For the first time in program history, the Granite Hills High School boys soccer team produced an All-East Sequoia League Most Valuable Player with the selection of sophomore forward, Daniel Ruiz.

“It’s an honor,” GHHS head coach Pedro Gonzalez said. “I have a bunch of players that can be MVP but if you think about it, there’s people watching my players and agreeing that this is one of the best players in the league. It’s a lot for the school and for him.”

Other top honors in ESL went to Corcoran’s Vicente Rojas (Defensive Player of the Year) and Miguel Orozco (Goalkeeper of the Year), Woodlake’s Richard Rodriguez (Offensive POY) and Farmersville’s Michael Jordan (Coach of the Year).

Along with Ruiz, six other Grizzlies and two Cardinals from Lindsay were also selected to the All-ESL first and second teams.

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Six players from Porterville and Monache High School girls soccer programs made All-East Yosemite League first and second teams this season.

The MVP of the league was Jaci Maze of EYL champion Tulare Union (23-5-1, 8-1-1 EYL). Maze led the league in scoring and assists with seven goals and five assists. She had 29 goals and 19 assists for the overall season. The Tribe were also the CIF Central Section Division II runner-ups.

MONACHE (12-9-3, 4-6 EYL)

Making the All-EYL first team for Monache (12-9-3, 4-6 EYL) were senior forward Zoe Rios and junior forward Jiselle Batres. 

On top of winning the East Yosemite League title with Porterville High School boys basketball, Nash Wobrock capped off his final season with an All-EYL, co-Most Valuable Player selection as well.

Wobrock shared the MVP title with Mikey Ficher, a junior from Tulare Western (22-8, 7-3 EYL). Five other players from the area -- two from Porterville (19-11, 8-2 EYL) and three from Monache (22-8, 7-3 EYL) -- also made EYL first and second teams.

Six others make all-league team from PHS, MHS

Jazlynne Medrano and Jewelia Maniss.

The two seniors were the heart and soul of Porterville High School girls basketball and their contributions to bring the Panthers' back-to-back, undefeated East Yosemite League titles was recognized with the two being named the All-EYL co-Most Valuable Players.

Along with Medrano and Maniss, three other Porterville (31-3, 10-0 EYL) players and three Monache Marauders (18-7, 7-3 EYL) were selected to All-EYL teams.

Six locals receive all-league honors

A total of six area boys basketball players made the All-East Sequoia League list this season with Lindsay High's Issac Munoz and Mohamed Kourain, and Strathmore's Owen Patterson, making the first team.

Senior guards Munoz and Kourain were the team's leading scorers and instrumental in leading the Cardinals (21-9, 9-3 ESL) to a shared second-place finish in league with Sierra Pacific (13-15, 9-3 ESL).

But CA governor says schools likely to remain closed

High school athletic programs around the state continue to hold their breaths after the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced Tuesday that no decision had been made about the future of this season's spring sports due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

However that decision came less than an hour before California Gov. Gavin Newsom said California schools are likely to remain closed through the rest of the school year.

Porterville High School boys and girls swim won their East Yosemite League opener against Mission Oak Tuesday at Tulare Western High School.

In final scores, the Panthers boys won 129-36 and the girls won 142-27. Porterville won every event except boys diving. 

In team events for the boys, Garrett Lamb, Xavier Gutierrez, Diego Gutierrez and Trevor Riley won the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1 minute, 51.75 seconds. Riley, Diego Gutierrez, Levi Davis and Ryan Davis won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:58.04. Lamb, Ryan Davis, Levi Davis and Isaac Gutierrez won the 400 free in 4:09.

After stating Porterville Unified School District would cancel athletics from Thursday through Saturday, the district extended suspended all of its athletic events — home and away — through April 13. PUSD is following the recommendation of all high school district superintendents in Tulare and Kings Counties.

PUSD reported most of the high schools in the Central Section are following the recommendation to suspend its athletic events. In the meantime, PUSD is allowing its athletic teams to continue to practice.

In addition Porterville College spring sports are suspended indefinitely with the California Community College Athletics Association releasing more information on the suspension of spring sports.

