March 29, 2012
Former Folsom star Kori Babineaux to be Bulldog again

Former Folsom High football and basketball standout Kori Babineaux has verbally committed to play basketball at Drake.

The 6-foot-4 combo guard is a fifth-year high school player who played four seasons at Folsom - he was a key member of the Bulldogs' State Bowl championship football team in 2010 - and is now at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Ill.

This past season, Babineaux put up a school-record 48 points in a Lake Forest Academy loss to North Chicago. He averaged 27.6 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals for a team that went 8-13.

Babineaux figures to immediately contribute to the Drake Bulldogs, who play in the Missouri Valley Conference.

According to, the wide receiver-defensive back at Folsom had at one time football offers from Colorado State, Iowa State, San Diego State and Wyoming.

Basketball players can officially sign letters of intent on April 11.

March 28, 2012
Here are the area all-league winter wrestling teams

These are the area all-league wrestling teams that were submitted to The Bee.

All League: 108-Zach Tweedy, Bella Vista, Chris Enis, Christian Brothers; 115-Aaron Ashby, Christian Brothers, Brennen Collins, Bella Vista; 122-Victor Trujillo, Bella Vista, Adam Goldberg, Christian Brothers; 128-Josh Lazzaro, Bella Vista, Yianni Athens, Oakmont; 134-Justin Calderon, Bella Vista, Tyler Anderson, Casa Roble; 140-Shane Tucker, Bella Vista, Kaleo Ramero, Oakmont; 147-Sam Fowler, Bella Vista; William Lacker, Rio Linda; 154-Jake Elliot, Oakmont, Seth Avis, Casa Roble; 162-Christopher Matis, Casa Roble, Julio Martinez, Del Campo; 172-Peter Santos, Oakmont, Scott Johnson, Del Campo; 184-Jordon White, Casa Roble, Robert Gourlay, Bella Vista; 197-Anthony Trobridge, Casa Roble, Reed Smith, Del Campo; 220-Jake Minshew, Casa Roble, Sach Sidhu, Oakmont; 287- John Tennier, Casa Roble, Manasey Hingano, Rio Linda.

All League: 106-Gilbert Martinez, Jesuit; 113-Jacob Gonzalez, Ponderosa; 120-Lorenzo De La Riva, Folsom; 126-Connor Pollock, Folsom; 132-Tony Hernandez, Folsom; 138-Mason Koshiyama, Folsom; 145-Nick Fiegener, Folsom; 152-Isais Diaz, Folsom; 160-Keaton Subjeck, Oak Ridge; 170-Nick Troquato, Ponderosa; 182-Jacob Richards, Ponderosa; 195-Alex Wood, Folsom; 220-Xavier Lopez, Oak Ridge; 285-Jeff Camilli, Ponderosa.

108 - Jacob Lopez, Elk Grove; 115 - Ethan Larrabee, Elk Grove; 122 - Josh Vilafor, Franklin; 128 - Matt Bettencourt, Elk Gove; 132 - Martin Ramirez, Elk Grove; 140 - Sunny Jackson, Elk Grove; 147 - Braden Henderson, Elk Grove; 154 - Joey Lopez, Elk Grove; 162 - DJ Harper, Franklin; 172 - Scott Votino, Elk Grove; 184 - Freddie Lopez, Elk Grove; 197 - Ryan Ludwig, Elk Grove; 222 - Josh Letuligasenoa, Elk Grove; 287 - Jaharie Taylor, Elk Grove.

Lightweight MVP: Andrew Coyne, Capital Christian
Middleweight MVP: Jesus Yanez, Lindhurst
Heavyweight MVP: Christian George, Lindhurst
Coach of the Year: Brady Yount, Mesa Verde
All League: 108-Andrew Coyne, Capital Christian; 115-Matt Butler, Mesa Verde; 122-Gabe Holm, Mesa Verde; 128-Jonathon Jordan, Mesa Verde; 134-Jesus Yanez, Lindhurst; 140-Armante Gonzalez, Lindhurst; 147-Edgar Rivera, Lindhurst; 154-Aaron Mayberry, Mesa Verde; 160-Brandon Sullivan, Capital Christian; 172-Quinton Kirk, Capital Christian; 184-Aaron Holt, Capital Christian; 197-Jordan Colby, West Campus; 222-Christian George, Lindhurst; 287-Brandon Roznos, Capital Christian.

Coach of the Year: Bill Lum, Foothill and Kevin Figueroa, Bear River.
All League: 106-Jonathan Browning, Foothill; 113-Josh Mason, Placer; 120-Marcus Herrera, Foothill; 126-Storm Peterson, Foothill; 132-Jesse Hernandez, Foothill; 138-Stone Dallen, Bear River; 145-Aguilar Sam, Bear River; 152-Ero Wainio, Lincoln; 160-Bothelio Bradley, Bear River; 170-Garret Rose, Center; 182-Cameron Tate, Center; 195-Khymba Johnson, Center; 220-Ken Mathe, Colfax; 285-Michael Lowman, Foothill.

Lightweight MVP: Patrick Lewis, Golden Sierra
Middleweight MVP: Zander Mishler, Golden Sierra
Heaveyweight MVP: Aaron Abalos, Highlands
Coach of the Year: Ed Kenedy, Golden Sierra
All-league: 106-Sam Finley, Bradshaw Christian; 113-Pat Lewis, Golden Sierra; 120-Phillip Dye, Bradshaw Christian; 126-Veugenly Valyauski, Encina; 132-Rahemm Johnson, Encina 138-Eduardo Garcia, Highlands; 145-Trevor Knorski, Vacavillel; 152-Zander Mishler, Golden Sierra; 160-Aaron Abalos, Highlands; 170-David Ellis, Bradshaw Christian 182-Nick Carrasca, Highlands; 195-Jim Hansen, Golden Sierra; 220-Kyle Hensman, Golden Sierra; 285-Tommy Carey, Golden Sierra

All-League: 106 - James Gomez, Woodcreek; Zach Ruybal, Del Oro; 120 - Sean Brown, Granite Bay; 126 - Johnny Callas, Nevada Union; 132 - Julian Purdy, Nevada Union; 138 - Ian Mock, Granite Bay; 145 - Shane Keefe, Rocklin; 152 - Austin Branum, Del Oro; 160 - Skylar Gonzales, Rocklin; 170 - Dylan Kainrath, Del Oro; 182 - Connor Guzman, Granite Bay; 192 - Cameron Smith, Granite Bay; 220 - Ryan Fratto, Roseville; 285 - Sam Woods, Rocklin.

All-league: 106-Jared Blecman, Cosumnes Oaks; 113-Chase Agrella, Liberty Ranch
120-Ryan Nantuna, Cosumnes Oaks; 126-Phoenyx Iniquez, Cosumnes Oaks;
132-Michael Gary, Vista del Lago; 138-Troy Grossi, Vista del Lago; 145-Sean Tow, Union Mine; 152-Adam Tyson, River City; 160-James Warden, Union Mine; 170-Mitch Woods, Union Mine; 182-Oscar Flores, Cosumnes Oaks; 195-Tyler Martin, Cosumnes Oaks; 220-Chris Vasquez, Union Mine; 285-Francisco Ruiz, Cosumnes Oaks.

March 28, 2012
Here are the area's boys basketball all-league teams

These are the area all-league boys basketball teams that have been submitted to The Bee.

MVP: Jarvis Watkins and Gabe Bealer, Antelope.
All-League: Isaiah Ellis, Antelope; Harrison Ashen, Mason Pigman and Zach Suarez, Rio Americano; Dallen Eddenfield and Ryan Johnson, El Camino; Troy Owens and Justin Sevilla, Cordova; Evan Orrick, Whitney.

MVP: K.J. Logue, Bella Vista.
All-League: Tyler Berkness, Ahmad Smith and Cristian Salhani, Bella Vista; Mitesh Patel, Christian Brothers; Davit Saghatelyan, Semir Cahtarevic and Johnny Hayes, Del Campo; Nick Bruce and Chris Stapleton, Casa Roble; Hunter Ford, Oakmont; Enrique Guzman, Rio Linda.

MVP: Christopher Schwartz-Edmisten, Sacramento Waldorf
Coach of the Year: Dean Stark, Sacramento Waldorf
All-League: Robby Maxey and Blake Owen, Victory Christian; Brennan Petersonwood, Sacramento Waldorf; Anthony Castaneda, Woodland Christian; John McDonald, Forest Lake Christian.

MVP: Theo Johnson, Franklin.
Coach of the Year: Dustin Monday, Elk Grove.
All League: Hayden Russell, Kevin Sorenson and Tyler Sousa, Davis; Noah Wellington and Jason Williams, Elk Grove; Darin Johnson, Franklin; DeSean Parsons and Eddie Sparks, Grant; Shaquille Cornelius and Barry Ogalue, Laguna Creek.

March 28, 2012
Here are the girls high school basketball all-league teams

These are the area all-league girls basketball teams that have been submitted to The Bee.

MVP: Courtney Brignac, El Camino
All-league: Jade Sowell-Hundon and Simone Sheppard, El Camino; Alex Rodriguez and Kristin Ladas, Whitney; Ashley Hawkins, Tyler Ellis, Michelle Okoroike, Antelope; Jaime Dixon and Elizabeth Moulton, Rio Americano; Monae Newton, Cordova.

MVP: Ishana Burch, Christian Brothers
All-league: Jazmine Bemby, Alicia Gonzalez and Neil Valmores, Christian Brothes; Amber Felicio and Jasmine Vogt, Casa Roble; Olivia Francis and Brittany Martin, Oakmont; Amora Harding and Kayla Josephson, Del Campo; Amber Huffhines, Rio Linda; Shelby Stepper, Bella Vista.

MVP: Cara Pittman, Sacramento Waldorf
Coach of the Year: Tim Smithers, Victory Christian
All-League: Molly Huffman and Laura Neville, Victory Christian; Ella Haberman, Sacramento Waldorf; Sadie Stroup, Foresthill; Selina Landberg, Delta.

MVP: Summayyah Wiggins, Monterey Trail
Coach of the Year: David Kendrick, Grant
All-league: Qiana Levy, Monterey Trail; Ashleigh Vanderbrink, Davis; Carley Grey and Amy Schuman, Elk Grove; Ashley Marterelli and Sandy Perez, Franklin; Adrianna Joaquin and Raynell Lynn, Grant; Lindsey Kikumoto and Jasmine Yee, Laguna Creek.

March 28, 2012
Finnerty, Davidson break down the conclusion of a record high school basketball season; also talk about baseball, softball upsets on SureWest Sports Show

In a basketball wrap-up to recognize a banner season, the SureWest Sports Show breaks down the CIF State Division I championship game between Sheldon and Mater Dei with detailed highlights and interviews.
Show host Mike Finnerty also has baseball and softball highlights, including a thrilling baseball showdown and finish between Davis and Rocklin at Raley Field and a Sierra Foothil League stunner among Placer County rivals with Woodcreek and Roseville.

In addition, Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee joins Finnerty for the weekly Sports Chat in the continued content-sharing agreement between SureWest and The Bee. In this week's Sports Chat, Finnerty and Davidson put a wrap on basketball in big-picture view - what it all means - and break down some of the upsets brewing in baseball and softball.

Click here for the link.

March 26, 2012
Ex-Jesuit player Blees completes brilliant career at Claremont

Chris Blees, The Bee's 2007 boys basketball Player of the Year while at Jesuit High School, capped a stellar career at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California by being named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America Third Team for NCAA Division III.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Blees, a forward, also was named to the NABC Western District First Team.

Blees, who starred on the Jesuit High teams that won Sac-Joaquin Section titles in 2006 and 2007, graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2011 after missing most of last season with a torn ACL.

March 26, 2012
Jesuit rallies to beat Davis 3-2 in Raley Field showcase; Logan James strikes out 5 in three innings, drives in winning run

By Joe Davidson

Logan James recorded some strikeouts as the starter and even drove in the go-ahead run to put a stamp on Monday night's 3-2 Jesuit win over Davis at Raley Field.

But the senior ace with a pretty steady bat wasn't entirely satisfied. He wants to polish up his game on the mound, to become the sort of dominant pitcher that has scholarship destination in Stanford so eager to get him down to The Farm.

James delivered a sharp single to score two in the bottom of the fifth and his reliever mates denied Davis the sort of late-game rally that had come to define the team this early season.

James had five strikeouts in his three innings of pitching work but also walked four as he was equal parts dominant and a shaky with control. Marauders coach Joe Potulny pulled him with Davis up 2-1 off a George Hatamiya 2-run single in the top of the second and went with fellow lefties Max Eggleston and Gabe Araj to give them some work and to allow as many players the Raley experience before heading to the prestigious Lions Tournament in Anaheim - a five-game tour against power programs starting Saturday.

Potulny has challenged James to up his game, to be that national recruit leader, to perform at the level he and the pitcher himself expect.

"I can get better," James said. "Sometimes my leg kick is too far and it's pulling me, things like that. I can feel it."

As for the championship potential of Jesuit in general and the looming Anaheim event, James said, "definitely excited for that." Jesuit will be in a Delta River League that is again top heavy with Oak Ridge, Pleasant Grove and surging Sheldon, off to a school-record best 8-0 start.

