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Dinuba, Sanger boys basketball rally with strong home wins

Photo by Jon Earnest
Sanger High’s Kevin Chambers contorts as he goes up for a shot against Edison High Jayvon Joshua during the Apaches’ 65-47 County Metro Athletic Conference basketball victory on Jan. 18 at Nicholson Gym.

DINUBA – The Dinuba High and Sanger High boys basketball teams faced early uphill climbs in their respective league basketball championship chases with two early losses, but both used their home courts to work back into contention.
Dinuba (19-3. 2-2 West Yosemite League) — stunned for a second time on the road following a 60-52 setback at Lemoore High on Jan. 18, grabbed command in the first half against Tulare Union High to post a 64-48 victory on Homecoming Night at Dinuba High gym. The Emperors got 19 points from Keine Prendez and 15 points from Javier Torres, and used a 28-11 run in the second quarter to bury the Tribe (6-16, 1-3)
Sanger, meanwhile, shook off losses to Bullard and San Joaquin Memorial to rack up County Metro Athletic Conference home wins over Edison High (65-47 on Jan. 18) and Garza High (60-19 on Jan. 20). The Apaches (14-8, 2-2) gained command in the first half of both games, and dominated the latter contest from the opening tip.
Both Dinuba and Sanger trail first place teams by two games, but have the opportunity to make up ground this week. The Emperors played at winless Mission Oak on Jan. 24, and then host Hanford (4-0 in league through Jan. 20) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. After playing at Tulare Western on Feb. 1, Dinuba gets a rematch with Lemoore at home on Friday, Feb. 3.
In last week’s loss in Lemoore, Dinuba fell behind by 15 points after one quarter before rallying within nine points at halftime. But the Tigers (14-6, 4-0 through Jan. 20) built the lead to 11 points after three and held off a late Emperors push. Prendez led Dinuba with 14 points while Torres and Tariq Small added eight points apiece. Small also had 10 points against Tulare.
Sanger blew the game with Edison wide open thanks to a 26-9 domination in the third quarter that included a 10-0 run. Sanger shot 46 percent from the field and collected 19 assists and 12 steals. The Apaches buried Garza from the start, roaring out to a 35-6 halftime lead.
Eagles drop road contest to TCC-leading Panthers
Immanuel High fell to 1-3 in Tri-County Conference play with a pair of losses against top-level league opponents, including a 56-48 loss on Jan. 17 at first place Washington Union. The Eagles (8-13 overall) later lost 61-52 at home on Jan. 19 to Sierra Pacific.
Against Washington Union, the Eagles tied the game at 41-all in the fourth on a three-point basket by Mikah Tolpezninkas. But the Panthers collected 11 steals and forced Immanuel turnovers down the stretch. Tolpezninkas later scored 21 points five from 3-point range, in the loss to the Golden Bears.
Immanuel continued a stretch of games against TCC powers, playing at co-leader Hanford West on Jan. 25. The Eagles will host Selma (16-5, 1-2) at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, before playing at Kingsburg on (10-0, 0-3) on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Late rally against Exeter not enough for Pirates boys
At Reedley High on Jan. 17, the Pirates (2-21, 0-4) trailed by 25 points before roaring back and almost catching visitor Exeter High. But the Monarchs pulled away late for a 63-53 victory, and the Pirates then fell 63-33 at first place Washington Union on Jan, 19.
Reedley hosted Sierra Pacific on Jan. 25, then will travel to Visalia to play Central Valley Christian at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27.
Sanger West loses at Fresno Christian Showcase
Sanger West dropped to 2-20 in its first varsity season on Jan. 21, losing 60-47 to Liberty-Bakersfield (9-13) in the opening game of the Fresno Christian Showcase. Angad Doad had 23 points and 13 rebounds while Noah Maldonad had 14 points and three assists.
The Hornets resume North Yosemite League play this week with road games at Madera South (Jan. 25) and first place Roosevelt (Friday, Jan. 27) before returning home for a 6:30 p.m. game Tuesday, Jan. 31, against McLane.
Orange Cove splits opening ESL contests
Orange Cove (12-6, 1-1 East Sequoia League) splits its opening two contests last week, losing 63-50 at first place Corcoran on Jan. 18 and then outlasting visiting Strathmore 44-38 on Jan. 20. The Titans host Caruthers in a non-league game at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, and after visiting Granite Hills on Monday, Jan. 30, host Corcoran in a 6:15 p.m. rematch on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Immanuel runs win streak to six
Immanuel High ran its win streak to six games — three in Tri-County Conference play — and carried a 17-4 season record into a Jan. 24 home game against Reedley High to determine sole possession of the Sequoia Division top spot. The Eagles overpowered Central Valley Christian (59-18 on Jan. 18) and Exeter (50-20 on Jan. 20).
Dominating starts powered the Eagles, who jumped ahead 30-3 after one quarter and 44-4 at halftime at CVC. Against Exeter, the hosts led 21-2 after eight minutes and 35-6 at the halftime break. After the Reedley showdown, the Eagles play at Hanford West in a 6 p.m. tipoff Thursday, Jan. 26. Immanuel plays four of its last five games on the road.
Reedley wins third straight Tri-County game
Reedley High (8-12) split two games last week, but the Pirates still were able to extend their Tri-County Conference Sequoia Division win streak to three games. Following a 66-21 loss at home to Kings Canyon Division-leading Sierra Pacific on Jan. 18, Reedley overpowered Washington Union, 58-32, on Jan. 20.
The Pirates jumped to a 9-1 lead after one quarter, built the advantage to 28-11 at halftime and never looked back. Emily Pallesi scored seven of her game-high 18 points in the second, and Niana Holman scored 11 points including a pair of 3-pointers. Raquel Cortez and Ann Drolette scored eight and six points, respectively.
After the Immanuel game on Jan. 24, the Pirates return to Reedley High for a 6:30 p.m. TCC contest against Exeter.
Sanger collects road wins at Edison, Garza
Sanger High bounced back from two early County Metro losses by sweeping Edison and Garza on the road. The Apaches (12-10, 2-2) held off the Tigers by a 54-51 score on Jan. 17, then rode the strength of a dominating 26-6 second quarter to turn away the Guardians.
Sanger hosted Madera on Jan. 24, then will take on visiting Bullard High at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. The Apaches are looking to avenge a 55-33 road loss to the Knights suffered on Jan. 10.
Dinuba fritters away large lead in road loss
Dinuba High (11-9, 2-2 West Yosemite) roared out to a 12-0 lead after the opening quarter at Tulare Union on Jan. 20, and built the advantage to 19-5 at halftime. But the host Tribe roared back in the final 16 minutes to pull out a 36-32 victory.
Jalissa Espirito scored 11 points while Natalie Ramirez had eight points. On Jan. 18, Chloe Benham scored a game-high 17 points (including a pair of 3-pointers) while Espirito added 13 points in Dinuba’s 49-46 home win over Lemoore. The Emperors play at Hanford in a 6 p.m. start Thursday, Jan. 26, then play Bakersfield Christian at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Mission Oak Showcase in Tulare.
Sanger boys run CMAC win streak to four

