February 29, 2012
West Campus makes history, reaches first section title game with win over traditional power Colfax

By John Parker
Special to The Bee

LODI - Their coach has been here before.

But for the student-athletes, the first part of that compound moniker carrying more weight than the second on their campus, of West Campus High School's girls basketball team and the institution itself this is a whole new feeling.

The high-achieving academic magnet school is in a Sac-Joaquin Section championship game for the first time in its relatively brief history after the Warriors finally downed mighty Colfax 50-47 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal on Wednesday at Tokay High School. The Falcons had knocked West Campus (24-5) out of the playoffs in the second round each of the past two seasons.

"This is overwhelming," said West Campus junior post Haley Shaner. "This is what we've been working toward for three years."

Shaner and sophomore guard Eunique Williams each had a game-high 14 points.

Led by former Sacramento High coach John Langston, who led the Dragons to four straight section championship game appearances at what was then known as Arco Arena and won the 2007 D-III title, the Warriors showed championship resolve in the face of a Colfax program making its 31st straight postseason appearance.

With the score tied at 47 and eight seconds left, Colfax (18-9) got a stop and inbounded the ball under West Campus' basket. Warriors sophomore reserve guard Sokopeti Paongo pounced on the half-court length inbound pass and, as she was charging toward the goal, was fouled from behind with 5.7 seconds remaining. Paongo had missed three months with a high left ankle sprain and a chipped bone in the leg before returning two games before the playoffs started.

Thus, she said, she stepped to the line winded, heart racing.

"I was just thinking 'I need to calm down,'" Paongo said. "I needed those for my team."

She drilled the second of her double-bonus free throws to give the Warriors a 48-47 lead. Colfax was able to inbound the ball to Haleigh Biles who took two dribbles, crossed over and was fouled with 3.8 seconds remaining. But Biles, the Falcons' leading scorer with 11 points, missed both of her free throws as Colfax was also in the double bonus. In all Colfax missed seven free throws in the fourth quarter and hit just seven of 18 for the game. West Campus converted four of six free throws in the fourth quarter.

At their best the Falcons snatched defensive rebounds, brought the ball up quickly and made authoritative cuts and passes underneath. That put them up 46-38 with five minutes to go after having trailed early on. But too often early, and especially late, they were stagnant on the offensive end, dominated on the defensive glass and even chased loose balls timidly.

"These girls want to get to Power Balance (Pavilion, where the section finals are held) so badly," Colfax coach Dave Campbell said. "They were nervous, you could tell."

No such nerves were present on the Warriors bench or on the floor even after the Falcons stormed back. Winners of 19 straight entering Wednesday they notched their 20th in a row in a similar fashion to many of the preceding contests.

"We fight," Shaner said. "We've come back from much bigger deficits."

West Campus will meet Calaveras, winner of the second semifinal, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Langston walks into the arena under very different circumstances than those at Sac High when he had Division I collegiate protégés Jessika Bradley and Vicki Baugh in the middle of the 2000s.

"No one expects us to do anything," Langston said. "But these kids work more; we don't depend on one or two players because they're all capable of hitting the big shot."

* Calaveras 61, Bear River 46 - Top seeded Calaveras (27-3) weathered a second straight slow start, trailing 14-10 after one quarter, but eventually gained control and cruised to win in the other semifinal. Redskins' senior point guard Nikki Gleason led all players with 17 points and, when she wasn't pouring in shots, routinely broke down the Bruins' defense.

Bear River senior guard Jennifer Meylor had a team-high 15 points while junior guard Savannah Welz added 13.

Bear River (20-9) and Colfax will continue their seasons next week in the CIF NorCal Division IV playoffs.

Reach John Parker at johnparker2008@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @john_a_parker.

February 29, 2012
Antelope downs Bella Vista in entertaining D-II semifinal; Titans have won 27 in a row

By Joe Davidson

A year ago, the Antelope Titans were young, fun and a bit star struck by the NBA arena moment.

These days? Old hat.

From newcomers to the big stage of Sacramento-area championship success to sudden veterans hungry for more, the top-seeded Titans held off No. 4 Bella Vista 55-49 on Wednesday night in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal at Power Balance Pavilion.

Isaiah Ellis powered inside for 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots, Jarvis Watkins had 10 points, Caleb King had nine and Gabe Bealer, Kei'Shaun Sinclair and Rashard Thornhill combined for 18. In short, another across-the-board effort for Antelope, which carries its remarkable 27-game winning streak into Saturday's title game.

And no, nerves won't be an issue. That is so...yesteryear.

"The butterflies weren't there this time," Titans coach Rob Richards said. "We're on a mission."

Everyone on campus seems to be on a mission in an impressive show of one-for-all. Every where you look on the newish campus, there are reminders of hoops success.

At Power Balance, the school's "Red Zone" rooting section rocked, rolled and rejoiced in again standing alone in student support.

"I love the Red Zone," Richards said. "The whole school is on board. We've got banners, balloons every where. It's one giant, fantastic community."

At times, Ellis is one giant, fantastic joy to watch. The junior seems to improve by the week, Richards said.

"He's just now figuring out that he can take over on both ends of the floor," the coach said.

All told, the Titans as a team have learned they can take over games. Antelope lost in the section finals to St. Mary's of Stockton beat Antelope in the D-II finals. Antelope responded by winning two NorCal playoff games, and then exacted a measure of revenge by bouncing St. Mary's on Friday with a second-half charge.

So mission indeed. Antelope targets much more than a section title. Richards and his players talk about "unfinished business" and the urgency of "getting it done."

Ahmad Smith had five three-pointers and scored a game-high 27 for Bella Vista, the junior guard producing his finest playoff moment. Richards said, "he was on fire; couldn't hhandle him."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 29, 2012
Top-seeded Capital Christian advances to D-V boys final

Senior Matt Donlan led four Capital Christian players in double figures with 14 points as the top-seeded Cougars defeated No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf 65-39 in today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V boys basketball semifinal at Galt High School.

Freshman Trey Belton and sophomore Nifae Lealao each had 12 points and sophomore DJ Wilson added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Cougars (24-5), who play the winner of tonight's Ripon Christian-Central Catholic late game for the championship 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Power Balance Pavilion.

State scoring leader Chris Schwartz-Edmisten led Sacramento Waldorf with 24 points, including all 13 of the Waves' fourth-quarter points, but struggled throughout the game to find his touch.

The senior, averaging 34.4 points per game, made eight of 34 shots from the field as he was hounded by the Cougars three-man rotation of Justice Shelton-Mosley, Tanner Nissen and UC Iroegbu.

Capital Christian, under first-year coach Terry Battenberg, is seeking its first Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball title. The Cougars won a D-V Northern Section title in 2002.

Capital Christian also played in five consecutive D-V Sac-Joaquin Section finals from 2003 to 2007, losing each time to powerhouse Modesto Christian.

February 29, 2012
Bryce Pressley has 22 points, 9 blocked shots to power Jesuit past rival Pleasant Grove in D-I

By Joe Davidson

Bryce Pressley is about as kind and considerate of a young man as you'll meet in the regional high school sporting scene this academic year.

On a regular basis, Jesuit Marauders coach Greg Harcos pleads for the 6-foot-3 senior guard to transform that sure smile to a sneer and snarl - and for his game to match. Play with fury, in other words.

Message received, coach.

Pressley nearly recorded a unique triple double on Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion, scoring 22 points to go with nine rebounds and nine blocked shots, and he was surrounded by waves of player support to lift No. 2-seeded Jesuit over Delta River League rival and No. 6 Pleasant Grove 64-62 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal.

Pressley is the son of former Kings first-round pick Harold Pressley, who ran this very NBA floor a generation ago, and who reminds son to play with extra passion, too.

"He's gotten nasty the second half of the season," Harcos said. "The way he's going to the basket, the way he's guarding the other team's best player. He's got a chip on his shoulder. He's woken up, unleashed."

Parker Uu has played at a steady-to-spectacular pace all season, though Harcos also challenges that senior guard to be even better, to strive for more. Uu had 18 points and eigth rebounds.

In short, Jesuit has star power in Pressley and Uu, both fine students and intriguing recruit prospects, and a terrific supporting crew that includes Akachi Okugo, Lake Lutes, Brian Glodowski, Kurt Parker, Tom Sperbeck and J.T. Frank. Parker had a nifty assist late to Pressley that made for some valued breathing room. Jesuit's senior-dominated group now takes on a junior-dominated crew in Sheldon on Saturday in a DRL section-title rematch.

Down the stretch against Pleasant Grove, Sperbeck, Okuogo, Uu and Pressley all had baskets. A Colfax Nordquist free throw and Cody Demps jumper as time expired kept Pleasant Grove in it until the end, per the norm when the DRL heavies face off.
Malik Thames had 19 for Pleasant Grove, Nordquist 17, Matt Hayes 11 and Demps 10. The Eagles still advance to the NorCal tournament next week for the first time.

Jesuit is in the large-school section finals for the ninth time overall, and it is in a section championship - D-I or D-II - for the 14th time. The Marauders seek a ninth overall championship.

For senior leaders like Pressley, the time is now.

"I know this is my senior year and this is our last shot at a state-title run - there's no next year," Pressley said. "Coach has told me to be aggressive, to be me, do whatever I can to help us."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 29, 2012
Top-seeded Sheldon pulls away from upstart Bethel; Allen, Williams,Hampton, Manning lead charge

By Joe Davidson

Dakarai Allen would like to say he can smell another championship, but in truth he can't.
The Sheldon High School junior star took an elbow to his nose Wednesday afternoon in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal against Bethel, had his nostrils clogged with gauze to stop the bleeding - and then he and his mates methodically inflicted all manner of hurt on the No. 5-seeded Jaguars of Vallejo in using a closing 21-4 run for an 81-55 triumph at Power Balance Pavilion.

For the top-seeded Huskies of the Elk Grove Unified School District, Allen had a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds, D'Erryl Williams had 18 and eight and Armani Hampton contributed 15 and four. Ryan Manning, yet another impressive junior on a team loaded with them, had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Allen said he shook off his bopped nose that bled pretty good for a moment. He said the best way to attack a team that offered so many elbows and chucks was to attack right back, and for Sheldon that generally includes inside plays and often above-the-rim finishes.

"I knew we could get to the rim and not be scared," Allen said.

Next is a chance of history. The Huskies bound into the D-I finals seeking a three-peat. If successful, Sheldon would match Jesuit and Merced as the only large-school teams to take three consecutive titles in this section.

Merced did it form 1986-88 behind all-time regional great guard Gerald Madkins and Jesuit did so from 1992-94 under program greats Isaac Fontaine, Chris Griffin and Josh King and coach Hank Meyer, now the Pleasant Grove principal. All told, another section title would be the program's fourth since 2007.

But Sheldon coach Joey Rollings understands his team has to clean up its game a bit. He doesn't doubt the defense, a staple all season, or the general effort. But the turnovers make irk him to no end. Sheldon had 13 turnovers in the first half and 22 total. The coach also expects to shoot a bit better Saturday now that the NBA arena doesn't feel so cavernous.

"We know if we play good defense and get to the rim, we'll be OK," Rollings said. "I don't know if we've ever hit more than three threes in here."

As for being in tight games and suddenly blowing it open with a run?

"We have that potential," Rollings said. "We don't like to lose. You can see it on our faces. The mistakes make the guys mad and they get after it."

Rodney Cook scored 16 for Bethel, a newer school in Solano County that hs quicky become a factor in the playoffs. The Jaguars eliminated Jesuit and Grant in the football playoffs last fall and played fearlessly against Sheldon on Wednesday.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 28, 2012
National power St. Mary's belts Florin in girls D-II semifinal

By Joe Davidson

STOCKTON - St. Mary's High School mows all comers, methodically stretching close games into bruising routes with defense, size, skill, offensive balance and a tradition impossible to match.

The Rams of Stockton beat Florin 74-33 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal Tuesday night at the University of the Pacific and now inch closer to the program's 13th section championship, and beyond that, a 10th state title.

Seeded No. 1 in the field, the nationally ranked Rams were paced by steady stars Charise Holloway (18 points), Courtney Range (15) and Unique Coleman (13).

Florin was led by Daijah Joe-Smith (10 points, 15 rebounds) and Deja Conger 10 points. The Panthers, enjoying their best season since the section finalist teams of 1996 and '97, had 38 turnovers and shot 34 percent against the Rams' smothering defense that includes quickness, size and depth.

