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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Norwalk boys basketball comes up short after blowing lead in final minutes


By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter


It has been a very long season for the Norwalk High boys basketball team, which began the season with only four returning players from last season’s squad. But for a moment, it looked as if the Lancers would pull off a signature victory over Artesia High this past Wednesday.

After falling behind by 14 points early in the second half, Norwalk rallied to take a six-point lead late in the game. After that, the Pioneers went on a 7-0 run to end the game and post a 62-61 win over the host Lancers.

“It was a great comeback, but I think that’s what comes with being so young,” said Norwalk head coach Brent Campanelli. “You’re going to get in those situations and you just hope that you can learn how to build yourself for getting through those situations.”

Artesia was up 43-29 with 6:27 left in the third quarter before the Lancers limited the Pioneers to just a pair of baskets by senior Roman Hernandez the remainder of the stanza. At the same time, Norwalk kept chipping away, getting a pair of key three-pointers from sophomore Christopher Herrera in the third quarter, and three perimeter baskets from sophomore Armando Castellanos in the fourth quarter.

The second of those three put Norwalk up 51-49 with 6:31 left in the game and that lead expanded to 59-51 after another Herrera trifecta. With 2:49 left to play, sophomore Pablo Juarez gave the hosts a 61-55 lead. Then the Pioneers got a big three-pointer from Hernandez with 2:09 remaining and the score remained that way for nearly two minutes as the Lancers missed four attempts of taking back the lead.

After the Pioneers called a timeout with 25 seconds left, the game-winner was scored with 12 seconds left on a basket from sophomore Carlos Patino De Anda with junior Heder Gladden getting the assist. With no timeouts left, Norwalk drove down the court for a game-winning shot. However, Gladden blocked junior Mark Gonzalez-Corrasco’s shot at the buzzer.

“Defensively, we didn’t want to do a whole lot different,” Campanelli said. “We were really trying our best to face guard Gladden and Hernandez. They were playing a hell of a game and credit to both of those guys. They really played well tonight. But we were trying to keep it out of their hands and make the other guys beat us.”

Hernandez paced the Pioneers (12-5 overall, 2-1 in the Suburban League) with 21 points while Gladden added 14 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Juarez scored a team-high 19 points with 11 coming in the first quarter when he drained three downtown shots. He also had seven rebounds. Herrera added 17 points and seven rebounds while Castellanos pitched in with 13 points.

“Those kids can shoot; there’s no doubt about it,” Campanelli said. “And we kind of pride ourselves in letting them go and letting them feel confident and free in taking those shots, and they went tonight.”

Norwalk dropped to 5-13 overall and winless in four league games and the program is going through its worst season since the 2011-2012 campaign when that team went 6-21 overall and 2-10 in the circuit.

“We’re definitely trying to preach not being short sided,” Campanelli said. “We’re not trying to look at tomorrow, at next week. We’re really trying to look at next month, at next summer, at next year. We’ve been fighting uphill all year. So to us, this is really nothing new. I expect our guys to keep fighting.”

Earlier in the evening, the Norwalk girls had a tougher than expected time with an Artesia team that began the games with eight players but finished with seven as another key member left the game with a knee injury late. In the end, the Lady Lancers had enough to knock off the Lady Pioneers 61-42 to improve to 9-7 overall and 3-1 in league play.

Norwalk was up 27-24 after Artesia went on a brief 5-0 lead early in the second quarter. However, the hosts ended the first half on an 11-3 run over the final 5:26, then put the game away by outscoring Artesia (8-7, 0-3) 13-6 in the third quarter. Seniors Angie Aldana and Bjanka Torres each scored 14 points for the Lady Lancers with Aldana adding eight steals. Senior Jessica Tibayan led Artesia with 10 points while senior Cassidy Valle-Marinas and junior Kathy Gonzalez each scored nine points. Gonzalez also had six rebounds and three steals but the team was without Valle-Marinas, their leading scorer all season, with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Both Norwalk teams will visit Cerritos High on Wednesday while the two Artesia squads are home to La Mirada High tonight and John Glenn High on Wednesday.

In other basketball action, Gahr High kicked off the San Gabriel Valley League portion of its schedule by getting a split with host Dominguez High this past Wednesday. The boys (7-9, 0-1) lost 58-52 while the girls (7-7, 1-0) posted a 61-25 victory. Both Gahr teams will visit Lynwood High tonight before entertaining Warren High on Wednesday.

Glenn also got a split at home against La Mirada this past Wednesday as the boys (5-10, 1-2 were blown out 85-53 while the resurging girls, winners of four straight to improve to 10-9, 1-2, edged the Matadores 35-34. Glenn will travel to Bellflower High tonight.

Valley Christian High will begin Olympic League action tonight with home contests against Village Christian High before going to Whittier Christian High on Tuesday. The boys are 12-5 after losing to Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary 78-63 this past Wednesday while the girls are 5-11.

The Whitney High boys (4-14, 1-2 in the Academy League) were blasted by Crean Lutheran High 80-39 this past Wednesday while the Lady Wildcats (10-7, 2-1) have won three straight games, including a 50-33 decision over Crean Lutheran. The two Whitney squads will host Oxford Academy tonight for their homecoming games before welcoming Calvary Chapel Downey High on Tuesday.


Artesia has won three in a row to up its mark to 11-4-1 overall, 3-0 in the Suburban League with a 3-2 home win against Norwalk this past Wednesday. The Pioneers will visit La Mirada today and Glenn on Wednesday. Norwalk is home to Cerritos on Wednesday.

The woes continue for Cerritos, which was blanked by Bellflower 4-0 this past Wednesday. The Dons (2-12, 0-3) will travel to Mayfair High today.

The recent storm wreaked havoc on Gahr’s San Gabriel Valley League opener with Dominguez High this past Tuesday. The Gladiators went to Lynwood High on Jan. 11 and will host Warren High on Tuesday before visiting Paramount High on Thursday.

Glenn’s scoring skid has now reached six games following a 5-0 loss to La Mirada this past Wednesday. The Eagles are 4-6-1 overall, 0-3 in league and will host Bellflower today.

Valley Christian picked up a pair of wins, 6-0 over Southlands Christian High and 6-1 over Shalhevet High in the past week to improve to 4-6-1 in preparation for its Olympic League opener at Village Christian today. Valley Christian will also host Whittier Christian on Tuesday.

Whitney shutout Brethren Christian High 5-0 this past Monday and was blanked by Crean Lutheran 1-0 this past Wednesday to drop to 1-10 overall, 1-2 in the circuit. The Wildcats will host Oxford Academy today and Calvary Chapel Downey on Tuesday.


The seven area girls’ teams will play at the opposite sites as the boys on the same days. One minor exception is Valley Christian, which will host La Canada High today. Updated records are as follows: Artesia (3-9-1, 0-3), Gahr (4-6-2), Glenn (0-8-1, 0-3), Norwalk (5-9, 2-2), Valley Christian (13-3), and Whitney (3-4-1, 1-1).