Sanger High continued its red-hot play in the County Metro, collecting three more wins over San Joaquin Memorial (7-0 on Jan. 17), Garza (5-0 on Jan. 19) and Madera (3-2 on Jan. 21), During their four-match run, the Apache boys have outscored their CMAC opposition by 23-3.
Sanger (8-4-3, 4-1) hosted a big home match against NYL power McLane on Jan. 24, then are off a week before hosting Edison at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Apache girls collect draw, win on the road
Sanger’s girls played twice on the road last week, battling to a scoreless tie against Justin Garza High on Jan. 18 before cruising past Madera, 5-2, on Jan. 20. The Apaches (9-2-1, 3-0-1) can tighten their grip on first place in the CMAC with home matches against Bullard (Jan. 25) and San Joaquin Memorial (Friday, Jan. 27, 5 p.m.).
Sanger is unbeaten in its last six matches, with the Garza tie the only blemish.
Two big home wins for Dinuba boys
Dinuba High’s offense came to life last week, erupting for 10 goals in home wins over Lemoore and Tulare Union. The 5-1 win over Lemoore on Jan. 17 took place at Dinuba High, after being moved because the Tigers’ home field was still saturated from recent storms.
David Garcia scored two goals to lead the scoring while Juan Granados and Noel Romero added scores. On Jan. 20, the Emperors (9-8-2, 3-0-1 WYL) blanked visiting Tulare Union 5-0 as Garcia again scored two goals. Also finding the net were Granados, Nicholas Ruiz and Yovani Hernandez.
Dinuba played at first place Mission Oak on Jan. 24, then hosts Hanford in a 6 p.m. start Thursday, Jan. 26.
Reedley boys blank Sierra Pacific
A second half score was enough for Reedley High’s boys to pull out a 1-0 victory over Sierra Pacific in Tri-County Conference play on Jan. 19. It enabled the Pirates to remain unbeaten in conference play at 1-0-2, and improved their season mark to 8-6-3.
Reedley traveled to Hanford West for a non-league matchup on Jan. 23, then played at Washington Union on Jan. 25 before returning home Friday, Jan. 27, for a 6 p.m. TCC contest with Selma. The two teams battled to a scoreless draw in their first conference matchup on Jan. 11.
Dinuba girls have home tie, road loss
Dinuba High’s girls (9-7-2) fell to 0-3-1 in West Yosemite League action last week, settling for a 1-1 deadlock with Lemoore on Jan. 17 and then losing 3-2 at Tulare Union on Jan. 20. Freshman Alyssa Vasquez scored both Emperors goals in the loss, while Rosario De La Cruz scored the lone goal against Lemoore.
Dinuba plays at Hanford in a 6 p.m. start on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Wood gets hat trick in Immanuel girls win
Junior Allison Wood scored three goals to power Immanuel (13-5-2) to a 4-0 non-league win at Coalinga High on Jan. 19. Junior Ava Regier also scored for Immanuel, which dropped to 0-2-1 in Tri-County Conference play following a 4-1 loss at Selma on Jan. 18.
The Eagles hosted Reedley on Jan. 24. The Pirates (4-9-3, 0-1-2) battled to a 4-4 draw with Washington Union on Jan. 20. Freshman Kim Garcia had two goals, giving her nine on the season to share the team lead with freshman Real Morales.
Dinuba’s Quintana wins 152-pound title in Gilroy

Dinuba High’s Nicholas Coen Quintana won all five matches to capture the 152-pound title at the MidCals Classic Tournament at Gilroy High on Jan. 21. The senior (16-1 on the season) posted two pins, a technical fall, majority decision and finally a 3-2 decision over Tuttle, Okla. High’s Shawn Rounsaville.
Other Emperors placewinners were junior Jesus Loreto (sixth at 145, 17-9 on the season), junior Ethan Garza (eighth at 106, 11-6). Junior Nicholas Cannen Quintana (eighth at 120, 14-8) and senior Jose Martinez (8th at 220, 18-11). Dinuba finished in seventh place in the team standings with 109 pounds.
Reedley 43rd, Sanger 44th at CIT in Morro Bay
Led by placewinners Demetrius Vargas (152 pounds) and David Arroyo (138), Reedley High finished 43rd out of 60 teams competing at the prestigious California Invitational Tournament in Morro Bay on Jan. 20-21.
Junior Vargas (24-8) won seven of nine matches, including a pin, settling for fourth place following a 4-0 loss to Patrick Roberts of Buchanan. Junior Arroyo (28-9) went 5-3 with two pins, losing a 3-0 decision to Matthew Luna of St. Francis in the fifth place match. Reedley scored 45 team points.
Sanger finished with 42 points, and was led by senior Robert Hart (20-9) who finished 2-2 at 195 pounds including two wins by pin. Emmanuel Salazar (13-8 at 160 pounds) also went 2-2 while Johnny Gonzalez (11-6 at 120), Brandon Gamino (16-8 at 120) and Tirso Jimenez (17-8, 170) all went 1-2.
Dinuba’s Morales wins 189 title at Lady Hawk Invite
Kaprise Morales (15-2) of Dinuba High captured the 189-pound championship at the Mission Oak Lady Hawk Invitational in Tulare on Jan. 20. The senior posted a 4-1 victory over Olivia Ruacho of Garza High.
Emperor teammate Naomi Jimenez (13-4) placed second at 160, losing by pin in the finals to Olivia Furlong from team champion Selma. Dinuba placed ninth out of 15 teams with 48 points.

Reedley High drives next generation of auto mechanics

Reedley High School car shop undergoes all-new look, steers a long-term career path for students towards automobile industry

REEDLEY – Seven years of combined efforts to upgrade Reedley High’s auto shop has paid off with a ceremonial announcement of its official completion.
The ceremony took place on Jan. 20 just outside the shop’s new garage doors. The facility underwent a complete remodel that will benefit students interested in navigating a career in the automotive repair industry with top-of-the-line equipment as they earn first-hand experience through the shop. Following the ceremony, staff and the school’s mechanic students gave the community a peek under the hood of their automotive stomping grounds.
“A big takeaway for my students is that they get a basic knowledge of the automobile industry,” Reedley High automotive instructor Gustavo Mendoza said. “They may go on to pursue other careers, but if not, they’re going to be able to—from front to back—fix a car.”
Although still quite fresh in his position at Reedley High, where he started teaching just last year, Mendoza came into the role with years of experience that he shares with his students. In the auto shop, he said students learn how to do basic car checks like tire rotations, vehicle inspections, brake alignments and tire balancing. That way, if his students make the decision to pursue a long-term automotive career or continue their training at Reedley College, they can do so safely and with confidence.
Oscar Leon, Reedley High senior, said the new shop will further assist students like himself as they get an idea of what they would like to achieve as they look towards their futures.
“I feel like a lot of us really want to keep going in the automotive industry, so I think this gives us a big advantage because a lot of the other people that want to do this, don’t have this opportunity,” Leon said. “It’ll help us succeed a lot [further].”
Remodeling the school’s auto shop has improved its standards, technology and curriculum to best match what other car dealerships and automotive shops are operating with, according to Fabrizo Lafaro. Lafaro is the superintendent of Valley ROP (regional occupation program), which seeks to supply quality career technical education to support student academic and career success for a handful of Fresno County school districts, including Reedley High. This won’t just supply students with better equipment and academic tools, however; Lafaro said the next step is to get the shop certified through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) education foundation.
As it stands now, students who complete this three-year course are eligible for Reedley High’s dual enrollment program with Reedley College. There, they have a straight shot at continuing their automotive education through the college’s own program. With the ASE certification, however, Reedley High students who complete the course will—in a sense—have a stamp of approval that proves their skills match that of an entry level technician, expanding their opportunities even further. Even if they don’t seize those possibilities, Lafaro said students can benefit from the course regardless.
“These are life-long skills,” Lafaro said. “We have plenty of boys and girls that will not go into the industry, but now they’re not afraid to open the hood. They’re not afraid to check the oil, they’re not afraid to change their oil and rotate their tires.”
Reedley High School senior William Ramos shared similar sentiments. He said the school’s automotive program helps students understand the function of different car parts and their operations and doesn’t just provide them with job opportunities, but skills in self-sustainment as well.
“Say if our car breaks down, we already know what to do,” Ramos said. “We don’t have to take it somewhere, we can just do it ourselves. It just gives us an extra level of skills to learn.”
Furthermore, Lafaro said another step the school and district wants to take for the auto shop is to eventually create a small automotive service at the high school. Right now, students fine-tune their skills on mock cars provided by the school. Lafaro said the hope is to take it even further and open the shop up to other students and staff, so automotive students can put their skills to the test and provide basic car services in their improved work space.
With the improvements brought to the school’s car shop, Reedley High senior Brandon Rios said students like himself are excited to finally be back in their workroom. Now that it’s back in action, he said students are able to better achieve some visual, hands-on work.
“[In the shop] you actually get to learn what certain bolts do, what certain wrenches do,” Rios said. “Last year, it wasn’t at its best, but this year, we’ve upgraded all of our equipment. Now we’re working with the latest stuff.”
According to Lafaro, the auto shop upgrade was funded by Proposition 51 money and matched by Kings Canyon Unified School District;s (KCUSD) own revenues. Approved by Californians in 2016, Prop 51 is state funding used to improve and build new facilities for school districts. He said the renovation totaled to just over $1 million and that’s not including the price of the shop’s new equipment, which came out to approximately half a million.
At the ceremonial announcement, KCUSD superintendent John Campbell said, from a global standpoint, that the term “equity” has been thrown around a lot in education. However, he said Kings Canyon Unified has continued to maintain equity for its students by doing what’s best for its kids and supplying them with what they need. He said there are still many roles in maintenance-esque careers that need to be filled, and that careers in those fields are all just as honorable as pursuing a college education.
“College isn’t for every single child,” Campbell said. “We need to work with our kids to give them the opportunities to do what they want to do.”
On the initial reasoning behind upgrading Reedley High’s auto shop, principal John Ahlin said the school has always established a goal towards creating multiple pathways for student opportunities. Regardless if students decide to take their education to local colleges, larger universities or seize hands-on work, he said the school wants to ensure when students leave the school, they’re career ready. He said the reason it took a lengthy time to get the auto shop into what it is now is because the school wanted a top-notch facility.
“We didn’t want to just remodel and get a facility we weren’t really proud of,” Ahlin said. “This is a facility we can be really proud of because it has all the technology and all of the [necessary] industry standards [needed].”
In addition to the automotive shop, Reedley High School also recently established new classroom buildings for the school’s special education department. Reedley High special education instructor Anthony Domenici said during the ceremony that the classrooms built surpassed his department’s expectations. With 15 years of experience as a special education teacher, he said there has been no district that compares to Kings Canyon Unified in terms of dedication and addressing the care needed for students with special needs.
“All too often, our population goes unnoticed, uncared for or ignored,” Domenici said. “That has not ever been the case with KCUSD.”
Facilities were also added to the school’s recently completed soccer field, which was updated about a year and half ago. Recently, the field has received new concessions and bathroom facilities. Ahlin said the newly updated soccer field is noteworthy to the school because it puts a lot of importance on student’s interest in soccer, especially since the school’s boy’s varsity soccer team made it to Division One championships last year.
“We wanted to make sure we had not only a great playing field, but a facility that could host big tournaments and big games,” Ahlin said.

