Dana Hills softball sweeps Aliso Niguel to clinch at least a share of South Coast title

LAGUNA NIGUEL – Dana Hills’ softball team continued its determined play Friday night and completed one of the most impressive sweeps of the season to clinch at least a share of the South Coast League title.

Senior Terra Goetz allowed just one run and the No. 19 Dolphins supported her with 11 hits, alert base running and strong defense to complete a sweep of No. 9 Aliso Niguel with a 6-1 triumph at Niguel Hills Middle School.

Dana Hills (16-4-1, 6-1) also defeated the defending league champion Wolverines 4-2 on Tuesday. The Dolphins were even more impressive under the lights Friday, part of a fundraiser for Laguna Niguel Girls Softball.

They claimed their first league title since 2017 in the Sea View and first South Coast crown since 2004.

“I’m so proud of our team,” said Goetz, one of only two senior starters for Dana Hills. “Honestly, we were not sure how this year was going to go, losing 10 seniors, seven who started. … The freshmen and everyone stepped up.”

Dana Hills, slotted for Division 2 in the CIF-SS playoffs, scored three times in the fourth and three in the sixth against the BYU-bound Carley Brown of Division 1 Aliso Niguel (15-8, 4-2).

The Dolphins took advantage of error by Aliso Niguel in the fourth with timely hitting and aggressive base running.

With pinch-runner Jasmine Gallegos on first with one out, Dana Hills coach Brandon Cosenza set up the inning by calling for a hit-and-run with Sam Montero at the plate. The senior delivered a single and the Dolphins moved runners to second and third. Junior second baseman Lola Holtby followed with a go-ahead, two-run single to center to give Dana Hills a 2-1 lead.

After a single by junior Margo Hopper, Holtby tagged and scored from third base on a fly ball down the right field line for a 3-1 lead.

“Scrappy,” Holtby said of her team’s play. “We get on base, we score runs and we back up (Goetz) on defense.”

In the fifth, Dana Hills freshman center fielder Kaci Palmer showed her defensive skills by hauling a deep drive to center with two runners aboard to end a scoring threat.

Dana Hills scored three runs with two outs in the sixth. Leadoff batter Jackie Stilwell drove in one run with a bloop single and Palmer plated two more with a sharp single to center.

In the seventh, Holtby started a double play by snagging a liner. Dana Hills committed only one error.

“They’re a good team,” Goetz said of Aliso Niguel. “We just wanted it more than they did.”

Brown, a senior, finished with six strikeouts and no walks, but Holtby, Palmer, Montero, Stilwell and Hopper each had two hits apiece.

Goetz scattered nine hits and struck out two. Brown went 3 for 4 to pace the Wolverines’ offense.

Aliso Niguel took a 1-0 lead in the second as Amanda Johnston tripled with two outs and scored on a single by No. 9 batter Calista Zervakos.

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Diego Polenta’s late goal helps Galaxy edge Houston

  • Galaxy midfielder Ema Boateng (24) bings the ball towards the goal against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Galaxy midfielder Uriel Antuna (18) attempts a goal shot against Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis (23) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) attempts a goal shot against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Galaxy defender Diego Polenta (3) kicks the ball towards a teammate against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona (14) is swept by Houston Dynamo defender A. J. DeLaGarza (20) during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona (14) kicks the ball down the pitch during the first half of a Major League Soccer match against the Houston Dynamo at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos (8) maneuvers the ball against the Houston Dynamo during the first half of a Major League Soccer match at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Friday April 19, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

  • CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy. Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night. Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the […]

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CARSON — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the winning goal has become an expected occurrence for the Galaxy.

Diego Polenta scoring the winner? Not as expected, but that’s what happened Friday night.

Polenta, a defender who joined the Galaxy this season, knocked home a header off of a corner kick in the 88th minute to lift the Galaxy (6-1-0, 18 points) to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo, in front of 21,503 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Houston had scored the equalizer in the 53rd minute as Alberth Ellis earned a penalty kick after being fouled by Galaxy defender Jorgen Skjelvik. Ellis converted the kick, sneaking it by a diving David Bingham.