Davis starter Matt Trask pitched admirably for 4 2/3 innings in starting opposite of James, a Davis resident who still keeps in touch with Blue Devils players, including ace Ben Eckels. Trask struck out Jesuit slugger Zach Green twice.

Monday was one of 24 high school games the River Cats are hosting in the franchise's continued effort to reach out to the community. Tony Asaro is the brain trust behind the high school programs competing at Raley, a baseball die hard who beams at how popular this has become. Players and coaches relish the Raley experience, naturally, and this showdown among rivals is a natural for such a venue.

Jesuit and Davis have combined to win eight Sac-Joaquin Section championships and both have the sort of teams to make another title run. What's more, Potulny and Davis coach Dan Ariola are two of the very best in the section. They are good friends.

"The feeling is that as long as Dan and I are coaching, we'll do this game and we'll do it here," Potulny said. "It's a god, playoff-type experience."

Davis needed late-game dramatics to beat Rocklin last week at Raley, trailing 6-0 and winning 7-6 in its final at-bat when Hatamiya scored the winning run when a throw to the plate bounced off his helmet. Hatamiya is one of the section's most versatile talents - a starting catcher who can play the field and pitch. The senior struck out two in one inning of relief against Jesuit

Louis Mejia , Josh Falco and Parker Abercrombie each had base hits for Jesuit.
Elk Grove and Rodriguez of Fairfield are scheduled to play at Raley on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. - rain permitting
Read Tuesday's Bee for the latest rankings and a story on teams believe in ambitious scheduling.

March 26, 2012
Ex-Jesuit pitcher named Big East Player of Week for Villanova

ostaspeck.jpgFormer Jesuit High School player Stephen Ostapeck was named the Big East Pitcher of the Week today, marking the second time this season that the Villanova junior has won the award.

Ostapeck is coming off a three-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory over St. John's on Saturday afternoon.

Ostapeck retired 13 consecutive St. John's batters at one point and allowed two walks and hit a batter in addition to the three hits.

Ostapeck is 2-0 with a 4.35 earned-run average in 31 innings. He pitched a four-hit shutout over Norfolk State last month.

He is the first Villanova pitcher in 16 years to throw two complete game shutouts in the same season, and the fourth Villanova pitcher ever to be Big East Pitcher of the Week twice in one season

As a sophomore last season, the 6-foot-6, 208-pound right-hander was 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 20 appearances.

Ostapeck was a member of Jesuit's 2009 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship team. As a senior that season, Ostapeck was 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA in 20 innings.

March 24, 2012
Private schools win all 10 CIF state basketball playoff games; North and South split evenly for the 10th time since 1988

It was a clean sweep for the private schools in this year's 10 CIF State boys and girls basketball championship games Friday and Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

The Sheldon and La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad boys and the Berkeley, J.W. North-Riverside and Laguna Hills girls all lost in finals.

North teams split with Southern California teams, each winning five games..

The Mater Dei boys and girls; Village Christian-Sun Valley boys; La Jolla Country Day girls; and Archbishop Alemany-Mission Hills were the SoCal champs.

The Salesian-Richmond boys; Archbishop Mitty-San Jose boys and girls; the Brookside Christian-Stockton girls; and Bishop O'Dowd girls won from the North.

In the 25 years since the CIF expanded the state finals to five divisions, the North and South have split evenly 10 times.

The South has won six or more games 11 times, including 9-1 in 2001. The North has won six or more games four times, including winning seven of 10 in 2004.

March 24, 2012
Mater Dei beats Sheldon 66-48 in foul-plagued D-I boys final

By Bill Paterson
Sheldon couldn't overcome the shooting of senior Katin Reinhardt or the around-the-basket play of sophomore Stanley Johnson as Mater Dei of Santa Ana defeated the Huskies 66-48 in tonight's CIF State Division I boys basketball championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

Sheldon fans will say they couldn't overcome the officiating, either. Four of Sheldon's five starters fouled out as the Huskies were called for 25 fouls.

The UNLV-bound Reinhardt, a 6-5 guard, scored 30 points, including a new state record six-three pointers, while the 6-7 Johnson added 21 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

March 24, 2012
Halftime score: Mater Dei 33, Sheldon 27 in D-I boys state final

It's halftime at Power Balance Pavilion with Mater Dei-Santa Ana leading Sheldon 33-27 in the CIF State Division I boys basketball championship game.

Most of the crowd of nearly 5,000 has come out to support Sheldon - band, choir and all.

Kyi Thomas is leading the way for Sheldon with 11 points, including three three-pointers.
D'Erryl Williams has seven points, though he's favoring a tender ankle.

Katin Reinhardt is lighting it up for Mater Dei. He has 16 points, including four three-pointers from NBA land.

Sheldon has the edge on the boards 25-18. Nate Iese leads with nine rebounds.

March 24, 2012
Mater Dei rolls to D-I state title girls win over Berkeley

By Bill Paterson
Nirra Fields scored 24 points and nine rebounds and Jordan Adams added 13 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals to lead Mater Dei of Santa Ana to a 57-40 win over Berkeley in the CIF State Division I girls championship game tonight at Power Balance Pavilion.

It was the second consecutive state girls title and fourth in five appearances for Mater Dei (34-3).

Rachel Howard led Berkeley (27-3) with 12 points and seven rebounds and Elisha Davis added 10 points for the Yellowjackets, making their 11th state finals appearance. They have won two championships.

DIVISION I (girls)
Mater Dei 15 14 12 16 - 57
Berkeley 16 2 8 14 - 40
MD - Adams 13, Williamson 16, Fields 24, Powell 2, Miki-Han 2.
B - Finnie 4, Howard 12, Guinn 7, Davis 10, Youngblood 4, Gooden 2, Welch-Coleman 1.

March 24, 2012
Bishop Alemany tops Sacred Heart Cathedral for D-III boys title

By Bill Paterson
Nevada-bound 6-foot-4 senior guard Marqueze Coleman had 27 points and nine rebounds and 5-9 senior guard Max Guercy added 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals in leading Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills to a 71-67 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco in the CIF State Division III boys basketball championship game today at Power Balance Pavilion.

Josh Fox's free throw for Sacred Heart (28-6) tied the game 65-65 with 1:53 to play, but a basket by Coleman and two free throws by Guercy put Bishop Alemany (33-4) ahead to stay and give the Warriors their first boys state basketball title in the school's 57 years.

Fox had 19 points and seven rebounds and Taylor Johns added 13 points and 19 rebounds for Sacred Heart.

It was a rough and physical game as four players fouled out, two from each team, and two others had four fouls.

Bishop Alemany 17 15 23 16 - 71
Sacred Heart Cathedral 15 25 11 16 - 67
BA - Moffett 8, Coleman 27, Guercy 19, Henderson 12, Coleman 3, Anderson 2.
SHC - Fox 19, Johns 13, Petroni 15, James 5, Pratt 10, Otis 5.

March 24, 2012
O'Dowd buries cold-shooting Laguna Hills in D-III girls state final

By Bill Paterson
The Laguna Hills girls basketball team has lived and died by the three-point shot this season.

The Hawks made seven in beating favored Mission Bay of San Diego 75-69 in the CIF Southern California Division III regional championship game last Saturday.

But this afternoon against an incomparably big and athletic Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland, the shooting well was dry for Laguna Hills.

The Hawks missed all 11 of their three-point attempts and were blown off the floor by the Dragons, 62-24. It was O'Dowd's first state title after losing 53-42 to St. Joseph-Santa Maria in last season's state final.

March 24, 2012
Village Christian ends St. Joe's D-V boys title repeat bid, 62-51

By Bill Paterson

St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda was one of the sentimental favorites in this weekend's CIF State Championship boys basketball field at Power Balance Arena.

The Pilots were making a return appearance to Sacramento for the Division V final after beating St. Bernard-Playa del Rey 47-44 in last season's championship game.

Respected coach Don Lippi had won his 700th game earlier in the playoffs and with a team that had graduated all but three players from last season.

March 24, 2012
Young Stockton crew tops Mission Prep in D-V girls state final

By Bill Paterson
The Brookside Christian of Stockton girls basketball team may have one of the youngest rosters in the state. The Knights also may have one of the best.

Behind sophomore guard Tiara Tucker's 28 points and freshman center Ra'kyra Gabriel's 18 points and seven rebounds, Brookside Christian defeated Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo 70-64 to win the CIF State Division V girls championship this morning at Power Balance Pavilion.

Brookside Christian (30-4), making its first state finals appearance, has a roster of one senior, one junior, two sophomores and seven freshmen.

March 23, 2012
Gordon scores 33 in Mitty's D-II title win over La Costa Canyon

By Bill Paterson
Aaron Gordon is considered one of the 10 best junior class boys basketball players in the United States.

The Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 6-foot-7 forward showed why again tonight on the big stage of the CIF State Division II boys championship finals at Power Balance Pavilion.

Gordon scored 33 points and grabbed 20 rebounds - one off the state championship game record he tied last year - to lead the Monarchs to a 78-57 win over La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad.

It was Mitty's second consecutive state title win for the boys and with the girls team beating JW North of Riverside 56-54 in the preceding game, it was a clean sweep for the parochial school from the West Catholic Athletic League.

March 23, 2012
CIF State Basketball Championships extend contract with Power Balance for 3 years

By Joe Davidson

The CIF State Basketball Championships, a fixture in Sacramento for 20 years, will return for at least three more seasons to Power Balance Pavilion, CIF Senior Director Ron Nocetti confirmed Friday night.

Nocetti said he shares the excitement and pride of the CIF in general for the three-year contract extension. What happens after that, when the new sports and entertainment arena opens in 2015 with the Kings as a primary tennant and likely more NCAA visits, is yet to be determined.

"The arena management, the Maloofs, they've all been incredible to work with," Nocetti said. "We're glad to be here."

While there is stability in the state event at Power Balance, there are still questions regarding where the Northern California Regional games will be held. Normally, the NorCal finals and state-title games go hand-in-hand at Power Balance, but there's a new wrinkle that could enhance the tournament.

The Federated Council, the governing body for the CIF, will in May vote on whether or not to introduce an Open Division title game. Elite teams would be placed in the Open in an effort to provide more balance as so many title entrants are private schools.

This weekend, 15 of the 20 state-title participants - boys and girls in five divisions - hail from private schools.

If the Open Division concept passes, Open play would start next season. In that case, Nocetti said there could be multiple NorCal title sites to better accomodate teams. For example. Bay Area teams could have a Bay Area venue. Sac-Joaquin Section teams could conceivably compete at UC Davis or at Pacific, or Santa Clara or San Jose State, among others.

At current, UCD is bidding for a NorCal site, as is Power Balance.

Power Balance won out in bidding for the state games over Anaheim and Bakersfield, home of the 2010 state finals when the NCAA Women's Tournament had a Power Balance visit.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 23, 2012
Coach earns 5th state title as Mitty girls beat JW North in D-II

By Bill Paterson
Emily Dinger and Kalyn Simon each had 16 points and Pepperdine-bound Amanda Lovely added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds to lead Archbishop Mitty of San Jose to a 56-54 defeat of J.W. North of Riverside in tonight's CIF State Division II girls basketball championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

It was the 557th win and fifth state title for Mitty coach Sue Phillips.

Kelli Hayes added 13 points for Mitty (28-5), which put on a great late-season run. In the CIF NorCal playoffs, the Monarchs upset state ranked Carondelet of Concord in the semifinals and nationally ranked St. Mary's of Stockton in the championship game.

Tonight's win was Mitty's 13th in a row.

Simone DeCoud had 14 points and nine rebounds and Akilah Martin and Pricalla Brooks 11 points apiece for the Huskies (30-6), making their first state title appearance.

Division II girls
JW North 12 7 15 20 - 54
Mitty 13 9 14 20 - 56
N - Calhoun 6, Martin 11, DeCoud 14, Crain 5, Brooks 11, Diaz 5, McDonald 2.
M - Dinger 16, Lovely 8, Hayes 13, Simon 16, Galipeau 1, Lisowski 2.

March 23, 2012
Plum's 32 points lead La Jolla Country Day to D-IV girls win

By Bill Paterson

Junior guard Kelsey Plum scored 32 points, including a record-tying five three-pointers, to lead La Jolla Country Day to a 72-41 win over Salesian of Richmond in today's CIF State Division IV girls basketball championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

The 5-foot-9 Plum's five three-pointers tied the state D-IV record of five held by former La Jolla Country Day star Candice Wiggins (2004).

Plum, averaging 22.2 points per game, made 10 of 24 attempts from the field - 5 of 11 in three-pointers - and 7 of 8 from the foul line. She also had six rebounds.

March 23, 2012
CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida talks about prep sports issues, will hoops return to Power Balance, lawsuits, the value of competition, retirement

By Joe Davidson

I had a long discussion with CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida in her Sacramento office this week. At the CIF helm for 11 years and in education/administration for some 40 years, Ishida is retiring in July. Some highlights from the talk...