Relocated Tiger Pantry at Reedley College gets boost from donation

Reedley’s community development director secures $2,000 funding from Foresters Financial, pantry now located near Student Center

REEDLEY – Reedley College’s Tiger Pantry has a new larger location along with a welcome infusion of money to help meet students’ food and supply needs entering the spring semester of 2023.
Shortly before the winter vacation break in December, Reedley Community Development Director Rodney Horton helped secure a donation of $2,000 from Foresters Financial, a financial services company provider he’s worked for and with in the past.
Horton, a Pennsylvania native who began as the city’s community development director in early 2022, was inspired to secure the donation when he learned about the Tiger Pantry while attending Reedley Collerge’s State of the College program in November.
“The Tiger Pantry really caught my attention, and I want to help knowing how tough it is for college students,” he said. Horton then took the steps of applying for a grant through Foresters Financial, which has a history of helping build communities through grant funding. The result was the grant, which was used for the first time for a donation on Jan. 6, just before the start of the semester.
The initial donation—repeated on Jan. 13—featured boxes of canned food, drinks, bread, chips, cereal and other food staples. The shelves were stocked at the new pantry location, in Room 103 in the Student Center (the former game room site). Up until last semester, the pantry had been located in a concession area near the college’s main gym.
“If people have non-perishable items that are not set to expire and you have no intentions of using it, go ahead and share them from your personal pantry with the folks at Tiger Pantry. It definitely will go to good use,” he said. “We waste so much of our food resources. So being able to share with others really maximizes the use of our food, which for many people is a scarce commodity.”
Horton said there is $100 remaining in grant money, and one more donation, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Elva Vidal, provisional food pantry coordinator, praised Horton for his generosity in securing the donation and his work after that as well.
“He got us set up for the semester, and everyone felt good about that,” she said. “[Rodney] was super nice about asking what the students like, because we get a lot of donations but sometimes it’s things that students can’t use. But all the things he got us were [items] that our residents use, and are saving time.”
Grant money also is going to help Clyde’s Closet, which is in the process of moving to the Career Development Center. Donations are helping to provide professional clothing (jackets, blazers and other items) for students needing them for job interviews.
“It’s nice to see some of the students get some clothing so that they’re able to get their career going,” Vidal said. There may be more grant money available in the future to help stock the closet as well.
In addition to the Tiger Pantry itself, the college also has set up the Diaper Program at the Tiger Pantry in collaboration with the Central California Food Bank. The program offers diapers to student families that have children of diaper-wearing ages.
As students walked through the pantry, checking out the shelves for needed food items, veteran worker Carolina Mata was there to help. Now a senior at Fresno State majoring in nursing and kinesiology, the former Reedley College student continues to work at the pantry to assist her fellow students.
“I started here to gain more experience on how to help others and be able to talk to people because I was a bit shy,” Mata said. “To see [students’] faces when we help them just makes me so happy. It’s wonderful, because now we can order more food because more students are on campus.”
Helping students with their daily nutritional needs during tough times is the whole foundation for the pantry program.
“We want the students to know that the pantry is always around for them,” Vidal said. “Beyond that, we’re here to help guide them. One thing is, we never want them to be hungry, and to be able to focus [on studies]. We have appointment times to sign them up for CalFresh, or if they need more help or assistance.
“We don’t want them to miss an opportunity. So anytime it’s open, and anytime after hours contact us. If you can’t make it, we’re there for you.”

College Sports

Men’s basketball drops overtime thriller at home

Big night from Curtis not enough against Merced, Tigers also lose on the road in Porterville

REEDLEY – Reedley College dropped a pair of close games in the Central Valley Conference men’s basketball race last week.
Coach TJ Jennings’ Tigers fell to 2-4 in the CVC after an 93-88 overtime loss to Merced College on Jan. 18 and a 70-62 loss to Porterville College on the road on Jan. 21.
Reedley returned to action against the conference leader, the College of the Sequoias Giants, on Jan. 25, in Reedley. The second round of conference action begins on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Coalinga against West Hills College.
Reedley was outscored 11-6 in the overtime against Merced. Reedley’s Obadiah Curtis led all scorers in the game with 32 points before fouling out with 1:33 left in regulation. Merced’s Mike Teal, who had eight of his team’s nine points in the extra session, also finished with 32 points.
Curtis, who was just 8 of 22 from the floor, led Reedley against Porterville with 19 points. Khalil Shivers recorded six assists.
Baseball teams opens up with alumni scrimmage
Before officially opening the new season this weekend in Reedley, the Reedley College baseball team had a little fun on Jan. 21.
DeAnza comes to town to open the season at 1 p.m Saturday, Jan. 28. But last week’s alumni scrimmage highlighted 28 former Tigers returning to the diamond. The scrimmage game featured a matchup between 2017 graduate Arturo Aguilar and his younger brother Aaron. Arturo ended up walking Aaron on five pitches.
The scrimmage highlighted Tiger starting pitcher Alex Trukki, who allowed only one base runner (on an error) in four innings of work. Leo Arrequin, Lee Trevino and Mike Rios each had two hits for the current Tigers in a 10-2 win in the seven-inning contest. Ryan Tiger, Rios and Trevino all recorded doubles for the Tigers.
Following the game, everyone enjoyed a dinner in the cafeteria. Hopefully, some of the kinks will be out of the scoreboard and sound system before the college hosts a four-team tournament featuring Oxnard, Santa Ana and Sierra College in a round robin format on Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 2-4.
Women’s hoops losing streak now at 11 games
The losing streak has reached 11 games for the Reedley College women’s basketball team.
The Tigers fell on the road to Porterville, 78-58; three days after an 80-31 loss to Merced College at home on Jan. 18. Reedley hosted fifth-ranked College of the Sequoias on Jan. 25, before traveling to Taft College on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m.
Reedley recorded just 13 field goals in each loss as they dropped to 3-18 overall and 0-5 in Central Valley Conference play.
Freshman Dakota Vermilya led the Tigers’ scoring in both games, finishing with 11 points against Merced and 16 points along with 22 rebounds against Porterville.
Fresno Pacific closes out road trip with victory
Beginning with a dominant presence on the inside and opening up with a stellar longball display, the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds (5-12 overall) overpowered the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs (8-8) 80-45 in Santa Cruz on Jan. 19.
The Sunbirds shot 50% from the field for the evening and 47% on 21 three-point attempts to earn a win in its final game of the road trip.
“We are working really hard to sort some habits collectively,” Fresno Pacific head coach C.J. Haydock said. “We’ve got a ton of work to do, but this is a small step in the right direction.”
Darrin Person Jr. (Immanuel High) was a primary factor in the 12-2 advantage in the paint and proved to be a matchup nightmare for the hosts. Fresno Pacific held a 12 point lead at the half and came out firing, knocking down seven of its 10 shots to start the second half, widening the advantage to 21 points, after the next seven minutes.
Ryan Abbott and Marten Maide helped extend the lead as the duo combined for a stretch of threes. Monk added another that set FPU’s advantage at 61-39. Person Jr. helped extend the lead while Kyle Monk helped close it out and each finished tied for the game-high in points with 15. Person added five rebounds.
Maide was the only other Sunbird in double-figures, finishing with 10 but Spencer Heimerdinger and Isaac Peralta each finished with 9. Nate Kendricks added 7 points, and the Immanuel High product added three rebounds and four assists.
Fresno Pacific hosted Hawai’i Hilo on Jan. 25, its first home contest in three weeks. The ‘Birds open their longest homestand of the series as they will play their next five games at the Special Events Center.