PUSD cancels through weekend, PC indefinitely

Porterville Unified School District was the first area school to announce the suspension of athletic events due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) early Thursday morning.

On the heels of Tulare County issuing an emergency declaration after an individual tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening, PUSD posted on Facebook, “All PUSD athletic events are cancelled for today, tomorrow, and Saturday (March 12, 13 and 14). Practices will continue as scheduled.”

Throughout the day, Central Section high schools and school districts announced the suspension of athletic events with all beginning immediately. Summit Charter Collegiate Academy did not announce any cancellations as of press time but Lindsay Unified School District released a statement that said, “No travel outside of Tulare County for athletics, field trips, and other competitive events, unless pre-approved” through April 3.

The Porterville Unified School District has postponed all of its athletic events — home and away — scheduled for today, Friday and Saturday.

It could've been Porterville College's fourth win of the season.

Instead Tuesday's Central Valley Conference home game against the Fresno City Rams turned into a disappointing 18-3 loss, the sixth-straight for Pirates' baseball.

After giving up two runs in the second inning, Porterville kept things close with the state's No. 6 ranked team and even got back on level ground with Fresno when PC's Isaiah Gomez (Porterville High) hit a two-run, RBI-single in the fifth to even the score.

But from then on, Fresno City controlled the game. The Pirates' struggles on the mound intensified and the Rams scored seven runs in the sixth and seventh inning to take a 16-2 lead.

Granite's Painter, Salinas finish on top

Last week Sierra Pacific High School boys golf won the East Sequoia League, nine-hole opening match by 19 strokes. But on Monday, Granite Hills cut the difference to 11.

Playing on their home course, Porterville Municipal Golf Course, the Grizzlies once again took second — but this time with a score of 232 to the Golden Bears' 221.

“We're improving, so that's a positive,” GHHS head coach Shelly Lozano said. “I think if our lower part of the lineup keeps improving, keeps getting better; we'll be in contention then. It's just now, we're not even in contention if we can't have our five or six be in the 40s only. … It'll come down to our league championship.”

The ESL championship 18-hole match on Wednesday, May 6.

Monache High School girls track and field took first place out of 12 teams at the Exeter Spring Launch Invitational Saturday, besting Ridgeview and El Diamante 156 to 78 and 68, respectively.

Freshman Nailea Fields won the discus for the second week in a row with throw of 110-feet, 11-inches. Fields also took fifth in the shot put with a throw of 30-feet, 3inches.

"Fields is an outstanding athlete and she will be steadily adding strength through her weight program,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “She is definitely on her way early. Our throws coach, Carl Scudder, is doing an excellent job keeping us at the top of these invitationals.”

Porterville College women's tennis fell 9-0 to Modesto in Friday's Big 8 South Conference match at home. Modesto (11-1, 7-0 B8S) currently sits atop conference standings with an undefeated record.

“We're competing in every set, every match but they're just a little more, as far as their game, just a little bit stronger all the way through their game,” PC head coach Kurt Nielsen said. “Modesto girls are first place in the conference. They're probably on their way to winning. So we still battled. We did our best, they just have a lot of game. We're just trying to get better every game.

Starting with doubles, PC's Claire Nuno and Eileen Rooney lost the No. 1 match 8-1 while No. 3 Autumn True and Annabelle Rivera lost 8-0. No. 2 Raquel Calo and Zoe Vasquez had one of the closer matches of the day, with Vasquez playing very well up front, but lost 8-4.

Granite Hills High School boys swim team defeated Lindsay 84-48 in Thursday's East Sequoia League opener at home. The Grizzlies and Cardinals girls' teams tied 77-all.

In boys' competition, Granite's Juan Pablo Lopez won both the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 13.19 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:22.32) while Ivan Ibarra won both the 50 freestyle (26.04) and the 100 free (59.61). Andy Garcia also won the 200 free (3:08.11) and Noah De La Pena the 500 free (7:11.81).

Both Granite and Lindsay boys' teams tied for first in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:46.52. Making up the Grizzlies' team was Ibarra, De La Pena, Lopez and Tommy Ensaldo. The four also won the 400 free (4:25.88).