All told, St. Mary's has blasted area teams this season in Bradshaw Christian (110-46), Pleasant Grove (84-44), St. Francis (94-59), Vacaville (111-54) and Inderkum (82-40).
It was 44-26 at one point against Florin before St. Mary's hit the jets, outscoring the Panthers 21-4 in the fourth.

St. Mary's will play Tri-City League member McNair of Stockton on Saturday in the section finals at Power Balance Pavilion. St. Mary's blasted McNair, a talented, tall team, 82-45 and 87-45.

Florin will still advance to next week's NorCal Regional tournament, as a low seed on the road. The Panthers were winless at 0-24 just three seasons ago but have made a rapid rise under coach Larry Price, who will return the bulk of his roster next season.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 28, 2012
Foothill second-half explosion buries Lindhurst 59-39

Trailing 26-21 at halftime, top-seeded Foothill outscored fourth-seeded Lindhurst 38-13 in the second half to defeat the Blazers 59-39 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys basketball semifinals tonight at Cosumnes River College.

The win advances Foothill (27-3) to Friday night's championship game against Sierra of Manteca 9 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion. Sierra defeated Center 67-50 in tonight's earlier semifinal.

Kelly Bender led Foothill with 17 points and Michael Bryson added 14.

Junior forward Douglas James, who had 13 second-half points, helped ignite the Foothill comeback. He hit the tying and go-ahead baskets in a 9-0 run that put the Mustangs up 40-33 entering the fourth quarter.

James Trujillo topped Lindhurst (24-7) with 13 points.

February 28, 2012
McNair uses height, power to derail River City in girls D-II

By Joe Davidson

STOCKTON - Size and power doomed River City High School on Tuesday night in the biggest playoff game and setting in the program's 35-year history.

Though the effort was there, the Raiders were undone by the long arms and bodies of McNair of Stockton, who prevailed 58-43 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal at the University of the Pacific.

Both teams advance to the NorCal Regional tournament that starts next week, a milestone in itself for the Raiders of West Sacramento. But make no mistake. River City coach Jamie King wanted to reach a section final for the first time for a school he graduated from more than 20 years ago and has coached the past eight seasons. All section semifinalists advance, but the road will be steep with a road game at the likely No. 1 seed of a Bay Area section.

Carmen Garcia led River City with 11 points against McNair, with team leaders Jordan Ligons and Katie King going for nine each. King hit two late free throws to beat longtime section power El Camino last week, the program's greatest win to date. Before this season, the Raiders had never won or shared a league title or won a playoff game.

The Raiders do not boast of size but they do compete, and every loose ball calls for an all-out scramble and scrum.

McNair, with three starters 6-foot-2, outrebounded the plucky Raiders 58-43. Asiana Scott had 14 points and 13 rebounds for McNair, and Mandy Coleman had 11 and 12 and four blocked shots.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 28, 2012
Thornton's 24 points leads Sierra over Center 67-50 in D-III boys

Senior guard Tim Thornton scored 24 points, including six of eight three-pointers, to lead second-seeded Sierra (27-2) of Manteca to a 67-50 win over third-seeded Center in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys basketball semifinals at Cosumnes River College.

It was Sierra's 26th consecutive win. Myles Hunter had 16 points and Christopher Smith 15 for Center (21-8).

February 28, 2012
Modesto Christian tops CBS 86-62 in D-III girls semifinal

Jasmine Hampton and Lexi Tubbs each had 19 points to lead third-seeded Modesto Christian to an 86-62 win over second-seeded Christian Brothers in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls basketball semifinal tonight at Cosumnes River College.

Niel Valmores led four Christian Brothers players in double figures with 15 points.

Modesto Christian, the three-time defending Division IV section champs, will play Sacramento in the D-III final on Friday at Power Balance Pavilion.

February 28, 2012
Kennedy stuns No. 1-seeded Pleasant Grove in girls D-I semifinals

By Joe Davidson

STOCKTON - Lynette Johnson has suffered three concussions in her basketball career, but good luck convincing the Kennedy High School junior dynamo that a safer place is on the bench, in warmups, or to ease up on her game.

Basketball is her life, she says with an assured grin, and such is the rough-and-tumble nature of her craft, one also graced with skill and polish. With Johnson scoring 19 points to go with eight rebounds and start-to-finish poised leadership, Kennedy stunned top-seeded Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove 52-48 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal at the University of the Pacific on Tuesday night.

The No. 4-seeded Cougars of Greenhaven now seek the program's fifth large-school title since 2001 and ninth NorCal tournament bid in that span.

"I suffered my first concussion last year against Pleasant Grove - hit my head on the floor - and then a second one and had my third earlier this year, but I'm OK, and I can't change how I play," said Johnson, whose shy post-game demeanor doesn't relate to her game intensity. "This is who I am."

Johnson praised her teammates for their efforts against a terrifically talented Pleasant Grove team, saying the team collectively is "100 percent better" than they were earlier this season. Johnson credited defense for the improvement, and defense was the key against Pleasant Grove, ranked second by The Bee all season. Kennedy used a 16-0 run in the second half to take charge then held off the Eagles, who still advance to the NorCal tournament for the first time.

During that 16-0 run, Pleasant Grove went scoreless for seven minutes. The Eagles climbed to within 50-48 on a Wilmbley bucket with 38 seconds remaining and had a chance to tie or win it on a final possession that started after a time out with nine seconds to go. Kennedy came up with a steal and Johnson sealed it with two free throws with .3 seconds to go.

"We went cold," Pleasant Grove coach James McKeever said. "Lynette took care of business and we couldn't get any rhythm."

Jessica Lauderdale scored 10 for Kennedy, which made 20 of 22 free throws and withstood the 1-2 punch of Pleasant Grove's Dejza James (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Marissa Wimbley (13 and seven).

In the finals on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion, Kennedy will take on a familiar foe in Oak Ridge, another program steeped in tradition. The sixth-seeded Trojans beat No. 2 Armijo 63-52 in the other semifinal. Oak Ridge denied Kennedy a D-I section title three-peat in 2010, en route to a state championship behind all-time program great Sara James, now at Stanford. Oak Ridge beat Kennedy 61-49 earlier this season.

Kennedy coach Dave Parsh said he has been intrigued with the potential of his bunch all season. The Cougars were battled tested in the Metro Conference by Bee No. 1 Sacramento and by Bee-ranked Florin and then bounced defending D-I champion St. Francis in a second-round game with Johnson going for a career-high tying 37 points. St. Francis had beaten Kennedy twice this season in nonleague games.

"It's a great win," Parsh said. "We saw Oak Ridge win and we want the rematch!"

Parsh said that amid laughter, understanding that the bulk of both rosters were not around in 2010 for that playoff showdown. Still, Parsh said the D-I field was ripe for the picking this season, and he's right as the top three seeds have been defeated.

"We thought D-I was wide open and we didn't think anyone was unbeatable," Parsh said. He said of Johnson, "This is great for her. She keeps fighting, playing well."

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 28, 2012
Sac High beats Vanden 54-32 to advance to D-III girls finals

Jasmine Ware scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three steals and 6-foot-4 sophomore center Ayanna Edwards had seven points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead top-seeded Sacramento to a 54-32 win over fourth-seeded Vanden in today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls basketball semifinals at Cosumnes River College.

For the Dragons, it will mark their ninth consecutive year of playing in the section championship game.

The Dragons (25-6) led only 25-21 at the half, but outscored the Vikings (21-8) from Fairfield 17-2 in the third quarter.

Sacramento will play the winner of the Christian Brothers-Modesto Christian game (currently under way) 7:30 p.m. Friday at Power Balance Pavilion.

February 28, 2012
Oak Ridge beats second-seeded Armijo; seeks program's 4th section title

By Joe Davidson

STOCKTON - Not bad for a serious head cold that made for a scratchy voice, a runny nose and a general blah feeling.

That was Lauren Sende on an under-the-weather day, so imagine how sickly the Armijo Indians must feel about now.

With Sende overcoming her healths and enduring a fast, tall, athletic bunch, the senior post had the game of her life with 18 points and 22 rebounds to key a 63-52 victory for No. 6-seeded Oak Ridge High School over the second-seeded Indians of Fairfield in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal at the University of the Pacific.

Sende had eight of her rebounds in the fourth quarter, always snaring the board the having elbows out in a fundamentally perfect image of defense. She also had three free throws down the stretch as the Trojans (23-7) used a 9-0 run to close it out and halt Armijo's 12-game winning streak.

Steady guard Jenna Klein scored all 14 of her points in the first half for Oak Ridge and Haley Anderson scored nine, including a bucket and four straight free throws in the closing run. Anderson also had five rebounds. Oak Ridge outrebounded Armijo 43-32, with Sende leading the charge.

"What can you say about Lauren?" Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. "She had a huge game. That's the most complete game she's had and now we're challenging her to repeat it."

That repeat effort would mean in Saturday's D-I title game at Power Balance Pavilion, where Oak Ridge has won three titles before. That run of success includes the 2010 D-I title team that also stormed to NorCal and State large-school championships under White.

A number of Oak Ridge seniors were on that 2010 roster, though they did not play. They soaked up the experience, however, and hunger for their shot at extending the Oak Ridge legacy.

Sende promises to be there, a box of tissues and cold medicine in tow, if need be.

"I've been sick all week but I knew I had to push through for my team," Sende said. "I said, 'screw it! I don't care!'"

Sende has always been blessed with size and a skill set. She now has the other element that makes for one dangerous player in the paint.

"I had to gain more confidence," she said. "Now I have that."

Marshanique Hall had 16 points for Armijo, though White was pleased with how his team defended her. He raved about her skill set. Melaya Gaines had 13 for Armijo, which still advances to the NorCal D-I tournament, though it will be a road team facing a very high seed next week.

Oak Ridge had 20 players on its bench, including six from the schools' 25-0 junior varsity team.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 27, 2012
CBS' Velte joins Valley's Rhodes as state girls wrestling champ

Christian Brothers junior Mallory Velte defeated Turlock senior Alexia Moreno 4-2 in overtime to win the 132-pound division at the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships on Saturday in Lemoore.

Velte joined Valley's Syria Rhodes, a 6-4 overtime winner over Cadence Lee of Palo Alto's Gunn in the 103-pound final, as area girls to win state wrestling titles.

Velte entered the event as the No. 2 seed from the Sac-Joaquin Section after losing to Patterson's Jazmine Mendoza in the 132 finals (officially called the Regional Invitational) Feb. 4. Moreno was the No. 4 seed from the section.

February 27, 2012
Playoff notes: Jesuit boys, Colfax girls reach 70-win marks

Here are the semifinal and championship matchups entering the final week of the Sac-Joaquin Section boys and girls basketball playoffs, with some notes from section media director Will DeBoard.

Division I/II girls
Tuesday at Spanos Center, University of the Pacific
4 p.m.: No. 6 Oak Ridge vs. No. 2 Armijo
5:30: No. 4 Kennedy vs. No. 1 Pleasant Grove
7:30: No. 7 River City vs. No. 3 McNair
9: No. 4 Florin vs. No. 1 St. Mary's

Division III boys/girls
Tuesday at Cosumnes River College
4 p.m. (girls): No. 4 Vanden vs. No. 1 Sacramento
5:30 (girls): No. 3 Modesto Christian vs. No. 2 Christian Brothers
7:30 (boys): No. 3 Center vs. No. 2 Sierra
9 (boys): No. 4 Lindhurst vs. No. 1 Foothill

February 27, 2012
Ex-Granite Bay track star Scott Roth qualifies for World finals

Former Granite Bay track standout Scott Roth has qualified for the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships March 9-11 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Roth, a graduate of the University of Washington, qualified by finishing second in the men's pole vault with a leap of 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches at Sunday's USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Alburquerque, N.M.

Roth, competing unattached, finished behind Brad Walker, another former Husky, who won with a vault of 19-2 3/4.

As a senior at Washington, Roth won the 2011 NCAA indoor and outdoor pole vault titles. He also holds the Washington outdoor school record of 18-9 1/4.

Roth won three CIF state pole vault titles while at Granite Bay.

February 25, 2012
Syria Rhodes wins state wrestling title in dramatic fashion

Despite a painful right shoulder injury, Valley High School's Syria Rhodes defeated Gunn of Palo Alto's Cadence Lee 6-4 in overtime to win the 103-pound championship at the California Interscholastic Federation girls state wrestling championships tonight in Lemoore.

Rhodes, a senior, injured her shoulder as she rolled out of a hold by Lee, a sophomore, in the third period.

