Spirits rise at state

CLOVIS – All of the athletes that advanced to the CIF State Track and Field Finals earned medals on Saturday at Buchanan High School.

The Quartz Hill High School girls 4×400-meter relay team came away with the highest finish – a fourth-place finish in an event they have dominated all postseason.

Senior Shilah Bedingfield, junior Alonna Johnson and freshmen Iman Babineaux and Janae O’Neal finished with a time of 3 minutes 47.98 seconds, earning them a place on the podium.

“It feels amazing to once again medal,” Bedingfield said while a fireworks show bellowed in the background celebrating the end of the State Finals. “It feels accomplishing. We did all this hard work for seven and a half months straight. So now that we got here to the final day and medaled, it shows how hard work pays off.”

The Paraclete High School boys 4×100-meter relay team earned the second-highest finish. Seniors Zack Nelson, Branden Smith, Bobby Brown II and Allunzoe Jones finished fifth overall with their time of 41.57 seconds.

“I feel extremely blessed to come out here and be able to compete with my friends, my family,” Jones said. “It’s been an honor to compete in two state championships this year and I’m glad we got to make it this far.”

Antelope Valley High School senior Tyrese Dedmon earned a medal with his sixth-overall finish in the triple jump, going a distance of 46 feet, 6inches. Dedmon said felt good winning a medal, but because he’s a competitor, he’s “never really satisfied” unless he wins.

“Medaling at State – my first time ever coming to State – it’s a big accomplishment,” Dedmon said. “It’s acceptable.”

All four Paraclete boys graduated Friday less than two hours after advancing to the State finals. Saturday marked their last athletic competition as Spirits.

“It was really emotional and exciting,” Nelson said. “There’s no better track meet to finish off your high school career with.”

Smith and Jones were members of Paraclete’s football team that won its first state title in school history last fall. Nelson broke the school record in the 300 hurdles at the CIF Divisional Finals two weeks ago.

Brown said what he’ll remember most about competing in athletics at Paraclete is “the people I went through it all with.”

“They really make it worthwhile,” Brown said.

Dedmon will go on to play football at the University of Idaho. He said his experience competing at high levels as a track athlete can translate into his time as a college football player.

“It’s still high school, but making it to the state championship, that’s big,” Dedmon said. “Not everybody makes it. So just being able to compete on these types of stages, that’s huge. It gets you ready to be on a college level and compete in front of thousands and thousands of fans every week.”

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Quartz Hill girls break record again

CLOVIS – The Quartz Hill High School girls 4×400-meter relay team did it again.

Senior Shilah Bedingfield, junior Alonna Johnson and freshmen Iman Babineaux and Janae O’Neal broke their own school record in the relay with a time of 3 minutes, 46.66 seconds, and advanced to the CIF State Track and Field finals today at Buchanan High School.

Last week at Masters, the team broke its self-set record with a 3:48.07. On Friday, the girls beat that time by about a second and a half, and finished second overall.

“It’s a great feeling to come back and do that again,” Johnson said.

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AV slips in second round

LANCASTER — Three points.

That’s all it took for the Antelope Valley High School girls basketball team’s season to end Saturday against El Rancho in Round 2 of the CIF Southern Section Division 1A playoffs.

It was the number of points it took for the Dons to take a 42-41 lead late in the fourth quarter – their first lead since the opening minutes of the second period. El Rancho had trailed by as many as seven before that juncture.

It was how many points the Dons got on free throws when they trailed 41-36. Senior guard Brittany Corona was fouled on a 3-point attempt, made the first free throw, but missed the second.

The AV bench, however, stomped their feet during Corona’s second attempt, and was given a make-up shot by the referees as a result. She ended up making her last two free throws.

Three measly points.

“They were three points better than us tonight,” Antelopes head coach Deon Price said. “They just made a couple more plays than us tonight. They were the better team tonight.”

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Boron battles past Silver Valley

BORON — Silver Valley senior point guard Mikayla Surber had the hot hand in the first half. She scored 14 of her team’s 20 points, and seemingly couldn’t miss from the 3-point line.

At halftime, the Boron High School girls basketball team found itself in a 20-20 tie, and needed an answer to Surber’s offense. The Bobcats decided to make a tweak to its Box-1 defense and stepped up sooner on ball screens, switched the screens or trapped Surber.

In the opening minute of the third quarter, Surber walked up the court and drained a 3-pointer from so far behind the line, it could’ve come from Mojave. On the next possession, Boron fouled Surber on a 3-point attempt, and knocked down two free throws.

But after that, Boron’s defensive adjustment started to take hold, and Surber didn’t get the same looks as she did in the first half. Surber scored only six more points for the rest of the game, and Boron came away with a 43-39 home victory over Silver Valley in a wild-card game of the CIF Southern Section Division 5A playoffs.

“That was the difference in the second half,” Boron head coach Jeremeh Job said. “We put pressure on her. We never gave her an open look to the basket. She still had a few points, but they were certainly less points in the second half than there was in the first. That was the key.”

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Defense carries Desert Christian

LANCASTER — The Desert Christian High School boys basketball team used a tactic it’s relied on for the entire season to win its first playoff game: hard-nosed defense.

The Knights stifled Santa Clarita Valley International and beat the Stallions 74-50 on Wednesday in Round 1 of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs. Desert Christian on Friday will play Cuyama Valley, which won 74-57 over Lancaster’s Bethel Christian on Wednesday.

Knights senior forward Andrew Smith and junior point guard Ian van Boheemen each scored 14 points, while three Desert Christian players contributed eight points apiece. Three players each had five steals in a game where Desert Christian forced SCVI turnovers all night.

“If they can’t get the ball up the court, then we’ve done our job,” Knights head coach David Nurse said. “I always like the bewilderment on the other team when they don’t know what to or where to throw it.”

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Eastside misses the mark

CHATSWORTH — The Eastside High School girls soccer team’s season ended Tuesday with a 6-0 shutout loss to the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers in the wild-card match of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs at Sierra Canyon High School.

The Lions fell victim to Sierra Canyon’s aggressiveness and ability to keep the ball in its possession throughout the majority of the match. Eastside hardly got into its own attacking third, and when it did, shots were few and far between.

“They just didn’t bring their A-game,” Lions head coach Jessica Nish said. “They probably brought their C-minus game.”

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Paraclete’s final exam

LANCASTER — The Paraclete High School football team has one more game to play. It just so happens to be the biggest game in Antelope Valley history.

The Spirits play the Menlo-Atherton Bears in the CIF Division 3-AA State Championship game today, and represent the only football program from the Antelope Valley to reach the state championship.

“As a team, we’re all humbled and privileged to carry this honor for the team and any of the (football) teams in the Antelope Valley,” Spirits senior fullback KJ Latu said Thursday during practice at Antelope Valley College. “We just plan to come out here (today) and try to come out with a W to represent.”

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