Porterville scores 25 runs on 13 hits vs. CVC

The runs just kept coming for Porterville High School softball in a 25-2 win over Central Valley Christian at home Wednesday.

The Central Section Division VI Cavaliers (0-1) didn't have the pitching to keep the Div. III Panthers (7-0) off the bases and gave up 13 hits and 12 walks in just four innings. The game was called in the middle of the fifth due to the mercy rule.

Twelve Porterville players had a plate appearance and 11 of them scored at least one run with Jennilu Martinez and Mia Franklin both scoring four runs apiece. Martinez led the team at the plate by going 3-for-3 with four runs scored, one walk and a hit by pitch while Franklin was hit in three plate appearances.

Porterville led 6-0 after the first inning with seven of nine batters getting walked. But PHS head coach, Jennifer Schoonover, and her staff let the team know they wouldn't be content with walks.

Strathmore High School boys tennis lost 7-2 to Corcoran in their East Sequoia League home opener Wednesday.

Winning their matches in singles were Julio Beltran (8-5) and Cristian Angeles (8-5). Aden Ennis and Sal Campos had solid performances losing 8-6 in their single matches.

The Spartans next match is at home Friday against Woodlake.

Five runs in the sixth edges Strathmore over Porterville

They may not have played like it from the start but there was no quit in Strathmore High baseball Tuesday afternoon.

The Central Section Division VI Spartans (5-4) faced a tall task at home against the Div. II Panthers of Porterville (1-6-1), but a big five-run sixth inning gave Strathmore a comeback win they'll be feeding off over the next few days.

Means a lot to come back and win,” SHS junior, Nate Tree, said. “We’re happy and excited. We got the momentum with us. So we'll carry the momentum into the next game and start right where we left off.”

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Tree played a big part in getting the team back on track with a hit to left field that scored Angel Topete and tied the game.


Eleventh-seeded Porterville High School girls basketball lost 79-48 to sixth-seeded Eisenhower on the road in the first round of the CIF State Southern Region Championship playoffs.

Jewelia Maniss led the Panthers with 21 point and Jazlynne Medrano had eight points. Jada Ortega, Madison Johnson and Cienna Enriquez had three points each. Mariyah Avila-Peterson, Bailee Cook, Zeila Rivera, Allison Martinez and Trintiy Soliz had two points apiece.

Porterville trailed 15-9 at the end of the first quarter and 44-25 at halftime. Eisenhower stretched their lead to 66-35 by the end of the third.

The Panthers (31-3, 10-0 EYL) finish the season as the Central Section Division III and East Yosemite League champions.

BAKERSFIELD — First state-finalist and highest state-placer ever for Monache High School's girls wrestling.

The accomplishments kept coming for Charlotte Kouyoumtjian over the weekend, but the one the junior really wanted — a state title — evaded her once again.

Second-seeded Kouyoumtjian lost in a 6-5 decision to fourth-seed Desinee Lopez of Folsom Saturday at the CIF State Girls Championship at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.

“Tough one,” MHS head coach Jim Short. “I don’t think anything happened other than (Lopez) probably wrestled the best I’ve seen her wrestle in a long time. I thought Charlotte gave it a valid effort. Came up a little short.” 

BAKERSFIELD — Tyler Avila is a state-placer, the first in six years for Porterville High School boys wrestling.

The accomplishment was years in the making after the senior fought through injuries to earn a spot on the podium as the seventh-place winner Saturday at the CIF State Boys Championships.

Wrestling in the 182-pound consolation bracket at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, Avila needed to win his first match of the day to place and medal. He did so with an 8-3 decision over seventh-seeded Travis Wuerth of Hemet.

“For me, I was ecstatic,” Avila said. “The only other time I made it to state I went two-and-out, didn’t make it to the second day. Just to place I was excited. That was where my day was made already, even if I lost.” 

The Porterville High and Strathmore High girls basketball teams will have to go on the road for the first round of the Southern California Regional Championships in the State Tournament.


No. 1 Porterville tops No. 2 Arvin for Div. III Valley title, seniors 100th win

FRESNO — “Put a one up!” was the call.