* Ishida said the CIF is in good health but she worries and feels for troubled school districts across the state that are bracing for budget cutbacks. She said the fear is always losing kids to other schools, for any reasons.
* On how far athletics have changed in 30 years, "it's a different ball game."
* Ishida said the same issues remain in recent decades: public schools versus private and if it's fair - and how to solve it.
* Ishida said it's far easier said than done to just dramatically introduce an Open Division or create a private school tournament to go with a public school like Texas or New York. Ishida said there has to be a positive vote by the Federated Council - 64 members strong - to pass. Still, Ishida said, "personally, I don't know if it'd pass. The concern is a once-in-a-lifetime team getting stuck in the Open Division and not winning. We are exploring ways to making regional and state championships more competitive and interesting."
* There will be a May vote in the Federated Council to decide on an Open Division concept. If it passes, it would be introduced next season.
* Ishida on her role in general, "I don't make the rules, I administer them. Do I have an influence? Yes."
* Ishida said the introduction of the regional NorCal and SoCal football games - the winners reach State Bowl games - is a great move for the CIF. An example: a Grant-De La Salle showdown, at long last, with Ishida saying, "we may never get that matchup unless it's a regional game. This would be something people would want to watch."
* Ishida said the TV Time Warner Contract boosts the CIF with an eight-figure contract over the life of the 15-year deal.
* The NorCal and state title games at Power Balance Pavilion, pretty much a staple in the state capital for 20 years, could be on the move. The existing contract expires at the end of this weekend. Bids are being entertained across the state. One place that doesn't seem likely - ever - is Oracle Arena in Oakland where the Warriors play. Ishida said Arco Arena/Power Balance has always been a good relationship - and that it could continue.
* All indications as of Friday evening are that the state tournament will return to Power Balance for another three seasons. The NorCal site could be multiple sites, depending on the May vote for the Open Division concept.
* The CIF has an annual budget of $800,000 to fight lawsuits, generally regarding transfers. Without rules and holding firm, Ishida said transfers would ruin prep sports. And without fighting them, the CIF would be trampled. Still, she is concerned as always with the amount of transfers that do happen.
* Ishida said she is troubled by club sports that tug at high school athletes. She said the appeal of prep sports is playing for your school and community, saying, "high school sports are an extremely valuable experience."
* Ishida said she is cringes at the thought of Mater Dei suing the CIF for what the school contends is unfair scrutiny and standards regarding transfers. Ishida said it is "reprehensible" that Mater Dei has a suit.
* Ishida is beyond pleased with the impact of Title IX, the law that mandated gender equity in 1972, adding, "What a difference. Kids now don't realize the impact of Title IX. That's the only thing I'm envious of - not playing high school sports with Title IX."
* Ishida said she is "very comfortable" stepping down in July. Her time has come, she said, and it's time for a fresh voice and leader. Said Ishida amid a laugh, "I get that final notice from medicare and it's 'maybe I really am that old!"
* Ishida said she wants to tour the country in an RV - clogging traffic from the fast lane. She is involved with the Habitat for Humanity where homes are built across the country for the needy.
* Ishida grew up in Strathmore in the heart of Tulare County and learned the value of work ethic on her family's tomato farm. One of four daughters, there was always work to be done, always an eye on the weather report. Said Ishida, "I can tell you everything about pruning, weeding, how a tomato seed grows into a tomato - packing, loading, shipping it to market."
* Ishida cracked that she didn't dare tell her parents she was switching from tomato growth to citrus until they were retired.
* The old tomato farm is still in the family, but is now a citrus farm with oranges and lemons. She will surely take her RV there, not to mention her Santa Cruz home.

March 23, 2012
Mater Dei Monarchs, led by state's winningest coach who overcame cancer, seek ninth state title

By Joe Davidson

Sizing up the monsters of Mater Dei, the national super power in Santa Ana that aims for a record ninth state championship Saturday night at Power Balance Pavilion against a Sheldon-Sacramento team that seeks its first:

* Gary McKnight accepted the Monarchs job in Orange County 30 years ago, his only varsity post. He was 29.
* McKnight has won a state-record 29 league championships, 28 in a row, with a state-record 21 section titles, 13 SoCal Regional titles and a record tying eight state banners.
* McKnight has a staggering record of 933-93, a state record. The Monarchs have won three of the past five D-I titles and posted eight consecutive 30-win seasons.
* McKnight was one of 72 coaches who applied for the Mater Dei job in 1982. He said his career in general has been "a fairyland" experience, yet he works just as hard now as he did when he started.
* McKnight said overcoming a life-threatening illness makes him appreciate life and enjoy his long success even more. He told us this week, "I had a real scary bout with cancer 16 years ago, the asbestos cancer, and it's not a very good percentage that survive. My wife (Judy) kept pushing for me to go see the doctor, and had I waited, I wouldn't have made it. I'm lucky. I know that. You walk out of a cancer ward and you wonder how am I lucky and the others weren't. I realize every day is a special day."
* McKnight had a large cancerous growth removed from his chest and continues to be tested cancer free. He acknowledges that he still has to watch his weight and that he is diabetic. He lost a decades-long friend to cancer last fall, something he thinks about daily.
* McKnight wasn't a basketball player growing up as he loved baseball. As for coaching, he said he continues to try and refine his craft.
* McKnight admits his players love to tease him about how many different shades of red his face becomes - red, redder, red hot - depending on game situation and mood. Said the coach, "They always give me a hard time."
* McKnight said he would prefer to have state-title games in Southern California, but his players "love to play out of town."
* With four starters back from last year's state-title team, McKnight said the Monarchs have played well with "the bull's eye."
* At 59, McKnight has no plans to retire. He's having too much fun, cracking, "Social security kicks in at 68 years years of age, and I'm not there yet. I live here on campus during the season, it feels like. But I'm one of the really lucky ones. I get up in the morning and this is something I truly enjoy doing. I love organizing a team, putting things together, seeing how it turns out."
* McKnight understands the argument that private schools have an advantage over public, but he's not about to apologize for his good fortune. Mater Dei, he said, has earned its success: "In Division I, it's mostly public schools. Everyone wins their share. I know we have. We've lost our share of state titles and won our share."
* On losing state-title games in the past decade to eventual NBA players Ryan Manning of Oak Ridge and Jeremy Lin of Palo Alto, "I felt a lot better knowing they made the NBA."
* Married 36 years to his wife Judy, McKnight said she's in charge, not him: "She's a lot calmer than I am, too. She runs the house, the kids, the grandkids. She's my wife, my best friend, and she was the one who pushed me to have that physical when I found out I had cancer."
* McKnight's son Clay played for him and once hit nine three-pointers in a game.
* Mater Dei, tabbed No. 2 by MaxPreps' Freeman rankings and top-ranked in the state by Cal-High Sports, has won 20 consecutive games, losing only to out-of-state powers.
* Star Mater Dei wing Katin Renihardt was home-schooled early, attend Mater Dei basketball camps as a kid, learned to count to 100 by shooting baskets and said it was a "dream" to play for the Monarchs. The 6-foot-5 shooter is headed to UNLV.
* Reinhardt texts with Kevin Durant of the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder.
* Xavier Johnson of Mater Dei is a 6-7 forwarded headed to Colorado. He is nicknamed "X-Stroudinaire."
* Johnson's dad Samuel played at San Diego State and was a member of a CBA title team. Young Johnson transferred from Chaparral High of Temecula, with dad explaining that the cutbacks at public schools concerned him.
* Sophomore Stanley Johnson, no relation to Xavier, won a national prep dunk contest earlier this season.
* Four-year player and team captain Eli Stalzer is a gifted piano player. He played at halftime of a game this season when someone wheeled out a baby grand. He will play hoops on scholarship at Colorado.
* Stalzer said he insisted to his teammates that they all embrace incoming transfer Elijah Brown, son of first-year Lakers coach Mike Brown, telling us this week, "Be nice to him - we want Lakers tickets."
* Mater Dei opened in 1950 with 111 students. It swelled to 2,150 by the 1960s when it became the largest Catholic high school west of Chicago. In 2008, Mater Dei opened an $18 million 3,200-seat home gym.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 23, 2012
Salesian wallops Price in D-IV title game, will root for Sheldon

The Salesian of Richmond boys basketball team didn't play in the marquee game of the CIF State Basketball Championships today at Power Balance Pavilion.

But the Pride, which opened the 10-game, two-day tournament early this afternoon, could easily make the argument that it is the best boys team in California.

Behind electrifying junior Jabari Bird's 24-point, three-dunk performance and the off-the-bench heroics of muscular 6-foot-8, 305-pound Freddie Tagaloa, Salesian sprinted past Price of Los Angeles 70-56 in the Division IV boys title game.

March 22, 2012
Bee No. 1 Elk Grove, Woodcreek fall in Wednesday games

Is there a Bee baseball and softball rankings jinx?

Elk Grove was ranked No. 1 in baseball and Woodcreek No. 1 in softball in our first Bee rankings published earlier this week.

But both lost on Wednesday.

Elk Grove fell at home in an eight-inning thriller 5-4 to two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion St. Mary's of Stockton.

St. Mary's slugger Gio Brusa had a home run, single and three RBI and Joey Caffese earned the win in relief of starter Taylor Johnson. Elk Grove junior standouts Ryan Tellez and Dom Nunez each had two hits, including doubles.

Woodcreek, which opened the season on a 9-0 run and having allowed just three runs, lost 7-0 to No. 12 Roseville (6-2-1) in a Sierra Foothill League game. Roseville's Kayla Fields tossed a four-hitter and had three hits and two RBI.

Woodcreek entered the week ranked No. 7 nationally and third in the state by and No. 7 in Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.

Elk Grove (2-1) entered the game against St. Mary's ranked No. 5 in California by Cal-Hi Sports. St. Mary's (4-3) was unranked.

March 22, 2012
Valley wrestler makes Sports Illustrated's 'Faces in the Crowd'

Valley High School wrestler Syria Rhodes appears in the March 26 issue of Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd."

The senior was recognized for winning the CIF state girls 103-pound championship and for becoming the first female to reach the final of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II wrestling championships the week before. Rhodes was the only girl in the competition.

Sports Illustrated has published "Faces in the Crowd" since 1956.

March 21, 2012
Pioneer beats Jesuit 2-1 on bases-loaded walk-off walk

No. 19 Pioneer showed it can play with the big boys after beating No. 2 Jesuit 2-1 Tuesday in a nonleague baseball game in Woodland.

Junior Alejandro Caravalho scored the winning run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to junior Marcus Vidales in the bottom of the seventh in what was otherwise a pitching gem for both teams.

Junior right-hander Thomas Galart allowed four hits and struck out seven in earning the complete-game win for Pioneer (2-2).

March 21, 2012
New coach, same approach for talented Casa Roble softball

Marriage and a new teaching job in the Bay Area forced Kristen Allen, the 2010 Bee Coach of the Year, to step down last spring as Casa Roble's highly successful softball coach.

Allen led the No. 11 Rams to back-to-back section titles - a D-II banner last season and D-III title in 2010.

But Allen, a former Casa Roble and Pacific softball standout, leaves new coach Ken Kenobbie, last season's JV coach, with plenty of talent.

March 20, 2012
Kennedy's Johnson proves winner in losing NorCal title effort

By Bill Paterson

During the CIF Northern California Regional boys and girls basketball championship games on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion, a player from each team received a sportsmanship award after the six D-III through D-I contests
Kennedy star Lynette Johnson was the Cougars' recipient, and it was easy to see why it went beyond her 19-point, 11-rebound, four-assist performance in a 56-38 loss to Berkeley in the D-I girls final.

Whenever the hard-charging junior collided with a Berkeley player during their physical, full-throttle tussle, the junior 5-foot-10 forward was quick to lend a helping hand to her fallen rival.

Johnson even did it when a could-have-gone-either-way offensive foul call near the Kennedy basket in the fourth quarter went against her - her fourth.

"I know people look up to me, so I need to show sportsmanship at all times," Johnson said. "I don't want to see basketball get out of hand. Basketball is supposed to be a fun game, and that's what I want younger kids to see when I play."

March 19, 2012
Freshman leads Colfax to ski championship at Northstar

Colfax freshman Teagan Santin won the girls overall downhill ski title at the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation championships recently at Northstar at Tahoe.

Santin won the giant slalom by more than four seconds and the slalom by more than three seconds in leading Colfax to the girls team title. Davis won the combined girls and boys team title.

Colfax junior Nelly Steinhoff won the girls overall snowboard title, placing second in the giant slalom and slalom events.

El Dorado senior Sage Hoffee placed first in the giant slalom to lead the Cougars to the girls snowboard team title. Nevada Union junior Drew Bernadett won the slalom title.
Placer won the boys snowboarding team title and El Dorado took the combined team title.

March 17, 2012
Sheldon rallies from 17 down, dominates down the stretch against rival Jesuit to win first NorCal D-I title

By Joe Davidson

Rudy Tomjanovich once said of his Houston Rockets after coaching them to an NBA championship two decades ago, "Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

Joey Rollings can second that thought at the high school level with the same measure of exhausted glee.