Pair of Juco All-American candidates lead Reedley College baseball in ’23

Tigers softball welcomes Nomura as new coach, football team has two more player find four-year homes

REEDLEY – Reedley College baseball is looking for something dry before its 2022 season begins.
Coach Steve Pearce’s Tigers are practicing at an indoor facility in Dinuba in preparation for a Friday, Jan. 20, scrimmage at Bakersfield College. The official season starts on Saturday, Jan. 28, against DeAnza College in a 1 p.m. start at Reedley College diamond.
Topping the list of veterans on the Tigers’ roster are first baseman Roman Rosales and infielder Leo Trevino, who were both named preseason Junior College All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Rosales, a graduate of Immanuel High School, led Reedley in 2022 with a 341 average, leading all Reedley hitters. He also paced the Tigers in hits, runs batted in, and total bases. Rosales signed a national letter of intent with NAIA national runners-up Lewis-Clark State of Idaho in December.
Trevino, from Redwood High School in Visalia, is a transfer from College of the Sequoias. He wrapped up 2022 hitting .354, the second best average for the Giants.
Other key returnees include outfielder Leo Arreguin (331, 7 HR, 34 RBI) and outfielder Orin Hirschkorn (.309, 6 HR, 29 RBI) along with pitchers Ryan Garza (7-4, 4.23 ERA), Alex Trukki (3-3, 3.25), Brandon Burgos (2-0, 4.02) and Elijah Acosta (1-2, 3.90).
Ryan Tiger (Clovis), who Pearce says is a high end defensive player, also returns. Other left-handed hitters include Michael Collins, a transfer from Fresno City College, and Brody Block (Redwood). Caruthers High product Hirschkorn is finally getting healthy.
Other local players on the roster include sophomore infielder Mike Rios (Reedley), freshman outfielder Trevin Paulson (Immanuel), sophomore infielder Isaiah Ochoa (Dinuba) and freshman pitcher Joey Rodriguez (Sanger).
Pearce says the squad has to cut down the number of strikeouts. “We had too many in the fall [practice season] than I’d like,” he said.
The Tigers have scheduled an alumni game on Saturday, Jan. 21 on the Tiger Field, with starting time set for 1 p.m. Some past Tigers asked for the game, according to Pearce.
New coach brings influx of freshman players for Tigers
With a new coach, and a large group of freshman players. Reedley College softball is ready for the start of the 2023 season.
New head coach Stefani Nomura and her staff are ready to go, preparing for a scrimmage at Cabrillo College on Saturday, Jan. 21, before the Tigers’ opening games on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Hartnell College in Salinas. That scheduled doubleheader begins at noon.
The first home game is Thursday, Feb. 9, against Yuba College. Central Valley Conference play begins Thursday, March 2, against the school where Nomura was an assistant—Fresno City College.
Pitcher-infielder Annabelle Buchanan (Galt) leads the list of returnees. Her sister Abigelle, also a pitcher, joined the team at semester break. The Tigers finished with a 10-21 record last season, 4-12 in conference play.
Jordynn Acevedo (Dinuba) and Precious Hawkins (Reedley) are the other sophomores on the 16-player roster.
Infielder-outfielder Sadie Decker of Reedley High is among the freshman players on the roster along with Alexa Valdez (Reedley Middle College HS), Dinuba High products Alyssa Hernandez, Hailee Zapien and Krystal Mejia; Orange Cove’s MaryJo “JaJa” Camaquin, Alexis Parras, Jessica Camacho, Kourtney Barker-Coil and Alyssa Everk.
Utility player Camaquin was the senior sparkplug and leader for an Orange Cove team that captured the Northern California Division IV championship last spring, Hernandez, Zapien and Mejia were all members of Dinuba High’s 2021 Division II section champions.
“We are athletic, and have depth in our lineup,” Nomura said. “We are young and hungry. We smell blood and we’re ready to work. We worked a lot in the offseason to help our mental skills training and [work on] speed-agility.”
Two more Tigers announce four-year school plans
Two more Reedley College players with Valley connections have announced their plans for playing at four-year schools in 2023, the football program announced on its social media page on Jan. 14. Josh Higgins from Buchanan High School in Clovis will attend Weber State while Noah Hunter from Lindsay High has committed to Division 2 school New Mexico Highlands.
Higgins and Hunter are excellent students along with athletes as both already have earned their associate arts degree before their season started. Tiger coaches said that three were on visits with Division I schools over the weekend.
Prior to Higgins and Hunter, four Reedley College players already had committed to four-year schools.
Reedley College’s women’s losing streak reaches eight games
The losing streak has reached eight for the Reedley College women’s basketball team. Four Fresno City Rams, led by Dawja Holmes’ 30 points, scored in double figures in Fresno’s 111-52 victory over the Tigers in Fresno on Jan. 14.
Reedley hosted Merced College on Jan. 18 before traveling to Porterville College on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m. Next Wednesday, Jan. 24, Reedley hosts the College of the Sequoias in a 5 p.m. tipoff.
No statistics were available for Reedley.
Road losses drop Tigers men to 2-2 in conference play
Fresno City College remained in a tie for the Central Valley Conference men’s basketball lead on Jan. 14, as they defeated Reedley College 77-70 in Fresno.
The loss dropped Coach T.J. Jennings’ squad to 2-2 in conference play and 8-10 overall going into a Jan. 18 home game with Merced and a Saturday, Jan. 21, men’s-women’s doubleheader at Porterville. The Tigers are now fourth place in the conference.
Obadiah Curtis led Reedley with 18 points and nine rebounds followed by Julez Fox with 15 points and Khalil Stevens with 11 points and four assists. Curtis scored 16 points and Fox 14 points in an 80-63 loss at Columbia College on Jan. 11.
Reedley College hosted Merced College in a CVC contest on Jan. 18, then plays at Porterville College in a 5 p.m. tip on Saturday, Jan. 21, before taking on COS at Paul Mitchell Court in a 7 p.m. start Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Comeback by Sunbirds men falls short in OT
Despite overcoming a ten-point deficit to build a late lead, a frantic game sequence led to the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds (4-12 overall, 2-8 PacWest) falling 94-89 in overtime to the Holy Names Hawks (5-13 overall, 2-8 PacWest) on Jan. 14 in Oakland.
Fresno Pacific dug out of a double-digit deficit in the second half and led by as many as five points before Holy Names’ season-best night from beyond the arc buoyed the hosts and set up a dramatic finish. Immanuel High products Darrin Person Jr. and Nate Kendricks both played key roles in the comeback.
Holy Names forced the overtime by hitting a game-tying 3-point basket and later two free throws with less than a second remaining in regulation. The Hawks hit the final of their 13 3-pointers in the final minute to grab a six-point advantage and then held on with some additional free throws.
Person Jr. led FPU with 22 points while the freshmen Kyle Monk and Isaac Peralta scored 17 and 14 points respectively. Kendricks added 12 points and 4 rebounds.
Fresno Pacific plays at UC Santa Cruz on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m., then returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to host Hawaii-Hilo in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

Sports roundup

Dinuba boys rebound after road loss in WYL basketball opener

Reedley girls open TCC play with pair of home wins, Immanuel girls improve to 15-4 on the season