And as Porterville High School girls basketball team smiled big and raised a finger, camera shutter buttons went in to overdrive with everyone trying to capture the memory of the Panthers' biggest accomplishment — a Valley title.

“It feels so good cause I've been waiting for this moment since freshman — well younger than freshman year,” PHS senior Jewelia Medrano said. “It just feels so good to finally get here and win.”

Top-seeded Porterville (31-2) picked up the second Valley championship in program history with a 65-39 win over the second-seeded Bears of Arvin (28-5) in Friday's CIF Central Section Division III Championship at Selland Arena in Fresno.

After Thursday and Friday's CIF State Championship competition, Monache High's Charlotte Kouyoumtjian and Porterville's Tyler Avila are the only wrestlers still alive in their respective tournaments.

In the 116-pound girls competition, second-seeded Kouyoumtjian pinned seventh-seed Berlin Kiddoo of Ramona in 5 minutes, 42 seconds to advance to the semifinals.

Semifinal rounds begin at 11 p.m. today and Kouyoumtjian will wrestle third-seeded Elena Ivaldi of Del Oro for a place in the championship match.

In the 182-pound boys quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Avila lost in a 9-2 decision to fifth-seeded Jadon Martin of Buchanan. Avila will wrestle seventh-seed Travis Wuerth in the fifth round of consolation. Matches begin at 10 a.m.

SHS loses 43-39 to East

Valley championship basketball is an unforgettable experience for athletes fortunate enough to make the trip to Fresno's Selland Arena.

But for top-seeded Strathmore High girls basketball, Friday's 43-39 loss to second-seed East Bakersfield in the Central Section Division V Championship game didn't bring them the memories they wanted.

Should’ve been our game,” SHS’ Jazmine Soto said. “With all the hard work we put in, it’s crazy to think that we just let it go. Just like that. [Snaps]. One chance. One game. Thirty-two minutes and we let it go.”

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PHS' Tyler Avila is into the quarters, seven others in consolation

BAKERSFIELD — The rematch is set.

Porterville High School's Tyler Avila faces off with Buchanan's Jadon Martin today in the quarterfinals of the CIF State Boys Wrestling Championship tournament after picking up two wins in opening rounds Thursday at Mechanics Arena in Bakersfield.

Fourth-seeded Avila upset fifth-seeded Martin last week in the CIF Central Section Masters Championship to win his first-ever Masters title. The two wrestle again when quarterfinal rounds begin at 3:45 p.m.

Avila opened Thursday's tournament with two wins, including a comeback victory over Birmingham's Jairo Rivera in his second match. Trailing 2-1 after the first period, Avila scored four points with a reversal and a two-point nearfall before pinning Rivera in 3 minutes, 3 seconds.

MHS’ Ortega, PHS’ Cook start today in consolations

BAKERSFIELD — Showing once again why she’s one of the state’s best 116-pound wrestlers, Charlotte Kouyoumtjian pinned her opening round opponents in just 87 seconds to begin the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships.

Wrestling Thursday morning at Bakersfield's Mechanics Bank Arena, the second-seeded Monache High School junior pinned Norco’s Valerie Powell in 47 seconds then made quick work of James Logan’s Carmella Foley with a 40-second pin to earn a spot in today’s quarterfinal matches that begin at 3:45 p.m.

“She feels good,” MHS head coach Jim Short said. “I think her confidence is in a place where it needs to be and we’re just taking it one match at a time.”

Strathmore High School's Jacob Flores hit a grand slam to lead the Spartans to an 11-3 win over Orosi in a non-league baseball game Thursday.

Flores also finished 2-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs. Anthony Lemus had two hits and two scored runs.

Aidan Jackson pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck out nine for the win. Aiden Albers got the save as he pitched out of a tight situation in the sixth: two runners on with the Spartans only up by four. Albers struck out two.

Spartans have a doubleheader at Summit on Saturday.


No. 1 PHS beats No. 4 Hoover, play for Valley title Friday

The undefeated East Yosemite League titles were nice.

The trips to the CIF State Championship tournament even nicer.

But the big goal — get a Valley championship — is finally in the reach of the Porterville High School's girls basketball team after an impressive 67-57 comeback victory over No. 4 Hoover (23-8) in Wednesday's Central Section Division III semifinal game at home.