His gritty, determined, talented Sheldon Huskies bunch rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit to topple Jesuit 61-56 on Saturday night in a historic Northern California Division I championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

Needing to beat their Delta River League rivals a seventh consecutive time over two years and a fourth time this season, the Huskies showed remarkable resolve and poise in chipping away from a game that Jesuit owned early, then rejoiced with a closing 12-2 run to become the first Sac-Joaquin Section public school to win a large-school boys NorCal title.

What's more, this was the first time in the 30-year history of the NorCal tournament that two larger-school boys teams from Sacramento played for a title, a show of strength for a region that for years has been buckled by the traditional powers of the Bay Area.

Jesuit, a senior-dominanted club, was determined to reverse fortunes with one final title chance but the Huskies would have none of it, and now they have a chance to make real history. Sheldon (29-5) will take on national super power Mater Dei of Santa Ana next Saturday at Power Balance for a shot to become the section's first D-I state champion.

"I'm very proud of these guys," a spent Rolling said before scooping up his equally as sweaty 3-year old son Tristan for a celebration hug. "Some thought maybe we were too young this year but they're all warriors."

Sheldon is indeed young with a junior-dominated lineup, but it is seasoned, confident and increasingly battle-tested crew. Dakarai Allen, Sheldon's smooth, unflappable junior guard who scored 16 points, had a putback to pull to within 56-55 with 1:50 to go. He followed with a steal, was fouled and made two free throws to give his team the lead for the first time -and for good - at 56-56. Nate Iese, the national football recruit headed to UCLA, had two of the ugliest free throws in tournament history by his own admission for a 59-56 lead with 1:20 left, and free throws by Allen and team leader point guard D'Erryl Williams capped it.

Williams two weeks earlier took over down the stretch to beat Jesuit for the section title and a three-peat title effort and he he took over in the second half here with more inspired play. The junior had two points at the half as Sheldon made just 8 of 25 shots and finished with a game-high 23 with six rebounds in willing his team to compete.

"I wanted it so bad - we all did," Williams said. "Didn't want to lose. We worked too hard for this."

Said an admiring Allen, "I'm so proud of this team. We didn't want it to end. And D'Erry...I love that guy. He's the best player in Sacramento. No one can stop him."

Kyi Thomas had 10 points, Iese four and Antonio Lewis again came off the bench to provide a big boost, scoring eight.

The senior group of Akachi Oguko (12 points), Parker Uu (12), Bryce Pressley (12), Kurt Parker (12), Luke Lutes (five) and Brian Glodowski (five) led the Marauders. Uu fouled out with 1:59 to go, his team up 56-53.

Jesuit coach Greg Harcos implored his team to keep their heads up after the game, to be proud of their effort and to appreciate the rivalry at hand. There was no shame losing to Sheldon, the section power these days itching for one more win to cap what has already been a regional story book season.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 17, 2012
Salesian wins third D-IV boys NorCal title in four years

By John Parker
Special to The Bee
Salesian-Richmond 69, Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton 38 - Junior forward Jabari Bird led all players with 24 points as the Pride claimed its second straight D-IV NorCal crown and third in the last four years.
Sacred Heart Prep (23-7) did not score until five minutes into the first quarter, during which Salesian (33-2) had already built a 12-0 lead. The Pride, which won the 2010 D-IV state title, dominated in all phases, especially rebounding, where it earned a 38-27 edge. Freddie Tagaloa and Mario Dunn each had six boards to pace Salesian. Davion Mize joined Bird in double figures in points with 11.
Cole McConnell led the Gators with 15 points.


Sacred Heart Prep (23-7) 5 12 12 9 - 38
Salesian (33-2) 20 16 21 12 - 69
SHP: McConnell 15, Bruni 5, Galliani 5, McNamara 5, Bird 4, Bennett 2, VauDell 2. S: Bird 24, Mize 11, Tagaloa 8, Edmonds 7, M. Dunn 6, Parker 6, Leonard 3, Harrison 2, Robinson 2.

March 17, 2012
Salesian of Richmond boys and girls win NorCal titles

By John Parker
Special to The Bee

The Salesian High School boys basketball team is used to playing this game.

But for the Pride girls, always stalwart supporters of the boys program, this is a whole new feeling. Sophomore guard Mariya Moore hit three of four free-throws and stole and inbounds pass with seven seconds remaining to lead the Salesian girls to their first NorCal title in their appearance on Saturday evening with a 47-44 win over St. Mary's of Berkeley just before the boys took the floor.

Prior to this season the Salesian girls had won just two North Coast Section playoff games in the past decade.

"I'm so proud of these girls," Pride coach Stephen Pezzola said. "They're known for their courage and fortitude and used both tonight."

When Pezzola took over the program three years ago the girls were 10-14 while the boys were just embarking on what would be a run of four straight NorCal championship games and counting, including their third championship which they claimed with a 69-38 win over Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton.

"They are a tremendous motivator for us," Pezzola said. "When I took the job I said I wanted to be just like them."

They will get the chance on Friday as they play back-to-back in their respective D-IV state championship games at Power Balance Pavilion. The boys play at 1:30 p.m. against Price of Los Angeles (26-8) while the girls will face La Jolla Country Day (32-1) at 3:30 p.m.

"This has been special for both programs in different ways," Salesian boys coach Bill Mellis, in his 13th year at the school said.

The teams began hosting NCS playoff double-headers in the Richmond school's gym until their combined achievement outgrew the cramped venue. Both teams supported each other loudly in the other's respective games on Saturday at Folsom.

Moore had 16 rebounds, 13 points and six assists posting game-highs in all three categories for the girls against St. Mary's.

The Panthers (26-8) led 42-39 with just under two minutes remaining but Salesian (31-4), as it did in the North Coast Section championship game two weeks ago against the Panthers, came roaring back. Salesian sophomore post Alana Horton converted a 3-point play with a rebound and putback with 1:37 to go to tie it and on the Pride's next possession gave it a 44-42 lead with an up-and-under move.

After St. Mary's, the two-time reigning NorCal champion, answered Moore converted two free-throws off a blocking foul then stole the ensuing inbounds pass intended for Gabby Green.

"I knew they would try to throw to Gabby because I was reading the eyes," Moore said. "From there I just tried to time it right to get in front of it."

MaAne' Mosely joined Moore in double figures in points for Salesian with 12 while Mikayla Cowling had 13 for the Panthers.

The boys easily handled Sacred Heart as Pride junior forward Jabari Bird led all players with 24 points as the Pride claimed its second straight D-IV NorCal crown and third in the last four years.

Sacred Heart Prep (23-7) did not score until five minutes into the first quarter, during which Salesian (33-2) had already built a 12-0 lead. The Pride, which won the 2010 D-IV state title, dominated in all phases, especially rebounding, where it earned a 38-27 edge. Freddie Tagaloa and Mario Dunn each had six boards to pace Salesian. Davion Mize joined Bird in double figures in points with 11.

Cole McConnell led the Gators with 15 points.

St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda 77, Pinewood-Los Altos Hills 53 - Four players scored in double figures and sophomore center Temidayo Yussef recorded a double-double as St. Joseph won the D-V title on Saturday afternoon in Folsom.

St. Joseph, the defending state D-V state champion, captured its eighth overall NorCal championship and third in four years at the D-V level.

Yusseff had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks while senior guard Gemeny Givens led all players with 17 points. Senior guard Nick Lacy added 16 points and junior guard Justin Brown had 15.

"It's an honor to be a part of Pilot nation," Givens said. "We always know we have a big support group behind us."

The Pilots (29-4) needed it as only suited-up nine players, while Pinewood had 12. St. Joseph substituted early and often as seven players played more than a quarter and only had one player foul out.

Dante Fraioli led the Panthers (27-3) with 14 points while Kevin Sweat added 12 and Cameron Helvey pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.

St. Joseph will play Village Christian of Sun Valley (32-3) for its fifth state title at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

Brookside Christian-Stockton 55, Eastside Prep-Palo Alto 38 - Sophomore guard Brianna Smith led all players with 18 points and fellow sophomore Tiara Tucker added 15 as the Knights claimed the D-V NorCal girls title on Saturday afternoon in Folsom.

Brookside Christian (29-4) led 23-14 at halftime but midway through the third quarter the Panthers had whittled the lead to three points, closing to within 25-22. The Knights responded with a 21-6 run, spurred by back-to-back 3-pointers from Ariana Vaughn, to put the game out of reach.

"Those were the big momentum shifter for us," Knights coach Que Ngo said.

Eastside Prep (17-14) had two players post double-doubles as junior center Hashim Carothers had a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore forward Alexus Simon had 10 points and 11 boards.

"They're not a better team than us," Carothers said. "We just didn't play well enough to beat them."

The Knights will face Rolling Hills Prep-San Pedro (22-4) on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Power Balance Pavilion for the state championship.

Reach John Parker at Follow him on Twitter @john_a_parker.

March 17, 2012
Berkeley beats Kennedy in girls D-I NorCal finals for 10th title; Cougars savor gritty run

By Joe Davidson
Sacramento Bee

All things considered, it was one remarkable ride for the Kennedy Cougars.

Despite not winning the Metro Conference and drawing a No. 4 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, Kennedy High School never hesitated in its championship march, hitting a new gear in storming to a 7-0 playoff start, including winning three nail-bitter Northern California Division I games at home in Greenhaven.

It came to a sobering halt tonight at Power Balance Pavilion as the Cougars ran into the buzzsaw otherwise known as the Berkeley Yellowjackets, the decades-long superpower from the East Bay.

Berkeley, the top seed, broke open a close game in the fourth quarter with inside play and general quickness to record a 56-38 victory in the D-I finals. It was the 11th title for Berkeley, a record, in its 16th title appearance.

Kennedy was in the finals for the fourth time since 2001.

"There's a little bit of a sting right now, but the big picture is we had an incredible run," Kennedy coach Dave Parsh said. "This group of girls put together an amazing month of postseason basketball. The grit and fight of this was a pleasure."

Lynette Johnson led Kennedy with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Senior point guard leader Lori Wong had eight points.

Said Wong, "Weve come a long way since the beginning of the season. We were like sisters. We couldn't have done this without each other. It was a once in a lifetime season. We'll never forget it."

The Kennedy players were cheered by their student section and did not hang their heads when presented as a group with the NorCal runner-up plaque. Johnson, the team's terrific junior talent, was presented with a sportsmanship honor.

Berkeley was led by Arizona State-bound guard Elisha Davis, who had four first-half three pointers and scored 17 points.

"She hit shots from the NBA line," Wong said in admiration. "She deserved it. She's a really good player. They're a really well-rounded team. Coach told us they'd be a lot like Sac High - fast - and it was true."

Kennedy cut it to 40-30 after the third quarter but Berkeley surged ahead comfortably to advance.

Kennedy next season will return Johnson, Jessica Lauderdale, Mele Kolokihakaufisi and Katie Lee, among others.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 17, 2012
Salesian girls beat league rival St. Mary's for D-IV NorCal title

By John Parker
Special to the Bee

Mariya Moore hit three free throws and stole and inbounds pass with seven seconds remaining to lead Salesian of Richmond to a 47-44 win over St. Mary's of Berkeley in the girls basketball CIF Northern California Regional championship game today at Folsom High School.

St. Mary's, a league rival of Salesian's, was the two-time defending champion.

St. Mary's (26-8) 9 8 14 13 - 44
Salesian (31-4) 14 7 13 13 - 47
SMB: Cowling 13, Serrell 9, Mauldin 8, Green 6, Goodwin 5, Negrin 3. S: Moore 13, Mosely 12, Horton 7, Stallworth 6, Mi. Williams 5, Brown 2, McNair 2.

March 17, 2012
St. Joseph of Alameda beats Pinewood to return to state finals

By John Parker
Special to The Bee

Four players scored in double figures and sophomore center Temidayo Yussef recorded a double-double as St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda defeated Pinewood of Los Altos Hills 77-53 for the CIF Northern California Regional D-V boys basketball championship today at Folsom High School.

St. Joseph, the defending state D-V state champion, captured its eighth overall NorCal championship and third in four years at the D-V level.

Yusseff had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks while senior guard Gemeny Givens led all players with 17 points. Senior guard Nick Lacy added 16 points and junior guard Justin Brown had 15.

The Pilots (29-4) only suited-up nine players, while Pinewood had 12, but it did not matter as they substituted early and often as seven players played more than a quarter.

Dante Fraioli led the Panthers (27-3) with 14 points while Kevin Sweat added 12 and Cameron Helvey pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds.


Pinewood (27-3) 22 7 17 7 - 77
St. Joseph (29-4) 20 15 21 21 - 53
P: Fraioli 14, Sweat 12, Carp 8, B. Naumann 8, Wolfgram 7, Lewis 4. SJ: Givens 17, Lacy 16, Brown 15, Yussef 15, Banks 4, Gayden 4, LaFollette 3, Voisenat 3.

March 17, 2012
Mitty-San Jose rallies to beat St. Mary's-Stockton in girls NorCal D-II title game and Mitty boys repeat

By Joe Davidson

Winning never gets old for Mitty High School of San Jose, regardless of decade, division or gender.

The Monarchs of the South Bay rallied to beat nationally ranked No. 11 St. Mary's of Stockton 53-51 in a girls Division II Northern California championship thriller today at Power Balance Pavilion to crown veteran coach Sue Phillips' program with their ninth title in 17 appearances, dating back to the mid 1990s.

