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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Norwalk boys basketball goes cold in second half, gets blown out by Buena Park

News and Notes

By Loren Kopff

LA HABRA-After losing its first four games of the season, the Norwalk boys basketball team started to get on a roll and was playing for a chance to be in the finals of the Leon Davis Classic, hosted by Whittier Christian. But the Lancers, who had trailed Buena Park by three points at the half, connected on five of 18 shots in the second half and fell to the Coyotes 63-35 this past Tuesday night in one semifinal game.

Norwalk tied the game twice in the first quarter on a pair of three-pointers from junior David Suarez. With less than a minute elapsed in the second quarter, Suarez took a pass from junior Keno Valdenor and nailed his third straight trifecta in as many attempts to give the Lancers their first lead at 11-10. Norwalk’s game plan of slowing down Buena Park, which had averaged 77 points in its two pool play games, was working as the Coyotes were limited to 22 points at the break.

However, Suarez, who scored a team-high 11 points, was held scoreless in the second half and attempted just three shots during that time. Junior Emmanuel Lateju came off the bench and also scored 11 points, all but two coming in the second half. In fact, he accounted for nine of Norwalk’s 16 points in the second half. Valdenor added nine points and five rebounds as the Lancers (5-8) would play the loser of the Western-Whittier Christian game this past Wednesday for third place. Norwalk will host Artesia on Wednesday in the Suburban League opener for both teams.

In other boys basketball action, Artesia (7-5), which has been off since Dec. 19, will host Garey tonight and face Northwood on Saturday night at San Juan Hills High. The Pioneers are being paced by senior Dontae Smith, who is averaging 14.7 points a game.

Cerritos wrapped up the Mt. Carmel Tournament with a 65-59 loss to Fallbrook this past Tuesday night. The Dons (6-8) had previously defeated Helix 62-53, lost to Perris 61-54 and got by Patrick Henry 63-48 in the tournament. Cerritos will square off against Downey on Monday afternoon at the Staples Center before visiting Mayfair on Wednesday.

Gahr edged Capital Christian out of Sacramento 77-75 this past Tuesday in the final game of the prestigious MaxPreps Holiday Classic and in the process, won the consolation championship of the Gear to the Max Division. The Gladiators (12-2) will visit Price on Tuesday night.

John Glenn remained winless through 13 games and has scored less than 50 points in all but two games. The Eagles will visit Sierra Vista on Monday and host La Mirada on Wednesday.

Valley Christian snapped a three-game losing streak by taking the final two games of the Monrovia Tournament. This past Monday, the Crusaders (12-3) smashed Animo South Los Angeles 76-31, then came back the next day to knock off Franklin 58-45. V.C. will visit Paramount on Tuesday and host Whittier Christian on Thursday in the Olympic League opener.

Whitney wrapped up the Whittier Tournament by getting past Warren 50-45 in overtime. The Wildcats (4-7), who have won two straight games and three of their last five, will host Los Amigos on Saturday before going to Oxford Academy on Tuesday for the Academy League opener.


Norwalk went 2-2 in the Santiago Tournament after easily beating Rosemead 60-32 last Saturday while Valley Christian snapped a three-game losing skid with a 44-40 win over Los Amigos this past Tuesday in the final game of the Garden Grove Tournament. The Lady Crusaders (7-7) will host Whittier Christian on Thursday.

Whitney has been off since Dec. 20 and will resume action on Tuesday at Oxford Academy. The Lady Wildcats are 4-6.


Artesia saw its brief two-game winning streak end in a 3-1 loss to Dominguez this past Monday morning in the 28th Annual Marina High School Holiday Classic. The Pioneers (4-5-3), who had lost to Magnolia 1-0 and tied Long Beach Poly 1-1 in pool play action, eliminated Fountain Valley 3-2 and Torrance 2-1 in penalty kicks last Saturday. Artesia will host Norwalk on Wednesday.

Cerritos was also in the Marina Holiday Classic and lost all three of its games without scoring a goal. In pool play action, the Dons lost to Citrus Hill 3-0 and Lawndale 4-0 before falling to Dominguez 3-0 last Saturday morning in the playoffs. The Dons will host Mayfair on Wednesday.

Also in the same tournament was Gahr, which beat Fountain Valley 4-3 and lost to Anaheim 5-0 in pool play before edging Long Beach Poly 3-2 last Saturday in the playoffs. The Gladiators were then bounced out of the tournament after a 1-0 loss to Rancho Alamitos in penalty kicks. At 3-3, Gahr has already won more games than it did all of last season. Gahr is off until its San Gabriel Valley League opener on Jan. 13 at Warren.

Valley Christian recently lost all three games in the South Torrance Tournament, then was shutout by Mayfair 4-0 to fall to 2-6. The Crusaders will host California on Tuesday and travel to Whittier Christian on Thursday.


The Suburban League race figures to be a good one as Artesia ended its non-league slate at 5-2-3. The last time the Pioneers were in action, they had lost to fellow league foe Bellflower 1-0 in the finals of the best in the West Winter Soccer Classic.

Cerritos was also in that tournament and fell to Century 2-1 in the finals of the other bracket. The loss was the first for the Lady Dons (8-1-1) who have outscored their opponents 33-5 this season.

Valley Christian, which is no stranger to a slow start, has won two straight games in the Ontario Christian Tournament, the first time it had won consecutive games. The Lady Crusaders (3-8) defeated Crean Lutheran 1-0 in penalty kicks this past Monday, then blanked St. Anthony 2-0 this past Tuesday. The Lady Crusaders will visit Marlborough on Tuesday before entertaining Whittier Christian on Thursday.