HANFORD – Dinuba High’s boys basketball team has delivered many defeats to opposing programs in the past two seasons, but the Emperors found themselves on the wrong end of an ambush in their West Yosemite League opener on Jan. 10.
Dinuba (18-2 overall) never recovered from a 20-12 second quarter run by the Hanford High Bullpups, remaining cold a good portion the night and falling by a 68-49 score. The Emperors managed to dust themselves off two nights later, sinking 10 3-point baskets on their way to a 76-65 win over Tulare Western at Dinuba High gym.
Playing its first WYL contest after realignment moved the team from the former Central Sequoia League (not Tri-County Conference), Dinuba struggled against a tradition-rich Hanford squad (9-9) that had gotten off to a rocky start. But the Bullpups beat the Emperors at their own game by draining eight 3-point baskets (five by Jared Pimental, who scored a game-high 17 points) and using a quick tempo to outscore Dinuba 29-18 in the second half.
“We had a rough time over in Vegas [at a holiday tournament], and since we came back we basically practiced fundamentals,” said Brad Felder, entering his 28th season with the school. “We just worked on our spacing on the floor, finding your spot, boxing out and taking care of the ball. All the things we hadn’t been doing.”
Three players scored in double figures and eight scored overall for Hanford. Javier Torres (11 points) and Brice Watley (10 points) were the only players to crack double figures for Dinuba.
The Emps came back strong against Tulare Western, getting a combined 59 points from Torres (22), sophomore guard Josiah Ochoa (19) and guard Keine Prendez (18). Ochoa sank five treys, Torres had four 3-pointers and four assists while Prendez added nine rebounds and a game-high six assists. The Mustangs’ Malichi Ficher led all scorers with 27 points.
The Emperors played at Lemoore on Jan. 18, then host Tulare Union at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 20.
Sanger drops first two CMAC contests
It was a rocky start to County Metro Athletic Conference play for Sanger High, which couldn’t overcome a bad third quarter in a 62-55 home loss to Bullard on Jan. 11. That was followed by a 70-43 road loss to San Joaquin Memorial, dropping the Apaches to 12-8 on the season.
Kaleb Cole scored a game-high 22 points against Bullard, but was the only Sanger player in double figures as Frankie Piceno and Kevin Chambers had nine points apiece. Bullard had four players in double figures and shot 54 percent from the floor to 49 percent for the hosts.
Sanger has home games this week with Edison (Jan. 18) and Garza High (Friday, Jan. 20).
Eagles 1-1, Pirates winless in TCC opening week
Immanuel High dropped its Tri-County Conference opener by an 87-64 score at Selma (15-3) on Jan. 11, but the Eagles (8-11) got back on track with a 74-62 home win over Kingsburg on Jan. 13. After a road game at Washington Union to open the week, Immanuel is home to Sierra Pacific at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19.
Reedley (2-18 overall) lost its fourth straight with a 68-54 setback at Central Valley Christian on Jan. 11 to open its Tri-County Conference season. No score was available from the TCC game at Kerman on Jan. 13. The Pirates, who closed out the CVC loss with a strong 23-12 run, hosted Edison on Tuesday before playing at Washington Union on Thursday, Jan. 19.
Eagles, Reedley jump to 2-0 conference starts

It was a winning start in Tri-County Conference action for both Immanuel and Reedley high schools, with the Eagles girls (15-4) running their overall win streak to four games with TCC decisions at Hanford West (51-41 on Jan. 10) and at home over Washington Union (40-25 on Jan. 12). Immanuel will host Exeter at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20.
Reedley (7-11) took advantage of home court by blasting Exeter (44-18 on Jan. 10) and Central Valley Christian (47-26 on Jan. 12). Raquel Cortez scored 14 points while Emily Pallesi added seven points in the latter win.
The Pirates have a chance to build up more wins with home games this week against Sierra Pacific (Jan. 18) and Washington Union (Friday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m.). They have an opportunity to carry an unbeaten league record into a Tuesday, Jan. 24 showdown at Immanuel High. That tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Immanuel South Gym.
Dinuba rebounds from opening league setback
The Dinuba Emperors continued to struggle offensively, but were able to salvage a split in their opening two West Yosemite League games. The girls managed just seven field goals and were 5 of 21 from the free throw line in a 39-30 home loss to Hanford on Jan. 10, but doubled the production with 15 2-point field goals in a 44-35 win at Tulare Western on Jan. 12.
Jalissa Espirito scored 10 points against Hanford, and Chloe Benham’s 12 points paced the scoring against Tulare Western. Natalia Ramirez scored eight points, Espirito had seven while Katie Ortega and Ava Arias added six apiece in the road win. Dinuba plays at Tulare Union in a 7:30 p.m. tip Friday, Jan. 20.
Sanger still searching for first CMAC win
Like the boys team, the Sanger High girls suffered a pair of losses in the opening week of County Metro Athletic Conference play. The Apaches (10-10 overall) were overpowered 55-33 at Bullard on Jan. 10, and then were drubbed 74-39 by visiting San Joaquin Memorial.
Junior center Krista Sheaffer was the Apaches lone double-figures scorer with 22 against Memorial. The Panthers were powered by 18 points from Alex Perryman and 16 points from Malaysia Williams, as eight different players scored.
After road games at Edison and Garza highs, Sanger returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 24, for a 6:30 p.m. game against Madera.
Pirates soccer teams earn draws in TCC matches

Reedley High’s boys and girls soccer teams opened Tri-County Conference play with spirited contests against Selma High last week, and both matches ended in draws. The girls (4-8-2, 0-0-1) swapped overtime goals before settling for a 2-2 deadlock on Jan. 12, while the boys match finished in a scoreless draw.
Freshman players Kim Garcia and Real Morales had goals while junior Valerie Lopez added an assist for Reedley, which hosts Washington Union Friday, Jan. 20, in a 5:30 p.m. start.
The Pirates boys (7-6-3, 0-0-2) had another draw last week, 3-3 against Kerman on Jan. 13 at Sal Gonzalez Field. Reedley hosts Sierra Pacific from Hanford at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19.
Sanger girls roll past SJM, Edison
The Sanger girls (8-2 overall) opened County Metro Athletic Conference play last week with convincing wins over San Joaquin Memorial (4-1 on Jan. 11) and Edison (3-0 on Jan. 13). Sophomore Sierra Molinet scored a pair of goals while freshman Ava Martinez added the third goal in the rout of the Tigers.
The Apaches boys (5-4-3), meanwhile, exploded out of the gates with five first-half goals en route to an 8-1 pounding of Bullard on Jan. 12 at Tom Flores Stadium. Sanger had a CMAC road match Jan. 17 at San Joaquin Memorial, before hosting Justin Garza High at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19.
Sanger West boys still seek first NYL win
The Sanger West boys (5-12-1, 0-5) are still seeking their first North Yosemite League win—and first goal—in five league matches after dropping another pair of league shutouts last week. The Hornets battled Fresno High for a half, then yielded three goals in the final 40 minutes of a 3-0 loss at Tom Flores Stadium on Jan. 12. Two day later, Sanger West gave up a second half goal and lost, 1-0, to Torres High from Madera.
The Hornets have a home match Friday, Jan. 20, at 5 p.m. against Hoover. The Sanger West girls (1-13, 0-5) lost last week to McLane and Fresno, and had scheduled road matches this week against Sunnyside and Hoover.
Dinuba boys open WYL play with win, draw
Dinuba High’s boys put a sub-.500 preleague campaign behind them last week, starting fast in West Yosemite League action with a 1-0 win against Hanford on Jan. 11 and a 1-1 draw against Tulare Western one night later. The Emperors (7-8-2) broke through against the Bullpups in the second half for the lone goal of the match, then struck early against the Mustangs.
The visitors tied the score in the second half, and then both teams battled through two extra sessions before settling for the draw. Dinuba played at Lemoore on Jan. 18, then hosts Tulare Union in a 6 p.m. start Friday, Jan. 20.
The Emperors varsity girls had their offense continue a cold spell in the opening week of WYL matches. They dropped their second and third consecutive 1-0 decisions, this time to Hanford (Jan. 10) and Tulare Western (Jan. 12). Dinuba travels to Tulare Union for a 6 p.m. match Friday, Jan. 20, before returning home to take on Mission Oak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Dinuba boys 21st at Battle for the Belt

Dinuba High’s boys finished in 21st place out of 52 schools at the Battle of the Belt Invitational in Temecula Valley. The Emperors finished behind nine other Central Section schools in the meet.
Dinuba’s only medalist was Nicholas Coen Quintana, who went 5-2 and finished fourth in the 152-pound class. Quintana (10-2 on the season) lost in the quarterfinals and then by injury default in the third place match.
Jasias R. Carrasco (11-4) went 5-2 at 113 pounds while Cannen Quintana (11-3) finished 4-2 at 120 pounds. Dinuba will compete at the Mission Oak Tournament in Tulare on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Pirates place 10th at Westside Invite
Reedley High finished in 10th place at the Westside Classic invitational tournament at Firebaugh High School on Jan. 14. The Pirates were led by standouts David Arroyo and Demetius Vargas, and scored 84 points. Madera High won with 171 points.
Arroyo pinned all three of his opponents en route to claiming the 140 pound title; the final win over Caruthers’ Lorenzo Taguada in three minutes, 36 seconds. Arroyo improved his record to 23-6 with 11 pins. He pinned Firebaugh’s Arren Alaniz in just over two minutes in the semifinals.
Vargas placed third at 154 pounds improving his record to 17-7 with three pins. Also picking up medals were Izaiah Herredia (sixth at 115) and Izaac Olivas (fourth at 134). Reedley defeated Sierra Pacific and lost to Kingsburg in a tri-meet on Jan. 11; the girls and junior varsity teams swept both their dual matches.
The Pirates wrestled a dual meet in Exeter on Jan. 18 before heading to Morro Bay for the California Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21.