It took three years and a move up in divisions to be in this position but the Panthers (30-2, 10-0 EYL) finally did it. Top-seeded Porterville will play No. 2 Arvin (28-4) for the Div. III Valley title Friday at Selland Arena in Fresno. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.

“This is the third-straight time we've gone to the semis, this is the first time we've gotten through, gotten to the finals. So it's a pretty exciting time,” PHS head coach David Kavern said.

STRATHMORE — Erika Munoz may want to lobby to play the national anthem at Selland Arena on Friday when the Strathmore High girls basketball team plays for the Valley title.

Munoz played a beautiful version of the anthem on the guitar reminiscent of the version of the national anthem played on the guitar in the movie “McFarland USA” before Wednesday's game against Corcoran at Spartan Gym. Munoz then went out and scored 17 points, hitting five three-pointers as the No. 1 seeded Spartans beat the Panthers 60-44 in the Central Section Division V semifinals.

So for Strathmore USA, the girls basketball team will take the trek which is the holy grail for all Valley basketball teams to play for the Central Section title for the third time under head coach Richard Miranda. It looked like the Spartans, ranked No. 4 in the state in Division V, will play East Bakersfield in Friday morning's Valley championship game.

MHS' Barragan, Guzman and Queenan to run at FPU

A trio of Monache High School's top senior runners announced their commitment to join Fresno Pacific University's cross country and track programs in front of friends and family Wednesday afternoon at the school.

The Marauders' Marina Barragan and Aryanna Guzman signed National Letters of Intent earlier this month while Alexa Queenan said she is going to sign her NLI soon. All three will attend the university on partial academic and athletic scholarships.

This season, the FPU Sunbirds women's cross country team won the school's first-ever women's Pacific West Conference Championship since joining the PacWest in 2012. It was the NCAA Division II team's first cross country championship since 1986.

Porterville High School boys tennis defeated Granite Hills 9-0 in a non-league match at home Wednesday.

In singles, No. 1 Juan Cerros won 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Joseph Catalina won 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Derek Perez won 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 Anthony Chavez won 6-0, 6-0; No. 5 Nate Prieto won 6-0, 6-2; and No. 6 Garin Wallace won 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles, No. 1 Cerros and Perez won 8-0, No. 2 Catalina and Chavez won 8-0 and No. 3 Brandon Rose andAbel Barajas won 8-5.

CIF State Championships are Feb. 27-29 in Bakersfield

The city of Porterville is sending 11 boys and girls wrestlers to the CIF State Wrestling Championships on Feb. 27-29 at Mechanics Bank Arena (formerly Rabobank) in Bakersfield.

Eight boys from the wrestling programs at Monache, Porterville and Granite Hills High School will be joined by three girls from Monache and Porterville. This is the second trip to state for just three of the wrestlers.

Porterville High School swim placed first at the Monache Invitational on Saturday with a combined team score of 1,1154.5 points. Mt. Whitney (737.5) placed second, Tulare Union (668) third, Monache (655) fourth, Strathmore (262) fifth, Mission Oak (209) sixth and Lindsay (155) seventh.

Lindsay's Issac Munoz scored his 1,000-point in his high school finale

Issac Munoz is money from just about everywhere on the court and had 100 3-pointers this season to prove it.

Whether it was on the arc or a couple feet from half court, the Lindsay High School senior has consistently been one of the best shooters, and players, for the Cardinals each and every night.

Last Thursday in the last game of his high school career, Munoz eclipsed the coveted 1,000-point milestone in a tough 41-24 loss to fifth-seed Corcoran in a Central Section Division V quarterfinal game at home.

During the game I wasn’t thinking about it, I was trying to score and it wasn’t going good for me,” Munoz said.

Tickets available for MHS Athletic HOF on April 27

The fourth annual Monache Athletic Hall Of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at Veteran’s Memorial Building in Porterville.