The game opened up for both teams afterward. As the Galaxy did in the first half, Houston was able to build in possession, putting the Galaxy defense under pressure.

In the 85th minute, Houston nearly snatched the winner as Mauro Manotas got behind the Galaxy defense after a perfectly placed chip pass from Ellis. However, Manotas’ shot was saved by Bingham.

The Galaxy continued pressing, and as Ibrahimovic became more and more frustrated with each failed attempt, Polenta’s header eased all emotions, sending the Galaxy to a fifth consecutive win. This is the longest Galaxy winning streak since 2014.

“Last year we were losing a lot of games in a row,” Ibrahimovic said. “That I was not used to so, now we’re winning and we should not relax, we should keep going and focus on ourselves because the only threat is ourselves.

“If we start to underestimate the team we play against, we will get punished. We need to respect them but still focus on ourselves because if we play like we can, we are a threat for any team in this league.”

Polenta signed with the Galaxy after taking a six-month hiatus with Nacional in Uruguay. He scored seven goals with Nacional (2015-18) and five with Bari (2011-14).

“He’s growing,” Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said of Polenta. “Game-by-game he’s getting better. He’s a winner.”

The Galaxy opened the scoring in the 31st minute as Ibrahimovic converted a penalty kick after being tackled in the penalty area by Houston’s A.J. De La Garza.

Ibrahimovic has scored seven goals this season, with four coming on penalty kicks.

This was the fourth consecutive game in which Ibrahimovic has scored at least one goal.

The Galaxy suffered an injury scare in the first half as midfielder Romain Alessandrini was subbed off after a left leg injury. Alessandrini walked directly to the locker room after the sub was made. He was replaced by Emmanuel Boateng.

Julian Araujo, 17, made his first career start for the first team, replacing the injured Rolf Feltscher at right back. Araujo went the full 90 minutes.

Araujo, who had just two substitute appearances for the Galaxy this season, said earlier in the week that if Feltscher was out, he was going to be ready for the potential starting assignment.

Newly acquired Giancarlo Gonzalez was on the game day roster. Gonzalez, 31, was acquired earlier this month and was officially cleared Friday after Visa and International Transfer Certificate arrived. He made his debut in the 90th minute as a sub.

This was the first meeting between the teams since Houston defeated the Galaxy 3-2 in the final game of the 2018 regular season, a loss that eliminated the Galaxy from playoff contention.

“I’m happy because after Houston tied the game, we fight to win the game,” Schelotto said. “We deserved to win. Everything we did on the field was to win, not tie. I’m very happy that we fight and we won.”

The schedule gets crowded for the Galaxy next week with a trip to face Minnesota United FC (Wednesday) and back home on Sunday to take on Real Salt Lake.

PATRON.@diegopolenta92‘s first @MLS goal is a timely one! pic.twitter.com/8X34sEbvVW

— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 20, 2019

💪@BinghamDb comes up strong late #LAvHOU pic.twitter.com/eq7QGjicQj

— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 20, 2019

You can’t stop @Ibra_official. You can’t hope to contain him either. pic.twitter.com/tUsAaR5HOK

— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 20, 2019

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Arson suspected in Santa Ana mobile home fire

SANTA ANA — A suspected arson fire damaged a Santa Ana mobile home Thursday, April 18, but no injuries were reported.

The fire broke out about 8:45 a.m. in the 4800 block of West First Street in a mobile home park, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

The home’s residents managed to get out safely, but the residence was deemed uninhabitable, Bertagna said.

Surveillance video indicated the fire was intentionally started by a man, Bertagna said, but there was no immediate word on the suspect’s identity or a possible motive.

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Sunny Hills baseball wins Anaheim Lions Tournament on rough night for Troy’s pitchers

ANAHEIM – The championship game of the Lions Tournament between Troy and Sunny Hills on Wednesday night at Glover Stadium might be remembered for the fact that two Freeway League teams – out of 88 in the tournament – matched up in the finals.

