Paraclete football moves up for playoffs

Four Antelope Valley football teams moved into higher divisions in the CIF Southern Section, according to playoff pairings released Wednesday.

Paraclete, which won the CIF State Division 3AA championship last season, moved up from the Southern Section Division 6 to Division 5. Antelope Valley, in Division 9 last year, went up into Division 8.

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They refused to be benched

Two Mohave High School girls join boys basketball team after girls team cancelled due to playing a graduated girl in a game

The first day of basketball season started much like any other for Mojave High School.

The boys and girls teams had home games scheduled against Frazier Mountain, and both rosters were somewhat thin – the common malady small schools like Mojave often suffer.

Neither team came away with a victory that day, the first of December 2016, and each player and coach on both rosters went to sleep that night waiting for their next game in just a few days.

But that next game never came for the girls.

The day after their game against Frazier Mountain, Mojave’s athletic director, George Pulos, informed the team that the rest of its preseason games would be cancelled because an ineligible player suited up for the Mustangs the previous night. Then-girls coach Patricia Burdick gave the girl a jersey and allowed her to play after asking Frazier Mountain’s coach if her participating would be OK, multiple Mojave sources with knowledge of the situation said.

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Henderson sticks with Littlerock

The Littlerock High School football team will have a familiar face leading it next season.

Dennis Henderson, Littlerock’s athletic director, has agreed to return as head coach for the Lobos. Last season was his first year at the helm.

“The biggest key for us was stability of these kids and trying to get a coach that would be on campus,” Henderson said.

Stability will be Henderson’s main goal this season. He said he wants to find the right coach to lead the program in the coming years, and will only step down as head coach after he finds the right fit at that position.

Henderson said he hopes that individual will be someone on this year’s coaching staff.

“The biggest thing we’re trying to do is groom some coaches who will be on campus and they’re a great fit (and) they have the kids in mind as far as what’s going on,” Henderson said.

Henderson took on the head coaching duties last year because another coaching candidate had problems getting in paperwork on time, he said. He decided to give it another go this season because the other seven applicants either were not on campus or could not commit to multiple years as head coach, Henderson said.

“Usually when I’m interviewing coaches, I want those coaches to at least say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna give you four years, if not five,'” Henderson said. “It can’t be a revolving door. It has to be someone who wants to set some roots and stay at a place.”

The Lobos went 2-8 overall last season, and Henderson hopes to improve on that mark next season. Henderson said the team is already getting in work lifting weights and working on drops, coverages and passing.

Knight football coach Esquer steps down

The George Esquer era at Knight High School is over.

The three-year head coach of the Hawks football team chose not to return for the 2017 season, Esquer confirmed to the Antelope Valley Press on Friday. His replacement has already been chosen and is awaiting approval from the school board, Knight Athletic Director Tom Hegre said.

“I felt that it was time for me to look at other things,” Esquer said. “In the end, it was a mutual decision.”

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Cal City drains threes

LANCASTER — Just when the Lancaster Baptist High School boys basketball team thought it had California City on the ropes, the Ravens woke up.

Cal City used a 38-point turnaround to overtake the Eagles, 81-56, in Thursday’s consolation semifinal round of the third annual Hunter Dodge Antelope Valley New Year Classic at AV High School.

Ravens sophomore shooting guard Cameron Jarmon had a game-high 25 points, while junior guard Hubert Johnson added 15.

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Antelopes win tourney opener

LANCASTER — Throughout Tuesday’s game against Bethel Christian, Antelope Valley High School senior center Moses Robinson-Carr counted out the number of points he scored with each basket. After he scored on a particular possession, he audibly said, “That’s 16.”

It was that kind of night for AV, which cruised to an 80-27 victory over the Eagles on Day 2 of the third annual Hunter Dodge Antelope Valley New Year Classic. The Antelopes, who played in their first game of the tourney, have won five consecutive games.

Robinson-Carr finished with 20 points, while senior backup center Azhon Davis had 14 points and sophomore guard Da’Mari Crane added 11.

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Classic opener

ROSAMOND — Three teams came away with blowout victories and one prevailed by a hair on Day 1 of the Roadrunner Classic basketball tournament on Monday at Rosamond High School.

The Quartz Hill Rebels beat Palmdale Aerospace Academy, 77-46, behind a barrage of 3-pointers. Sophomore point guard Shemar Fisher made five by himself. The team made 12.

Rebels head coach Bernard Nichter said the team’s style this season will be to get up and down the court and shoot threes.

“It’s always been my style,” Nichter said. “It’s just the last couple of years, we haven’t had guys that have been able to knock them down. Our whole season depends this year on whether we can knock them down.”

The Palmdale Falcons beat the Arvin Bears, 89-57, also using the 3-point shot as their main weapon. Junior guard Damyn Wilson had five threes in the game.

Neither the Rebels or the Falcons trailed in their games.

The Paraclete Spirits overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Eastside Lions, 69-51. The Spirits trailed 28-24 despite holding a six-point lead after the first quarter.

But when the third quarter began, the Lions started turning the ball over, which led to points on the other end for Paraclete.

“Turnovers definitely changed the game,” Eastside head coach Jesse Parker said. “Once we turned the ball over and we got down, we had to pressure, which (Paraclete) handled well and got layups and dunks. You just can’t do that.”

The Spirits started the second half with two 3-pointers apiece from junior guards Chris Gayles and Tommy Manko. Paraclete scored 24 points in the third quarter alone to give it a 12-point lead going into the last frame.

Paraclete went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth and led 58-36. The run essentially ended the game.

Spirits head coach Newton Chelette said his team did a better job in the second half of defending dribble penetration and executing on offense.

“When we do those two things,” Chelette said, “we’re pretty good.”

The Rosamond Roadrunners won a 61-58 nail-biter against Arvin, which played twice on Monday. The Roadrunners trailed by one after the first quarter, and the game was tied at halftime.

The Bears held a 31-28 lead in the third, but the Roadrunners went on a 9-0 run to build a 37-31 lead. Arvin trailed by nine with seconds to go in the quarter, but sophomore guard Carlos Norzagaray drilled a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to only six heading into the fourth quarter.

The Roadrunners and Bears went back and forth to start the last frame, with Arvin taking a seven-point lead and Rosamond closing to within three just minutes later. Bears junior Mark Ruiz rebounded his own miss and made a layup, tying the game at 55.

The Bears took a 56-55 lead on Gabriel Zapata’s free throw, but the Roadrunners made a basket to take back the lead with 39.6 seconds left.

Two Roadrunners free throws gave them a three-point lead, but Zapata scored on a put-back to bring Arvin to within one with only 5 seconds left.

Rosamond again made two clutch free throws, and a last-second 3-point attempt by the Bears misfired, giving the Roadrunners the victory.

Roadrunners head coach Michael Ernest said the team is “not young, but inexperienced,” but thinks the tournament will help with that.

“This was a good win in terms of getting their first win under their belt,” Ernest said. “There’s still a lot of improvement, a lot of things they’re not used to at the varsity level. So that’s the key right there. We don’t have experience, so we’re just using this non-league opportunity to get us experience so that when league comes around, we’ll be ready.”

The tournament continues today with five games on the schedule, one of which will be played at Tropico Middle School.