This year's inductees are: Jennifer Baker Alvarez (Track and Field, 1986), Stephanie Raymond (Swimming, Volleyball, 1990), Heather Brown Sandoval (Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, 1991), Curtis Alkire (Wrestling, Tennis, Cross Country, 1991), Jennifer Stephen Brown (Swimming, Volleyball, 1992), the 1997 Girls' Basketball Valley Champions and Coach Hal Hevener (Water Polo, Swimming, Basketball, 1969-1997).

Happy Hour is at 5 p.m. with dinner from 6-7 p.m. Induction visuals and ceremony is from 7:15 p.m. to conclusion.

The cost is $50 per person with a table of eight available for $350.

Tickets are currently on sale at the Monache Student Activities Office and available online at:

The Porterville High boys basketball team fought to the end in its Central Section Division II quarterfinal game on Thursday at Centennial in Bakersfield before falling 59-56.


MHS’ Ortega, PHS’ Cook also qualify for State

BAKERSFIELD — What’s a postseason without a first-place finish from Charlotte Kouyoumtjian?

The Monache High School junior won a back-to-back CIF Central Section Girls Masters Championship with an 8-0 major decision over Redwood’s Melody Hernandez in the 116-pound championship match Saturday.

With the win, Koyoumtjian heads to the CIF State Wrestling Championships this week on Feb. 27-29 at Mechanics Bank Arena (formerly Rabobank) in Bakersfield. She’ll be joined by teammate Ramona Ortega (189) and Porterville’s Sequoia Cook (160), who also qualified for state.


PHS, MHS, GHHS send eight boys to State

Tyler Avila is a Masters champion!

On the heels of winning the Central Section Division II championship, the Porterville High School senior picked up more hardware with a 10-5 upset of top-seeded Jadon Martin of Buchanan in the 184-pound title match of the Central Section Boys Masters Championship, Saturday, at Hoover High School in Fresno.

In The California Wrestler’s state rankings as of Feb. 20, Martin was ranked third while Avila was fifth, making for a huge upset before this week’s CIF State Championships on Feb. 27-29 at Mechanics Bank Arena (formerly Rabobank) in Bakersfield.

No. 1 GHHS falls 3-1 to No. 3 Dos Palos in Valley final

It took less than a minute for a fantastic season by Granite Hills High School boys soccer to reach its end.

In a span of three minutes, the top-seeded Grizzlies (19-5-2) went from being level at 1-1 with the third-seeded Broncs of Dos Palos (12-12), to trailing 3-1 in the final 15 minutes of the CIF Central Section Division VI championship.

Granite would attempt to get back the two goals but ultimately fell short of winning only the second Valley championship in school history.

When the final whistle blew, Grizzly players fell to their knees or stood grief stricken. Some clung to their family and friends while others just laid on the ground heartbroken.

Top-seed Strathmore High School girls basketball moved one step closer to their goal by defeating the eighth-seeded Wolves of Wonderful Prep 70-21 in the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division V playoffs.

Playing at home Friday night, the Spartans finally got a complete team contribution. Jazmine Soto led the way with 30 points, five rebounds, three assists and eight steals. Yvette Gutierrez had her first career double-double with13 points and 10 rebounds. along with seven steals. Joseli Gutierrez contributed 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. Sherrie Chapa played big with seven points and nine rebounds.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., Strathmore hosts fourth-seed Corcoran in a semifinal game.

Granite Hills High School's Martin Martinez (11) controls the ball during the first half of the CIF Central Section Division VI Championship game against Dos Palos High School, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Jacob Rankin Stadium.

No. 4 Lindsay loses 41-24 to No. 5 Corcoran

The whirlwind, turnaround season that saw Lindsay High School boys basketball climb to the top of the East Sequoia League and Division V, came to an end Thursday in the playoffs.

The fourth-seeded Cardinals dropped their Central Section Division V quarterfinal game 41-24 to the visiting, fifth-seeded Panthers of Corcoran (20-9, 10-2 ESL).

It was an emotional loss for a team that returned six players from last year’s group that went 3-25. Led by seniors Issac Munoz and Mohamed “Moe” Kourain this season, the Cardinals (21-9, 9-3 ESL) tied for second in the ESL and earned home games for their first two playoff games.

