LONDON, England (AP):Chelsea were handed a clearer path to the Premier League title yesterday after a disjointed Tottenham lost 1-0 at West Ham to end a nine-match winning run.The trophy can now be secured for the second time in three seasons by Chelsea over the next week – before Tottenham play again – if Antonio Conte’s side beat Middlesbrough on Monday and West Bromwich Albion on Friday.Chelsea remain four points ahead of Tottenham and have a game in hand. Tottenham’s challenge now is holding on for its highest finish in 54 years in the remaining three games.”It’s nearly impossible,” defender Eric Dier said of Tottenham’s pursuit of a first title since 1961.Mauricio Pochettino’s players were looking lethargic at the Olympic Stadium when Manuel Lanzini punished them in the 65th minute by pouncing after Aaron Cresswell’s cross wasn’t cleared. It was the first time Tottenham had trailed in a league game in a month and the damage would have been heavier had goalkeeper Hugo Lloris not made a diving save to deny Jonathan Calleri.”We started the second half a little bit sloppy, we conceded in the space and the way we conceded the goal in this type of football, when you are fighting for the big things, you feel disappointed,” Pochettino said. “We tried, it was difficult. The performance was not the best.”The visitors could find no way back as West Ham celebrated a signature win in their troubled first season at the main stadium for the 2012 Olympics which Tottenham had tried to secure in a bitter battle that ended up in court.UP SIX PLACESWest Ham turned on the style to foil a Tottenham side usually so energetic and menacing to ease any lingering relegation fears. The victory hauled Slaven Bilic’s team up six places to ninth in the standings after days of public debate about the manager’s futureWhat has proved costly for Tottenham are the dropped points in the opening months of the season. Tottenham were fifth in the standings after 18 games but have won 13 of their last 17 games to unexpectedly challenge Chelsea for the title, outmuscling bigger-spending rivals with a wage bill lower than their rivals in the top six.Now Tottenham are looking down again, holding an eight-point lead over Liverpool with three games to go. Tottenham are still set for a second consecutive season in the Champions League for the first time. But for the second year in a row, the team’s title bid has faltered in the closing weeks of the season.
The Vikings appeared to get some momentum going as sophomore Jorge Munoz scored back-to-back baskets to pull his team within six, 51-45. But Avila sealed the victory with less than three minutes remaining when he knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Eagles up by 12, 57-45. It was their biggest margin of the night. The Vikings tried to foul the rest of the quarter but could cut the deficit to only 10. “They (South El Monte) got all the second chances in the second half and we didn’t,” Averill said. “They rebounded and we didn’t.” The Eagles finished just 6 of 24 from the free-throw line to the Vikings’ 11 of 17. Marvin led the Vikings with 28 points. He was followed by Munoz with 10. Junior Phillip Salas was the only other Eagle in double figures with 11 points. Sophomore Manny Acosta had nine. “I told these guys that if they just keep shooting, the ball will drop in,” Burgess said. “Things started happening for us and we came out ahead.” firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SOUTH EL MONTE – Jonathan Avila scored 17 points Friday night, leading the South El Monte High School boys basketball team to a 59-49 victory over rival Mountain View and sole possession of second place in the Mission Valley League. Both teams were tied for second heading into the game, but the Eagles (11-11 overall, 7-3 league) passed the Vikings (13-14, 6-4) with the victory. The Eagles led by three, 40-37, at the end of the third quarter but came alive in the fourth to blow the game open. The Vikings’ Rashad Marvin began the quarter with a quick basket to pull his team within two, but the Eagles countered with eight unanswered points. “We played hard, but we couldn’t get the rebounds in the second half,” Vikings coach Robert Averill said. “South El Monte was good on the pressure and the rebounding, and that really hurt us.” Marvin pulled his team within seven, 48-41, with a layup, but Avila came right back with one of his three 3-point baskets of the quarter to put his team back up by 10. “He is a senior and this was his last home game,” Burgess said of Avila. “He was great tonight, especially knocking down those 3s.” “We really needed this win,” Eagles coach Robert Burgess said. “We lost to Mountain View by three points in the first round of league and we lost by one point on Wednesday. “So I am very happy with this outcome.”