"She had to take a couple of time outs and actually got penalized a point for stalling because it hurt her so much," said Valley coach Rod Edmiston, who was ill an unable to attend the finals but kept in contact with Rhodes by cell phone. "But she gutted through it, and the match ended 4-4 in regulation. Then she got a takedown to win in overtime."

February 24, 2012
Section releases boys basketball playoff pairings for next week

SJS playoff basketball semifinal times for next week

Division I/II girls
Tuesday at Spanos Center, University of the Pacific
4 p.m.: #6 Oak Ridge vs. #2 Armijo
5:30: #4 Kennedy vs. #1 Pleasant Grove
7:30: #7 River City vs. #3 McNair
9: #4 Florin vs. #1 St. Mary's

Division III boys/girls
Tuesday at Cosumnes River College
4 p.m. (girls): #4 Vanden vs. #1 Sacramento
5:30 (girls): #3 Modesto Christian vs. #2 Christian Brothers
7:30 (boys): #3 Center vs. #2 Sierra
9 (boys): #4 Lindhurst vs. #1 Foothill

Division I/II boys
Wednesday at Power Balance Pavilion
4 p.m.: #5 Bethel vs. #1 Sheldon
5:30: #6 Pleasant Grove vs. #2 Jesuit
7:30: #4 Bella Vista vs.#1 Antelope
9: #7 Lodi vs. #3 McNair

Division IV boys/girls
Wednesday at Tokay High School
4 p.m. (girls): #3 West Campus vs. #2 Colfax
5:30 (girls): #4 Bear River vs. #1 Calaveras
7:30 (boys): #5 Calaveras vs. #1 Modesto Christian
9 (boys): #7 Ripon vs. #3 Riverbank

Division V boys/girls
Wednesday at Galt High School
4 p.m. (girls): #4 Capital Christian vs. #1 Brookside Christian
5:30 (boys): #4 Sacramento Waldorf vs. #1 Capital Christian
7:30 (girls): #3 Ripon Christian vs. #2 Turlock Christian
9 (boys): #3 Ripon Christian vs. #2 Central Catholic

February 24, 2012
Boys playoff roundup: Lodi knocks Sac High out of postseason

Sacramento's three-year reign as a Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball champion came to a surprising end tonight in Oak Park.

No. 7 seeded Lodi beat the No. 2 Dragons 90-81 in the quarterfinals.

Coach Derek Swafford's Dragons were three-time defending D-III champions before being bumped into D-II this season, and many still viewed them as the favorites to win a fourth consecutive title.

Lodi will advance to play No. 3 McNair (a 72-63 winner over Yuba City tonight in Stockton) in Wednesday's semifinals at Power Balance Pavilion.

Top-seeded Antelope will play No. 4 Bella Vista in the other D-II playoff.

February 24, 2012
Pleasant Grove beats Franklin to earn first Power Balance trip

By Matt Kawahara

As the clock drained into its final minutes, a raucous Pleasant Grove student section began chanting: "Ar-co! Ar-co!"

The official name of the building may have changed, but a trip to the arena still means the same thing. For the first time in its brief history, the Pleasant Grove boys basketball team on Friday night punched a ticket to Power Balance Pavilion and the semifinals of the Division I playoffs.

Sixth-seeded Pleasant Grove defeated No. 3 seed Franklin, 63-54, in front of a packed house at Franklin High in Elk Grove and will play No. 2 seed Jesuit in next Wednesday's semifinal.

"It still hasn't sunk in right now," said Pleasant Grove coach John DePonte. "Feels great for Cody Demps and Caleb Jackson, guys who have been three-year varsity players for us. Just proud of all our boys in our program trying to take that next step."

Franklin had knocked Pleasant Grove out of the playoffs in each of the last two years.

But it was Pleasant Grove (23-5) that pulled away this time with a balanced performance on offense and a late third-quarter run.

"We know a lot of people on the Franklin team, it's a cool little rivalry we've got going," said Demps, also a football standout in the fall. "So it was definitely a sweet victory tonight."

Demps scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Pleasant Grove, which also received an all-around night from junior Colfax Nordquist. Nordquist finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.

Malik Thames added 11 points and D.J. Dunn and Matthew Hayes each scored eight for Pleasant Grove.

Standout senior Theo Johnson and team captain Kelton Newman led Franklin with 17 points each. Darin Johnson added 11 points for Franklin (22-6), the Delta Valley League champions.

"I told the boys, right now you're disappointed, but what happens on the scoreboard doesn't define what you are, doesn't define your season," said Franklin coach Jesse Formaker. "The other thing I told our seniors, they've got no reason to hang their heads. We've got four straight league banners, those guys have been a part of a championship every year they've been here."

Franklin led 25-24 at halftime and 31-29 with 4:22 left in the third quarter. But after the athletic, 6-foot-6 Theo Johnson picked up his fourth foul with 4:22 left in the third and went to the bench, Pleasant Grove went on a 10-2 run, often going inside to Demps and Dunn for buckets.

"We got into the paint a lot and kept trying to force the referees to make some calls," DePonte said. "When Theo went out we just kept doing more of the same. ... Without him there it opened things up a little more."

Johnson tried to lead Franklin back in the fourth quarter, making a three-pointer and driving layup on consecutive possessions at one point, but Pleasant Grove kept a poised hold on its lead.

Johnson fouled out with 2:29 left in the game. As he left the court, the Franklin student section led an ovation for the senior and Formaker greeted him with a hug at the Franklin bench.

February 24, 2012
Antelope overcomes tough St. Mary's with strong 2nd half

By Bill Paterson

Gabe Bealer was so exhausted he could hardly speak.

The Antelope forward was drenched in sweat. His chest was still heaving as he spoke in brief bursts of exertion after he and his Titans teammates outfought visiting St. Mary's of Stockton 50-36 in Friday night's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinals.

The game was a rematch of last season's D-II section championship game at Power Balance Pavilion, a game St. Mary's won 61-50 against a upstart Titans team playing its second varsity season and first with a senior class.

Bealer wasn't on that team. He played as a sophomore for Jesuit.

But the 6-foot-5 junior grew up in Antelope, joined his neighborhood buddies this season and is another reason why the top-seeded Titans (28-1) have won 27 consecutive games and will return again to Power Balance. Antelope plays No. 4 Bella Vista (an 83-48 winner over Cosumnes Oaks) in Wednesday's semifinals.

"This is fun and this is my family," said Bealer, between gasps, who finished with a game-high 15 points. "I can't wait to play with these guys at Power Balance. Tonight was tough. We started slow, but then we got aggressive."

Slow is an understatement.

Antelope shot 1 of 12 in the opening quarter and trailed the ninth-seeded Rams 23-13 at halftime. But Antelope outscored the Rams' 17-4 in the third period and held them to 3 for 25 shooting in the final two quarters. Antelope also shot a sizzling 15 of 25 from the floor in the second half, although the Titans couldn't put it out of reach until less than two minutes remained against the tenacious Rams (22-7).

"They knew what we liked to do, got physical with us, and we took a punch in the jaw," said Antelope coach Rob Richards. "Nobody made us go that hard for that long this season."

Antelope had only one game in the Capital Athletic League that was decided by fewer than 14 points. St. Mary's finished third in a very competitive Tri-City League that included third-seeded McNair and D-I power West of Tracy.

Antelope made some halftime adjustments, improved its spacing to get shots closer to the basket while doing what they do best - run the floor.

The Titans also played off the dominating interior post play of 6-6 junior shot-blocker and rebounder Isaiah Ellis and were fired up by their monstrous and colorful Red Zone student rooting section that filled up one side of the grand stands and cheered, danced and sang the night away.

While Bealer was big in the second half with 13 points, Antelope sixth man Derek Denten also had a big night.

He scored 11 points, including two turning-point layups, one off his own steal, late in the third quarter that broke a 26-26 tie and put Antelope ahead to stay.

"He's my unsung hero, the sixth man off the bench," Richard said. "He'd probably start for 89 percent of the teams in the city. He had (11) points, a couple of big steals, a big block late, and he's my best on-ball defender. Those kind of players are a coach's dream."

Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

February 24, 2012
Sheldon, Jesuit, Pleasant Grove advance in D-I boy basketball; Lodi shocks second-seeded Sacramento 90-81 in D-II

Here are tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section/Les Schwab Tires boys basketball playoff action as reported by section media director Will DeBoard

Sheldon 65, Burbank 55
Bethel 74, Oak Ridge 59
Pleasant Grove 63, Franklin-EG 54
Jesuit 76, Kennedy 50
Semifinals/Wednesday at Power Balance Pavilion (Times TBA)
#5 Bethel vs. #1 Sheldon
#6 Pleasant Grove vs. #2 Jesuit

Antelope 50, St. Mary's 36
Bella Vista 83, Cosumnes Oaks 48
McNair 72, Yuba City 63
Lodi 90, Sacramento 81
Semifinals/Wednesday at Power Balance Pavilion (Times TBA)
#4 Bella Vista vs. #1 Antelope
#7 Lodi vs. #3 McNair

Foothill 76, Natomas 48
Lindhurst 79, Vista del Lago 54
Center 69, Vanden 57
Sierra 49, Los Banos 44
Semifinals/Tuesday at Cosumnes River College (Times TBA)
#4 Lindhurst vs. #1 Foothill
#3 Center vs. #2 Sierra

Modesto Christian 97, Encina 62
Calaveras 52, Bear River 49
Riverbank 70, San Juan 49
Ripon 52, Bret Harte 46
Semifinals/Wednesday at Tokay High School (Times TBA)
#5 Calaveras vs. #1 Modesto Christian
#7 Ripon vs. #3 Riverbank

Capital Christian 94, Faith Christian 38
Sacramento Waldorf 54, Elliot Christian 44
Ripon Christian 93, Valley Christian 65
Central Catholic 75, Sierra Ridge/ROP 33
Semifinals/Wednesday at Galt High School (Times TBA)
#4 Sacramento Waldorf vs. #1 Capital Christian
#3 Ripon Christian vs. #2 Central Catholic

Victory Christian 73, Brookside Christian 41
#6 Lodi Academy at #2 Sacramentop Adventist, Saturday
Championship/Thursday at Galt High School, 8 p.m.
Lodi Academy/Sac Adventist vs. #1 Victory Christian
Posted by wdeboard at 8:40 PM

February 24, 2012
Top-seeded Sheldon pulls away from Burbank; quest for D-I threepeat is on

By Joe Davidson

The Sheldon Huskies offer moments of superb play - sharing the ball, defending with purpose, polishing foes off.

And there are times The Bee's top-ranked group has lapses, handling the ball as if it was dripping of lava as it sails out of bounds. They are, after all, teenagers.
Top-seeded in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I field and gunning for a large-school section three-peat, the Huskies withstood an early fourth-quarter charge against No. 9 Burbank for a 65-55 second-round playoff victory in South Sacramento on Friday night.

The usual suspects contributed across the board for Sheldon (24-5) with steady point guard D'Erryl Williams scoring 17 points with 12 rebounds, and forward Dakarai Allen going for 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Forward Ryan Manning shot and drove his way to 12 points, wing Armani Hampton had six and seniors Nate Iese and Tyler Morris combined for six points.

Yes, it's a triumph, and they're all cherished at this time of year, but Huskies coach Joey Rollings was quick to remind his troops that a more polished effort is in order to continue the championship journey. Next is Bethel of Vallejo, which eliminated Oak Ridge. Bethel (23-6) is talented and no doubt eager to bruise and derail Sheldon in a semifinal Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion.

"Definitely have to get better," Rollings said. "We have to play better on the big stage. There's a little less pressure for teams now because the top four teams (in each division) go to the NorCals, but we still want to win the section."

Burbank of the Metro Conference tried to zone Sheldon but the Huskies had the athletes to attack it, or shoot over it. And no team in the section has been able to run in a full sprint with these fleet-footed Huskies.

Still, the Titans (21-8) got to within 48-44 with 7:14 to play before Sheldon pulled away with a 13-2 run. Allen had a three-point play and an inside bucket, Manning a driving layup, Williams had back-to-back drives and Hampton a score in a show of balance. Burbank was undone also by making just 13 of 31 free throws, prompting coach Lindsey Ferrell to mutter, "wow."

Williams is the catalyst, setting up teammates, attacking the basket, crashing the boards - and never getting rattled.

"Control the tempo," he said of his role. "I love the role, the ball in my hands, anything to help us win.

Sheldon is so balanced that two nights after Kyi Thomas went for 26 in an opening-round win over Pitman, he went for a modest five.

"We can have four guys in double figures," Rollings said. "D'Erryl is a beast and he's hard to guard. Allen is smooth when he attacks the basket."