The game might also be remembered for the Lancers taking full advantage of the Warriors’ struggles on the mound.

Sunny Hills capitalized on 10 walks and got clutch hits in between on their way to a 7-3 victory.

Troy walked in two runs with the bases loaded and gave up two more runs with a wild pitch and a passed ball.

Congrats to Lancer Baseball! Anaheim Lions Tournament Champs with a 7-3 win over Troy! pic.twitter.com/2cKSDHIj43

— Sunny Hills Football (@sh_lancerfball) March 28, 2019

Just as much of a factor was the brilliant pitching of the Lancers’ Joey Lineham, who got the victory in relief, retiring all seven batters he faced.

Troy was winning 3-1 when Lineham came in to get the final out in the fourth and remained perfect through the sixth.

Louie Garza then came in and pitched a perfect seventh to close out the game for the Lancers (12-7, 3-2).

“Our pitchers did a great job of just pounding strikes,” Sunny Hills coach Arlie Kearney said. “Joey Lineham did great.”

In the fifth, Connor Ableen delivered a key RBI single which gave the Lancers the lead and highlighted a four-run inning.

The Lancers added two more in the sixth on a pinch hit RBI triple from Billy Bowman, who later scored on wild pitch.

Troy (11-7, 3-3) went through four pitchers in the game.

“We flat out didn’t pitch,” Troy coach Houston Hernandez said. “We didn’t throw strikes. There are no two ways around that.”

The Warriors and Lancers will play again in official league games on April 16 and 18, a time in the season when playoff berths could be on the line.

The Warriors will take on Fullerton, another Freeway League team, at Angel Stadium on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The contest is a nonleague game, with no impact on league records.

Hernandez said he will likely use at least three pitchers Thursday in order to preserve his pitchers upcoming league games.

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Santa Margarita swimmers make a statement with sweep at Mater Dei

SANTA ANA Santa Margarita’s boys and girls swimming teams started fast Wednesday at Mater Dei and finished by sending a message:

When full strength, the Eagles have the teams to beat in the Trinity League.

Santa Margarita’s boys and girls each finished first-second in the meet-opening 200-yard medley relay and powered to an impressive sweep against Mater Dei, which claimed the boys and girls titles at the recent Capistrano Valley Relays.

The Eagles weren’t full strength at Capo Valley but showed their dominance in the league opener for each team. Santa Margarita’s girls posted a 128-42 victory while the boys collected a 98-72 triumph.

The Eagles’ girls, reigning NISCA national champions, featured a new-look, winning medley relay. Freshman Isabella Abrajan, senior Kimmy Woolfenden, senior Miranda Renner and freshman  Lindsay Ervin combined to clock a winning time of 1 minute, 47.58 seconds.

Santa Margarita’s B relay touched second in 1:50.82.

The Eagles were surprised they claimed the top-two spots in the boys medley. But the A team of Kevin Tu, Rul Huang, Noah Brune and Yurian Quinones clocked a 1:38.40 while the B squad of Alex Ispas, Allen Lu, Carson Ferrara and Alexander Ness posted a 1:42.03.

Brune, making his season debut Wednesday, blazed a 1:43.19 in winning the 200 free and took the fly in 50.86. Both times are the fastest in the county this spring.

Ella Ristic an1d Anicka Delgado each won twice to lead Santa Margarita girls.

Mater Dei’s Stepahnie Su out-dueled Mackenzie Degn to touch first in the 500 free in a county-leading 4:55.16.

The Monarchs’ Connor McManigal swept the 50 (21.81) and 100 (47.95) freestyles.

