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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW :John Glenn girls basketball stay in playoff hunt, hold off Artesia


By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter


The Artesia High and John Glenn High girls basketball programs have been struggling for quite some time with the former missing the playoffs for five straight seasons and the latter the past six seasons. In addition, Artesia has had a losing mark for 10 straight seasons while the Lady Eagles have been under the .500 mark for the past six straight seasons.

However, both entered their meeting this past Wednesday right at .500 and ranked in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division 5AAA poll. The game was what one would expect, which was low scoring and unpredictable. In the end, the visiting Lady Eagles held off Artesia 38-33 to improve to 11-10 overall and 2-3 in the Suburban League.

Glenn didn’t take its first lead until sophomore Mercedes Rubi scored off the first of her three offensive rebounds with 33.2 seconds left in the first half to give her team a 14-12 lead at the break. From that point on, the Lady Eagles built on that lead, which grew to nine points near the conclusion of the third quarter.

“I basically told them at halftime that they were basically pressuring themselves,” said Glenn first-year head coach Ruben Guerrero. “They were overthinking their game instead of trying to keep it simple.”

Artesia (8-9, 0-5) opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run and when junior Odalis Ramirez sank a pair of free throws with 3:33 remaining in the game, Glenn was clinging to a 27-26 lead. But in a span of 25 seconds, Glenn senior Kaylin Meno had a basket, followed by a steal and basket from senior Dalilah Mendoza and a free throw from Mendoza to basically seal the game.

The Lady Pioneers made one last push as senior Jessica Tibayan sank four straight free throws in a nine-second span. But the Lady Eagles were four of six from the line inside the final minute.

The Lady Pioneers were without the services of two of their best players, including senior Cassidy Valle-Marinas, who is their leading scorer, and suited up seven against Glenn. A week prior to the Artesia game, the Lady Eagles edged La Mirada High 35-34 before losing to Bellflower High 48-47 two days later.

“Our biggest problem that we’re having right now is that we play down,” Guerrero said. “Every time we come into the game…the Bellflower game, the La Mirada game, we just play down instead of trying to play to our ability.”

Mendoza led everyone with 15 points, six rebounds and five steals while senior Karina Gomez added nine points, five rebounds and four steals. Meno also had seven rebounds and four steals. Tibayan led Artesia with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Following the game, Artesia used a huge 20-0 run to turn a tight contest early into a 71-54 victory. Back to back buckets from Glenn seniors Juan Jimenez and Chris Murray to make it a 9-7 affair in favor of Artesia with 3:35 left in the first quarter. But Glenn would be limited to four attempts from the field over the next 5:54. The Eagles (5-12, 1-4) would trail by 20 at the half and as many as 22 points late in the third quarter.

Murray led all scorers with 22 points while seniors William Keith and Peter Punsalan each added 10 points. Artesia (13-6, 3-2) received 21 points from junior Heder Gladden, 11 points from junior Leroy Gladden and 10 more from sophomore Princeton Hoang. Sophomore Carlos Patino De Anda led the Pioneers with eight rebounds and four assists.

Artesia will visit Mayfair High before hosting Bellflower on Monday and Norwalk High on Wednesday while Glenn is home to Cerritos High tonight before travelling to Mayfair and La Mirada on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

Entering today’s action, Cerritos and Mayfair are the frontrunners on the girls side with a log jam from third to sixth place in the league, thus the possibility of a playoff berth for the Glenn girls remains good.

“Definitely, the girls have a little bit more of a cushion than the boys program,” Guerrero said. “But still, it’s too close for comfort. And I’d rather go in there comfortably than hoping and wishing, as I say.”

In other basketball action, Cerritos continued to stay at the top of the league after sweeping Norwalk this past Wednesday. The boys (14-5, 4-1) won 80-40 while the girls (15-4, 5-0) earned a 64-44 decision. Both will also host Bellflower on Wednesday.

The losing skid reached for the Gahr High boys reached five after the Gladiators fell to Warren High 56-46 this past Wednesday. Gahr (7-11, 0-3 in the San Gabriel Valley League) has not won since Dec. 30. The Lady Gladiators also fell to Warren, 62-51, and are 7-9, 1-2. Both Gahr teams will visit Paramount High tonight and before hosting Downey High on Wednesday. In addition, the Gahr girls will visit Long Beach Jordan High on Saturday.

Norwalk will host Bellflower tonight and La Mirada on Monday. The boys are 5-14, 0-5 while the girls are 9-8, 3-2 while Valley Christian High lost its contests to Whittier Christian High this past Tuesday. The boys (13-6, 1-1 in the Olympic League) fell 63-53 while the Lady Crusaders (5-13, 0-2) were on the short end of a 45-36 decision. V.C. will be home to Maranatha High tonight before travelling to Heritage Christian High on Tuesday. In addition, the V.C. boys will visit Pilibos High on Saturday.


Artesia (12-5-1, 4-1) blanked Glenn 5-0 this past Wednesday to stay at the top of the Suburban League with La Mirada and Mayfair, who each have one league loss. The Pioneers will host Mayfair today before going to Bellflower on Monday and Norwalk on Wednesday. Glenn (4-8-1, 0-5) visits Cerritos today before hosting Mayfair on Monday and La Mirada on Wednesday.

The long season for Cerritos continues as the Dons dropped their fourth straight game after a 6-1 setback to Norwalk this past Wednesday. Cerritos is 2-14 overall and winless in five league games. The Dons will travel to Bellflower on Wednesday.

Gahr was blanked by Warren 6-0 this past Tuesday to fall to 0-4, 0-3. The team visited Paramount on Jan. 18 and will host Downey on Tuesday and Dominguez High on Thursday.

Norwalk ended a three-game losing streak by crushing Cerritos 6-1 this past Wednesday to improve to 8-5, 3-2. The Lancers will travel to Bellflower today and La Mirada on Monday.

Valley Christian blanked Whittier Christian 3-0 this past Tuesday to up its mark to 5-6-2 overall and 1-0-1 in the Olympic League. The Crusaders will visit Maranatha today before entertaining Heritage Christian on Tuesday.

Whitney High won its third game, all coming in Academy League action following a 7-0 contest against Calvary Chapel High this past Tuesday. The Wildcats travel to St. Margaret’s High today and Sage Hill High on Tuesday.


Artesia blasted Glenn 8-1 this past Wednesday to snap a five-game losing streak and improve to 4-10-1, 1-4. The Lady Pioneers will visit Mayfair today and host Bellflower and Norwalk on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Glenn (0-10-1, 0-5) hosts Cerritos today and visits Mayfair on Monday and La Mirada on Wednesday.

Cerritos blanked Norwalk 2-0 this past Wednesday to move to 7-7-1, 3-2. The Lady Dons will host Bellflower on Wednesday.

Gahr was blasted by Warren 10-0 this past Tuesday to fall to 5-8-2, 1-2. The Lady Gladiators hosted Paramount on Jan. 18 and will visit Downey and Dominguez on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Norwalk dropped to 5-10, 2-3 after its loss to Cerritos and will be home to Bellflower and La Mirada today and Monday respectively.

V.C. won its seventh straight contest following a 7-1 drubbing at Whittier Christian this past Tuesday. The Lady Crusaders (14-3-1, 1-0 in the Olympic League) will host Maranatha today and travel to Heritage Christian on Tuesday.

Whitney slammed Calvary Chapel Downey 10-1 this past Tuesday on the road and will be home to St. Margaret’s today and Sage Hill on Tuesday.