St. Mary's of the Sac-Joaquin Section was seeking its 10th title and third in a row in different divisions. Remarkably, the power programs had never faced off for a regional championship until here.

St. Mary's (30-4) had its 30-game playoff winning streak snapped and had its 29-game streak this season halted.

Kelli Hayes scored the game winner on a fastbreak bucket with 25.9 seconds left for Mitty (23-5) and the Rams turned it over twice down the stretch. Hayes, a skilled 6-foot-1 national recruit sophomore wing, had 23 points and seven rebounds. Amanda Lovel had 12 and 12 for the Rams, who return a wealth of talent for another title run next season.

Charise Holloway, another national recruit sophomore wing, had 11 points for St. Mary's, which shot 30 percent, made 6 of 22 three-pointers and could not capitalize on 27 Mitty turnovers.

Phillips was remarkably composed and relaxed down the stretch, and grinned after the game when she said, "We got-r done!"

* Mitty-San Jose 63, Newark Memorial 58 - The Monarch boys won their fourth title in since 2007 by using a late 12-1 run to defend their title. National 6-7 junior recruit Aaron Gordon had 21 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots for Mitty, which beat Newark earlier this season by 20 and now seeks to defend its state championship.
Thomas Peters had 15 points for Mitty (30-3). Casey Norris had 17 for Newark Memorial (27-6), which had its 21-game winning streak stopped. Mitty has won 19 consecutive games.

Mitty 8 21 10 14 - 53
St. Mary's 11 21 11 8 - 51
M - Dinger 6, Lovely 12, Hayes 23, Simon 6, Galipeau 4, Lisowski 2.
SM - Camera 7, Jemerigbe 7, Range 8, Coleman 3, Holloway 11, Viss 3,
Fisher 3, Moore 9.
Newark Memorial 10 13 19 16 - 58
Archbishop Mitty 13 12 12 26 - 63
NM - Norris 17, Frenchwood 14, Jones 4, Singh 4, Roger 8, Siddig 11.
M - Biebel 2, Vranicar 14, White 3, Peters 15, Gordon 21, Peterson 4, Farrell 4.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 17, 2012
Smith, Tucker lead Brookside Christian into state D-V title game

By John Parker
Special to The Bee

Sophomore guard Brianna Smith led all players with 18 points and fellow sophomore Tiara Tucker added 15 for Brookside Christian of Stockton as the Knights claimed the CIF Northern California Regional D-V girls basketball title today with a 55-38 victory over Eastside Prep of Palo Alto at Folsom High School.

The win moves Brookside Christian into Saturday's 9:30 a.m. state finale against Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo at Power Balance Pavilion.

Brookside Christian led 23-14 at halftime but midway through the third quarter the Panthers had whittled the lead to three points, closing to within 25-22. The Knights responded with a 21-6 run, spurred by back-to-back 3-pointers from Ariana Vaughn, to put the game out of reach.

Eastside Prep had two players post double-doubles as junior center Hashim Carothers had a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore forward Alexus Simon had 10 points and 11 boards.

Eastside Prep (17-14) 5 9 10 14 - 38
Brookside Christian (29-4) 9 14 18 14 - 55
EP: Carothers 13, Simon 10, Ch. Cunningham 7, Leu 4, Graham 2, Bradford 1, Forward 1. BC: Smith 18, Tucker 15, Gabriel 5, Martinez 4, Grigsby 3, Houston 2.

March 17, 2012
Fight'ng Irish dethrone O'Dowd as NorCal D-III boys champs

In perhaps an appropriate result on St. Patrick's Day, the Fight'ng Irish of Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco defeated Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland 61-57 in the CIF Northern California Regional Division III boys championship game today at Power Balance Pavilion.

The loss ends the Dragons' two-year reign as D-III NorCal champs.

Senior leaders Joshua Fox and Taylor Johns led the top-seeded Irish (28-5), who won their third NorCal title in five appearances. Fox, a 6-foot-5 forward, had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Johns, a 6-6 post, added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Sacred Heart will play Southern California champion Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills (32-4), a 62-61 winner over St. John Bosco of Bellflower, for the state title 2:45 p.m. on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

Marcus Green led second-seeded O'Dowd (26-6) with 15 points and Terrence Daniel added 14 points. Washington State-bound 6-7 forward Richard Longrus had a game-high 14 rebounds, eight points and three blocks in retiring coach Doug Vierra's last game.

It was O'Dowd's 10th NorCal finals appearance. The Dragons have won seven titles.

Division III (boys)
Bishop O'Dowd 23 7 10 17 - 57
Sacred Heart Cathedral 14 16 16 15 - 61
BO - Crum 6, Daniel 14, Green 15, Longrus 8, Texada 4, Gomes 7, Rabb 1, Perri 2.
SHC - Fox 21, Johns 15, Petoni 5, James 4, Pratt 13, Otis 3.

March 17, 2012
Remembering when Sacramento teams faced off for NorCal girls titles, including Grant, El Camino, Bella Vista, Del Campo

In the 30-year history of the Northern California basketball playoffs, Sheldon and Jesuit represent the only boys teams to play for a title in a larger-division title bout.

For the girls: it's happened three times with area clubs facing off for NorCal honors.

A closer look:
1983: Grant 61, Cordova 40, D-I Finals - Norte Del Rio consolidated with Grant in the same Del Paso Heights neighborhood to form a super power, with the Pacers improving to 36-0 under coach Don Boyce and all-time regional greats Teri Hunt and Jackie Rogers.
1986: Grant 55, Bella Vista 46, D-I Finals - Coach Felix Duncan lost the season series to Capital Athletic League rival Bella Vista 3-2, but the CAL and NorCal titles went to the Pacers. Grant was led by Tasha Irby, Debra Anderson, LaTonya Wilson and Tamela Green. Bella Vista was anchored by Michelle Wooten.
1996: El Camino 67, Del Campo 55, D-II Finals - The Eagles and Cougars were fierce Capital Athletic League rivals, taking turns snapping each other's lengthy winning streaks. El Camino and coach Bill Baxter was led by twins Elisha and Antoinette Polk and Del Campo was powered by senior Anne Marie Guzman and underclassmen twins in Jerkisa and Jermisha Dosty. Del Campo and coach Paul Roming made it back to the NorCal D-II finals the following two seasons.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 17, 2012
O'Dowd girls coast to NorCal D-III title win over Miramonte

Junior center Oderah Chidom had 24 points and 15 rebounds, freshman guard Asha Thomas 13 points and junior post Breanna Brown 10 points and nine rebounds to lead top-seeded Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland to a 70-51 win over No. 6 Miramonte of Orinda in today's CIF Northern California Regional Division III girls basketball championship at Power Balance Pavilion.

O'Dowd (29-3) shot a sizzling 56 percent from the field (32 of 57) and its 70 points tied a Division III NorCal girls record. The Dragons outrebounded Miramonte 50-24.

It was the Dragons' second consecutive D-III NorCal title and they will play Southern California champion Laguna Hills, a 75-69 winner over Mission Bay-San Diego, for the state championship 1 p.m. on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

Devon McDonald led Miramonte (31-2) with 13 points. Miramonte, which upset second-seeded Sacramento High in the semifinals, suffered both its losses to the North Coast Section rival Dragons.

Division III (girls)
Bishop O'Dowd 17 20 19 14 - 70
Miramonte 8 14 20 9 - 51
BO - Thomas 13, Bostick 9, Robertson 2, Kalmbach 2, Huntington 2, Chidom 24, Brown 10, Waters 8.
M - Kizzie 8, Reid 8, McDonald 13, Miller 1, Fenn 3, Sorenson 2, Gill 8, Loutzenhiser 8.

March 17, 2012
Kennedy guard Lori Wong not ready for season/career to end

By Joe Davidson

Every team has an unsung talent, and every championship group leans on such a leader this time of year.

Lori Wong expertly serves that role for the Kennedy High School Cougars. She's a 5-foot-5 senior point guard who stands tall these days on the Greenhaven campus, be it for Thursday's Senior Assembly, as a scholar or in basketball, her athletic passion.

She is deft with the dribble, fierce on defense, clever and skilled in peeling off screens to receive a pass and poised enough to make them.

March 16, 2012
Ex-Del Oro stars to face Griner, Baylor in women's NCAA

Former Del Oro girls basketball standouts Emilie Johnson and Madeline Campbell are members of the UC Santa Barbara women's team that will face national No. 1 Baylor in the first round of NCAA Des Moines Regional Sunday in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Top-seeded Baylor is 34-0 and is led by 6-foot-8 junior Brittney Griner, one of four finalists for the 2012 Naismith Trophy for Women's College Player of the Year. Griner averages 23.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks.

Johnson, a 5-6 senior guard, leads the No. 16-seeded Gauchos (17-15) in scoring (9.5 points per game), assists and steals while averaging 32.1 minutes per game.

March 16, 2012
Ex-Ponderosa player makes NCAA debut today for St. Mary's

One person who will watch closely the results of the NCAA men's basketball tournament this afternoon is former Ponderosa boys basketball coach Dave Millhollin.

St. Mary's College, ranked 24th nationally by Associated Press, opens the tournament today against Purdue in the Midwest Regional in Omaha and playing for the Gaels is Brad Waldow, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward and former Bruins player.

Waldow, a starter since mid-December for the Moraga college, made the WCC all-freshmen team this season in averaging 18.7 minutes, 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. He shot 67 percent from the field (107 of 159).

March 15, 2012
Tapley, Thames to lead Aztecs against North Carolina State

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the San Diego State men's basketball team and veteran coach Steve Fisher.

The Aztecs lost four starters, including Kawhi Leonard to the NBA, from a school-record 34-3 team that lost to eventual national champion Connecticut in the NCAA regional semifinals last year.

But thanks to former Sacramento High star Chase Tapley, the Aztecs' only returning starter, and ex-Pleasant Grove standout Xavier Thames, San Diego State is back in the tournament for the third consecutive season, this time as an at-large team.

As the No. 6 seed in the Midwest, San Diego State (26-7) will face No. 11 North Carolina State (22-12) on Friday morning in Columbus, Ohio.

March 14, 2012
Sizing up Sheldon-Jesuit, Round 4 this season with news/notes

Some news, notes and items of interest on the looming Sheldon-Jesuit Northern California Division I title tilt...

* It seems perfectly fitting that Sheldon and Jesuit square off for the Division I championship Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion. The teams are the standard this season for basketball excellence. Not just for the Delta River League, but Sacramento, the Sac-Joaquin Section and all of Northern California for large school supremacy.
* This is the first time in NorCal championship playoff history - 30 years - that two area teams will play for a D-I boys title.

March 14, 2012
St. Mary's of Stockton baseball to play at state-ranked Elk Grove

If the weather cooperates, two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion St. Mary's of Stockton is scheduled to play at Elk Grove 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday March 21 in an early season nonleague baseball showdown.

Elk Grove is off to a fast start.

The Thundering Herd scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch and bases-loaded base on balls for a walk-off 7-6 win over Rocklin March 6, then toppled Bay Area power Valley Christian of San Jose 7-1 on Saturday behind left-hander Ryan Tellez.

March 14, 2012
Plasant Grove, Woodland and Del Campo win in Victory softball

Pleasant Grove, Woodland and Del Campo were crowned champions of their respective divisions at the annual Victory Preseason Tournament of Champions softball tourney last weekend in Sacramento and Elk Grove.

In Saturday finals, Michaela Crow and Autum Miller hit home runs to lead Pleasant Grove past Cosumnes Oaks 5-2 in the Blue Division; Kaylee Davis had a triple single and drove in two runs in Woodland's 5-2 win over Vanden in the White Division; and Megan Wantz had two hits and pitched a complete game shutout in Del Campo's 4-0 win over Ponderosa in the Gold Division.

March 13, 2012
D-III Catholic powers end reunion bids for Foothill and Center

The goal for Pioneer Valley League rivals Foothill and Center was to make it a neighborhood reunion in Saturday's CIF Northern California Regional Division III boys basketball championship game at Power Balance Arena.

But the two needed upsets tonight on the road in the semifinals against Bay Area private school powers Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco and Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland.

It wasn't a good night for the Sacramento squads.

Third-seeded Foothill was routed 66-46 by second-seeded Bishop O'Dowd, the two-time defending D-III NorCal champs, to finish the season 29-4.

Center, a No. 12 seed, fell 69-51 to top-seeded Sacrad Heart Cathedral, the NorCal D-III titlist in 2009.

Christopher Smith led Center with 13 points and Kenneth Parker added 10 for the 23-9 Cougars.

March 13, 2012
Lauderdale lifts Kennedy past Gunn in NorCal D-I girls semifinal

By John Parker

Special to The Bee

Lynette Johnson finally got to finish a game in the CIF Northern California Regional playoffs, but she was not the closer.

Kennedy's prolific do-it-all junior had fouled out of the Cougars' previous two regional playoff contests, leaving a gritty corps of teammates to finish. During Tuesday night's 44-40 Division I semifinal win over visiting Gunn of Palo Alto, she committed just two fouls.