 

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UC Irvine women edge CSUN on late basket to reach Big West tourney semifinals

 

  • UC Irvine’s Tahlia Garza scores the go-ahead layup with 2.2 seconds left as CSUN’s Channon Fluker tries to switch back during their Big West Women’s Tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday night at UCI’s Bren Events Center. UCI held on for a 59-57 win. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The UC Irvine bench celebrates in the final seconds of their game against CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Sabrina Engelstad #33 of the UC Irvine Anteaters sticks her team’s name on the bracket as they celebrate their victory over CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Lauren Saiki #3 of the UC Irvine Anteaters celebrates a basket against CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors blocks a shot by Lauren Saiki #3 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors battles for a rebound with Tahlia Garza #11 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Lauren Saiki #3 of the UC Irvine Anteaters tries to steal the ball from Hayley Tanabe #23 of the CSU Northridge Matadors in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Brooke Bayman #5 of the UC Irvine Anteaters battles for a loose ball with Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hayley Tanabe #23 of the CSU Northridge Matadors passes the ball out of trouble under pressure from the UC Irvine defense in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Lauren Saiki #3 of the UC Irvine Anteaters defends Hayley Tanabe #23 of the CSU Northridge Matadors in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Lauren Shymkewicz #44 of the CSU Northridge Matadors is mobbed by the UC Irvine defense in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors battles for a loose ball with Sabrina Engelstad #33 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Sabrina Engelstad #33 of the UC Irvine Anteaters passes the ball under pressure from the CSU Northridge defense in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors is fouled by Jordan Sanders #34 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jordan Sanders #34 of the UC Irvine Anteaters looks to shoot past Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors battles for a rebound with Jordan Sanders #34 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Meghann Henderson #12 of the CSU Northridge Matadors has a shot blocked by Tahlia Garza #11 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Channon Fluker #33 of the CSU Northridge Matadors blocks a shot by Sabrina Engelstad #33 of the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • CSU Northridge head coach Jason Flowers on the sidelines during their game against UC Irvine in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • CSU Northridge head coach Jason Flowers talks to a referee on the sidelines during their game against UC Irvine in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine head coach Tamara Inoue talks to her players during a timeout of their game against CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • UC Irvine cheerleaders entertain the crowd during their game against CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The CSUN mascot sits on the sidelines during their game against UC Irvine in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The UC Irvine band and cheerleaders support their team during their game against CSU Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. UC Irvine defeated CSU Northridge 59-57. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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IRVINE — It’s a very short drive from the UC Irvine campus to the Honda Center, but it’s always seemed like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for the UCI women’s basketball program.

Not any longer. The Anteaters battled defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Northridge on Wednesday night and took a thrilling 59-57 win at the Bren Center to advance to Friday’s semifinals at Honda Center. Fifth-seeded UCI will face top-seeded UC Davis on Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Just a few years removed from winning nine games total over two seasons, the Anteaters’ victory gave them their first 20-win campaign since the 1984-85 season as well as their first trip to the tournament semifinals since 2014.

Tied at 57 with 17.5 seconds left, guard Lauren Saiki worked the clock down before stepping into the lane, drawing CSUN’s Channon Fluker out, and then finding Tahlia Garza underneath the basket for a layup and the lead with 2.2 seconds left.

Fourth-seeded CSUN (16-15) went for the win on the final play, Serafine Maulupe taking a quick pass from Fluker and getting a good look from the baseline before the ball clipped the back of the rim and fell away to send UCI (20-10) to the semifinals.

Before that, the Anteaters played a near-flawless third quarter, using their backcourt press to break CSUN’s flow and outscoring the Matadors 24-8 in the quarter to take an 11-point lead into the final 10 minutes.

UCI still led by 11 with four minutes left when the Matadors began chipping away at the lead, finally erasing it altogether when Maulupe hit a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left to tie the score at 55.

Jordan Sanders led the Anteaters with 18 points and eight rebounds and Saiki scored 16, with four 3-pointers. Haleigh Talbert had five assists and Andee Ritter four steals.

Fluker, a two-time Big West Player of the Year and Big West Defensive Player of the Year, had 20 points and 14 rebounds for CSUN.

