February 23, 2012
River City stuns traditional power El Camino on late free throws; Raiders hadn't won playoff game before this season

By Joe Davidson

Jamie King was so spent, he could hardly speak.

"I'm exhausted," the River City girls basketball coach said.

Catch your breath, coach. We're here for you.


King was ecstatic and reminded it was a good exhaustion, one of triumph. His seventh-seeded Raiders of West Sacramento eliminated No. 2 and host El Camino 50-48 in a second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff game.

This is significant because before this season, the Raiders had done very little in the sport. This season marked the first time the program had won or shared a league championship in the 35-year history of the program, and even in a late-game defeat at El Dorado that snapped a 23-game winning streak, El Dorado fans raved about the class and sportsmanship of Raiders players in defeat.

What's more, this postseason also marks the first time the Raiders have even won a playoff game. Now they have two postseason triumphs and are suddenly greedy for more.

The final play was dramatic and didn't come without controversy, however. King called time out with 29.8 seconds left and had a simple order: go for the win on a late shot or settle for overtime. His daughter, standout junior forward Katie King, fired a really long three-point shot with two seconds left - and the El Camino defender was called for a foul, with King selling it all the more by falling to the floor. El Camino fans and coaches howled in dismay.

King made two of three foul shots. El Camino wasn't able to answer. Raiders players celebrated and El Camino athletes dropped to their knees.

"I know (El Camino coach) Rich Drawbert thought it was a terrible call, but we won the game and the girls played great," King said. "It's a very big win for our program, the biggest. I have the utmost respect for El Camino, a great program. I coached there for two years. I know how special it is. We're not the biggest or the fastest team, but our girls have a lot of heart. It's beyond explanation how good this feels."

King the player had 26 points. Fellow team captain leader Jordan Ligons was steady as usual at guard, and a host of others contributed to a piece of school history. Next is a semifinal game Tuesday at Pacific against McNair, a tall order in that the Stockton team has three starters standing 6-foot-2 or taller.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Photo: Katie King of River City takes part in a practice drill while her father and coach, Jamie King, left, and an assistant, hit her with padded shields to disrupt her dribble. Bee photo by Lezlie Sterling.

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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