March 13, 2012
Shocker on two fronts: Jesuit upsets De La Salle in D-I boys; Miramonte shoots lights out to defeat Sac High in D-III girls

It was a contrast of emotions for two teams Tuesday night - tears for one at home and cheers for another on the road - in the CIF Northern California Regional basketball semifinals.

In Concord, fourth-seeded Jesuit High School outscored top-seeded De La Salle 14-3 down the strech to topple the defending NorCal champion Spartans 44-41. Jesuit will play Delta River League rival Sheldon for the title on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

In Oak Park, the second-seeded Sacramento girls saw their season come to a shocking close against a hot-shooting, well-coached and determined Miramonte of Orinda team 71-64 in D-III.

March 13, 2012
Sheldon holds off McClymonds and will face rival Jesuit for NorCal D-I title; Jesuit stuns host De La Salle

As if this high school basketball season wasn't already full of twists and turns and plenty of rich story lines, it's about to add a new chapter of great intrigue.

The No. 2-seeded Sheldon Huskies held off decades-old traditional powerhouse McClymonds of Oakland 59-55 in a Northern California Division I semifinal in an entertaining if not sometimes erratic semifinal in Sacramento on Tuesday night. And as time ran out, Sheldon public address announcer Herbie Berry announced - slowly for emphasis and a bit of drama - that Jesuit had upended top-seeded De La Salle 44-41 in the other semifinal in Concord.

Jesuit denied De La Salle any field goals in the first quarter in taking an early 10-4 lead. The senior-laden Marauders trailed 38-30 with 3:26 to go but closed out the Spartans with a 14-3 run for one of the program's great signature triumphs. De La Salle was seeking a NorCal D-I repeat and its 12th title appearance. Parker Uu led Jesuit with 12 points and Bryce Pressley had nine. Okachi Okugo also played well, hitting the go-ahead three-pointer and handling the ball throughout against fierce pressure.

March 13, 2012
Breaking down tonight's NorCal boys and girls hoops matchups; who will make the finals?


Breaking down tonight's NorCal Regional basketball playoff semifinals with local teams, boys and girls...

Oak Ridge (25-8) at Berkeley (27-2)
These programs know each other, with Oak Ridge beating Berkeley in the NorCal title game at Power Balance Pavilion in 2010, en route to the state large-school championship. It was a remarkable run for the Trojans of El Dorado Hills as it was their first venture in the D-I field (after years of great success in D-II).
Coach Steve White takes another superbly coached and conditioned team to Berkeley tonight, where the top-seeded Yellowjackets lose every election term or so. Oak Ridge has reached a Norcal semifinal - D-I or II - five times in six years and lost to Berkeley in the quarterfinals a year ago. This year's Oak Ridge team has two fine shooters/ball handlers in Jenn Hoffman and Jenna Klein and an emerging post in Lauren Sende. There is concern with frontcourt player Michelle Barkley, who left Saturday's 44-29 win over Heritage with a knee injury.
Berkeley, of course, is tradition. The Yellowjackets seek their on-going, all-levels, either-gender record 15th NorCal title game and seek a record 11th title. Berkeley is led by impressive point guard Elisha Davis and has front-court power in Desire Finnie and Rachel Howard. Berkeley isn't as big as season's past, but it is just as fast, just as motivated. For Oak Ridge to win, it must not be bugged by the moment, must beat the pressure defense and must hit three-point shots.

March 13, 2012
Bee/SureWest Sports present prep baseball top teams, players, interviews

High school baseball season is here and we offer a peek at the top teams, players, coaches and what to look for as I join Mike Finnerty in a SureWest Sports special to preview the regional heavyweights.

Think Jesuit, Davis, Elk Grove, Franklin, Pleasant Grove, Oak Ridge - and others from Placer County, Yolo County and in between. At The Bee, we are compiling lists of the top players, teams and more for an upcoming baseball preview...

For the SureWest link, go here ...

March 13, 2012
Four area freshmen qualify for national wrestling event

Four area freshmen won titles at the California Grade State Championships last weekend in Lemoore.

They are: Ponderosa's Jimmy Scarr, 126 pounds; Folsom's Lorenzo De La Riva, 132; Granite Bay's Cameron Smith, 220; and Del Oro's Saul Meneses, 285.

Each has earned a sponsored trip to compete for Team California at the FloNationals March 31-April 1 in Philadelphia.

March 12, 2012
Roseville, Pioneer pitchers toss combo no-hitters at Raley Field

In a game that saw no-hitters thrown by both teams, Roseville defeated Pioneer 2-0 Thursday night at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats.

The game was part of the 2012 Raley Field High School Baseball Series.

Roseville's Mark Reece threw a complete game no-hitter in the seven-inning contest, while Pioneer pitchers Robert Daugherty and Thomas Galart combined to hold Roseville hitless.

March 11, 2012
Antelope quarterfinal loss to Chico ends section's five-year CIF NorCal D-II boys championship game appearance run

By Bill Paterson

The Sac-Joaquin Section has traditionally been a power in CIF Northern California Regional Division II boys basketball.

In the last five seasons, a section team reached the NorCal championship game.

Woodcreek made it back-to-back finals in 2011 and 2010. Rocklin made it in 2009 (and beat St. Francis of Mountain View to reach the state final), Fairfield in 2008 (after beating Rocklin by three points in the semifinals) and Jesuit in 2007.

Heading into this year's postseason, it appeared that streak might continue with Sacramento and Antelope putting together strong regular-season runs.

But Lodi shocked Sacramento in the section quarterfinals and although Antelope won the D-II section title, the Titans' season wasn't expected to come to an end so quickly. They lost 66-58 against visiting Chico in Saturday's NorCal quarterfinals.

March 11, 2012
Fresno City College outlasts Yuba in state men's JC title game


For 22 games, Yuba College engaged in the perfect storm of a basketball season with cohesion, athletes and skill galore - and a united goal of putting the plucky 49ers on the state map.

It came to an emphatic end Sunday at Cosumnes River College when national powerhouse Fresno City used a 17-5 second-half run, waves of depth and superb defense to seize control for a 77-62 triumph in the California Community College Athletic Association Men's Championship.

This is common fare for the Rams, who earned the program's fifth state title and third since 2005.

Before Doug Cornelius arrived in Linda to steer Yuba College 11 years ago, the college made regional hoop news in the late 1980s for serving as the training camp home of the Kings. Now there's a team to behold and a town that embraces it. CRC's state-of-the-art facility was full - 3,000 strong - with a good portion from the Sutter-Marysville region who made the 54-mile trek, including the 49ers mascot dressed as a miner, for Saturday's semifinal and Sunday's title game.

March 10, 2012
NorCal boys basketball playoffs: Sheldon, Jesuit, Foothill and Center advance to the semifinal round with victories tonight

Bryce Pressley had 26 points and Akachi Okugo 15 as fourth-seeded Jesuit defeated Castro Valley 73-53 in a CIF Northern California Regional Division I quarterfinal tonight in Carmichael.

The Marauders (26-6) will play at top-seeded De La Salle of Concord on Tuesday. De La Salle defeated Pleasant Grove 54-40. Cody Demps led Pleasant Grove with 10 points.

In other games:

Division I
Sheldon 65, Piedmont Hills-San Jose 44 at Sheldon - Kyi Thomas scored 19 points and D'Erryl Williams added 13 as the second-seeded Huskies (27-5) advance to the semifinals. They will play host to McClymonds of Oakland - an 87-79 overtime winner over Deer Valley of Antioch - on Tuesday.

Division II
Newark Memorial 75, Bella Vista 64 in Newark - Despite 20 points apiece by Ahmad Smith and K.J. Logue, the Broncos (26-6) saw their season end against the second-seeded Cougars.

Chico 66, Antelope 58 in Antelope - The Northern Section champion Panthers (27-3) stopped the No. 4 Titans' (31-2) winning streak at 30 games.

Division III
Center 63, Foothill-Palo Cedro 57 in Antelope - Christopher Smith's 30 points helped move the Cougars (23-8) into Tuesday's semifinals at top-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco.

Foothill 50, El Cerrito 46 in Foothill Farms - Kelly Bender had 17 points and Michael Bryson and Anthony Williams 12 each as the No. 3 Mustangs (29-3) advance to face No. 2 Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland on Tuesday.

Division V
Branson-Ross 44, Capital Christian 42 at Capital Christian - Gabe Moynihan hit the go-ahead basket, then grabbed a rebound on Capital Christian's first attempt of a one-and-one to lift the North Coast Section runner-up Bulls (26-9) over the third-seeded Cougars (26-6).

Central Catholic 59, Sacramento Waldorf 39 in Modesto - The Raiders outscored the Waves 28-9 in the first half en route to the win. Chris Schwartz-Edmisten had a game-high 22 points for Sacramento Waldorf (26-5). Jack Fenton led Central Catholic (26-6) with 21.

March 10, 2012
Girls NorCal playoff roundup: Sac High rolls past San Marin; Kennedy and Oak Ridge also win in Saturday's quarterfinals

By Bill Paterson
Second-seeded Sacramento's collision course with top-seeded and defending CIF Northern California Division III champion Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland continued Saturday night in Oak Park.

Behind Briana Womack's long-range shooting, Jasmine Ware's relentlessness at both ends of the floor and the heart-tugging return of Allie Green, Sacramento rolled to a 72-34 win over San Marin of Novato (25-7) in the D-III quarterfinals.

The win moves Sacramento (26-6) into Tuesday's semifinals at home against Miramonte of Orinda, the North Coast Section runners-up. Miramonte defeated Sacrad Heart Cathedral of San Francisco 76-61.

March 10, 2012
Former area prep baseball standouts to play for Gold Sox

The Marysville Gold Sox have announced their roster for the upcoming Horizon Air Summer Series.

While a number of players on the the 2012 squad have seen some time with the club, only Brandon Creel (Sacramento State, Rosemont), Kenton Bevacqua (Oklahoma State, River Valley), Justin Charles (Fresno State, Elk Grove) and Mitch Wilhite (Lewis & Clark) saw extended time last season.

Among the area players on the roster are pitcher Paul Moeller (Pacific, Folsom), catcher Justin Lamb (San Francisco State, Yuba City) and outfielders Brook Brooks (Eastern New Mexico, Elk Grove), Justin Higley (Sac State, Jesuit) and Tommy Lininger (Allen Hancock CC, Bella Vista).

Leading the club for his sixth season will be manager Jack Johnson. Also returning to the team's coaching staff is Jim Stassi, the former Yuba City High coach.

This year's club is made up of players from 18 colleges, including 12 NCAA Division I players.

The Gold Sox will open the 2012 campaign on May 24, when they take on the Chico Pirates 7 p.m. at Appeal-Democrat Park.

March 9, 2012
West Campus coach hopes district reconsiders cutting sports

While it's still too early to know if Sacramento City Unified School District trustees are serious about eliminating sports as part of the $28 million in budget cuts they recently approved, West Campus girls basketball coach John Langston would hate to see that happen.

"Sports is another way of raising a child," said Langston, who also coaches boys golf at Kennedy. "You teach them discipline, you teach them competitiveness and you teach them how to be a good person through winning and losing.

"I really think that if you cut out sports, you cut out an important part of people's lives. Idle time is such a tremendous failure to kids."

Langston's West Campus girls, despite starting only one junior and four sophomores, have reached the CIF Northern California Regional Division IV quarterfinals.

The Warriors (24-6) play top-seeded Salesian of Richmond on Saturday at Pinole Valley High School.

March 9, 2012
Capital Christian's Battenberg puts section title into perspective

By Bill Paterson
Although Capital Christian coach Terry Battenberg won his first Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball title March 2, he was quick to put the Cougars' 64-50 Division V win over Central Catholic of Modesto at Power Balance Pavilion into perspective.

"A section title doesn't really grade you as a coach," said Battenberg, who started as a prep coach in 1969 before there were section playoffs. "The guy that wins a section title usually has the best talent."

And Battenberg says he has talent, even if it is comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores.

March 9, 2012
There may be more section titles ahead for Victory Christian girls

Victory Christian enjoyed its best girls basketball campaign in school history this season.

The Vikings won the Central Valley California League title and their first Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball championship by beating Wilton Christian 45-37 in the inaugural Division VI title game March 1 at Galt High School.

But there may be more section banners ahead for the Vikings, who finished 21-6.

Only two of the team's 10 players will graduate and one of the area's top players, 5-foot-9 junior guard Molly Huffman, will be back.

Huffman had 18 points - eight in the decisive fourth quarter - in the top-seeded Vikings' win over No. 2 Wilton Christian.

Despite that, coach Tim Smithers would have liked to see her shoot a little more at times.

"Molly's a very unselfish player," Smithers said. "She passes up shots I want her to take because she can score from anywhere on the floor. She's already broken all the marks for three-pointers at our school as a junior, despite getting double-teamed almost all the time.

"But she's also our best passer. She sees the court very well. Her instincts are great. She's a commodity that I'm glad we have back for another year."

If Victory Christian can make it back to the championship game next season, Smithers hopes it is at Power Balance Pavilion.

"We're kind of the lone sheep out here, so to speak," said Smithers, also the school's athletic director and girls volleyball coach. "Nothing against Galt. It's a great venue. But deep down we would have liked this game to be at Power Balance, even if it were a day game.