The D-I playoffs have a decided Delta River League flavor now with league champion Sheldon to be joined at Power Balance next week by league rivals Jesuit and Pleasant Grove.

"We knew it was a great league," Williams said.
William Roots, Malik Pope and Jay Stone all had 11 points for Burbank.
Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty host the SureWest Sports Radio Show each Saturday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320. Show is linked later to ESPN1320.net

February 23, 2012
Girls basketball roundup: River City, Florin defeat traditional powers El Camino and Del Oro; Lynette Johnson's 37 points leads Kennedy past St. Francis to oust defending D-I champs

In perhaps a passing of the torch, two emerging girls basketball programs beat well-established powers in tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section quarterfinals.

Katie King's 24 points, including two deciding free throws with two seconds, helped seventh-seeded River City to stun No. 2 El Camino 50-48 in a Division II thriller at El Camino.

Meanwhile in South Sacramento, Daijah Joe-Smith's 22 points led No. 4 Florin to a 58-46 win over No. 5 Del Oro, last year's Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF NorCal Division II runners-up.

Florin will face top-seeded St. Mary's of Stockton while River City plays No. 3 McNair in the D-II semifinals Tuesday at the Spanos Center at UOP.

In other girls games reported to The Bee:

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.

February 23, 2012
Capital Christian defeats Waldorf to advance to girls D-V semis

By Matt Kawahara
Haleigh Filer had 17 points and Chelsey Aardahl 15 as fourth-seeded Capital Christian defeated No. 5 seed Sacramento Waldorf 67-38 in a Division V girls playoff game tonight at Capital Christian.

Three other Cougars also scored in double figures: Monique Colbert with 11 points and Nicole Colbert and Shelby Hicks with 10 apiece. Cara Pittman led the way for Sacramento Waldorf with 11 points.

Capital Christian, playing swarming defense, advances to face top-seeded Brookside Christian in Wednesday's semifinals at Galt High School. Brookside Christian defeated Vacaville Christian 75-34.

"We've got to have our A-game, that's for sure, but it'll be fun," said Capital Christian coach Suzanne Baker. "We're happy to be going to semifinals. We're excited."

February 23, 2012
Florin girls basketball beats long-time section power Del Oro for biggest win since 1997

By Joe Davidson

Growing pains. That's what the Florin Panthers girls basketball team endured in recent years, from a winless wreck trying to grasp the game three seasons ago to respectability to now - a milestone moment Thursday night against one of the power programs in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Seeded fourth in the Division II field, Florin played with energy, precision and patience - and it was poised beyond its years down the stretch in taking down No. 5 Del Oro 58-46 in a second-round playoff game in South Sacramento.

Panthers players and coaches rave about how the club has come together. Despite some moments of bickering, they are beloved to one another.

"Oh, we're sisters and we clash, but we're close and we've formed a bond," junior guard Deja Conger said proudly. "Team work, working as a unit, it all came together in the fourth quarter."

Del Oro, with scores of playoff victories over the years and a NorCal finalist a year ago, was ready to pounce on the Panthers down the stretch, but Florin (24-5) would have none of it. A Conger three-pointer gave Florin a 47-41 lead with 2:40 to go, then her zip pass 40 seconds later to Daijah Joe-Smith extended it to 49-43. From there, the Panthers coolly made 9 of 10 free throws to record the program's most significant victory since the Shannon Gasper-coached teams of 1996 and '97 that reached the section D-I finals.

Joe-Smith, a quick forward, had a terrific all-around game. She had 22 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals. Jordyn cq Bell powered inside for 13 points and 10 rebounds, and fellow forward Dalayna Sampton had eight and 10. Guard Kynnidi cq Ricardo had 10 points and provided six assists. For Del Oro (18-11), Brianna Ruiz had 12 points and eight rebounds and Jessica Hinsken had 11 points.

Florin coach Larry Price stood as a proud papa - make that a bear of a man proud papa. He endured the winless season and he promised better days were ahead. That time is now. There are no seniors in the main rotation, so the momentum is sure to carry into next season. The Panthers were exceptional in moving the ball, playing a 2-3 zone and crashing the boards.

"It's a joy to coach this team, to be around them, to see them grow and come together like this," Price said.

Now the ultimate challenge looms in the semifinals Tuesday at Pacific: National power St. Mary's of Stockton, winners of 12 section titles and seven state titles.

The Rams blitzed Florin in the second round last season 77-32. This time, Price, Conger and the crew plan to convince the school band that stood loud, proud and 30 strong against Del Oro to head to Pacific and park close to the St. Mary's bench.

"We're bringing the band!" Price promised. "We know St. Mary's has a great team. Sac High is an elite team and we've experienced that, so we know we won't fall apart and collapse. We'll compete."

Del Oro coach Mike Takayama said his program will regroup and return with the bulk of the roster returning. The JV team also fared well and the freshman team went 22-0. For now, the classy coach praised Florin.
"We had it all set up to make a run in the fourth but Florin was more poised than we were," Takayama said. "What a fantastic year for them, and Price has done a great job."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 23, 2012
Section girls playoff results: Kennedy tops St. Francis 70-57

Here are the results of the Sac-Joaquin Section/Les Schwab Tires Girls Basketball playoffs, as posted tonight by section media director Will DeBoard.

Pleasant Grove 86, Bethel 69
Kennedy 70, St. Francis 57
Oak Ridge 48, Lincoln-S 41
Armijo 58, Sheldon 55
Semifinals/Tuesday at UOP (Times TBA)
#4 Kennedy vs. #1 Pleasant Grove
#6 Oak Ridge vs. #2 Armijo

St. Mary's 82, Inderkum 40
Florin 58, Del Oro 46
McNair 74, Grace Davis 43
River City 50, El Camino 48
Semifinals/Tuesday at UOP (Times TBA)
#4 Florin vs. #1 St. Mary's
#7 River City vs. #3 McNair

Sacramento 80, Weston Ranch 45
Vanden 64, East Union 58
Modesto Christian 58, Manteca 49
Christian Brothers 55, Benicia 42
Semifinals/Tuesday at Cosumnes River College (Times TBA)
#4 Vanden vs. #1 Sacramento
#3 Modesto Christian vs. #2 Christian Brothers

Calaveras 53, Liberty Ranch 35
Bear River 40, Ripon 31
West Campus 47, Riverbank 33
Colfax 58, Argonaut 46
Semifinals/Wednesday at Tokay High School (Times TBA)
#4 Bear River vs. #1 Calaveras
#3 West Campus vs. #2 Colfax

Brookside Christian 75, Vacaville Christian 34
Capital Christian 67, Sacramento Waldorf 38
Ripon Christian 72, Foresthill 64
Turlock Christian 61, Central Catholic 42
Semifinals/Wednesday at Galt High School (Times TBA)
#4 Capital Christian vs. #1 Brookside Christian
#3 Ripon Christian vs. #2 Turlock Christian

Victory Christian 53, Faith Christian 29
Wilton Christian 52, Sacramento Adventist 35
Championship/Thursday at Galt High School, 6 p.m.
#2 Wilton Christian vs. #1 Victory Christian

February 23, 2012
News and notes on the high school boys basketball playoffs for Friday

By Joe Davidson

The Metro Conference in boys basketball has produced many a mighty team over the decades: The Burbank Titans of the 1980s under scowling coach John Copeland. The Kennedy Cougars of the same decade and into the '90s with Spider Thomas, he of the bifocals and towel draped over his shoulder. Sacramento High last decade and now under booming coach Derek Swafford, he of the five Sac-Joaquin Section Division III banners and 300 career wins.

The Metro still features all three in the playoff scramble, with Sacramento the No. 2 seed expected to bolt to the finals, this time in D-II.

Burbank and Kennedy, meanwhile, delivered gritty opening-round D-I efforts and now draw the large-school field's top seeds in No. 1 Sheldon and No. 2 Jesuit, respectively.
If the Metro wins here, or at least splits, the D-I field will be drop-kicked off its axis.

"Playing at Sheldon or Jesuit, I don't wish that on anyone because they're great teams and have (great home atmosphere)," Burbank coach Lindsey Ferrell said, adding that the challenge is so inviting, his players "can't wait."

"The kids are really excited," Ferrell said. "It's a great opportunity."

Burbank, seeded ninth, blitzed Golden Valley of Merced in the second quarter of its playoff opener en route to a 57-33 rout. The Titans switched from a zone defense to man and filled the passing lanes. Jay Stone had 15 points, William Roots and Malik Pope 10 each and Mitchell Love nine.

No. 7-seeded Kennedy held off Chavez of Stockton 65-47 with Derrick West and D.J. Duronslet each going for 16 and Ryan Edwards powering inside for 10. Sheldon, seeking a third consecutive section title, belted Pitman 78-43 with Kyi Thomas going for 25 and Ryan Manning 18. Jesuit, hunting for its ninth title, downed Nevada Union 68-44 behind Bryce Pressley's 19.

* Concerned over the weekend if it would even make the D-I playoffs, Oak Ridge slipped in as a 13 seed and bounced No. 4 West in Tracy 60-54. Bryce Scott scored 25 with eight rebounds and Scott Sanchez went for 14 and seven. Scott is the terrific senior shooting son of Trojans coach Steve Scott.

* No. 12 Vista del Lago upset No. 5 Weston Ranch 72-71 behind Patrick Lowman's 38 points. Weston Ranch took a one-point lead late with a 22-0 run before Jake Duenkel and Ryan Rodriguez iced it with free throws. Lowman is a 3.2 student and also a student of the game.

* Leroy Abraham had 39 points and Marquice Clark 24 in No. 9 Natomas' 81-77 win at No. 8 El Dorado in D-III.

* Matt Hayes had 32 points - six three-pointers and 10 rebounds in an overall display of dominance to power No. 11 Yuba City past No. 6 Del Campo in D-II. Hayes is a terrific talent who has been a bit under the radar. Not now. He's moving the radar.

* Bear River joins Oak Ridge as the lowest-seeded boys team to advance. The Bruins beat No. 4 Sonora 50-47 on the road in D-IV and now gas up the busses again for a trip tonight at No. 5 Calaveras. Bear River is coached by Duwaine Ganskie, who stuffed his school's trophy case with nine section banners while coaching the girls.

* Elk Grove Unified School District teams Franklin and Pleasant Grove face off in the D-I playoffs for the third consecutive season tonight, with Franklin winning the previous two meetings. Both harbor D-I title hopes, with the winner reaching Power Balance Pavilion next week with a triumph.

Franklin and coach Jesse Formaker has two core leaders on Theo and Darin Johnson. Pleasant Grove coach John DePonte relies on the grit and leadership of Cody Demps, Malik Thames and D.J. Dunn, who drops the hammer on fouls like the linebacker enforcer that he is.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 22, 2012
Sheldon coasts to easy win in D-I boys basketball opener; Abraham scores 39 in Natomas' 81-77 D-III win at El Dorado

Kyi Thomas had 25 points and Ryan Manning 18 as top-seeded Sheldon defeated No. 16 Pitman of Turlock 78-43 in a boys basketball game tonight at Sheldon.

Sheldon will play host to No. 9 Burbank in Friday's quarterfinals.

With Jay Stone leading the way with 15 points, Burbank defeated Golden Valley 57-33 tonight in Merced.

In other boys games reported to The Bee:

February 22, 2012
Kennedy downs Chavez in Division I opener; face No. 2 Jesuit next in yesteryear flashback

By Joe Davidson

Expect one sure thing from the Kennedy Cougars when they trot out for a high school basketball game: an all-out, exhaustive effort. Bodies on the floor, crashing the boards, tying up loose balls.

Hustle has been a staple for the program since its first taste of championship glory in the early 1980s under coach Spider Thomas, the Godfather of Greenhaven hoops, and it was paramount Wednesday night in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I boys playoff opener against pesky equally relentless Chavez.

With contributions from nine players and bench players applauding the effort, No. 7-seeded Kennedy prevailed 65-47 over the No. 10 Titans of Stockton.

Derrick West and K.J. Duronslet each scored 16 points on an array of moves, jumpers and put-backs, and Ryan Edwards muscled inside for 10 points and 12 rebounds. Complimentary pieces such as Jaylin cq McQuillon, Taylor Uda, Blake Williams and To'a Kolokihakaufisi combined for a lot of passing, assists, a drawn charge or two - and 23 points.

"We play hard - always," Kennedy coach Robert Fong said. "I never doubt our effort, and we play really good defense."