Magana, Ruiz score two each; Grizzlies advance to Valley final

There’s only one Valley title banner hanging in the rafters at Granite Hills High School, but on Friday the Grizzlies boys soccer team has a chance to change that.

Closing out their CIF Central Section Division VI semifinal game with a 4-1 win over fifth-seed Robert F. Kennedy High School Wednesday, the top-seeded Grizzlies (19-4-2) are on the way to making history with their first trip to the Valley championship game under four-year head coach Pedro Gonzalez.

“This means a lot because we’ve been working real hard,” Gonzalez said. “Nobody give us nothing. Some people, they say (it’s) Division VI, but I mean, it’s not easy. It’s not easy and we have to work. We one game away from getting where we wanted.”

Granite hosts third-seeded Dos Palos (11-12) Friday at 6 p.m. The Broncos upset second-seed Fresno Christian (16-5) 5-0 in the division’s other semifinal game Wednesday.

After a sluggish first quarter and six missed layups, top-seeded Strathmore High School girls basketball pulled away from the 16th-seeded Eagles of Firebaugh for a 56-26 victory in Wednesday's CIF Central Section Division V opening-round game at home.

Jazmine Soto led the Spartans with 26 points, 10 steals and five rebounds. Yvette Gutierrez had a career-high 23 points with three rebounds and three steals.

Next opponent for the Spartans is Wonderful College Prep of Delano. Strathmore hosts the quarterfinal game Friday night at 7 p.m. at Spartan Gym.

The women’s Exeter Water Polo Club traveled down south to Irvine last weekend to compete in the Kap 7 International Water Polo Tournament hosted by Irvine Water Polo Club. Saturday’s games for the club were at Woodbridge High School. 

No. 6 Porterville beats No. 11 Atascadero, No. 3 Centennial up next

Atascadero wouldn't go down easy but sixth-seeded Porterville High School had enough in the tank to pull away and get a 63-55 victory over the eleventh-seeded Greyhounds in Tuesday's CIF Central Section Division II opening round boys basketball game at home.

Porterville (19-10, 8-2 EYL) led from the beginning but eleventh-seeded Atascadero (15-12) had a big game from the 3-point line in the fourth — scoring 18 of their 22 points from three — and tied the score 52-52 with five minutes to play.

Fourth-seeded Lindsay High School boys basketball defeated 13th-seeded Wonderful College Prep 52-50 in Tuesday's CIF Central Section Division V opening-round game at home.

Issac Munoz scored five points in the last 1 minute, 10 seconds of the game and led the team with 23 points. Julian Avalos also finished with 16 points.

On Thursday, Lindsay hosts fifth-seeded Corcoran at home. The two split their East Sequoia League matchups this season.

A Monache vs. Porterville Alumni Basketball Fundraiser has been scheduled for March 28, at the Bill Sharman Red Brick Gym. Organizers are currently looking for players to play in one of three games offered: Men’s Under 30, Women’s and Men’s Over 30.

Game times will be 4:30 p.m., 6 and 7:30 p.m. respectively. 

Player fee is $25 which will cover their personalized jersey shirt with printed last name and number and game officials.

An event page has been set up on Facebook: “MHS PHS Alumni Basketball Game Fundraiser Event.” All monies raised by this event will go to both Monache and Porterville High School’s boys and girls basketball programs.

Interested players are asked to contact Heather Brown-Sandoval at (559) 361-4835 by March 6.


Monache places second, Porterville 11th at Div. II championships

MADERA — It happened again.

Monache High School boys wrestling came one win short of winning the school’s first Valley title since 1978 for the second year in a row.

The loss came Saturday at the CIF Central Section Division II Championships hosted by Madera South. Pioneer Valley edged the Marauders out 183-181.5 for the championship.

“Last year it was half a point, this year it was a point and a half,” MHS head coach Arthur Demerath said. “So hard to swallow but our kids wrestled their butts off this week. They really pushed it to the limit. We had three kids get injured, one not come this week, so we’re down really to eight wrestlers by the end of this weekend and they scored as many points as they could.

“We just fell a little short,” Demerath said. “But that’s not the end. We’ve got to get back on the horse and ride and get back to work. Work hard and we’ll be fine.”