Longtime athlete, educator and coach Gerry Scheidt has died

The Kingsburg and Reedley football coach, member of Reedley College Athletic Hall of Fame was 79

Photos courtesy of the Scheidt family
Gerald H. “Gerry” Scheidt is pictured during his playing career at Fresno State College. The Sanger native was named Outstanding Lineman for the Bulldogs in 1964 after starring for Sanger High and Reedley College. He later had a successful coaching-teaching career at Reedley and Kingsburg high schools, and later at Reedley College.
Gerald H. “Gerry” Scheidt, who had a successful coaching and teaching career at Reedley and Kingsburg high schools in the 1970s and later at Reedley College (1981-89), died Dec. 28 in Seattle, Wash.

KINGSBURG – Gerald H. “Gerry” Scheidt, who had a successful run as a high school and junior college football coach and educator in Reedley and Kingsburg in the 1970s and 1980s, died in Seattle, Wash. on Dec. 28. He was 79.
Scheidt coached championship football teams at both Reedley and Kingsburg high schools in the 1970s. The Sanger native and football-baseball standout for Sanger High starred in football at Reedley College and Fresno State College (earning the Outstanding Lineman award in 1964). He was inducted into the Reedley College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 for his gridiron playing (1961-62) and coaching (1981-89) accomplishments with the Tigers.
During his 1967 to 1973 stint in Reedley, Scheidt guided the Pirates to West Yosemite League championships in 1971 and ’72. He then went to Kingsburg High, where he coached the Vikings from 1973 to 1980 and won the Central Sequoia League title in 1974. The 1977 Vikings team then captured the Central Section Sierra Sequoia Division crown.
After a successful seven-year stint coaching and teaching at Kingsburg, he returned to his junior college alma mater to coach the Tigers football program. At the same time, he entered into agricultural fruit sales, and after he finished coaching he continued that career until retiring in 2011.
Steve Eaton, who played under Scheidt as a linebacker for Reedley High in 1973, praised his high school coach’s football acumen in remarks shared by the Scheidt family in an obituary.
“We learned so much from ‘Coach’. He was a unique individual because he had so much insight on the various positions and was a great teacher of the game,” Eaton said. “His offensive mind was inspiring.
“Coach Scheidt’s offensive and Coach [Skip] Pendergast’ defensive programs were quite the combo. We didn’t have a big squad, but he taught us so much. He always listened, was funny, entertaining, and such a community guy. He left quite the sports legacy in our region.”
Scheidt’s role as a teacher and coach spanned 33 years, and included an early stint at Ceres High in Stanislaus County. His son, Vincent “Vince” Scheidt, coached Kingsburg High’s basketball team from 2010 to 2015 and was a longtime football assistant coach at the school before his death in 2019 at age 52. An older son, Lance, served as an assistant coach in football and basketball at Kingsburg from 1985 to 1993.
Gerry Scheidt is survived by his wife, Lauren, who he married in 1997 and lived in Fresno for 30 years before the couple relocated to Washington State. The family’s obituary said the couple “enjoyed traveling, making a beautiful home, while also faithfully supporting the numerous activities and life/sporting events of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
Survivors also include two children and stepchildren, a brother and sister, multiple grandchildren and step-grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life gathering is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at Kingsburg Little Theater on the Kingsburg High School campus.

Immanuel outlasts Sanger girls, Sheaffer reaches 1,000-point milestone

Dinuba posts basketball sweep of Reedley, Pirates boys soccer edges strong Ceres squad

Photo by Jon Earnest
Immanuel High’s Sidney Azua looks to her left before passing off for an assist as Sanger High’s Krista Sheaffer (33) defends at right during the Eagles’ 44-34 non-league victory on Jan. 4 in Reedley. Junior guard Azua scored a team-high 26 points (including six three-pointers), and junior forward-center Sheaffer led all scorers with 32 points while passing the 1,000-point career scoring mark.
Photo by Jon Earnest
Sanger High’s Krista Sheaffer poses with her family in celebration of surpassing the 1,000-point career scoring mark. The junior scored 32 points in a Jan. 4 loss at Immanuel High, a night after collecting a career-high 37 points against Hanford West.
Photo by Jon Earnest
Reedley High’s Kahlil Yalong is sandwiched by Dinuba High defenders Brice Watley (23) and Javier Torres during the first half of a Jan. 7 non-league game in Dinuba. The Emperors improved to 17-1 on the season with a 71-25 victory over the Pirates (2-17).

REEDLEY – Two turned out to be better than one when it came to the non-conference girls basketball matchup on Jan. 4 between Immanuel and Sanger high schools.
The Eagles (13-4) were missing three players, including leading scorer Alli Friesen (on a holiday week mission in Mexico), but still had enough firepower in junior Sidney Azua and senior Sadie Carpenter. Guard Azua poured in 26 points (including six 3-point baskets) while Carpenter had 14 points as Immanuel turned away the Apaches (10-8) by a 44-34 score at Immanuel High South Gym.
Sanger’s lone scoring threat was a huge one—center Krista Sheaffer, who finished with 32 of the team’s 34 points in a milestone night for her. The 6-foot-1 junior center surpassed the 1,000-career point milestone in the contest, a night after she collected a career-high 37 points and seven rebounds in a 77-72 non-league loss at Hanford West.
“For us to play as well as we did tonight is just a testimony to the culture that the players show,” Immanuel coach Loren LeBeau said. “Azua was huge tonight, she’s capable of doing that. She just knew she’d have to pick it up. Alli’s averaging 15 points a game so we were going to have to make that up somewhere.”
Azua came out firing in the opening quarter, draining a pair of 3-point shots and a 2-pointer along with three free throws for 14 points. Adding Ava Schletewitz’s basket, the Eagles outscored Sheaffer for a 13-6 lead. Immanuel built the halftime advantage to 26-14 as Carpenter scored 10 points.
Sheaffer had all eight Sanger points, including a free throw that made her the first-ever Sanger High junior to reach 1,000 career points. She received a standing ovation from her family in attendance, with one member carrying a 1,000 points sign.
Sheaffer had 10 more points in the third period, with Bella Andrade adding two free throws for the other Sanger points. Sheaffer then added three more baskets in the final period; the second one bringing the Apaches within 35-32. But Azua sank another 3-pointer, and made a baseline trey in the final three minutes to restore an eight-point advantage.
“Our heart and hustle is really evident,” LeBeau said. “Yes, we executed in the first half. But we needed some heart and some guts in the second half to hang on.” The Eagles tipped off Tri-County Conference Kings Canyon Division play on Jan. 10 at home against Hanford West before hosting Washington Union at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12.
Sanger coach David Campbell said his team was using final non-league games to try to improve overall execution in preparation for the County Metro Athletic Conference season. He said the team also is working to relieve the scoring burden on Sheaffer.
“The pressure’s been on her the whole season to carry us, because she’s had to score all those points in order for us to get the wins that we’ve been getting,” Campbell said. “She’s been a special player this year.”
The Apaches bounced back from the Immanuel setback on Jan. 6 with a 62-54 home win over Kingsburg. Sheaffer scored 35 points, her third straight game over 30 points and a school-record sixth game this season above that mark.
Karisma Troung had 11 points, after having poured in a career-best 16 points against Hanford West, and six different Sanger players scored. The Apaches opened the CMAC schedule at Bullard on Jan. 10 and will host San Joaquin Memorial at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13.
Dinuba girls dispatch Kingsburg, Reedley
At Dinuba High on Jan. 7, the Emperors (9-7) won their sixth straight game against Central Section competition by posting their second win in 15 days against the Pirates (5-11). The only losses during that span came at the West Coast Jamboree tournament in the Bay Area the week after Christmas.
Coach Mark Bray said his Dinuba squad is struggling to build consistency as it tinkers with lineup combinations to find the most successful five. Sophomore guard Jalissa Espirito has been a constant, as the team’s leading scorer finished with 18 points (16 in the first half). Natalia Ramirez was the next high scorer with five points.
Reedley trailed 22-9 at halftime, but pulled within five points late in the game on a 3-point basket by Niana Holman. The Pirates had a chance to cut it to three points, but a lane violation wiped out a potential free throw and Kathryn Forbes scored an insurance basket.
Holman had eight points while Emily Pallesi and Ana Drolette scored seven points each for Reedley, which opened Tri-County Sequoia Division action on Jan. 10 at Exeter. The girls host Central Valley Christian at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, and then are home at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 against Sierra Pacific.
Dinuba hosted Hanford in its West Yosemite League opener on Jan. 10, then travels to Tulare to play Tulare Western at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, The Emperors then host Lemoore at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Dinuba boys 17-1 with two more wins, rout Reedley
Dinuba ran its season record to 17-1 with two more wins last week. The Emperors prevailed 65-54 at Kingsburg High on Jan. 5, then trounced Reedley by a 71-25 score on Jan. 7 in Dinuba High’s gym. Eleven different players scored in the win over the Pirates.
Javier Torres scored 23 points; eight in the second quarter as Dinuba took control with an 18-9 run against Kingsburg. He added nine points in the second and collected six rebounds. Keine Prendez scored eight points in the opening quarter and finished with 17 points and six assists.
Torres and Prendez combined for just seven points against Reedley, but the Emperors bench accounted for 55 of the 71 points. Angel Sanchez scored 12 in the final quarter including a pair of 3-pointers. Brice Watley and Joe Lopez also cracked doubles figures with 12 and 10 points.
Ryan Velasquez and Kahlil Yalong scored seven points apiece for Reedley. The Pirates’ Keizo Arakawa sat out most of the second half after rolling his ankle.
Reedley dropped a 73-49 home decision to Madera on Jan. 6, rallying from an early-10 deficit to pull within four points at halftime before the visitors went on a 41-21 run in the second half. The Pirates have road games this week at CV Christian (Jan. 11) and Kerman (Jan. 13) before opening the Tri-County Conference home season against Exeter at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Dinuba tipped off its WYL season Jan. 10 at Hanford High, then hosts Tulare Western at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12.
Apaches 12-6 after home split
At Sanger High, the Apaches (12-6) split a pair of non-league home games last week, starting with a 67-36 loss to Tesoro High from Rancho Santa Margarita on Jan. 6. The Titans’ star guard, 6-foot-3 Carson Brown, equaled Sanger’s team total with 36 points including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. Nolan Willison paced Sanger with nine points.
A night later, the Apaches’ Kaleb Cole scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, becoming the seventh Sanger player to reach 1,000 career points in a 58-52 victory over Washington Union as part of the Central Valley Showcase at Sanger High. He has 1,010 points, and needs five points to pass sixth place Tom Bruner. Jaydis Beltran added 12 points and three assists.
Sanger opened the County Metro season at home against Bullard on Jan. 11, then plays at San Joaquin Memorial at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13.
Immanuel loses two more TCC play
Immanuel High lost its final two non-league games before opening the Tri-County Conference season this week. The Eagles (7-10) were beaten 69-62 at Central Valley Christian on Jan. 3, then came home and dropped a 62-50 decision to Clovis High on Jan. 6.
Immanuel played at Selma on Jan. 11, returning home for a 7:30 p.m. conference showdown against Kingsburg on Friday, Jan. 13. The Eagles then travel to Easton to face Washington Union in a 7:30 p.m. matchup Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Hornets drop first three NYL contests
Sanger West lost its first three North Yosemite League basketball contests, including a 65-47 setback at the hands of Madera South in the Hornets’ first NYL home game. The boys dropped to 2-14 in their first varsity season.
Junior center Angad Doad scored 14 points—including a first quarter dunk—while sophomore guard-forward Anthony Pineda scored 10 points and sophomore guard Vayshawn Turner added nine points. Sanger West hosts Fresno High at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12.
Second half goals carried Reedley boys to victory
At Sal Gonzalez Field on Jan. 6, the Pirates (7-6-1) tuned up for conference play by getting a second half goal from junior Alessandro Lopez to defeat the visiting Hawks (10-3-2) from Ceres. The decisive goal came on a feed from freshman Steven Rios.
Reedley had a challenging Tri-County Conference road opener at 10-2 Selma on Jan. 11, then traveled to Hanford West at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16. The Pirates’ TCC home opener is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, against Sierra Pacific of Hanford.
Apaches boys tie Central, fall to McLane
Sanger High (4-4-3) had a tie and a loss in two non-league home matches last week. The Apaches yielded a second half goal and settled for a 1-1 draw with Central on Jan. 3, then gave up another second half score and lost 1-0 to McLane on Jan. 5.
The Apaches opened CMAC play on the road against Edison on Jan. 10, then host Bullard at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, in a match scheduled for Tom Flores Stadium. The Sanger girls (6-2) blanked Buchanan, 1-0, on Jan. 7, and will host Edison at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13.