"But that doesn't diminish the excitement here. We'll take a championship wherever we can get it."

March 9, 2012
Wilton Christian girls coach Kirt Duncan has nice run of success

Despite having only 29 students in the high school, Wilton Christian has consistently had one of the area's top small-school girls basketball programs.

Credit coach Kirt Duncan for squeezing every ounce of talent out of his 10-player squad that included two sophomores and four freshmen.

On March 1, Wilton Christian lost 45-37 to Victory Christian in the inaugural girls D-VI championship game at Galt High School. It was the school's third appearance in a section final (the other two at D-V) in five seasons.

Victory Christian was coached by Tim Smithers, the man who got Duncan into girls coaching 17 years ago.

"Before he moved to Victory Christian, Tim was the athletic director at Wilton and I was coaching the JV boys," Duncan said. "He came to me and asked if I would be interested in coaching the girls program. I didn't know anything about coaching girls.

"That was 17 years ago. This was going to be my last season, but I'm coming back because it's a lot of fun."

He'll do it without one of the program's greats.

Six-foot-one senior Kendra Jeffcott, who had 24 points, 18 rebounds and eight blocks against Victory Christian, will graduate.

She finishes a four-year career with 1,871 points and 1,105 rebounds. The Patriots went 85-21 during that span.

March 8, 2012
Victory Christian star recognized for his good sportsmanship

While senior captain Robby Maxey capped a brilliant career last Thursday by leading (11 points, seven assists, seven rebounds) Victory Christian to a 65-46 win over Sacramento Adventist in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-VI section boys basketball title game, he also shined brightly in defeat a few weeks earlier.

After the Vikings lost to Sacramento Waldorf 74-67 Feb. 17 to finish second behind the Waves in the Central California Valley League, Maxey entered the Waldorf locker room and told his opponents how much he respected them and what an honor it was to have played against them during his prep career.

"John, I have been coaching for 26 years and that may have been the greatest act of sportsmanship that I have ever witnessed," Waldorf coach Dean Stark wrote in a letter to Victory Christian principal John Huffman. "For a player to have played his heart out in a championship game, come up a little short, be heartbroken ... and have the character to come into our room and praise us for out effort and skill was very moving."

March 8, 2012
Here are scores from tonight's NorCal basketball 1st round







Pleasant Grove 20 14 16 14 - 64

Castlemont 20 6 16 15 - 57

PG-Hayes 16, Nordquist 13, Nguyen 7, Smrekar 2, Jackson 2, Dunn 4, Demps 20. C-Evans 7, Oliver 18, Martinez 12, Corbino 9, Armstrong 11.






Bella Vista 12 17 22 14 - 65

Shasta 12 13 15 11 - 51

BV-Hennen 10, D'Alesandro 11, Logue 9, Smith 14, Salhani 17, Berkness 4. S-Crane 9, Romac 6, Eboigboden 2, Graham 12, Lauritzen 10, Ajamien 12.






Center 25 18 22 23 - 88

Mission 21 15 18 22 - 76

C-Hunter 17, Horton 4, Parker 18, David 8, Arrington 14, Smith 27. M-Murray 8, Porter 17, McFarland 10, Edwards 15, Fisher 10, Prescott 16.






Half Moon Bay 67, Calaveras 28

Arcata 66, Central Valley 36

Ripon 56, Gridley 45

Cardinal Newman 53, Marshall 51

St. Patrick/St. Vincent 50, Riverbank 48



Capital Christian 16 30 26 7 - 79

Tulelake 14 0 7 6 - 27

CC-Belton 19, Iroegbu 2, Wilson 6, Perry 8, Aibuedefe 8, Donlan 11, Garza 3, Ware 4, Nissen 6, Lealao 12. T-Fensler 1, J. Burrier 5, Crawford 8, Idrogo 8, Reyes 3, Herman 2.



Sac.ramento Waldorf 9 19 19 16 10 - 73

Liberty Christian 17 15 20 11 2 - 65

SW-Dean 11, Schwartz-Edmisten 49, Rose 3, Petersonwood 8, C. McElligott 2. LC-Dankson 18, Pkhakadze 20, Papashvilli 14, Lynch 4, Dunken 9.











Oak Ridge 12 11 15 13 - 51

Washington 10 4 6 4 - 24

OR-Bateman 4, Barkley 5, Hoffman 9, Honaker 3, Liebert 4, Dow 5, Klein 9, Sende 5, Anderson 5, Zagyi 2. W-Chang-Sulton 10, Luy 2, Vutac 6, Arunlung 6.


Pleasant Grove 15 15 12 24 - 66

Palo Alto 21 10 9 16 - 56

PG-Lee 18, Pena 5, Villaruz 2, Beebe 7, James 15, Grays 10, Williams 9. PA-Allen 10, Osagiede 25, Alipate 2, Black 11, Palmer 3, Butler 5.


Castlemont (16-12) 13 9 13 14 - 49

Kennedy (24-8) 14 8 14 13 - 52

C-Johnson 17, Hall 14, Anderson 5, Watson 5, Adams 4, Jelinek 4. K-Johnson 18, Wong 12, Lauderdale 7, Greer 5, Kolokihakaufisi 4, Lee 4,

Foster 2.





Dougherty Valley 72, Chico 40

Casa Grande 55, Florin 52

Pleasant Valley 49, River City 47

McNair 65, Alameda 49



Christian Brothers 6 31 15 19 - 71

Paradise 13 7 11 8 - 39

CB-Valmores 11, Burch 14, Munoz 4, Kellison 13, Gonzalez 11, Tillman 2, Bembry 4, Garrett 8, McKechnie 4. P-Hansen 6, Burnett 9, Horner 15, Echeberry 2, Mundt 7.






West Campus 22 11 10 15 - 58

Anderson 4 15 17 6 - 42

WC-Nelson 5, Keomany 9, Collins 2, Datu 4, Paongo 1, Williams 14, Shaner 23. A-Greenhaw 15, Lange 2, English 6, Sidhu 2, Flesuras 3, Nunnelley 14.





Hamilton 60, Capital Christian 56

International 71, Portola 25

St. Joseph's-Notre Dame 67, Colusa 45

Pinewood 61, San Domenico 37

Turlock Christian 68, Durham 61

Ripon Christian 50, University-San Francisco 41

March 7, 2012
Kennedy, Oak Ridge and Pleasant Grove win in D-I NorCal girls

Despite playing without ace point guard Marissa Wimbley, Pleasant Grove scored the game's last 10 points to beat host Palo Alto 66-56 in the CIF Northern California Regional Division I girls basketball playoffs tonight.

Avonna Lee had 18 points and Dejza James 15 for the Eagles (22-9), who lost a heartbreaker to eventual Sac-Joaquin Section D-I champion Kennedy in the semifinals.

Palo Alto, the Central Coast Section runners-up, finish 19-6.

Pleasant Grove will travel to top-seeded Berkeley on Saturday.

In other games involving area girls teams tonight:

March 7, 2012
Bella Vista overcomes slow start to beat Shasta in NorCal boys D-II opener; Schwartz-Edmisten scores 49 in Sac Waldorf's overtime D-V upset of Liberty Christian in Redding

By Bill Paterson
Bella Vista boys basketball coach Dave Gonzalez figured it would take awhile for his team to get going tonight against visiting Shasta of Redding in the opening round of the CIF Northern California Division II Regionals.

The Broncos were coming off an emotional 55-49 loss to Antelope a week earlier at Power Balance Arena in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals.

They also were still reeling from an injury to senior leader K.J. Logue, who rolled his right ankle on Friday with five minutes to go in practice.

He did not practice on Monday or Tuesday and wasn't in the starting lineup tonight.

But after a slow start - the Broncos led only 29-25 at the half - they got things rolling in the final two quarters to post a 65-51 win and advance to the quarterfinals.

Bella Vista (26-5) will play at Bay Area heavyweight Newark Memorial (26-4) on Saturday.

"We had a hard time getting re-focused and then K.J. got hurt, so it took us a little while to get going," Gonzalez said. "I had a feeling this would be a tough game. (Shasta) won 18 games. Those teams up there sometimes feel they get overlooked. They were tough. They gave us a battle for a half."

March 7, 2012
A peek at some area basketball movers and shakers heading into NorCal playoff week

By Joe Davidson

Some are regal inside players. Others are rebounders and runners. Some are ball handlers, shooters, charge takers - anything to impact a game and shape a season.
Here's a look at some of the regional game changers and general achievers from the higher seeds in the Northern California Regional playoffs that tipped off Wednesday night and continue through March 17 at Power Balance Pavilion.

allen.jpgA's for Allen
When you're the MVP of the top league in the Sac-Joaquin Section - and a top two league in Northern California - you're good. Really good, and that's Sheldon's dynamic Dakarai Allen (left, with ball). The Huskies junior forward stands 6-foot-6, is long, smooth down the lane and determined on the defense. He can reach the basket on drives, get above the basket on dunks, pop the jumper. Pac-12 coaches have noticed.

Ware's warp speed
UC Santa Barbara coaches that watch Sacramento Dragons senior guard Jasmine Ware up close or from afar cannot wait to have her in the Big West on scholarship. Here's why: she can dribble, drive, distrubute and defend for the top-seeded Division III Dragons, who have won 22 consecutive games. And she hasn't let up an ounce after a mid-season knee strain initially looked to be a season ender.

Bender but don't break
If there's star power for Foothill, winnersr of 23 consecutive games, it starts with UC Santa Barbara-bound guard Michael Bryson, who can shoot over the top of you - or dunk over the top of you. And there's Kelly Bender, a quick guard who explodes to the basket and who is deceptively in the lane on defense, too. He's led the Mustangs in rebounding in a lot of games.

Young bucks
Capital Christian coach Terry Battenberg calls his underclassmen-heavy team "The Young Bucks" and it's easy to see why. Only one senior starts in Matt Donlan, otherwise there are pups every where, including big men in sophomores D.J. Wilson and Nifae Lealao and freshmen Trey Belton and Nick Aibuedefe. Said the old coach, "they scare me sometimes - in a good way."

Head strong
Kennedy junior forward Lynette Johnson gives new meaning to hard headed. She's stubborn in her unyielding defense and also resilient and tough as she has endured three concussions playing the game so "lives to play." Johnson doesn't let up on her game, however. She can score on runners, has range, can rebound and block shots.

Trojan touch
Oak Ridge has size inside with Lauren Sende, who has matched her skills with newfound confidence, and it can buckle teams with the deft ball handling and shooting of guards Jenna Klein and tireless sophomore Jenn Hoffman. Hoffman had six three-pointers in the D-I title game against Kennedy. Factor in the program's 25-0 JV team and one concluded: The tradition continues.

wong.jpgSteady as she goes
Kennedy senior point guard Lori Wong (left, with ball) has a tightly taped knee, but never slows down. She weaves through the lane and curls out for a pass, or makes that pass. She makes big shots in big games and wards off defenders bent on flustering her. Wong is no statistical marvel, but Kennedy doesn't get this far without her.

A's for Okugo
Akachi Okugo (below right, with ball) runs the point for Jesuit, but he's also a fearless rebounding, crashing the board against foes much taller. He had seven rebounds against Sheldon in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I title game, but he also missed 11 of 12 shots, so guess who has put in extra time of late. Okugo raves about the entire Jesuit experience - a student, an athlete, a leader. No wonder he's got the ball in his hands so often.

okugo.jpgBig Nate
And to think Nate Iese almost didn't play basketball this winter for Sheldon. The UCLA-bound tight end wanted time for football recruiting trips and to hammer home his academics, but he decided to lace them up anyway. Iese provides muscle and grit for the Huskies in the form of rebounds, picks and screens - and he's a sight to be hold in the open court with the sort of ripped biceps should never be covered with sleeves. Sheldon football coach Josh Crabtree, also the Sheldon public address announcer for home games, said Iese should be allowed to go sleeveless during graduation ceremonies, and, years from now, his wedding

Titans 3-headed beast
Jarvis Watkins, Kei'Shaun Sinclair and Caleb King of Antelope don't rebound and block shots like junior inside force Isaiah Ellis, but they are all three-year varsity players - experienced leaders who can handle the ball, score and defend. Coach Rob Richards said he isn't ready to bid those seniors farewell.

Good touch
Bella Vista leans on the muscle and might of senior forward K.J. Logue, and the fast-forward element comes from ultra-quick junior guard Ahmad Smith, who can bomb away or burst to the basket for the program's best team since 1990. Logue will bow out of the program, but Smith will return. He's already on the Pac-12 recruiting radar.

Good touch, Part II
A shooter to behold now and next season is Colfax Nordquist of Pleasant Grove, he of the nice form, determined game and rising recruiting interest. He has an assistant coach in Bill McCoin to talk to as well. McCoin was an ace shooter at Casa Roble in the late 1980s who continued his hot hand at Sacramento State
For NorCal score updates, news, notes, story and photo album links, follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 7, 2012
Bee's Joe Davidson joins SureWest Sports Show with Mike Finnerty to break down section basketball title games and offer a look ahead

This week's SureWest Sports Show has a complete breakdown of the Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs at Power Balance Pavilion - highlights, interviews, analysis. I join host Mike Finnerty to discuss what the title games and wins mean for the teams now and moving forward.

