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CHS basketball teams run into tough competition

Claremont High School boys and girls basketball teams failed to contain a hard charging Colony High on Tuesday, resulting in dual losses for the Pack.

In both games Claremont was hampered by turnovers, which either gave the Titans golden opportunities, or worse, halted a Wolfpack drive.

In the boys game, Claremont scored first, but it didn’t last long. Colony quickly built a lead they stubbornly refused to relinquish, leading by 13 points at the end of the first quarter. The Titans extended their lead to 42-25 by halftime.

To be fair, Colony brought some hefty competition, anchored by senior Sedrick Altman, who stayed hot on offense and defense, as well as possessing a very impressive dunk shot.

If not for the seriously one-sided first quarter, it would have been a pretty close game, particularly in the second half when Claremont made several impressive scoring runs, narrowing the Titans’ lead to 9 points before falling back.

“Colony is one of the best teams in the area,” Claremont Coach Stan Tolliver said following the game.

Senior Matthew Dirckx shot well from the field, ending as the Pack’s high scorer with 21 points. Sophomore Isaiah Love was red hot on three pointers, nailing four out of five, making him the second highest scorer at 12 points.

However, it was the Pack’s overall three-point shooting percentage that contributed heavily to their downfall. Too frequently when Claremont got the ball, the boys resorted to the long shot rather than working the ball inside, and it just did not pay off. It could be that Claremont simply could not penetrate the Titan defense, however, Dirckx did shoot 75 percent on two-pointers, so that does not appear to be the case.

Ultimately, it was turnovers that consistently hobbled the boys. And they turned the ball over at the worst possible times, especially when trying to sustain a rally.

“Turnovers were a big issue, we ended up with 16—10 in the first half which is just too many,” Coach Tolliver said. “Individually we have some pretty good players but we struggle a bit putting it all together.”

He cited three areas where the team needs to improve: inability to finish consistently, forgetting defensive assignments and easing up on the pressure that allows a team to either get in front or catch up.

“We’re certainly a work in progress but we still have a lot of league left so I think we’ve got an opportunity to still do something. And now we will get ready for Bonita on Friday.” he said.

With the win, first-place Colony extends its league record to 3-0 while the Pack falls back to 1-2, and 6-13 overall.

The girls team fared much better, getting within four points of the Titans with a minute left, but falling short, 45-38, at the buzzer. As was the case with the boys, turnovers were a key issue.

“Turnovers kill us and at crucial times,” Coach Mike James said. “In the first half we were in control, we hit some big shots and we had a two-point lead. But then we turned the ball over three or four times in a row right at the end of the second quarter and our lead turned into a six-point deficit.”

Coach James believes if the girls can limit each opponent to 45 points, they can win just about any game.

“Defensively I though we played pretty well, their post player averages 24 points a game and we held her to 17. We just got stagnant on offense and couldn’t make a shot or passed up shots we should have taken,” he said. “Even with all that, I thought we had a shot at coming back and winning this game.”

The team is young and is still learning, but they have been playing well for about five games according to Coach James. “Execution wise, this is probably the game we played the poorest in a while,” he said.

The Pack will be at Bonita on Friday and that will be a tough game, but Coach James said his team seems to play better on the road. “There is nobody on our schedule that I look at and think, wow we can’t beat that team,” he said.

The girls are having a solid season with a 12-6 overall record, however Tuesday’s loss drops them back to 1-2 in league.

Girls soccer

Claremont had a pretty easy time defeating visiting Colony, 6-0, on Wednesday. Sophomore Emily Maass scored two goals and four other girls, Janelle Gutierrez, Dana Gomez, Tyler Higuera and Madison Wolden each had one.

With the win the Pack remains undefeated in Palomares League with a 3-0 record, 11-1-3 overall. The girls travel to La Verne on Friday for a league game against Bonita.

Boys soccer

Claremont lost a Palomares League match against Colony, 1-0, on Wednesday in Ontario. The boys had previously lost a game to Alta Loma and won against Glendora so their league record is now 1-2.

The boys will take on Bonita at home on Friday.

Girls water polo

Claremont remained undefeated in league play with an easy, 18-0, win over Colony on Tuesday in Ontario. On Wednesday they had a much harder game, losing 18-8, to Schurr in Montebello.

The Pack is now 3-0 in Palomares League, 11-2 overall and will face Bonita on Friday in La Verne.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com