Reedley College women’s basketball lose key player, two more games

Reedley College men’s hoop resumes conference play with conference sweep of West Hills schools

REEDLEY – Two home games against Taft and West Hills Lemoore were very similar for the Reedley College women’s basketball team last week.
Coach Dan Kilbert’s squad saw its losing streak reach eight games with a 46-35 loss to West Hills Lemoore on Jan. 7 and a 72-65 loss at home on Jan. 4 to a Taft squad that came to Reedley with only six players. The setbacks dropped Reedley’s record to 0-2 in Central Valley Conference play and 3-15 overall.
The Tigers return to the court on Saturday, Jan. 14 against the 16-2 Fresno City College Rams, who have won 15 straight after rolling to a 108-53 win over Porterville.
Reedley will be without guard Kailey Lopez (Dinuba), who is sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL in her knee.
Against Taft, the Tigers had five players score in double figures. Taft also had five players, one with 26 points. No one scored in double figures for Reedley in the West Hills Lemoore contest.
Tigers men collect pair of home wins
Following a two-week game break because of winter vacation, the Reedley College men’s basketball team opened Central Valley Conference play last week with a pair of homecourt victories. The Tigers (8-8, 2-0) outscored West Hills Coalinga by a 79-64 count on Jan. 4, then edged past West Hills Lemoore, 73-71, on Jan. 7.
Freshman guard Obadiah Curtis (Edison High, Fresno) shot a sizzling 11 of 16 from the field and made 7 of 10 free throws to finish with a game-high 30 points while adding nine rebounds. Sophomore swing player Juelz Fox (Lemoore) chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and two steals while freshman guard Khalil Shivers (Bakersfield) added 11 points and nine rebounds. Guard Josiah James (Hanford) dished out seven assists.
No statistics were available from the win over West Hills Lemoore. The Tigers played at Columbia College on Jan. 11 before traveling to Fresno City College for a 5 p.m. conference game on Saturday, Jan. 14. Reedley College then hosts Merced College at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Career high by Kendricks not enough for Fresno Pacific
It was a rough pair of conference road trips last week for Fresno Pacific (4-11 overall, 2-7 PacWest), which dropped a pair of PacWest Conference games. The Sunbirds fell 80-52 to the Azusa Pacific Cougars on Jan. 5 before losing by an 86-77 score against Biola University in La Mirada on Jan. 7.
Overall, the Cougars’ depth proved too influential as five different players registered double-digit points while the team committed just 3 total turnovers. Fresno Pacific shot 40% from the field but finished just 1 of 12 from deep. Against Biola, the Eagles fended off a second half rally by the Sunbirds.
Immanuel High products Darren Person Jr. and Nate Kendricks each finished with 12 points for Fresno Pacific against Azusa Pacific, and Kendricks scored a career-high 26 points to keep the Sunbirds close against Biola.
Person Jr. added 14 points, Nate Heimerdinger’s late threes helped him finish with 11 and Isaac Peralta added 10 points.
“Nate Kenricks, in particular, led us with a really high level of composure and toughness.” Sunbirds coach C.J. Haydock said after the loss to Biola. “I thought we made a great second half push with Isaac, Spencer and Nate, we just ran out of gas to get over the hump.”
While Fresno Pacific was just 1-13 in the first half from deep, the Sunbirds were 5-10 in the second half and earned all 17 of its free-throws in the final 20 minutes. Biola converted a plus 9 in rebounds into the ultimate difference in the game as it finished with 15 second chance points.
Fresno Pacific has a week off before its next road game at Holy Names on Saturday, Jan.14. The ‘Birds remain on the road the following week for a non-conference game against UC Santa Cruz on the Jan. 19 before returning home on Jan. 24 to host Hawai’i Hilo in the Special Events Center.

Dinuba boys basketball shakes off first loss, wins Wilhelmsen consolation

Sanger boys finish fifth at Clovis Elks Classic, Reedley boys soccer edged by state top-ranked Clovis North

Photo by Jon Earnest
Dinuba High’s Javier Torres lunges to get his layup attempt off against Tulare Western defender Carmine Ficher during the first half of the Emperors’ 48-45 victory at the Polly Wilhelmsen Tournament in Visalia on Dec. 29.
Photo by Jon Earnest
Dinuba High’s Keine Prendez fights through a screen from Kingsburg’s James M. Cranford (42) as the Vikings Conner McFall dribbled toward the lane on Dec. 30. The Emperors rolled to a 75-43 victory, bouncing back from a first round upset loss to win three straight and capture the consolation championship.
Photo by Jon Earnest
Kingsburg High’s Alyanna Gonzalez (11) swipes at the ball while guarding Reedley High’s Emily Pallesi in the championship game of the Reedley Holiday Classic on Dec. 30. The Vikings (11-4) defeated the Pirates (5-10) by a 45-37 score.
Danny Jimenez / Contributor
Reedley High’s Eduardo Vasquez controls the dribble between Clovis North defenders Bryan Lopez (18) and Brandon Lopez (16) on Dec. 29. Vasquez had the Pirates’ lone goal while Bryan Lopez scored both Broncos goals as the visitors prevailed by a 2-1 score at rainy Sal Gonzalez Field.
Sanger High Wrestling / Contributor
From left, Madison Robinson (189 pounds, eighth place), Yvette Garcia (heavyweight, third place) and Lailane Vongnakhone (131, seventh place) won medals for Sanger High at the Queen of the Hill tournament in Southern California on Dec. 28-30.

