PREP ROUNDUP: Dinuba boys soccer edged in D-II section final

Garza High rallies in second half for 2-1 victory to end Emperors’ postseason run, Garcia becomes Sanger wrestling’s first girls state placewinner

Dinuba High’s David Garcia (77) boots the ball past Garza High goalkeeper Elias Reyes (1) to score the Emperors’ lone goal midway through the first half in a 2-1 loss to the Guardians in the Central Section Division IV championship match at Fresno’s Koligian Stadium on Feb. 23. Fourth seeded Dinuba finished the season with a (Jon Earnest)
Dinuba High’s David Garcia (77) boots the ball past Garza High goalkeeper Elias Reyes (1) to score the Emperors’ lone goal midway through the first half in a 2-1 loss to the Guardians in the Central Section Division IV championship match at Fresno’s Koligian Stadium on Feb. 23. Fourth seeded Dinuba finished the season with a (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published February 26, 2024  • 
12:00 pm

FRESNO – The Dinuba High Emperors were 40-plus game minutes from a surprising Central Section Division IV championship run before falling victim to a second half surge from the Justin Garza High Guardians.

The number two seed Guardians (14-11-3) trailed 1-0 at halftime on Dinuba junior forward David Garcia’s goal, but received header scores from junior Sans Ramos (50th minute) and senior Joaquin Delgado (65th minute) to pull out a 2-1 victory the evening of Feb. 23 before a large, loud crowd at Koligian Stadium. The loss ended West Yosemite League champion ad No. 4 seed Dinuba’s season at 14-12.

The Emperors posted a pair of home playoff wins over Farmersville and Orosi before pulling off a road upset of top seed Bishop Union via shootout on Feb. 20. The magical season appeared to be continuing when Garcia converted on a free kick feed from Yovanni Hernandez to score in the 14th minute. Senior goalie Bryan Baeza provided a pair of nice saves to preserve the lead.

But just 10 minutes into the second half, a centering pass to the front of the net was headed in by Ramos to an open net. About 15 minutes later, a free kick toward the net was blocked into the air by Baeza and caromed out toward the middle. Delgado headed it into the right corner of the net just past a sprawling goalkeeper for the decisive goal.

Dinuba was able to produce a couple of offensive pushes in the closing minutes, but was turned away by a save from Guardians goalkeeper Elias Reyes. 

Garza drew the No. 3 Northern California regional seed for Division IV, and hosts No. 6 seed Pacheco High (18-5-2) from Los Banos in a first round matchup on Feb. 27.

WRESTLING

Sanger girls tie for 87th place led by placewinner Garcia

Led by senior heavyweight Yvette Garcia, the Sanger High Apaches girls tied three other schools (including fellow section school Redwood)  for 87th place at the CIF State Championship meet in Bakersfield on Feb. 24. In the process, Garcia became the program’s first female state placewinner when she went 3-3 to finish eighth in the 235-pound class.

Garcia went 3-3, collecting two wins by fall before being pinned by top seed Gemma Templeman of Rocklin High. She then won by decision before dropping two more matches to finish with a 25-11 season record and 84-38 overall career record. Teammate Gabriela Flores went 1-2 at 145 pounds to finish the season with a 27-19 record.

Sanger West’s Mia McMillan, the school’s first-ever state qualifier, went 1-2 at 105 pounder with the highlight being a second round major decision victory over Alethia Tolentino of Coastal Academy following an opening bye. She then lost by pin and a 6-2 decision to close her season.

Reedley High’s David Arroyo was the only other qualifier from the region, going 1-2 in the boys 138 pound class to finish the season at 37-13 while scoring the Pirates’ two team points. The senior had a 4-1 decision victory over an opponent from Esperanza High.

Poway High dethroned Buchanan High, the defending multiple times state champion, for the team title, collecting three individual titles and scoring 290.5 points.

BASEBALL

Pirates split pair of CVDC games last week

Reedley High (2-1) split a pair of games in the Central Valley Diamond Classic last week, winning 2-0 at Golden West High on Feb. 22 before dropping a 13-3 home decision to San Joaquin Memorial on Feb. 24. Jacob Silva pitched a six-hit complete game shutout with four strikeouts while also going 2-for-2 with a run scored.

The Pirates managed just three hits against SJM (1-2), two of them coming from senior Darren Ortiz who also had an RBI. Gage Betancourt also delivered an RBI double, and four Reedley pitchers combined to yield 13 earned runs on 15 hits.

Reedley plays at Fowler on Feb. 28, then travels to Hanford to meet Sierra Pacific in a 3 p.m. CVDC game on Saturday, March 2.

Unbeaten Sanger routs Dinuba in CVDC matchup

Sanger High is off to a 4-0 start on the young season, including Central Valley Diamond Classic wins over Mt. Whitney (10-0 on Feb. 21) and at Dinuba (9-2 on Feb. 24). The Apaches next play at Selma (2-1) on Feb. 28 before hosting Firebaugh (0-4) at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Dinuba (0-5) hosts San Joaquin Memorial on Feb. 28 and Selma at noon Saturday, March 2.

SOFTBALL

Reedley hosts Orange Cove on March 1

Reedley High (2-1) will host two-time reigning section champion Orange Cove (0-1) in a 5:30 p.m. non-league contest Friday, March 1, at Reedley High varsity field. The Pirates first will host unbeaten Sanger West (3-0) in a non-league game on Feb. 27.

Orange Cove dropped an 11-1 decision to Hollister High in an out-of-section matchup at OCHS on Feb. 23. The Titans managed just three hits and three pitchers were touched for 11 runs and 13 hits by the visiting Haybalers. OC hosts Mt. Whitney on Feb. 28.

BASKETBALL

Immanuel’s Tibbett voted TCC Sequoia Division MVP

Immanuel High’s Tad Tibbett was voted Tri-County Conference Sequoia Division Most Valuable Player in voting by division coaches. The senior forward had a season high of 37 points and surpassed the 1,000 career points milestone while helping power the Eagles (16-13) to a share of the title with Central Valley Christian.

Senior teammate Mikah Tolpezninkas, who also surpassed 1,000 career points for IHS, shared the Offensive Player of the Year honors with CVC’s A.J. Johnson. The Cavaliers’ Caden Lloyd was voted Defensive Player of the Year.

The Eagles’ Owen Jackson earned second team honors while Tye Tibbett received honorable mention accolades.

Reedley High senior guard Ryan Velasquez was voted to the first team, while junior Zeek Curiel earned a second team berth. Honorable mention went to the Pirates’ Ethan Canales and Adrian Lopez Jr.

GENERAL

Inaugural SW Athletics fundraiser dinner on March 15

The Sanger West Hornets Booster CLub presents the inaugural fundraiser and dinner in honor of Sanger West Athletics. The first annual event is scheduled for Friday, March 15, from 6-11 p.m. at Grace Barn, 4219 S. Highland Ave, in Del Rey.

Open to persons 21 years and older, the fundraiser features dinner, silent auction and fun with friends. Tickets are $50  per person or $350 for a table for eight people. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting online at bit.ly/swhornetsdinner.

Jon Earnest
Reporter