Kennedy basketball has a cross-generational feel-good story brewing. Fong is in his fifth-year in his second tour as head coach with the Cougars, at his alma mater where he was a star guard in the 1970. Thomas won 500 games during his famed Kennedy career in the 1980s and '90s with Fong and Joe Mugartegui his top assistants. Thomas has been the Kennedy scorekeeper for Fong the past five seasons, and his satisfied grin spoke of his pride. Mugartegui is also back coaching with Fong.

So yes, it's personal for Fong and company.

"I played here, this is my community, and I live here," Fong said.

Now the Cougars (21-7) would like to really turn the playoff field on its ear on Friday with an inspired effort at second-seeded Jesuit, a program synonymous with championship success. Kennedy and Jesuit waged some spirited meetings in the 1990s.

"They're really good," Fong said of Jesuit. "They're big, they've got shooters, very talented. You can bring back all the basketball talk of Kennedy-Jesuit, the great names like J.J. Polk and Isaac Fontaine."

Fong earned his first playoff win in his second tour, and it comes two years after the Cougars won 10 games. He said he is especially proud of his seniors such as West, a four-year player who endured the growing pains.

"We like how we're playing right now," West said. "We've got to keep competing like this, playing hard and staying mentally ready. The growing pains - it's been worth it."

Mack Harris scored 20 for Chavez, in the playoffs for the first time as a relatively new school.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

February 22, 2012
Hayes dominates as No. 11 Yuba City upsets No. 6 Del Campo

There has been much debate this season about who is this area's best boys basketball player.

It may be time to toss Yuba City's Matt Hayes into the topic of conversation.

The 6-foot-2 senior guard put on an impressive all-around show tonight - including 32 points and 10 rebounds - in leading the 11th seeded Honkers to a 74-65 upset of No. 6 Del Campo in Fair Oaks.

February 22, 2012
Here are boys basketball first-round results from tonight

First round
Sheldon 78, Pitman 43
Burbank 57, Golden Valley 33
Bethel 81, Granite Bay 62
Oak Ridge 60, West 54
Franklin-EG 61, Turlock 37
Pleasant Grove 72, Rodriguez 32
Kennedy 65, Chavez 47
Jesuit 68, Nevada Union 44
#9 Burbank at #1 Sheldon
#13 Oak Ridge at #5 Bethel
#6 Pleasant Grove at #3 Franklin-EG
#7 Kennedy at #2 Jesuit

First round
Antelope 83, Downey 47
St. Mary's 60, Grace Davis 47
Cosumnes Oaks at Fairfield, n
Bella Vista 71, Rio Americano 50
McNair 62, Johansen 37
Yuba City 74, Del Campo 65
Lodi 77, Del Oro 71 (OT)
Sacramento 98, Buhach Colony 70
#9 St. Mary's at #1 Antelope
Fairfield/Cosumnes Oaks at #4 Bella Vista
#11 Yuba City at #3 McNair
#7 Lodi at #2 Sacramento

First round
Foothill 66, Dixon 46
Natomas at El Dorado, n
Vista del Lago 72, Weston Ranch 71
Lindhurst 64, East Union 47
Center 78, Patterson 50
Vanden 66, Valley 44
Los Banos 50, Casa Roble 45
Sierra 61, Placer 45
El Dorado/Natomas at #1 Foothill
#12 Vista del Lago at #4 Lindhurst
#6 Vanden at #3 Center
#7 Los Banos at #2 Sierra

First round
Modesto Christian 89, Amador 36
Encina 68, Lathrop 52
Calaveras 68, Union Mine 64 (OT)
Bear River 50, Sonora 47
Mariposa at Riverbank, n
San Juan 79, Escalon 67
Ripon 47, Highlands 44
Bret Harte 91, Waterford 54
#8 Encina at #1 Modesto Christian
#13 Bear River at #5 Calaveras
#6 San Juan vs. Riverbank/Mariposa
#7 Ripon at #2 Bret Harte

First round
Faith Christian 61, Delta Charter 58
Elliot Christian 65, Forest Lake Christian 63
Valley Christian 95, Woodland Christian 72
ROP/Sierra Ridge 72, Le Grand 54
#9 Faith Christian at #1 Capital Christian
#5 Elliot Christian at #4 Sacramento Waldorf
#6 Valley Christian at #3 Ripon Christian
#10 ROP/Sierra Ridge at #2 Central Catholic

Victory Christian 68, Wilton Christian 39
Brookside Christian at Tioga, n
Lodi Academy 39, New Life Christian 36
Trinity Prep at Sacramento Adventist, n
Semifinals/Friday and Saturday
Brookside Christian/Tioga at #1 Victory Christian, Friday
#6 Lodi Academy vs. Trinity Prep/Sacramento Adventist, Saturday

February 21, 2012
Antelope falls in overtime to Grace Davis in D-II girls opener

Here is coverage of the thrilling Antelope-Grace Davis game in Modesto from colleague Richard T. Estrada at the Modesto Bee.

Richard T. Estrada
Davis High had struggled to get rebounds for much of Tuesday's playoff game, but the Spartans battled to grab three of their missed shots on an overtime possession.

With the season riding on the next shot, the Spartans got the ball to Leslie Escudero for a fourth opportunity.

Her 3-pointer with 20 seconds left lifted the Spartans to a 77-75 overtime victory to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 playoffs.

"I can't remember a game-winning shot like that one," said Escudero, who played at Modesto Christian before coming to Davis as a junior.

"I was feeling good earlier in the game, but then I started missing my threes late. Coach tells me to keep shooting, though, and I listened."

Escudero's shot stunned Antelope, which had rallied for a 75-74 lead with 1:15 to play in OT. Davis forced a turnover after Escudero's trey, on Antelope's ensuing possession.

Antelope had a final shot, but Ashley Hawkins' jumper rolled off the rim right at the buzzer.

"I was a little nervous late in the game, but I never had a doubt we'd win," said Andrea Hernandez, in her first year coaching the Spartans.

The nail-biter was in contrast to last year's 64-24 first-round loss to Lincoln. Sixth-seeded Davis (23-4) travels to No. 3 McNair (25-3) for a quarterfinal on Thursday.

McNair features 6-foot-4 Mandy Coleman in the middle, but Davis will try and make the Eagles adapt to its smaller, aggressive lineup.

The momentum in Tuesday's game shifted Davis' direction when 5-6 sophomore Tamia Castaneda replaced 6-foot Stephanie Crist -- creating a height disparity that Antelope could not exploit.

All five Spartans were capable of handling the ball, shooting from the perimeter and driving to the hoop.

Antelope had three 6-footers on the court, but the size was somewhat neutralized as Davis picked up the pace.

Antelope led 17-9 after one quarter, but Escudero started firing away and hit three straight treys to spark a 24-5 run for a 35-26 halftime lead.

Escudero (23 points, seven treys), Kelci Haueter (20 points) and Tania Castaneda (14 points) helped Davis to a 10-point lead in the final quarter, but Antelope tied it at 67 with 20 seconds left.

Each team missed a shot late in regulation, but Antelope went ahead 73-72 in OT on Hawkins' layup halfway into the four-minute period.

After the teams swapped baskets, Davis forced a turnover. The Spartans missed three shots with the clock ticking down to 25 seconds, but used their quickness to grab each of those misses.

Haueter saw Escudero on the opposite side, and Escudero shot as soon as she got the pass. Her bench exploded as the ball hit the net.

Escudero hit her first five 3-point shots, missed four of her following five, then hit her career-best seventh to keep Davis' season alive.

Antelope had used its muscle to dominate the opening quarter, even though Davis was looking eye-to-eye with the 6-foot tandem of Hawkins (24 points) and Tyler Ellis (16 points, 14 rebounds).

The lineup shift gave Antelope a big advantage inside, but the Spartans used their quickness to deny the ball.

"I liked the way that lineup played against their size, giving us five guards and a quicker team," said Hernandez, whose team's up-tempo style surprised Antelope.

So did Escudero's treys.

"It's not something we did a lot of during the regular season, but Leslie's heating up," Hernandez said. "They had to pick their poison. Do they let Leslie shoot and focus on Kelci inside, or come out to defend Leslie and let Kelci go one-on-one inside?"

Haueter was scoreless in the first quarter, but scored 10 in the second. Castaneda scored 10 in the second half, and her aggressive play put Antelope point guard Cameo Warren in foul trouble.

February 21, 2012
James' 18 points helps lead top-seeded Pleasant Grove past Chavez in Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball opener

Dejza James led four Pleasant Grove players in double figures with 18 points as the top-seeded Eagles defeated No. 16 Chavez of Stockton 77-55 in tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball opener in Elk Grove.

Rachel Beebe added 16 points, Avonna Lee 13 and Marissa Wimbley 12 for the 20-8 Eagles. Kelsey Bumanglag led Chavez with 18 points and Renee Gentry added 17 for the Titans.

Chavez (16-12) beat Pitman of Turlock 51-44 in a play-in game on Monday.

In other games tonight reported to The Bee:

February 21, 2012
Top seeds advance in tonight's section girls basketball openers

First round
Pleasant Grove 77, Chavez 55
Bethel 57, Nevada Union 48
St. Francis 61, Monterey Trail 50
Kennedy 51, Napa 49
Lincoln-S 70, Tokay 25
Oak Ridge 76, Grant 36
Sheldon 71, Beyer 51
Armijo 70, Franklin-EG 44
#8 Bethel at #1 Pleasant Grove
#12 St. Francis at #4 Kennedy
#6 Oak Ridge at #3 Lincoln-S
#7 Sheldon at #2 Armijo

First round
St. Mary's 111, Vacaville 54
Inderkum 56, Del Campo 53
Del Oro 55, Rio Americano 41
Florin 62, Kimball 33
McNair 74, Central Valley 34
Grace Davis 77, Antelope 75 (OT)
River City 57, Rocklin 38
El Camino 81, River Valley 46
#8 Inderkum at #1 St. Mary's
#5 Del Oro at #4 Florin
#6 Grace Davis at #3 McNair
#7 River City at #2 El Camino

First round
Sacramento 73, Casa Roble 24
Weston Ranch 58, El Dorado 51
East Union 42, Dixon 28
Vanden 74, Oakmont 39
Modesto Christian 72, Los Banos 35
Manteca 62, Patterson 40
Benicia 61, Foothill 46
Christian Brothers 63, Valley 39
#9 Weston Ranch at #1 Sacramento
#5 East Union vs. #4 Vanden
#6 Manteca at #3 Modesto Christian
#7 Benicia at #2 Christian Brothers

First round
Calaveras 58, Mariposa 43
Liberty Ranch 42, San Juan 39
Ripon 45, Sonora 41
Bear River 64, Hughson 31
West Campus 55, Linden 44
Riverbank 54, Bret Harte 51
Argonaut 44, Bradshaw Christian 28
Colfax 64, Venture Academy 34
#8 Liberty Ranch at #1 Calaveras
#5 Ripon at #4 Bear River
#6 Riverbank at #3 West Campus
#7 Argonaut at #2 Colfax

First round
Vacaville Christian 59, Big Valley Christian 39
Sacramento Waldorf 53, Stone Ridge Christian 32
Foresthill 50, Denair 32
Central Catholic 65, Elliot Christian 34
#8 Vacaville Christian at #1 Brookside Christian
#5 Sacramento Waldorf at #4 Capital Christian
#6 Foresthill at #3 Ripon Christian
#10 Central Catholic at #2 Turlock Christian

Victory Christian 68, Valley Christian 39
Faith Christian 69, New Life Christian 25
Sacramento Adventist 51, Trinity Prep 48
Wilton Christian 61, Lodi Academy 33
#4 Faith Christian at #1 Victory Christian
#6 Sacramento Adventist at #2 Wilton Christian

February 21, 2012
Bee top-ranked Sheldon opens section title defense Wednesday

Two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I boys basketball champion and Bee No. 1 Sheldon opens defense of its title 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against No. 16 seed Pitman of Turlock.

Bee No. 2 Jesuit, also seeded No. 2 in the D-I playoff field, plays host to Nevada Union in another D-I playoff opener on Wednesday. Nevada Union moves into the Bee's final regular season rankings at No. 20 this week.

No. 4 Antelope, riding a 25-game winning streak, plays host to Downey of Modesto on Wednesday. Antelope is the top-seeded team in D-II; one spot ahead of three-time defending D-III section champion Sacramento (now up a division). The Dragons play host to Buhach Colony of Atwater Wednesday night.

February 20, 2012
Former Bee prep hand Matt Mills has Casa Roble girls basketball in playoffs

By Joe Davidson

Matt Mills is coaching.