“Lauren’s our little ninja,” UCI coach Tamara Inoue said. “She was locked in on defense all night. We press as much as we can and we were able to wear their guards down and limit what they could do offensively.”

The game-winning shot was a simple play that worked perfectly.

“I just waited a little until I could see (Fluker) coming out,” Saiki said.

Inoue noted that of all the records the team has broken the last two seasons, the 39 wins to date represent the best two-year stretch for the program in more than 30 seasons.

“Records are great, but for this team getting to play at the Honda Center is what matters,” she said. “Andee and Sabrina (Engelstad) were here for those two long years and it means so much for this team to get there.”

The 24-8 third quarter was a team effort. Saiki hit three 3-pointers but Sanders had a pair of field goals and Garza, who drew the defensive assignment on Fluker most of the night, had three of her own.

Talbert also hit a 3-pointer and Ritter had a pair of free throws.

“It’s not the way we wanted the season to end, but these players put a lot of heart in to get in a position to win it,” CSUN coach Jason Flowers said.

“I expected them to press. This matchup always has been our size against their quickness. It was a chess match. I’m not surprised it came down to the last shot.”

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Long Beach State women eliminate Cal State Fullerton in Big West tourney opener

  • Long Beach State’s Kianna Hamilton-Fisher steals the ball from Cal State Fullerton’s Triann Thompson, left, during their first-round game in the Big West Conference Women’s Tournament on Tuesday night at UCI’s Bren Events Center. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers celebrates scoring a basket during their first round game against Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans steals the ball from Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Naomi Hunt #42 of the Long Beach State 49ers scores past the CSU Fullerton defense during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kianna Hamilton-Fisher #25 of the Long Beach State 49ers celebrates with teammates after their first round game against Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers tries to stop Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State’s Cydnee Kinslow blocks a shot by Cal State Fullerton’s Daeja Smith during their first-round game in the Big West Conference Women’s Tournament on Tuesday night at UCI’s Bren Events Center. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada on the sidelines during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans scores past Lauren Green #23 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans scores past Lauren Green #23 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon on the sidelines during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon talks to his players during a timeout during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers battles for a rebound with Daeja Smith #32 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans battles past Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Justina King #10 of the Long Beach State 49ers is called for a charge on Carolyn Gill #23 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jade Vega #1 of the CSU Fullerton Titans collides with Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers as the battle for a loose ball during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Long Beach State 49ers head coach Jeff Cammon on the sidelines during their first round game against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cydnee Kinslow #1 of the Long Beach State 49ers grabs a rebound in front of Daeja Smith #32 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shanaijah Davison #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers scores past Raina Perez #2 of the CSU Fullerton Titans during their first round game in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada talks to his players during a timeout during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton cheerleaders support their team during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada on the sidelines during their first round game against Long Beach State in the Big West Women’s Tournament at UCI’s Bren Events Center in Irvine on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-54. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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IRVINE — The Long Beach State women’s basketball team had lost six of its last seven games coming into Tuesday night’s Big West Tournament opener at the Bren Center, but like a viral moment, they were “trending.”

The seventh-seeded 49ers, a senior-less team that gives most of its playing time to freshmen and sophomores, stepped up with one of their best games of the season, upsetting sixth-seeded Cal State Fullerton 60-54 and moving on to a quarterfinal game against No. 3 seed UC Riverside (16-14) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at UCI.

Sophomore Shanaijah Davison scored 21 points, freshman Kianna Hamilton-Fisher added a career-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting plus six rebounds, and Naomi Hunt had 15 points as the 49ers improved to 9-21 overall. Fullerton, which boasted 6-foot-3 center Daeja Smith and a team of upperclassmen, finished 14-16.

“I’m very proud of the way we played,” 49ers coach Jeff Cammon said. “We’ve had a tendency this season of having our energy dip when the other teams go on runs, but tonight was a 40-minute effort. We out-scrapped them.

