The following are the top-10 individual performances in a team setting for the 2014-15 high school season as voted by the Glendale News-Press sports staff.
1 Brian Gadsby goes the distance against Redlands East Valley, May 27: It is an arduous task to select just one performance out of a run of three starts that was the best for Crescenta Valley High pitcher Brian Gadsby in a memorable spring of 2014.
He threw three straight complete games, winning all of them. In 21 combined innings, he allowed only three combined runs. All of the triumphs were significant and all of them were historic.
On May 27, though, following a long bus ride and playing under a blistering sun in the CIF Southern Section Division II second round, Gadsby likely struggled more than he had in the previous two outings.
He was going on four days’ rest and the stakes were never higher. But after allowing a pair of hits, committing an error and relinquishing two runs in the first inning, Gadsby rallied and so too did the Falcons en route to a 7-2 win over host Redlands East Valley. The win allowed Crescenta Valley to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.
“Down early, we could’ve gave up, but my team has my back,” Gadsby said. “We kept fighting and fighting.”
Beginning with a groundout to conclude the first-inning calamity, Gadsby retired 13 straight REV batters until giving up his third and final hit of the game in the sixth inning. By then, the Falcons had already soared back and were ahead.
In all, Gadsby went the full seven, allowed two runs, three hits, hit one batter, walked none and struck out five.
Perhaps most impressive about the performance was that it was the end of an unbelievably clutch run for Gadsby that was equal parts brilliance and fortitude.
It started with a 1-0 shutout on just 74 pitches against archrival Arcadia in the Pacific League final to clinch the outright league crown. Then Gadsby delivered another complete game, this time defeating Damien, 6-1. In that outing, he not only out-dueled current Cleveland Indians prospect Grant Hockin, but he delivered the Falcons their first postseason win since 2009. Then came a long bus ride, seven more innings and one more performance for the storybooks.
“It was incredible to see him perform like that and carry our team,” Falcons center fielder Bryan Wang said.
2 Ty Gangi scores seven touchdowns vs. Monrovia, Oct. 4, 2013: Boasting a matchup of the West San Gabriel Valley’s two best teams, St. Francis made an emphatic statement with a 48-14 thumping over perennial power Monrovia and Gangi served notice that he was a force to be reckoned with who was no longer traveling under the radar.
Gangi scored every which way, completing 12 of 26 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for two touchdowns and 23 yards in six carries and, as the capper, hauling in an eight-yard touchdown grab.
“Wow,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds of Gangi’s night. “Good for him. Such a great kid. The guys on the team, you can tell the way they play around him, they just love the guy.”
3 Lauren Stiles stops Malibu, Feb. 21: Quite simply, Lauren Stiles saved the day and the season for the Flintridge Prep girls’ soccer team in the CIF Southern Section Division III first round.
The sophomore goalie, who had previously been a field player and had never faced penalty kicks in a game, stood tall and guessed right in stopping an unbelievable four PKs in leading the Rebels past Malibu, 2-2 (2-1).
Stiles stopped the first two PKs of the session and the last two. However, her brilliance wasn’t confined to just the PK portion of the lengthy playoff match, as she collected eight saves during regulation and overtime — including stopping a penalty kick.
4 Arman Momdzhyan leads the way to history against Los Altos, Nov. 23, 2013: Though a historic triumph eluded Arman Momdzhyan and the Glendale boys’ water polo team in 2012 in the CIF Southern Section Division V finals, adulation would not be denied in 2013.
The 2013 All-Area Boys’ Water Polo Player of the Year tallied a team-high six goals in the Nitros’ 13-11 win over Los Altos to claim the CIF-SS championship in Irvine, coming up clutch in the biggest victory in program history, bringing about the first CIF-SS team championship for Glendale since 1989 — before Momdzhyan was born. It was an undoubtedly a performance for the ages.
“We wanted to come out and make history,” said Momdzhyan, who finished with a team-high six goals before picking up his third ejection with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Nitros clinging to a 12-10 advantage. “We’ve won league, but we wanted to do something even better.
“We wanted to win this championship not only for the team, but for the school. Now, we can all enjoy it. We will also get a [championship] banner that we can hang in the gym.”
5 Kyle Leufroy comes up clutch even in defeat to Oak Park, March 7: Kyle Leufroy was clutch in leading St. Francis to come-from-behind playoff wins over Yucca Valley and La Cañada, but, despite the most tenacious of efforts, he and the Golden Knights came up just short in a CIF Southern Section Division III-A championship loss to Oak Park, 60-53.
Despite the outcome, Leufroy, who played for the majority of the game hobbled with an ankle injury that saw him have to be helped onto the team bus in the contest’s aftermath, shined through once more.
He scored a game-high 26 points to go with six rebounds, as his bum ankle might have slowed him, but certainly didn’t prevent him from rallying his team.
With St. Francis trailing, 53-50, Leufroy stole an inbound pass, pulled up for a three-pointer, drew a foul and promptly sank all three charity shots to tie the game. St. Francis had trailed most of the game and Leufroy had valiantly brought them back. Unfortunately for St. Francis, Leufroy’s free throws were the team’s final points.
