them and it was fun again,” Bell-Jeff Coach Jaclyn Johnson said. “As either a player or coach, all you can ask for is to play good competition and that’s what Antelope Valley brings every time.”

The Antelopes trailed by 17 points early in the third and were down, 33-19, at the close of the same quarter.

Yet, Antelope Valley opened the fourth with a three-pointer from Crystal Brown, assisted by Angel Bailey, followed by a three-point play from Fresno State-bound guard Destini Price, who was fouled while converting a layup.

Price’s subsequent free throw brought Antelope Valley within 33-25 with 6:57 remaining.

While Bell-Jeff countered with a quick inside basket from San Jose State-signed Jasmine Smith, who was assisted by Rishonda Napier, the Antelopes pulled within 35-30 with 4:39 remaining.

The Antelopes’ surge proved unsustainable, though, as the Guards scored the next two buckets on an offensive put back from Smith and a scoop shot from senior forward Averie Guzman.

Smith later iced the game with a layup with 30 seconds left that pushed the Guards ahead, 43-34.

“Everyone gets involved. We don’t rely on one player or we wouldn’t be doing as [well] as we are,” said Guzman, who finished with eight points and two steals.

The Guards took a 23-13 advantage into the half thanks to team play.

Six Bell-Jeff players contributed at least one point in the first half, while only three Antelopes did the same.

Bell-Jeff committed five turnovers in the first quarter, but only one in the second, while Antelope Valley finished with 11 turnovers in the half.

Bell-Jeff led, 7-5, after one quarter, but surrendered its advantage to open the second on a three-pointer from Keiona Mathews.

The Guards, however, won the remainder of the quarter, 14-5, including scoring the last nine points after Antelope Valley led, 13-12, with 4:57 remaining.

Bell-Jeff responded with a two-footer from Guzman followed by a three-pointer from Napier to go up, 17-13.

Bell-Jeff closed the half with layups from Tiffany Ho and Smith and a free throw from Karina Moreno.

“Antelope Valley is a good team and I’m just glad we got the win this time,” said Napier, who was just named a McDonald’s All-American nominee.

Smith led Bell-Jeff with 13 points and Napier added 12 points.

Mathews paced all scorers with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Price scored 11 and Bailey chipped in nine.

by Andrew Camps

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Guards Survive Thriller!

January 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — It was nothing short of a dogfight Thursday evening when the Bellarmine-Jefferson High Read more

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