VISALIA – Three days after suffering its first loss of the season in stunning fashion, the Dinuba High boys basketball team was back on track – and the Kingsburg High Vikings felt the Emperors’ wrath.
Dinuba (14-1) blitzed Kingsburg with a perimeter barrage of 12 3-point baskets, five of them coming during a 33-15 third period run, on the way to a 75-43 victory in the consolation final of the 71st annual Polly Wilhelmsen Tournament at Mt. Whitney High School.
The Emperors lost their perfect record on Dec. 27 in a 65-64 opening round loss to Central Valley Christian, which rallied from an eight-point deficit entering the final quarter to end Dinuba’s 11-game win streak to open the season. Dinuba bounced back with wins over Delano (69-30) and Tulare Western (a 48-45 comeback decision) before routing Kingsburg.
Jeff Schofield, Emperors coach, said one of his assistants told the team to take their time and relax with their shooting, and it paid off with a run of pinpoint accuracy. That, combined, with relentless pressure defense, enabled the Emps to blow the game open in the second half.
“We talked about how the [CVC] game went about as bad for us as it could, and it was part of our response from the boys the last three days,” Schofield said.
Anthony Harp and Tariq Small each hit a pair of 3-pointers while Javier Torres scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the third. Keine Prendez, who with Torres led Dinuba in tournament scoring with 59 points, added 15 points while Harp and Josiah Ochoa (three triples) added 11 points each. Prendez had 15 points against both Delano and Tulare Western, with eight points in the third quarter helping the Emps hold on against the Mustangs.
Porterville High (11-5) captured this year’s championship with a 55-43 win over Redwood on Dec. 30. The Panthers drubbed CVC in the semifinals, after the Cavaliers (6-8) followed their upset of Dinuba with a win over defending champion Mt. Whitney.
Dinuba will have a rematch against Kingsburg at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, and hosts Reedley High at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. The Emperors open West Yosemite League play at Hanford High at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Apaches finish 3-1 in Clovis
At Clovis High on Dec. 27-30, Sanger High won three of four games to claim fifth place in the 40th annual Clovis Elks Classic. The only loss for the Apaches (11-5) came in the second round on Dec. 28 when eventual tournament champion Centennial-Bakersfield (12-3) pulled away in the second half for a 61-45 victory.
Sanger had opened tourney play with a 70-40 win over Fowler on Dec. 27, then after the loss went on to defeat Buchanan (39-34 on Dec. 29) and Pleasant Grove (47-43 on Dec. 30). Kaleb Cole (19 points) and Jaydis Beltran (17) led the scoring against Fowler, while Beltran was the lone double figures scorer against Centennial with 11 points.
The Apaches have two home games this week, hosting Tesoro of Santa Margarita at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, and then playing Washington Union at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Centennial defeated Edison by a 52-46 score in the finals on Dec. 30.
Also at the Clovis Elks Classic, Immanuel High split its four games including a 72-61 loss to Ridgeview in the consolation championship game on Dec 30. The Eagles (7-8) opened with an 85-43 loss to Centennial, then defeated Fowler (63-52 on Dec. 28) and Kerman (78-73 on the 29th) before being stopped by Ridgeview.
Immanuel played at CV Christian on Jan. 3 before returning home to play Clovis High on Friday, Jan. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Reedley 1-2 at Mendota Holiday Classic
Reedley High snapped a 10-game losing streak, getting a 36-35 victory over Sanger West on Dec. 29 while going 1-2 at the Mendota Holiday Classic. In the process, the Pirates’ Keizo Arakawa received the Attitude and Effort Award from tournament organizers.
Reedley also had losses to Fresno Christian (66-56 on Dec, 28) and Dos Palos (55-46 on Dec, 30). The Pirates return home for a Thursday, July 5, non-league game (6:30 p.m. tipoff) against Madera High. Reedley plays at Dinuba (Jan. 7) and CV Christian (Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.).
Host Pirates second to Kingsburg at tourney
The Reedley High Pirates battled through ice-cold shooting to make a second half run against the Kingsburg Vikings before ultimately coming up short in the finals of the Reedley Holiday Classic on Dec. 30. The Pirates (5-10) closed within two points in the final quarter, but the Vikings (11-4) pulled away late to prevail, 45-37.
Jacky Ruiz earned Most Valuable Player Honors by scoring all 16 of her points in the middle two quarters and finishing with a tourney-best 42 points in three games. The Pirates had all-tournament selections in juniors Raquel Cortez (40 points) and Emily Pallesi (37 points, 10 in finals).
Coming off a competitive showing at the Dinuba Christmas Classic —where it lost three games by a combined eight points – Reedley turned things around on its home court. The Pirates pounded Yosemite (55-18) and Fresno (54-32) to reach the finals and put together their first win streak of the season.
Reedley, which lost by five points at Dinuba High before Christmas, returns to the Emperors’ home court for a 4 p.m. non-league matchup on Saturday, Jan. 7. The Pirates then open Tri County Conference Sequoia League play at Exeter High in a 6:30 p.m. start Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Sanger 3-0 at West Coast Jamboree
Sanger High went to the Bay Area on Dec. 28-30 and won all three games it played in the West Coast Jamboree. The Apaches (9-6) defeated St. Mary’s Hall (Texas) 42-32, North Medford (Ore.) 37-35 and Summit Shasta from Daly City, 46-43.
Sanger, which has won six of its last seven games, had road games against Hanford West and Immanuel before hosting Kingsburg in a 6:30 p.m. non-league game on Friday, Jan. 6. The Apaches open County Metro Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Bullard.
Dinuba (7-7) also competed at the West Coast Jamboree, but dropped all three of its games. Jalissa Espirito scored 11 points in a 50-41 loss to Pyramid Lake (Nev.) on Dec. 28, the Emperors fell 46-37 to Atawater on Dec. 29 and then lost 46-35 to Benicia on Dec. 30 despite 13 points from Espirito and 12 points from Chloe Benham.
After hosting Reedley on Jan. 7, Dinuba opens WYL play with a 6 p.m. home game against Hanford High on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Immanuel finishes 2-1 at Arvin tourney
The Immanuel Eagles improved to 12-4 on the season by winning two of three games last week at the Arvin Holiday Showcase; posting wins over Independence (42-39 on Dec. 28) and Paso Robles (37-17 on Dec. 30). The loss came by a 45-37 score against Shafter. Immanuel has won six of eight games.
After hosting Sanger on Jan. 4, the Eagles open Tri-County-Kings Canyon Conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. against visiting Hanford West.
Free kicks deny Pirates boys an upset
Reedley High (6-6-1) had another rugged boys soccer matchup, battling state top-ranked Clovis North through 80 chilly and rain-soaked minutes on Dec. 29 at Sal Gonzalez Field (moved from the soccer complex because of the rainy weather). In the end, it was a pair of free kick goals from Bryan Lopez that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory.
After a goal by the Pirates’ Eduardo Vasquez squared the match midway through the second half, Lopez provided the difference with a well-placed free kick into the upper right corner of the net in the 75th minute. The Broncos (11-0-1) then held on for the victory.
Reedley has another out-of-section home match on Friday, Jan. 6, when the Central Valley Hawks (10-2-4) from Ceres visits the Reedley Soccer Complex for a 5 p.m. game. The Pirates open Tri-County Conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Selma High in a 5:30 p.m. start.
Sanger girls have three medalists at Queen of the Hill

At Corona High School on Dec. 29-30, three Sanger High girls earned medals at the tough Queen of the Hill Invitational tournament. The team finished in the top 20 out of 115 competing schools, and the event drew 750 participants from throughout the state and beyond.
Heavyweight Yvette Garcia had the top Sanger finish, claiming third place. Lailanie Vongnakhone claimed seventh place in the 131-pound class while Madison Robinson placed eighth at 189 pounds.
Sanger hosted Madera in its County Metro Athletic Conference duals opener on Jan. 4. The Apaches boys will compete in the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7, at Clovis High School.