He's offering insight, instruction, life lessons, an impact in high school sports, and to that conclusion, I say - "of course he is." Mills was absolutely meant for this line of work - teaching and coaching, and doing both very well.

To understand this man Mills, to comprehend his inner-core thinking and drive is to appreciate his passion for high school sports.

He's the first-year coach for the Casa Roble Rams girls basketball team, seeded 16th in the Division III field and bracing for the buzz saw that dresses in purple and goes by the name of the Sacramento Dragons, top-ranked by The Bee all season and roaring into the postseason as the prohibitive favorite to repeat as champions.

Mills caught the coaching and teaching bug from his father Wayne, who coached a ton in the Monticello Empire League, mostly football, and was a principal at Vacaville High for years. So much for retirement. Kid Mills got Old Man Mills off the golf course and beaches to help him this season on the bench, and crafty Coach Mills knows the deal here. Matt takes credit for the victories and sticks the losses on the old man.

Now the monstrous task of taking on Sac High. For Mills, there is no fear in his voice. He'd take on Pat Summit and the Tennessee Vols if it didn't violate some sort of CIF rules. On Tuesday, Mills will receive a hearty effort against long odds because his team always competes.

"I've really enjoyed coaching this year, and the girls are great," Mills said. "So are the other coaches. (Sac High coach) Michele Massari has even invited me in the past to her practices. Sac State coaches have done the same thing, to learn new things. Girls coaches are great like that. Boys coaches never do that. They hold things too close to their vest."

To me, Mills resonates class and achievement with everything from a sneer and snarl to broad grins and a good one-liner. He was a basketball grinder at Vintage High School in the early 1990s with a great first step, a trusty jumper and bruises head to toe for crashing into anything - walls, bleachers, foes, family, referees.

He was also quite accomplished in track and field, taking on the sport's most grueling races such as the 400 and 800 meters because he rather enjoyed bolting for one lap or two and then hugging a trash barrel to deposit his senses. He went on to Sacramento State, discovered writing then wondered what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

In 1995, he caught wind that I was looking for part-time help at The Bee in the prep sports department. It wasn't a glamorous gig by any means, a grunt position common for papers across the land of menial tasks such as answering phones, inputting scores, schedules, etc. Papers of our size like to employ up to 12 such grinders.

Mills tracked me down and asked what he could bring to the interview. He insisted that we'd be foolish not to hire him, that he'd outwork all of us one way or another. So I tested him. Asked him to fetch as many rosters for all of the high school basketball playoff teams in the field - boys and girls - for the looming playoffs. We're talking more than 115 rosters - and well before MaxPreps arrived to provide such luxuries. This meant he had to phone coaches who had no idea who he was, or drive to scores of schools.

Four days later, here comes mighty Mills, armed with a sure grin and two bloated binders. One binder for the girls rosters, in order by league, all neatly hole-punched and inserted, and one for the boys. He managed to get a roster for every single school in the playoffs. The guy could have come in bare foot, dressed in coveralls and babbling nonsense and I was going to keep him. Told my boss Tom Negrete if we landed Mills our department would sing.

Mills was gold in our department. He inputted statistics, scores, schedules and standings, all with purpose (and again well before MaxPreps spoiled us with such gifts). He took it personally because he knew this information was well read. What's more, Mills fielded grouchy calls by the dozens about why The Bee didn't cover more hockey and nasty e-mails on coverage and perceived bias.

In other words, we prepared Mills for coaching high school where the joys can be the teenage achievements and the nightmares can be the parents of those teens.

I used Mills like a pack mule inside the office, in the field and on my own time. In 1998, I informed Mills and another one of our golden young college hires in Sam Amick, now covering the NBA inside and out for SI.com, that I needed their help for an exhaustive move of furniture and boxes full of books from one end of Elk Grove to the other. They asked what they'd receive for their efforts. Told them, "job security."

Mills was with us until 2002 - 10 years ago. Still not sure we've fully recovered. Funny thing about Mills. The last two times I moved with extra heavy boxes and couches, he wouldn't return my calls.

Mills' heart finally steered him to teaching and coaching. After bouncing around the region, he's found a home with the Rams in Orangevale. His young team is in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. He has nine players, meaning assistant coach Tim Carroll runs the floor in every practice for a legit 5-on-5. Better Carroll than Mills because Mills' game is shot.

The players call Mills' father Wayne "Grandpa Mills." Grandpa is in charge of the defense, which has allowed an average of 39 points a game. Sacramento averages 39 a half, so guess who is threatening to yank any stipend paycheck perk to the assistant coach if it gets to be a runaway against the Dragons?

Mills raves about his players such as Amber Felicio, a senior guard averaging 12.8 points. Jasmine Vogt is a senior forward who sounds like Mills' kind of player, "she does everything for us - and her motor never idles, let alone stops."

Senior center Tara Prato-Morrison is a 6-3 talent who is "playing the best basketball of her career." She had a triple-double against rival Del Campo with 10 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocked shots, with Mills adding, "best part was she didn't know what a triple-double was." She does now. Mills needs one more from her - against Sac High.

The coach said he appreciates the efforts of Carlie Marunio, who "loves to take charges." And he has two sophomore starters in point guard Deidre McAuliff and Krystal Aubert, also a superb softball player.

The Rams certainly respect Sac High but they do not fear them. Mills and the fear of a challenge? Unheard of.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidosn

February 19, 2012
Prep basketball playoff fields announced; games start Tuesday

By Joe Davidson

The Sac-Joaquin Section men's and women's basketball playoff brackets offer all sorts of possibilities and twists and turns.

In men's Division I, Sheldon seeks a large-school three-peat and the program's fourth title since 2007 and fifth NorCal playoff berth since 2004. The Huskies are balanced, defensive minded and motivated under coach Joey Rollings.

If No. 8 Burbank can upend No. 9 Golden Valley, a terrific second-round game could pit those Titans at Sheldon on Friday.

A second-round game could also pit Pleasant Grove at Franklin. Oak Ridge is in the field despite the last-second loss to rival Ponderosa in a regular-season finale on Friday, thanks in large part due to the strength of the Delta River League and Lincoln of Stockton losing on Friday as well, costing the Trojans a playoff spot.

Jesuit is the No. 2 seed under coach Greg Harcos, eager for another shot at Sheldon, which has downed the Marauders six consecutive times, including in last year's D-I title game at Power Balance Pavilion and in a last-play thriller at Sheldon this season. Jesuit has won eight section titles lifetime in D-I and II.

Antelope and coach Rob Richards has won 25 consecutive games and looms as a favorite in D-II, having reached the finals a year ago with its first senior class. And there's three-time defending D-III champion Sacramento, which prompted the move up in division, per section rules. The Dragons have won six section titles lifetime.

In Division III, Foothill is the monster under coach Drew Hibbs, winners of 19 straight and seeking a fourth section title since 1997. Modesto Christian is the favorite in D-IV, having already won a section-best 13 titles in various divisions. Capital Christian and veteran coach Terry Battenberg - in his first season with the Cougars - are the favorites in D-V, a very talented field that also includes high-scoring Valley Christian under coach Brad Gunter.

D-VI is also a talented field, headed by No. 1 Victory Christian.

A look at the opening round games on Wednesday with second-round games at home sites on Friday:
Division I
No. 16 Pitman at No. 1 Sheldon
No. 9 Burbank at No. 8 Golden Valley
No. 12 Granite Bay at No. 5 Bethel
No. 13 Oak Ridge at No. 4 West
No. 14 Turlock at No. 3 Franklin-Elk Grove
No. 11 Rodriguez at No. 6 Pleasant Grove
No. 10 Chavez at No. 7 Kennedy
No. 15 Nevada Union at No. 2 Jesuit

Division II
No. 16 Downey at No. 1 Antelope
No. 9 St. Mary's at No. 8 Grace Davis
No. 12 Cosumnes Oaks at No. 5 Fairfield
No. 13 Rio Americano at No. 4 Bella Vista
No. 14 Johansen at No. 3 McNair
No. 11 Yuba City at No. 6 Del Campo
No. 10 Del Oro at No. 7 Lodi
No. 15 Buhach Colony at No. 2 Sacramento

Division III
No. 16 Dixon at No. 1 Foothill
No. 9 Natomas at No. 8 El Dorado
No. 12 Vista del Lago at No. 5 Weston Ranch
No. 13 East Union at No. 4 Lindhurst
No. 14 Patterson at No. 3 Center
No. 11 Valley at No. 6 Vanden
No. 10 Casa Roble at No. 7 Los Banos
No. 15 Placer at No. 2 Sierra

Division IV
No. 16 Amador at No. 1 Modesto Christian
No. 9 Lathrop at No. 8 Encina
No. 12 Union Mine at No. 5 Calaveras
No. 13 Bear River at No. 4 Sonora
No. 14 Mariposa at No. 3 Riverbank
No. 11 Escalon at No. 6 San Juan
No. 10 Highlands at No. 7 Ripon
No. 15 Waterford at No. 2 Bret Harte

Division V
No. 9 Faith Christian at No. 8 Delta Charter
No. 12 Forest Lake vs. Elliot Christian at Tokay
No. 11 Woodland Christian at No. 6 Valley Christian
No. 10 Sierra Ridge at No. 7 Le Grand
Byes: No. 1 Capital Christian; No. 2 Central Catholic, No. 3 Ripon Christian; No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf

Division VI
No. 8 Wilton Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian
No. 4 Tioga at No. 5 Brookside Christian
No. 6 Lodi Academy at No. 3 New Life Christian
No. 2 Sacramento Adventist at No. 7 Trinity Prep

For the women, Pleasant Grove is the top seed and favorite in Division I under coach James McKeever, having posted two Delta River League wins over Oak Ridge and St. Francis, the defending D-I section champion.

An intriguing opener is No. 12 St. Francis playing at No. 5 Monterey Trail. St. Francis is tradition with scores of titles and the Mustangs are basking in their first league title in basketball.

In Division II, St. Mary's is the clear favorite, again formidable with a full-court pressing team and shooters. All told, St. Mary's has won a section-leading 12 section titles. Bear River has won 10, Colfax nine, St. Francis six, El Camino and Nevada Union five and Kennedy and Bradshaw Christian four.

An intriguing second-round game could include No. 5 Del Oro at No. 4 Florin and/or No. 7 River City at No. 2 El Camino.

In Division III, defending champion Sacramento is the clear favorite, superbly coached by Michele Massari and supremely conditioned and eager for another NorCal title push. Looming on the opposite bracket is No. 2 Christian Brothers, one of the section's youngest teams.

Division I
No. 16 Pitman-Chavez at No. 1 Pleasant Grove
No. 9 Nevada Union at No. 8 Bethel
No. 12 St. Francis at No. 5 Monterey Trail
No. 13 Napa at No. 4 Kennedy
No. 14 Tokay at No. 3 Lincoln-Stockton
No. 11 Grant at No. 6 Oak Ridge
No. 10 Beyer at No. 7 Sheldon
No. 15 Franklin-Elk Grove at No. 2 Armijo

Division II
No. 16 Vacaville-Buhach Colony at No. 1 St. Mary's
No. 9 Del Campo at No. 8 Inderkum
No. 12 Rio Americano at No. 5 Del Oro
No. 13 Kimball at No. 4 Florin
No. 14 Central Valley at No. 3 McNair
No. 11 Antelope at No. 6 Grace Davis
No. 10 Rocklin at No. 7 River City
No. 15 River Valley at No. 2 El Camino

Division III
No. 16 Casa Roble at No. 1 Sacramento
No. 9 Weston Ranch at No. 8 El Dorado
No. 12 Dixon at No. 5 East Union
No. 13 Oakmont at No. 4 Vanden
No. 14 Los Banos at No. 3 Modesto Christian
No. 11 Patterson at No. 6 Manteca
No. 10 Foothill at No. 7 Benicia
No. 15 Valley at No. 2 Christian Brothers

Division IV
No. 16 Mariposa at No. 1 Calaveras
No. 9 San Juan at No. 8 Liberty Ranch
No. 12 Sonora at No. 5 Ripon
No. 13 Hughson at No. 4 Bear River
No. 14 Linden at No. 3 West Campus
No. 11 Bret Harte at No. 6 Riverbank
No. 10 Bradshaw Christian at No. 7 Argonaut
No. 15 Venture Academy at No. 2 Colfax

Division V
No. 9 Big Valley at No. 8 Vacaville Christian
No. 12 Stone Ridge at No. 5 Sacramento Waldorf
No. 11 Denair at No. 6 Foresthill
No. 10 Central Catholic at No. 7 Elliot Christian
Byes: No. 1 Brookside Christian; No. 2 Turlock Christian; No. 3 Ripon Christian; No. 4 Capital Christian

Division VI
No. 8 Valley Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian
No. 4 Faith Christian at No. 5 New Life
No. 6 Sacramento Adventist at No. 3 Trinity Prep
No. 2 Wilton Christian at No. 7 Lodi Academy

February 17, 2012
Girls Top 20: St. Francis secures playoff berth with win tonight; No. 5 Sheldon hands No. 2 Pleasant Grove its only league loss

Corinne Friend had 17 points and MacKenzie Conarro 14 as No. 7 St. Francis defeated Folsom 69-46 in a Delta River League girls basketball game tonight.