“It’s a huge win when you’re putting the ball in the hands of a freshman at the point (Justina King), and when you’re asking a sophomore like Naomi (Hunt) to guard an all-league player like Daeja.”

The Titans had a 9-0 run in the first quarter but the 49ers battled back to trail by two and eventually cut the margin to one point by halftime. The 49ers gained confidence in the third quarter, hitting 7 of 14 shots.

The game turned hard in the fourth when Long Beach started throwing a variety of zone defenses at the Titans, allowing Hunt to handle Smith one-on-one and pressuring the Titans offense as they looked for shots on the edge.

“We did a little bit of everything,” Cammon said. “I thought they were getting a little comfortable, so we went to some match-up zones and a 2-3 looking to take them out of their rhythm.”

Fullerton coach Jeff Harada said his team left 20 points on the court by missing short follow-up shots and also going 7 for 14 from the free-throw line.

“You have to give credit to Long Beach, they played better and made more plays,” he said. “They had a lot of players hit shots tonight who hadn’t been their best shooters this season. These were the players we wanted to shoot, and tonight they made them.”

Hamilton-Fisher was around the ball a lot working out of the high post. She came into the game averaging just 4.4 points but dominated the game by getting herself into position.

“We’re a young team, but we’ve played a lot of games together,” she said. “It was just a matter of being aggressive and keeping the energy high.”

Long Beach’s 12-3 run to start the fourth quarter was a team conquest. Davison scored twice in transition and Hunt dropped in two short jumpers from the lane sandwiched around a baseline 3-pointer by Hamilton-Fisher. That pushed the lead to 55-44 with four minutes left.

Hunt scored inside during a Fullerton run to close to within 55-50, but the 49ers made five free throws down the stretch. Forwards Cydnee Kinslow and Lauren Green combined for 16 rebounds, and freshman King had eight assists.

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Police seek help finding Santa Ana man last seen Jan. 23

SANTA ANA — Santa Ana police asked for the public’s help Tuesday in their search for a 33-year-old man who was last seen Jan. 23.

Ivan Moreno, who resides in Santa Ana, was last seen about 1 p.m. just before going to work at a Pitfire Pizza restaurant in Los Angeles, according to police.

 

Moreno is known to often travel on Metrolink trains and use ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft, police said.

Moreno’s cell phone is turned off and investigators have seen no banking activity on his accounts since the day he was last seen. No one has heard from him since he left for work.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective. A. Garcia at agarcia3@santa-ana.org

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Orange County softball strikeouts leaders: Tuesday, March 5

The Orange County softball strikeouts leaders through Monday, March 4.

Name K BF IP
Brooklyn Carreon, Whittier Christian 73 172 43
Odhi Vasquez, Foothill 30 76 17
McKayla Cotton, Newport Harbor 29 116 29.2
Phoebe Popplewell, San Juan Hills 24 124 29
Makenah Reddick, Bolsa Grande 23 129 24.1
Madi Wood, Dana Hills 21 81 19.1
Isabella Savala, Brea Olinda 21 116 29.2
Lalli Lopez, Foothill 21 143 35.2
Madison Knight, Fullerton 20 173 34
Katelin Reyes, El Modena 18 66 16
Hailey Guillen, Segerstrom 17 149 31
Miranda Stoddard, Orange Lutheran 15 68 17
Haylee Elizalde, Segerstrom 14 95 21
Stella Turner, Foothill 14 104 17.1
Amanda Mendoza, Segerstrom 14 88 20
CJ Garcia, Fountain Valley 12 72 13.1
Clare Austin, Newport Harbor 12 67 16.1
Brooke Feldman, Beckman 11 54 13.1
Karla Guzman, La Quinta 11 94 21.1
Sabrina Hisey, Fullerton 10 65 14

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Whicker: Injuries and insults highlight another Lakers loss

LOS ANGELES — Some of them booed, some of them left early, and two of them were comforted by a sympathetic usher.

“Just think how great you’re gonna feel when we’re winning next year,” the fellow said at the top of the lower bowl at Staples Center.

