La Serna begins quest to defend league championship
WHITTIER – With the year 2019 behind us and 2020 just beginning, winter Whittier-area high school sports are in full swing.
Boys and girls basketball have concluded all tournaments and are beginning Del Rio League action next week.
Soccer league action also starts next week, with the defending champion La Serna girls hosting El Rancho on Tuesday.
In girls water polo, six-time defending Del Rio League (DRL) champion La Serna is off to a great start, along with Santa Fe.
Boys and girls DRL 2019 champions La Serna (10-8) begins the quest to defend both titles, beginning with games at El Rancho (6-11) for the boys on Wednesday (Jan. 8).
The La Serna girls (5-8), who finished as co-champions with El Rancho last season, will host La Mirada on Saturday (Jan. 4) and travel to Rosemead on Monday for a pair of non-league contests.
“This team has not played well at all during the preseason,” La Serna girls basketball coach Steve Hemenway said. “From day one we talk about having eight important games this year. Those are our league games.
“If we don’t improve immediately, it will be a disappointing year. Time will tell.”
El Rancho, who is led by longtime Coach Randy Shigezane, is off to another great start with a 13-4 record. The 13 wins are the most of any of the five Del Rio League teams in the preseason.
The Dons boys team is coached by Matt Spain in his first year at the helm, recently went 3-1 in the Mama Pittman Memorial Tournament, hosted by Whittier high, but fell in the championship game, 53-50, to Los Altos.
El Rancho will host La Serna in the opening game in the DRL for both teams.
In the DRL for the boys, Cal high leads the pack with an 11-7 preseason mark. Senior Mateo Martinez leads the Condors with an 11.7 points per game average. Defending champ La Serna will kick off the league season at El Rancho on Wednesday (Jan. 8).
Santa Fe (9-7) recently was a perfect 4-0 in the San Gabriel Holiday Classic and extended its winning streak to five games under coach Leonard Romero.
The La Serna girls (8-4-3), who won their eighth consecutive DRL title last season, will host El Rancho (9-1-3) Tuesday (Jan. 7).
Leading the pack, however, is Cal high with a near-perfect 13-1-1 record. The Condors are led by junior midfielder Hailey Lopez with a preseason-high 20 goals. Freshman Yammile Picon of El Rancho and La Serna junior striker Malea Earley have 12 and 11 goals, respectively.
Defending DRL champion La Serna, under coach John Pringle, is 9-1 in preseason and Santa Fe, coached by Robert Maddez, is a preseason-best 11-1. Both teams will clash in the DRL on Tuesday Jan. 14 at Santa Fe.
After a non-league game against Temple City for La Serna Saturday (Jan. 4), the Lancers will play in the Diamond Bar Tournament beginning Jan. 10. Santa Fe will begin league action Tuesday Jan 7 and will host Whittier.
Cal High, which is the 2019 DRL champs, will attempt to defend the league title under coach Doug Loo.