The win secured a playoff berth for St. Francis, the defending D-I section champions. St. Francis entered the week needing a win.

The Troubadours (15-12, 5-5) were at No. 16 in the section's power ratings. Only the top 16 teams qualify for the postseason, unless a team that doesn't make the top 16 wins or shares a league title. Then there is an outbracket game.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 17, 2012
Boys Top 20: Top-ranked Sheldon beats No. 5 Pleasant Grove

Armani Hampton had 20 points, Dakarai Allen 17 and D'Erryl Williams 14 points and nine rebounds as No. 1 Sheldon defeated No. 5 Pleasant Grove 65-55 tonight in boys basketball game.

The win secured the outright Delta River League championship for the Huskies (22-5, 9-1).

Cody Demps led Pleasant Grove (21-5, 6-4) with a game-high 22 points.

It was Sheldon's second consecutive league championship.

Jesuit (22-5, 8-2), which beat Folsom 82-57 tonight, finished second.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

February 16, 2012
Girls Top 20: El Camino beats Rio Raiders to finish 10-0 in CAL; Del Oro defeats Nevada Union to claim 8th straight SFL title

Jade Sowell-Hundon's game-high 23 points led No. 4 El Camino to a 65-45 Capital Athletic League win over No. 17 Rio Americano in girls basketball tonight.

With the win, El Camino (23-4, 10-0) finishes unbeaten in league play for the second consecutive season and first under new coach Rich Drawbert. Fie Brandt led Rio Americano (17-10, 7-3) with 19 points.

Michelle Okoroike had 26 points and freshman Cameo Warren 14 as No. 19 Antelope (18-7, 7-3) defeated Whitney 70-45 to finish in a tie for second in the CAL with Rio Americano. Alex Rodriguez had 22 points for Whitney.

In other games involving The Bee's Top 20 girls teams:

February 16, 2012
Boys Top 20: Sac finishes undefeated for 4th time in 6 seasons; Kennedy rallies to beat Burbank 44-38 to take second in Metro

Erik Kinney and Joseph Barnes led six Sacramento High Dragons in double figures with 14 points each as the No. 3 Dragons defeated McClatchy 86-57 in a Metro Conference boys basketball game tonight.

It marked the fourth time in six years that Sacramento (22-5, 14-0) has gone undefeated in Metro Conference play.

During that span, Sacramento has won five league championships and is a combined 79-3 in league games.

In other games tonight involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

February 15, 2012
Girls Top 20: Ware's 22 points keeps Sac unbeaten in Metro

Jasmine Ware scored 22 points as top-ranked Sacramento hiked its Metro Conference record to 13-0 with a 61-30 pounding of No. 9 Kennedy in a girls basketball game tonight.

Sac High last lost a league game in 2006, when the Dragons were in the Capital Athletic League.

In other games tonight involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 15, 2012
Boys Top 20: No. 4 Antelope's win streak reaches 24 tonight

Antelope's boys basketball team has come so far in such a short time that even coach Rob Richards admits to being a little dazzled.

"Never as a coach do you expect to be in the third week of February with only one loss," Richards said.

No. 4 Antelope is on a monster roll: 24 consecutive wins and an average margin of victory of more than 20 points in Capital Athletic League play.

The latest to fall was visiting Rio Americano, 72-53 tonight in front of Antelope's boisterous Red Zone student rooting section on Senior Night. It also was Richards 200th coaching victory, which fans celebrated by waving "Mr. 200" signs after the game.

February 14, 2012
No. 17 El Dorado girls upset No. 3 River City to claim SVC title

Sam Reeder had 19 points and Courtney Macklin 13 points and 10 rebounds as No. 17 El Dorado upset No. 3 River City 48-45 in a girls basketball game tonight in Placerville.

The win clinches at least a share of a fourth consecutive Sierra Valley Conference championship for coach Pat Winter's Cougars (18-7, 11-1).

River City (24-2, 10-1), which defeated El Dorado 42-32 Jan. 20 in West Sacramento, will need to beat Vista del Lago on Friday to gain a co-championship with El Dorado.

El Dorado is 47-1 in league during the last four seasons.

February 14, 2012
Boys Top 20: Sacramento rallies to defeat Kennedy 76-67

Juniors James Hadnot and Joseph Barnes combined for 35 points and No. 3 Sacramento outscored No. 10 Kennedy 25-13 in the fourth quarter to rally to a 76-67 Metro Conference boys basketball win tonight in Greenhaven.

With the win, Sac High (21-5, 13-0) claims the outright Metro title.

Derrick West had a game-high 20 points for Kennedy (19-7, 10-3).

In games involving other Bee Top 20 boys teams:

February 14, 2012
Girls Top 20: Pleasant Grove defeats Lincoln of Stockton 62-50

Dejza James scored 22 points and Marissa Wimbley added 17 as Bee No. 2 Pleasant Grove defeated Lincoln 62-50 tonight in Stockton in a battle of Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball powers.

Pleasant Grove is ranked No. 2 in the section behind St. Mary's of Stockton by Maxpreps.com. Lincoln is ranked No. 4.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 14, 2012
National federation announces football rule changes for '12-'13

This news release comes courtesy of Bruce Howard, the director of publications and communications for the National Federation of State High School Associations:

High school football players must sit out one play next year if their helmet comes off while the ball is live.

In cases where the helmet comes completely off without it being directly attributable to a foul by the opponent, the player will have to leave the game for at least one down.

This addition to Rule 3-5-10 was one of eight rules changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its Jan. 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

February 14, 2012
Second yellow card in soccer to lead to playing a man down

This comes courtesy of media spokesman Bruce Howard of the National Federation of State High School Associations:

In a continued emphasis on improving sportsmanship, the "soft red" has been eliminated in high school soccer.

Effective with the 2012-13 season, a second yellow card not only will disqualify a player, but the team will not be permitted to substitute for the disqualified player. Previously, a team was permitted to replace a player who had received a second yellow card.

February 14, 2012
Boys Top 20: Kennedy's last chance co-Metro title bid is tonight

No. 10 Kennedy will make its last push at a Metro Conference boys basketball title share when it takes on league unbeaten and No. 3 Sacramento 7 p.m. tonight in Greenhaven.

Kennedy (19-6, 10-2) trails the Dragons (20-5, 12-0) by two games and was humbled by Sac High in Oak Park 77-39 in their earlier meeting this season.

Coach Robert Fong's Cougars conclude the Metro season by playing host to No. 7 Burbank (19-6, 9-3), last season's league champions, on Thursday.

In other important boys games to wind down the final week of the regular season:

February 13, 2012
Defending champ St. Francis at No. 16 in D-I girls power ratings

It seems a little shocking that defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion St. Francis is sitting at No. 16 - the final playoff qualifying spot - in today's Sac-Joaquin Section D-I girls basketball power ratings.

Troubadour fans shouldn't worry.

St. Francis (14-12) should make the postseason since its last game is on on Friday at Delta River League cellar-dwelling Folsom (7-19), winless in league.

February 13, 2012
Latest boys basketball section power ratings show that Colfax may miss playoffs for first time since 1990-91 season

One season removed from winning the Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball D-IV championship, the Colfax Falcons likely will miss the postseason for the first time since the 1990-91 season.

Colfax is 10-16 overall and 1-8 in the Pioneer Valley League heading into Tuesday's regular-season finale at Lincoln. Colfax snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 58-50 win at Bear River on Thursday.

Colfax is at No. 24 in today's D-IV section power ratings. Only the top 16 teams qualify for the postseason.

Colfax's struggles weren't entirely unexpected. Last year's 22-10 Falcons had 11 seniors on the roster. Coach Mike O'Connell's team this year has 13 juniors and two seniors.

For the complete power ratings

February 10, 2012
Girls Top 20: No. 4 Oak Ridge slips past No. 7 St. Francis 43-42

Oak Ridge outscored St. Francis 16-11 in the final quarter as the No. 4 Trojans posted a 43-42 win over No. 7 St. Francis in a Delta River League girls basketball game tonight in El Dorado Hills.

Haley Anderson finished with 11 points and Jenn Hoffman added 10 as Oak Ridge remained in second place in league.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 10, 2012
Boys Top 20: Hansen's 28 points leads Granite Bay to win

Jerry Hansen's game-high 28 points helped No. 17 Granite Bay (13-12, 5-3) defeat visiting Roseville 74-72 to move into sole possession of second place in Sierra Foothill League boys basketball action tonight at Granite Bay.

Granite Bay trails No. 13 Del Oro (17-8, 7-1) by two games in league.

Del Oro defeated Nevada Union 46-32 as Austin Soldano had 15 points and Jordan Broyles 13.

In other games involving The Bee's Top 20 boys teams:

February 10, 2012
The Bee's Davidson, Paterson to march down memory lane on SureWest Sports Radio Show on ESPN on Saturday

My good friend and the ever poised and polished Bill Paterson will join me in studio for the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320.net.

Paterson will fill in for Mike Finnerty of SureWest for the weekend.

Bill and I have worked together for McClatchy and The Sacramento Bee since 1989. We will talk prep sports in big-picture view and break down some milestone moments, spectacular teams, talents, record-setting coaches, the regional growth and where high school sports are headed - for good and worse.

The show will be linked later in the day to ESPN1320.net

February 9, 2012
Girls Top 20: Camalo, Rocklin rock Nevada Union 63-39 in SFL

Joie Camalo had 26 points and Alison Willie added 12 as No. 18 Rocklin defeated No. 11 Nevada Union 63-39, handing the Miners their first Sierra Foothill League girls basketball loss tonight in Rocklin.

In other games involving The Bee Top 20 girls teams:

• Courtney Brignac's 21 points led No. 5 El Camino to a 66-23 Capital Athletic League win over Whitney. El Camino is 21-4 on the season, 8-0 in league.

February 9, 2012
Boys Top 20: Foothill beats Center to claim outright PVL title

Kelly Bender had 22 points, Michael Bryson 21 and Anthony Williams 18 as No. 6 Foothill defeated No. 14 Center 81-67 to lock up the outright Pioneer Valley League boys basketball championship tonight in Foothill Farms.

It was Foothill's 18th consecutive win as it moved to 9-0 in league and 23-3 overall.

Christopher Smith, who had missed the last four games with a sprained ankle and wasn't expected to play, topped Center (18-7, 6-3) with 25 points. Kenneth Parker added 17 points as the Cougars saw their two year reign as league champions come to an end.

Center won the Capital Valley Conference in 2009-2010 and the PVL last year. Foothill finished second both seasons.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

February 8, 2012
Girls Top 20: Conger's 20 points helps Florin top Kennedy 53-38

Deja Conger had 20 points and Daijah Joe-Smith added 12 points and 16 rebounds as No. 9 Florin defeated No. 8 Kennedy 53-38 in a Metro Conference girls basketball game tonight at Florin.

The win moved third place Florin (19-5, 8-3) to within a game of second place Kennedy (17-7, 9-2).

In other games involving The Bee's Top 20 girls teams:

February 8, 2012
Boys Top 20: No. 2 Jesuit tops No. 5 Pleasant Grove 57-54; Folsom's Justin Woody scores 47 in win against Ponderosa

Parker Uu and Bryce Pressley each had 20 points as No. 2 Jesuit defeated No. 5 Pleasant Grove 57-54 in a Delta River League boys basketball game tonight in Elk Grove.

Colfax Nordquist topped Pleasant Grove with 15 points.

The game was close throughout. Jesuit led 31-27 at the half and 42-40 after three quarters.

Jesuit remains a game behind first place Sheldon in league. Pleasant Grove drops to third.

In other boys games involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

February 8, 2012
FC Elk Grove to hold soccer signing ceremony tonight

Several members of FC Elk Grove, a competitive soccer program, will participate in a NCAA letter of intent signing ceremony 7 p.m. today at the Elk Grove Unified School District Trigg Center.

