Girls’ Basketball Looking For Success!

November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

tiffany-khoBurbank High girls’ basketball Coach Bruce Breeden thinks his program is long overdue for a league Read more

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Hoping To Maintain Success In Girls’ Basketball!

November 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK – Three teams are coming off fine and historic seasons and look to keep trend going this year. It was a wildly successful and historic 2011-12 girls’ basketball season for the four city teams. Read more

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Is A CIF Title In The Cards For Local Teams?

August 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

BURBANK – In two weeks, high school athletes will be back in action, as football, boys’ water polo, cross-country, girls’ volleyball and girls’ golf teams get ready to kick off the 2012-13 school year.

As is the case this time every year, anticipation for success is high, and optimism runs rampant among the coaches and athletes who compete at Burbank, Burroughs, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs.

It is a time to look forward with lofty aspirations and a time to set goals. Before the first athletes hit the courts, take to the pools and the fields, or hit the courses and tracks, anything is possible — including a winning season, and maybe even a Southern Section championship.

The last two seasons, four local teams have advanced to CIF championship contests. Bell-Jeff softball accomplished the feat in 2011 and 2012, the Providence boys’ basketball squad also made it to a title game in 2012 and the Burroughs boys’ volleyball team was a finalist in 2011. However, despite making it to a championship, none of the four squads was able to take home a title.

Winning CIF crowns has been a difficult task for the area schools the past few decades. In fact, only two championships have been won by area schools in 20 years, and both of them were captured by the Guards’ girls’ basketball program. A Bryan Camacho-coached squad took the Division V-A crown in 2009 — also winning the city’s only state team title in any sport — and Jaclyn Johnson sank a shot at the buzzer in 1997 to lift Bell-Jeff to a IV-A title.

However, those two titles are a rarity. In a span of 37 years — since a Bulldogs squad won a softball crown in 1975 — Burbank-area teams have captured four championships.

Coach Clyde Richards and his Burbank boys’ tennis team nailed down a Division III crown in 1993 for the school’s first title in eight years.

The Providence baseball team, led by future major-leaguerJeff Cirillo, won a Small Schools championship in 1986.

At least Burbank, Bell-Jeff and Providence have won titles. Poor Burroughs, a school that has been around since 1948, has never — that’s right, NEVER — won a CIF Southern Section team championship.

In 1955, a Bill Flora-coached Indians boys’ basketball team did make it to the Major Division championship game, losing to Alhambra, 46-35.

However, the past few decades, very few Indians teams have even made it to a final contest.

Following the Burroughs football team’s appearances in Northwestern Division championship games in 1981 and 1987 — it lost both games — just two other squads has been able to qualify. Along with the boys’ volleyball team two years ago, the Indians boys’ soccer team lost to Bell Gardens, 3-1, in a Division III final in 1994.

There are actually a number of teams that have a legitimate chance to win a CIF championship during the 2012-13 campaign.

At the top of the list is the Providence boys’ basketball team. Led by freshman sensation Marcus LoVett Jr., the Pioneers advanced to the Division V-A championship game last season, only to fall to Liberty League foe Holy Martyrs, 65-62.

Behind LoVett, who averaged 31.7 points a game, Providence (26-6) captured its first Liberty League championship in 12 years.

The Pioneers will have most of their key players back from last season, with the exception of standout Patrick Gonzalez, who graduated. If LoVett stays put — there have been rumors about his possible transfer to a number of schools — Providence should find itself back in the title game.

Since it has qualified for the Division VII championship contest the last two seasons, it would be a good bet to expect the Guards to make a return to their third straight title game. However, that task was made more difficult by a recent realignment by the CIF Office. Bell-Jeff will move up to Division VI, where the competition will be inherently more difficult.

But the Guards have their entire team returning, and a year’s experience under their belts could help the team compete in the higher division.

Another Bell-Jeff program — girls’ basketball — has advanced to at least the playoff quarterfinals for four straight seasons. However, with the graduation of All-CIF standouts Jasmine Smith and Rishonda Napier, and the addition of a new coach, it will likely be difficult for the Guards to win the IV-AA crown.

The Providence girls’ basketball team, which advanced to a CIF semifinal game for the first time in school history, also returns most of its key players. Although I wouldn’t count out any Pioneers team that is coached by Andrew Bencze, the Pioneers would have a definite uphill battle to capture a Division V-AA title.

Along with its finals appearance two years ago, the Burroughs boys’ volleyball squad also made the Division III semifinals in 2012. But the Indians lost some key players to graduation, and although the team should have a solid playoff run, nailing down a CIF crown would be a long shot.

Another long shot would be the Burbank girls’ basketball team, which got to the Division I-A semifinals in 2012. But that division is extremely tough, and another deep postseason run is unlikely

The most successful area team could be the Burbank boys’ cross-country squad. With their stars back, the Bulldogs could make another appearance in the State Meet, where they placed 11 last season. However, Burbank competes in ultra-tough Division I, where some of the best teams in the state reside. Winning a Division I championship would be a monumental accomplishment.

Despite a shaky track record, hopefully one, or more, area teams will break through and bring the area a coveted CIF championship this upcoming school year. More than a few squads definitely have a shot.

Jeff Tully

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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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Another Championship For Guards!

February 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — Bell-Jeff goes undefeated in clinching its fourth straight league championship. Read more

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Dual League Championships!

February 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Bell-Jeff clinches third straight title in blowout, 73-25.

BELLARMINE-JEFFERSON HIGH — Technically, the Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ basketball team clinched its third straight Santa Cruz League championship Thursday evening.

Ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section IVA Division, the Guards were no doubt the favorites to capture the league title again this season.

Maybe it was that expectation, or the fact the clinching game came with a 73-25 blowout win against St. Mary’s Academy at Bell-Jeff, but the moment was definitely anticlimactic.

The Guards (21-5, 7-0 in league) didn’t storm the court and they didn’t scream and yell after the win. Instead, the players appeared to take the title in stride.

But Bell-Jeff Coach Bryan Camacho said don’t take the lack of emotion from his team as an indication that the championship doesn’t matter to it. On the contrary, he said it means a great deal.

“We are very appreciative that we have been able to win our third straight Santa Cruz League championship,” said Camacho, whose squad captured Southern Section and state titles last season. “We know it’s a big accomplishment to win a league title, and we definitely don’t take it for granted.”

Camacho said his squad will relish its latest crown because one never knows what the future might hold for the program.

“I tell the girls that sometimes success comes in cycles,” Camacho said. “You might be winning now but you never know what’s going to happen down the road. So, I told them to enjoy the moment and be proud of what they accomplished.”

After finishing up the regular season Friday, the playoffs are next up for the Guards. The postseason is set to begin next week, and it’s likely that Bell-Jeff will get a bye for the first round.

Against St. Mary’s (8-13, 3-5), the Guards took charge early. The hosts jumped out to a 27-12 lead after the first quarter, and increased the advantage to 48-15 at the half.

After leading, 62-21, after three quarters, a running clock was implemented for the final quarter.

“In games like this it’s all about getting better and learning,” Camacho said. “We just want to get better with each and every game.”

Freshman Leslie Lopez-Wood paced Bell-Jeff with a game-high 14 points. Another freshman, Tiffany Kho, added 13 points and sophomore Kiah Jones had 10.

Jeff Tully

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