6 Kayla Lund has 33 kills in quarterfinal win over El Dorado, Nov. 16, 2013: No matter the stakes or the player, a 33-kill performance is impressive. But when it’s a freshman in the CIF Southern Section Division I-A quarterfinals, it’s flat-out exceptional.
Kayla Lund did just that, keying an epic 24-26, 25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 20-18 victory over El Dorado, the reigning divisional runner-up.
To say Lund played with experience beyond her years would be an understatement and best characterized by the fourth game, as Lund sent the match to a deciding fifth game with the final four kills of the fourth stanza.
7 Kyle Leufroy keys semifinal comeback against La Cañada: Engulfed by a raucous crowd with a first-ever CIF finals berth on the line and a neighboring rival to contend with, Kyle Leufroy came up clutch for the St. Francis High boys’ basketball team, leading the Golden Knights to a 56-53 win over La Cañada in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A semifinals.
Leufroy turned in a game-high 22 points with eight coming in the fourth frame to key the comeback.
“He took over the game,” said La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman. “Kyle was the difference because he seemed to get stronger as the game went along.”
Early in the fourth, the Golden Knights were trailing by seven points, but an 11-point run fueled the first-ever trip to the finals.
8 Robert Cartwright leads comeback versus Pasadena Poly, Jan. 10: With plenty of individual accolades, a CIF-SS championship and a ride to Stanford to his credit already, the senior season of Robert Cartwright was poised to be a big one. However, the ultra-talented Rebel was sidelined for much of it.
However, Cartwright recovered in time from an Achilles injury that sidelined him the first 10 games of the season to lead the Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball team to a riveting 41-39 Prep League comeback home win over archrival Pasadena Poly.
“I’m exhausted right now, but winning this game makes things feel a lot better,” Cartwright said. “We had to come back against a very good team in the last quarter.”
Cartwright scored more than half of his team’s points in a game-high, 24-point effort that was accompanied by seven rebounds and three assists. Most impressive was that Cartwright scored 11 points in the telling fourth quarter, as he sparked a run to end the game that began with the Rebels trailing, 37-27, with 6:15 to go and ended with the two-point league-opening win. Consequently, Cartwright would terrorize the Panthers again in another nailbiting Rebels win later in the season.
9 Ethan Vandeventer scores nine goals vs. Riverside Poly, Nov. 13, 2013: Faced with a four-goal deficit on the road against the very team that ended the Flintridge Prep boys’ water polo season the year prior, Ethan Vandeventer led the Rebels to a comeback win in the CIF Southern Section Division V first round, besting Riverside Poly, 18-14.
Vandeventer, an All-CIF and All-Area selection who established himself as one of the premier scorers in the division, scored a whopping nine goals in the match to key the comeback. Vandeventer scored the game-tying goal at 11 and the go-ahead goal for a 12-11 advantage in the third period.
10 Sophia Coffey dishes out 56 assists vs. Harvard-Westlake, Oct. 24, 2013: In a season in which Flintridge Sacred Heart volleyball reestablished itself as a Mission League and CIF player, it wouldn’t have been possible without its Mission League win over archrival Harvard-Westlake, 25-23, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19.
Coffey was very much the catalyst for the Tologs’ first win over the Wolverines in seven years, notching 56 assists and 17 digs in a victory that allowed Flintridge Sacred Heart to share its first league title since 2006.
Honorable mention: Stefan Smith rushes for 304 yards in 19 carries, catches three balls for 90 yards, scores five total touchdowns in Flintridge Prep football’s 42-41 loss to Army-Navy, Aug. 30, 2013; Brian Gadsby completes 27 of 41 passes for 483 yards and six touchdowns in Crescenta Valley football’s 56-53 win over San Marino, Sept. 13, 2013; Ty Gangi completes 20 of 29 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown, rushes 15 times for 77 yards and three touchdowns in St. Francis football’s 45-28 win against Culver City, Nov. 15, 2013; Tala Ismail scores 16 points, has eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks in Flintridge Prep girls’ basketball’s 68-59 victory over Pasadena Poly, Jan. 10; Robert Cartwright scores 35 points, hits five three-pointers, has five steals, three assists and three rebounds in Flintridge Prep boys’ basketball’s 55-53 win over Pasadena Poly, Jan. 28; Eric Patten scores 29 points, has eight rebounds and two blocks in Crescenta Valley boys’ basketball’s 55-51 win over Pasadena, Feb. 7; Ashley Taylor scores four goals, has three assists and six steals in Crescenta Valley water polo’s 11-4 win over Temescal Canyon, Feb. 22; Dante Fregoso has 30 kills in Flintridge Prep boys’ volleyball’s 3-2 win over Pasadena Poly, May 6; Hailey Cookson hits two home runs, has three hits, a walk, three runs, three RBI in Crescenta Valley softball’s 6-3 win over Sonora, May 19.
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.