That has become the Lakers’ accustomed year. Next one.

If this is any comfort, the basketball gods are as tired of watching this team as you are. They removed Brandon Ingram from Monday night’s lineup with a bad shoulder. Kyle Kuzma made a wayward step while missing a layup and was on the floor for a while, as most of the fans were too numb to gasp.

Kuzma walked off and straight into the locker room, with difficulty, and he was still limping around the locker room with a sprained ankle long after the Clippers’ 113-105 victory was settled.

It was a night when Mo Wagner played 4:14 and Alex Caruso played 5:00.

Sometimes injuries happen to those who least deserve them, like when Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia took out San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals when the Spurs led by 23.

Mostly, the basketball deity hurts those who hurt themselves, and now the Lakers are 5½ games out of the Western Conference playoffs with 18 mostly difficult games left.

“I’ve never been on a team that had this many injuries,” veteran point guard Rajon Rondo said. “I don’t think Zo (Lonzo Ball, hurt since Jan. 19) and I have played four games together all year. Everybody in here has been hurt.”

Rondo has rarely been on a team, even for a week, that counted upon his 3-point shooting ability. He took 10 of the Lakers’ 38 longballs on Monday night and hit four, on the way to a season-high 24 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Kuzma, LeBron James and Reggie Bullock were 2 for 18 from 3-point range, and the club was 10 for 38 overall.

The Lakers got to within 99-94 and did not score for nearly four minutes, with Kuzma and Rondo missing 3-point shots and with Bullock missing two. With 4:06 left, the Lakers fruitlessly chased the basketball as it moved vigorously from Clipper to Clipper, and Landry Shamet adjourned the proceedings with a 3-pointer for a 13-point lead.

Bad 3-point teams aren’t always bad because of shooting inability. Sometimes they’re bad because they’re constantly shooting against resistance, because they haven’t made enough on-target passes to unlock a defense.

Then the Lakers gave up 49.2 percent shooting. “We made some mistakes in the end with communication,” Rondo said. “They were able to roll down the lane for a dunk, a couple of wide-open threes. Give them credit. They play well, they move without the ball, they play well with each other.”

“In the second half we missed a lot of those wide-open shots and it kinda deflated us,” Coach Luke Walton said. “I think the injuries might be catching up to us a little bit.”

The second quarter indicated that. The Lakers’ bench was outscored 16-8, and the club shot 9 for 24. Nobody was either able or willing to slow down Montrezl Harrell, who had 12 points in a quarter that the Clippers won by 12.

On Christmas Night the Lakers beat Golden State in Oakland with startling, 26-point ease and raised their record to 20-14. James was injured that night and missed the next 17 games. Even then it didn’t seem possible that the Lakers would miss the playoffs, but this will be six consecutive whiffs, extending a franchise record.

There are a few parallels to 1975-76, when the Lakers got a 27-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee. They were 40-42 that season and missed the playoffs even though Abdul-Jabbar was the league MVP.

They did reach the Western Conference finals the next season, where they lost to Portland and Bill Walton. But those teams were largely unloved by the Lakers clientele, which found them boring and joyless, at least until Magic Johnson fell into their lives in 1979-80.

Another long offseason beckons, with daily dreams about which supermax player will ride along with James in 2019-20. But we’ll be waiting, far longer than we anticipated, to learn if Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka grasp the subtleties of team construction, or whether a new coaching voice will make a difference, or how much of the young, highly-drafted nucleus will be dumped in the effort.

So as the Clippers continue to play as if they’re on the same string, how will the Lakers play out theirs?

“You don’t need motivation,” Josh Hart said. “You try to be the best team you can be. Our backs are against the wall. We’re probably the most criticized team in the NBA. If that doesn’t get you up in the morning ready to compete, nothing will.”

Like everything else with the Lakers, morning is broken.


The Clippers’ JaMychal Green grabs a rebound over the Lakers’ Rajon Rondo during the first half of Monday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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