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By Steve Breazeale
For in-game updates, scores, news and more for all of the San Clemente High School winter sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports.
Tritons Soccer Play Host to Nation’s Best
Starting Dec. 18, Thalassa Stadium will play host to some of the best high school soccer teams in the nation as part of the 2014 Lotto Sport Western Showcase.
Elite teams from up and down California, as well as Arizona, will travel to San Clemente to take part in the three-day event, which ends with the championship match on Dec. 20.
The field is filled with top-level talent. Of the eight teams slated to participate, six are in the most recent www.topdrawersoccer.com’s Winter FAB 50 rankings.
Loyola and Servite, ranked second and third in the nation, respectively, will be on hand and among the favorites to take home the first-place trophy. The two teams could potentially face each other in the semifinals on Dec. 19 with first-round victories.
Arizona’s Brophy Prep (No. 32) will open play with a first-round match against No. 39 Carlsbad at 4:15 p.m.
The Tritons, currently ranked 48th in the nation, will play the first game of the tournament at 2:30 p.m. against No. 50 Century. If the Tritons advance to the semifinals, they will play the winner of Brophy Prep/Carlsbad at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 19.
San Clemente head coach Mike Pronier thought of the idea to host an elite tournament after the Tritons participated in the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament last January. Given the Tritons rise as an Orange County and southern California powerhouse in recent years, they were able to draw top-level teams in their first go around as tournament hosts.
“I am excited to be able to host such a great lineup of soccer programs. This tournament will serve to give us some invaluable experience that will elevate their long-term development,” Pronier said. “It was the right time for San Clemente to run such a tournament.”
San Clemente (3-2-1) enters the tournament coming off a 0-0 tie to Oceanside on Dec. 13 and a 2-1 loss to Newport Harbor on Dec. 15.
Hamming Earns All-CIF Honors
San Clemente boys water polo all-time leading scorer and standout utility player Chase Hamming was named to the All-CIF-SS Division 2 boys water polo team on Dec. 15.
Hamming had a stellar season for the Tritons, leading Orange County with 152 goals scored. He also had 64 steals and 22 assists and led the team to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.
Hamming has been an integral part of the Tritons water polo teams throughout his high school career and now owns the school record for career goals with 402.
Hamming recently committed to play water polo at UC Berkeley, according to head coach Marc Parker.
Bankson’s 3-Point Barrage Lifts Tritons to Win Over Warren
San Clemente senior guard Emma Bankson knocked down seven 3-pointers in a 74-59 girls basketball nonleague win over Warren on Dec. 15.
Bankson’s offensive outburst helped push the Tritons overall record to 3-2 on the season. Senior forward Jenna Rodriguez pulled in 21 rebounds in the victory.
The Tritons will travel to compete in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Dec. 19. They are scheduled for an opening game against San Luis Obispo.
Defense Pushes Tritons Boys Hoops to Victory in IWN Tourney
The San Clemente boys basketball team used its defense to clamp down on West Torrance in the first round of the Irvine World News Tournament on Dec. 16, sealing a 55-34 victory.
The Warriors scored in the single digits in the final three quarters and never scored more than 10 points in a quarter as San Clemente improved to 3-3 on the season.
Senior Sam Darnold made his return to the hardwood, contributing seven points, 10 rebounds, four assists and seven steals in 20 minutes of play.
Senior Nick Crankshaw scored a game-high 10 points with six rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocks. Joe Mann and Scott Herrod each scored nine points.
San Clemente was set to play in the tournament quarterfinals Dec. 17. Results were not available at press time.
Girls Soccer Gets First Win in Aliso Cup
A 2-0 victory over Woodrow Wilson in the Aliso Cup Tournament on Dec. 13 marked the San Clemente girls soccer team’s first win of the season.
San Clemente traveled to play Edison on Dec. 16 and lost, 3-0. Amanda Erickson, Rachel Flory and Elin Radziminsky scored for the Chargers. San Clemente goalie Brittany Hundley made seven saves.
The Tritons will compete in the Mater Dei Premier Invitational from Dec. 17-19.
Tritons Football Set Records, Earn League Honors
The Sea View League All-League honor sheet had a very distinct San Clemente feel to it in 2014. The first-place Tritons had 20 players named to the league’s first and second teams, more than any other school.
Quarterback Sam Darnold was named the league MVP, while running back Vlad Dzhabiyev and linebacker Riley Whimpey were named the league offensive MVP and league co-defensive MVP, respectively. Whimpey shared the honor with Trabuco Hills’ Colin Schooler.
Cole Fotheringham (tight end), Tucker Scott (offensive line), Donte Harrington (offensive line) and Brandon Reaves (running back) were named first-team offense.
Colin Lippincott (offensive line), Austin Volling (offensive line), Shaughn Ritchie (offensive line) Jack Sears (wide receiver) and Dean Licht (wide receiver) were named second-team offense.
Chicho Rodriguez (defensive line), Andrew Frohner (defensive back) and Jake Russell (defensive back) were named first-team defense.
Liam Mills (linebacker), Max Lepley (linebacker), Gerado Gomez (defensive line), Liam Buhl (defensive line) and Tanner Wright (defensive back) were named second-team defense.
The Tritons set multiple records this season on their way to appearing in the CIF-SS Southwest Division finals.
They tied the school record for best overall record (12-2) and captured the program’s first league championship since 1999.
Whimpey broke the school record for most tackles in a season with 172.
San Clemente set a new record for most points in a season (630) and total yards (6,217).
Darnold shattered just about every offensive record in the book, setting new school-best marks for: total passing yards (2,996), total offensive yards (3,771), completions (214), single game passing percentage (92.9 percent), total touchdowns in a game (six, which he did three times) and total passing touchdowns (39).