Among those scheduled to participate are University of Portland-bound and U.S. U-18 Women's National team camp invitee Devlyn Jeter of Rosemont and Cosumnes Oaks student Kira Wagoner, headed to Oregon.

FC Elk Grove director of coaching Cesar Plasencia will make a few opening remarks.

February 8, 2012
National Signing Day: Some overlooked and some gems

Some odds and ends to cap football National Signing Day.
Last Wednesday was the first day athletes could sign binding letters of intent but not the only day.

So for every Shaq Thompson and Arik Armstead, there are plenty like Charlie Vue and Brendan Keeney.

Vue is the superb kicker with the perfect grades from Grant who could be close to signing with someone such as San Jose State.

February 8, 2012
SureWest Sports Show breaks down football Signing Day, area basketball highlights

It was a pleasure to join Mike Finnerty on the latest SureWest Sports Show from last week that airs today, with links to previous shows.

We broke down the significance of National Signing day, anchored by Finnerty one-on-one interviews with Shaq Thompson and Pleasant Grove's Arik Armstead. We also talked about basketball movers and shakers in the region, including the high hopper that is Kyi Thomas as he took on Jesuit in a battle of Bee and SureWest No. 1 vs. No. 2.

Click here for the link.

February 7, 2012
Girls Top 20: No. 11 Nevada Union remains unbeaten in SFL

Nicole Lierly had 14 points and Lauren Mickel 13 as No. 11 Nevada Union defeated Woodcreek 53-47 tonight to remain undefeated in Sierra Foothill League girls basketball.

In other games involving The Bee's Top 20 girls teams:

• Marissa Wimbley had 25 points in No. 2 Pleasant Grove's 54-46 Delta River League win over St. Francis.

• Ericka Magana had 24 points and Riana Byrd 18 in Inderkum's 73-63 nonleague win over Davis.

February 7, 2012
Boys Top 20: Logue, Salhani lead Bella Vista past Del Campo; Sac High's Derek Swafford honored for his 300th win

K.J. Logue had 16 points and Cristian Salhani 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 9 Bella Vista to a 63-47 win over No. 10 Del Campo in a Capital Valley Conference boys basketball game tonight at Bella Vista.

The win gives first place Bella Vista a one-game lead over the Cougars in the CVC.

Davit Saghateylan led Del Campo with 14 points.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

• Joseph Barnes had 21 points, De'Von Boyd 18 and Erik Kinney 16 as No. 3 Sacramento defeated Rosemont 92-50 in a Metro Conference game. Before the game, Sac High coach Derek Swafford was honored for his 300th win with the Dragons.

February 7, 2012
Bee's Boys Top 20: No. 9 Bella Vista faces No. 10 Del Campo

Fair Oaks boys basketball rivals No. 9 Bella Vista and No. 10 Del Campo will break a first-place deadlock when they meet tonight in a Capital Valley Conference game at Bella Vista.

Both are 19-4 overall and 5-1 in league.

Defending league champion Bella Vista defeated Del Campo 64-57 on Jan. 18 at Del Campo but was upset 55-53 by Oakmont two nights later.

February 6, 2012
Several area teams are on bubble in latest girls power ratings

Pleasant Grove, St. Mary's of Stockton and Sacramento are seeded No. 1 in the top three divisions of the latest Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball power ratings that were released today.

It's the second of three ratings to be released before the playoff brackets are posted on Sunday, Feb. 19.

In D-I, Pleasant Grove, No. 2 Armijo, No. 3 Kennedy and No. 4 Lincoln of Stockton hold the top spots. Woodcreek is on the bubble at No. 17.

The top 16 teams qualify for the postseason.

February 6, 2012
Sheldon moves to No. 1 in D-I boys basketball power ratings; Davis climbs into playoff picture after winning three straight

Sheldon has moved to the top of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I boys basketball power ratings released today by the section office.

It's the second of three ratings to be released before the playoff brackets are posted on Sunday, Feb. 19.

In D-I boys, the top four seeds are Sheldon, No. 2 West, No. 3 Pleasant Grove and No. 4 Franklin. Jesuit, which topped the first rankings last Monday, is at No. 5.

Davis, meanwhile, climbed back into the playoff picture and is in the last qualifying spot at No. 16 after winning its last three Delta Valley Conference games, two in overtime.

February 4, 2012
State No. 3 Salesian rallies to beat Sheldon 63-61 tonight

National power Salesian of Richmond came to Sacramento Saturday night looking for a competitive game against Bee No. 1 Sheldon.

The Pride got that and more, needing a dramatic comeback late, led by their outstanding 6-foot-6 junior Jabari Bird, to post a 63-61 win in front of another packed crowd at Sheldon.

Trailing 57-54 with two minutes to play, Salesian went on a 9-1 run to go up 63-58 before Sheldon's Kyi Thomas hit a three-pointer with 6.6 seconds. But the Huskies couldn't corral a Salesian missed free throw with 4.7 seconds as the Pride ran out the clock.

February 4, 2012
El Camino volleyball's Devin Herenda up for national honors

Devin Herenda, a 5-foot-9 setter from El Camino, is one of PrepVolleyball.com's 18 finalists for national freshman player of the year.

Last fall, the ninth grader helped El Camino to a 37-4 record in earning All-Capital Athletic League and Bee All-Metro honorable mention recognition.

Herenda averaged 12.1 assists per set (1089 total) while adding 169 digs and 79 kills.

February 4, 2012
Ex-Bella Vista wrestler Jennifer Page wins WCWA national title

Former Bella Vista wrestler Jennifer Page, now competing on scholarship as a freshman at Oklahoma City University, recently won the 143-pound title at the Women's College Wrestling Association national championships in Bristol, Tenn.

Page defeated 2011 Junior World bronze medalist Alli Ragan of Tennessee's host King College in the final 3-1 and 3-2.

The kinesiology major had defeated Ragan at the National Duals earlier in January.

Page, one of six Oklahoma City individual champions, helped the team win its fourth straight WCWA national title.

February 4, 2012
Former Jesuit player Jay Flores earns top award at Chico State

Chico State senior point guard Jay Flores, a 2007 Jesuit graduate, has made the Capital One Academic All-West Region team for his excellence in the classroom and on the court.

Only athletes with cumulative GPAs of 3.30 or higher who have played in at least 75 percent of their team's games are eligible for Academic All-Region honors.

Flores, a business major, is now eligible for Academic All-America honors as well. That announcement will come on Feb. 22.

"This is such a huge honor, and no one deserves it more that Jay Flores," said Chico State coach Greg Clink in a press release. "Jay is the epitome of what it means to be a student athlete....His leadership on the court, in the classroom, on campus and in the community is inspiring."

Flores also has the Wildcats on the precipice of one of their best seasons ever. They're 16-5 overall and tied for first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association at 10-5 entering tonight's game against San Francisco State.

Flores leads the team in minutes played, steals and assists and is also averaging 9.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

February 3, 2012
Davis boys whip Laguna Creek 104-66 for third consecutive win

The Davis boys basketball team and its unique up-tempo "The System" isn't going down without a fight.

The Blue Devils, appearing well out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff picture a week ago, have bounced back with three consecutive Delta Valley Conference wins.

It started last Friday with an 86-84 triple overtime win over Elk Grove and continued on Wednesday with an 94-81 overtime win against Grant.

Tonight the visiting Blue Devils left Laguna Creek in shock in running past the Cardinals 104-66.

February 3, 2012
Girls Top 20: No. 2 Pleasant Grove beats Ponderosa 60-47

Avonna Lee had 16 points, Marissa Wimbley 13 and Jordan Grays 11 as No. 2 Pleasant Grove coasted to a 60-47 Delta River League win over Ponderosa in a girls basketball game tonight.

The win hiked Pleasant Grove's league record to 7-0. The Eagles are 16-7 overall.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 3, 2012
Boys Top 20: Thomas' buzzer-beating tip-in lifts No. 1 Sheldon over No. 2 Jesuit 71-70, breaking Delta River League deadlock

Kyi Thomas' tip-in at the buzzer lifted No. 1 Sheldon past visiting and No. 2 Jesuit 71-70 tonight in a boys basketball battle between Delta River League front-runners.

Bryce Pressley hit a three-pointer from the corner with 10 seconds to play to give Jesuit a 70-69 lead.

With no time outs, Sheldon scampered up court and Armani Hampton put up a running shot that didn't fall but the 6-foot-4 Thomas - he of the amazing 44-inch vertical leap and with a football scholarship to Sacramento State - got to the ball and tipped it in.

February 2, 2012
Boys Top 20: Bryson's 22 helps lead Foothill past Bear River

Michael Bryson scored 22 points and Anthony Williams added 12 as No. 6 Foothill defeated Bear River 61-53 in a Pioneer Valley League boys basketball game tonight in Lake of the Pines.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 boys teams:

• Darius Graham led four players in double figures with 20 points as No. 3 Sacramento beat Hiram Johnson 83-47 in a Metro Conference game.

February 2, 2012
Girls Top 20: Sophomore helps Del Oro slip past Rocklin 29-28

Sophomore Mia Maglinte scored 11 points to lead No. 12 Del Oro to a 29-28 win over No. 19 Rocklin in a Sierra Foothill League girls basketball game tonight in Loomis.

It was the first league game for Del Oro since Nevada Union defeated the Golden Eagles 44-42 on Friday, snapping Del Oro's 63-game win streak in league play.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 girls teams:

February 2, 2012
Signing day: Complete coverage
February 2, 2012
Chat live with Joe: National letter-of-intent signing day

February 1, 2012
Girls Top 20: Top-ranked Sac High cruises past Burbank tonight

Briana Womack had 17 points and Ayanna Edwards 16 as top-ranked Sacramento cruised to a 79-9 Metro Conference win over Burbank in girls basketball tonight.

In other games involving Bee Top 20 teams:

• Lynette Johnson tallied 18 points and Lori Wong 16 as No. 7 Kennedy defeated McClatchy 61-33 in a Metro game.

• Daijah Joe-Smith had 16 points as No. 8 Florin defeated Johnson 59-15 in Metro play.

• Haley Shaner's 25 points helped No. 16 West Campus defeat Mesa Verde 75-41 in a Golden Empire League contest.

February 1, 2012
Boys Top 20: No. 5 Pleasant Grove rebounds against Oak Ridge; Allen scores 42 as top-ranked Sheldon beats Folsom

No. 5 Pleasant Grove, which lost to No. 2 Jesuit and No. 1 Sheldon in boys basketball games last week, bounced back tonight by beating No. 11 Oak Ridge 60-52 in a Delta River League game in Elk Grove.

Cody Demps led four Eagles in double figures with 19 points. Bryce Scott had a game-high 30 for Oak Ridge.

In other games involving The Bee's Top 20 boys teams:

• Dakarai Allen had 42 points in leading top-ranked Sheldon to a 71-56 win at No. 15 Folsom.

• Bryce Pressley's 15 points helped Jesuit to a 64-26 Delta River win over Ponderosa.

• Theo Johnson had 20 points and Darin Johnson 18 as No. 8 Franklin defeated Monterey Trail 70-31 in a Delta Valley Conference game.

February 1, 2012
Zac Cunha signs scholarship deal with Minot State University

An era is coming to a close at Roseville High School. Soon, there will be one less Cunha roaming an academic hallway.

Zac Cunha bounds into his final months before graduation, before embarking on a scholarship tour to Minot State University in Minot North Dakota, where the stout senior will play quarterback on scholarship for a Division II program in the charming town of Minot. His father Larry will return as a teacher and football coach with the Tigers, where he's been a fixture in Roseville orange and balck for more than 25 years in producing consistent winners with a golden reputation as a classy achiever.

Cunha and his father returned from a recruiting trip to Minot over the weekend. The town, the school, the academics, the football family - it all felt right, and the feeling was mutual.

February 1, 2012
It will be another bumper crop of Folsom football signees today

In the last two years, no area program has sent more scholarship players to four-year football programs than Folsom.

Last year the Bulldogs, coming off their 14-1 CIF State Bowl championship season, saw six players sign on National Letter of Intent Day, including MaxPreps.com National Player of the Year Dano Graves, the Bulldogs' star quarterback, and tight end Marcus Hendricks, both with the Air Force Academy.

Also signing that day were wide receiver Tyler Trosin (Oregon State) and all-purpose star Jordan Richards (Stanford) to the Pac-12; linebacker Burton DeKoning to Nevada and offensive lineman Stephen Sippel to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

At 3:30 p.m. today, five more members of Bulldog Nation will participate in a signing ceremony in the school's library.

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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