The title games for girls include Kennedy-Oak Ridge in Division I; Sacramento-Modesto Christian in D-III; West Campus-Calaveras in D-IV. For boys: Sheldon-Jesuit in D-I; Antelope-Lodi in D-II; Foothill-Sierra in D-III and Capital Christian-Central Catholic in D-V.

The show is here.

March 7, 2012
Canadian football star Ricky Ray to keynote awards night

Thirty-two area football players and Pleasant Grove football coach Joe Cattolico will be among those honored at the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation's annual scholar-athlete awards banquet on Friday at the Sacramento Elks Club, 6446 Riverside Blvd. in Sacramento.

Cattolico, who led the Eagles to a second consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game appearance last fall, will receive the Rowland P "Red" Smith Distinguished Coaching Award.

The foundation also will honor area community college and college athletes.

Former Sacramento State quarterback Ricky Ray of the Toronto Argonauts will be the keynote speaker and will receive a distinguished achievement award.

Before his trade to Toronto in December, Ray had spent his entire nine-year career in Edmonton, winning Grey Cups in 2003 and 2005. With 3,225 completions, 40,529 passing yards and 210 touchdowns, he holds most of the Eskimos' passing records. Ray's 66.8 percent career completion percentage is best among active Canadian Foothill League quarterbacks.

The undefeated American River College football team, along with former 49ers general manager John McVay and retired NCAA official Jim Lenau also will be honored.

The area football players to be honored are:

Parker Abercrombie and J.T. Frank, Jesuit; Gavin Andrews and Brendan Keeney, Granite Bay; Wyatt Bartholomew, Woodland; Alex Bertrando, Tanner Huber and Kevin Love, Del Oro; Thaddeus Cox and Jake Rodrigues, Whitney; Zac Cunha and Casey Lambert, Roseville; Preston Dean, Oak Ridge; Cole Farrow, Rio Linda; and Luis Ibarra, Mesa Verde.

Also to be honored are Aman Jagait, Thomas Parker and Ryan Shields, Oakmont; Nick Kelly, Mitch Samson and Tyler Young, Casa Roble; Josh Letuligasenoa, Elk Grove; James Mahoney, Pioneer; Max Mathews, Inderkum; Semisi Paea, Shaq Thompson and Charlie Vue, Grant; Alec Sarner, Nevada Union; Logan Smith, Vista del Lago; Tanner Trosin, Folsom; Marcus White, Pleasant Grove, and Austin Young, Colfax.

American River College's Corey Aubert, Sacramento City College's Raymond Bautista and Sierra College's Brandon Kellerman also will be honored along with UC Davis' Ishman Anderson and Sac State's Jake Croxdale.

March 5, 2012
Antelope coach comments on keys to winning school's first section basketball title; the controversial ejection of a top player and what's ahead for the Titans in the NorCal playoffs

Here are Antelope boys basketball coach Rob Richards' remarks at a press conference after his Titans won their first Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship with a 77-55 win over Lodi on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion.

On the controversial ejection late in the first half of 6-foot-6 junior center Isaiah Ellis after he was assessed a second technical foul for allegedly taunting:
"All I heard was him complimenting Gabe (Bealer) on his blocked shot, which was a big block and got everyone fired up. (Isaiah) came over toward me, toward Gabe as I was giving Gabe a hug because the play before Gabe had taken an ill-advised shot. 'Hey great block.' That's all I heard was great block. All the explanation I got (from the referee) was that his mouth was moving as he was walking next to the (Lodi) player. That's what I was told. I just have a hard time because (you) not only take him out of this game but the next game based on saying that he saw his mouth move from 30 feet."

March 4, 2012
A closer look at the NorCal Regional girls basketball playoffs

By Joe Davidson

Breaking down the Northern California Regional girls basketball playoffs that start Wednesday (top seeds have first-round byes):

Division I
1. Berkeley (NCS) 26-2
2. Lowell, San Francisco (SFS) 25-4
3. Kennedy, Sacramento (SJS) 23-8
4. Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills (SJS) 23-8
5. Oakland Tech, Oakland (OS) 18-11
6. Deer Valley, Antioch (NCS) 21-8
7. Gunn, Palo Alto (CCS) 19-6
8. Palo Alto (CCS) 19-5
9. Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove (SJS) 21-9
10. Mission San Jose, Fremont (NCS) 27-3
11. Armijo, Fairfield (SJS) 23-7
12. Heritage, Brentwood (NCS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Pleasant Grove (21-9) at Palo Alto (19-5)
Heritage (24-5) at Oakland Tech (18-11)
Washington (11-12) at Oak Ridge (23-8)
Castlemont (11-12) at Kennedy (23-8)
Armijo (23-7) at Deer Valley (21-8)
Mission San Jose (27-3) at Gunn (19-6)

Translation: No surprise here that Berkeley is the top seed as the Yellowjackets have been dominant this season - and seemingly for 30 years in the NorCal field. There are no 6-foot towers like seasons past, but there is a skilled player in Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis. Kennedy, a double-overtime winner over Oak Ridge in the Sac-Joaquin Section title game, could host three NorCal games if it keeps playing well. Oak Ridge got a No. 4 seed, with Berkeley looming if the wins continue. Pleasant Grove, which fell to Kennedy in a section semifinal, is a real darkhorse here.

Division II
1. St. Mary's, Stockton (SJS) 28-3
2. Carondelet, Concord (NCS) 26-3
3. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose (CCS) 24-5
4. St. Ignatius, San Francisco (CCS) 25-5
5. Casa Grande, Petaluma (NCS) 30-2
6. Pleasant Valley, Chico (NS) 35-3
7. McNair, Stockton (SJS) 27-4
8. Dougherty Valley, San Ramon (NCS) 20-9
9. Chico (NS) 17-5
10. Alameda (NCS) 22-7
11. River City, West Sacramento (SJS) 27-3
12. Florin, Sacramento (SJS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Chico (17-5) at Dougherty Valley (20-9)
Florin (24-5) at Casa Grande (30-2)
River City (27-3) at Pleasant Valley (35-3)
Alameda (22-7) at McNair (27-4)

Translation: St. Mary's of the Sac-Joaquin Section is the clear favorite here to win a fourth consecutive NorCal title, second in D-II, as it aims to become just the second team to win four consecutive state titles. Two local teams are Florin, which opens at Casa Grande, and River City, which travels to Pleasant Valley. The Panthers and Raiders fear no obstacle, of course. Those who could derail St. Mary's are Carondelete with Notre Dame-bound Hannah Huffman, though St. Mary's rolled in an earlier meeting this season.

Division III
1. Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland (NCS) 26-3
2.Sacramento (SJS) 25-6
3. Sacred Heart Cath., San Francisco (CCS)
4. Terra Nova, Pacifica (CCS) 23-6
5. Modesto Christian, Modesto (SJS) 25-6
6. Miramonte, Orinda (NCS) 28-1
7. San Marin, Novato (NCS) 24-6
8. Paradise (NS) 17-11
9. Christian Brothers, Sacramento (SJS) 23-7
10. Oroville (NS) 13-15
11. Vanden, Fairfield (SJS) 22-8
12. Acalanes, Lafayette (NCS) 15-13

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Christian Brothers (23-7) at Paradise (17-11)
Acalanes (15-13) at Modesto Christian (25-6)
Vanden (22-8) At Miramonte (28-1)
Oroville (13-15) at San Marin (24-6)

Translation: Sacramento got its desired No. 2 seed and targets a rematch with Bishop O'Dowd in the finals at Power Balance on March 17. O'Dowd, big and skilled, lost just one starter off its team last season and is quick - much like Sacramento, led by Jasmine Ware, Briana Womack, Jehiah Cook and a host of others. Sacramento is superbly coached and conditioned, and eager for more. When clicking, it's hard to imagine Sacramento losing. Christian Brothers opens against a Paradise team that hasn't won as many games or faced as strong a schedule, either, so a favorable draw.

Division IV
1. Salesian, Richmond (NCS) 28-3
2. St. Mary's, Berkeley (NCS) 24-7
3. Calaveras, San Andreas (SJS) 28-3
4. Soquel (CCS) 25-4
5. McKinleyville (NCS) 22-7
6. Mercy, San Francisco (CCS) 26-3
7. West Valley, Cottonwood (NS) 21-6
8. West Campus, Sacramento (SJS) 23-6
9. Anderson (NS) 20-9
10. Bear River, Grass Valley (SJS) 20-9
11. Marin Catholic, Kentfield (NCS) 22-8
12. Colfax (SJS) 18-9

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Anderson (20-9) at West Campus (23-6)
Colfax (18-9) at McKinleyville (22-7)
Marin Catholic (22-8) at Mercy (26-3)
Bear River (20-9) at West Valley (21-6)

Translation: It's loaded at the top with Salesian and St. Mary's with both targeting each other for a showdown in the NorCal finals at Folsom High. The teams are league rivals and have played three tight games, with St. Mary's winning two of them behind Gabby Green. Of local note, West Campus, Bear River and Colfax are long shots, though West will host its first-ever NorCal game. St. Mary's is the defending champion and has a win over D-I Berkeley, if that's any indication of power.

Division V
1. Brookside Christian, Stockton (SJS) 26-4
2. Eastside College Prep, East Palo Alto (CCS) 15-13
3. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda (NCS) 20-10
4. Hamilton, Hamilton City (NS) 29-0
5. Pinewood, Los Altos Hills (CCS) 18-12
6. Turlock Christian, Turlock (SJS) 26-4
7. Ripon Christian, Ripon (SJS) 21-5
8. International, San Francisco (NCS) 21-10
9. Portola (NS) 25-5
10. San Francisco University (NCS) 26-5
11. Durham (NS) 11-16
12. San Domenico, San Anselmo (NCS) 22-7
13. Capital Christian (SJS) 17-12
14 Colusa (NS) 20-7

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Portola (25-5) at International (21-10)
San Domenico (22-7) at Pinewood (18-12)
Capital Christian (17-12) at Hamilton (29-0)
Colusa (20-7) at St. Joseph (20-10)
Durham (11-16) vs. Turlock Christian (26-4) at Calvary Christian
SF University (26-5) at Ripon Chrisitian (21-5)

Translation: Brookside and scoring guard Tiara Tucker got the top seed in a field long dominated by the Bay Area, with East Side Prep and St. Joseph still factors. The real darkhorse is the lone unbeaten team in the field in Hamilton City.
* Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 4, 2012
Breaking down the NorCal boys basketball playoff with top seeds, comments

By Joe Davidson

Here are the seeds, in order for the Northern California Regional boys basketball playoffs that start at home sites on Wednesday with comments (keep in mind that top seeds have first-round byes)

Division I
1. De La Salle, Concord (NCS) 27-2
2. Sheldon, Sacramento (SJS) 26-5
3. McClymonds, Oakland (OS) 18-10
4. Jesuit, Carmichael (SJS) 25-6
5. Bellarmine, San Jose (CCS) 18-11
6. Deer Valley, Antioch (NCS) 27-8
7. Piedmont Hills, San Jose (CCS) 27-3
8. Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove (SJS) 23-6
9. Castlemont, Oakland (OS) 14-9
10. Freedom, Oakley (NCS) 21-7
11. Bethel, Vallejo (SJS) 23-7
12. Castro Valley (NCS) 21-7

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Castlemont (14-9) at Pleasant Grove (23-6)
Castro Valley (21-7) at Ballarmine (21-7)
Bethel (23-7) at Deer Valley (27-8)
Freedom (21-7) at Piedmont Hills (27-3)

Translation: Sheldon got the desired No. 2 seed, meaning it is opposite of De La Salle, the longtime state power that bounced the Huskies in the semifinals last season. These teams target each other for a NorCal title rumble at Power Balance on March 17, the same floor where Sheldon won its third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section large-school championship, downing rival Jesuit. De La Salle has won 10 North Coast Section titles, relying on its suffocating defense and the efforts of scorers Elliot Pitts and Amandi Udenyi. Jesuit earned a No. 4 seed and very well may run into De La Salle in a semifinal in the Bay Area. No. 6 Deer Valley of Antioch is led by 6-foot-9 post Marcus Lee, a national recruit who hurt his hamstring against De La Salle in the North Coast Section playoffs. Bellarmine-San Jose is a the 5 seed and has a won over NorCal D-II top-seed and defending state champion Mitty-San Jose.

Division II
1. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose (CCS) 27-3
2. Newark Memorial, Newark (NCS) 26-4
3. Serra, San Mateo (CCS) 23-6
4. Antelope (SJS) 30-1
5. Chico (NS) 25-3
6. Lodi (SJS) 23-6
7. Bella Vista, Fair Oaks (SJS) 25-5
8. Windsor (NCS) 26-5
9. McNair, Stockton (SJS) 23-5
10. Shasta, Redding (NS) 18-10
11. Las Lomas, Walnut Creek (NCS) 19-10
12. College Park, Pleasant Hill (NCS) 20-9

Opening-round game, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
McNair (23-5) at Windsor (26-5)
College Park (20-9) at Chico (25-3)
Las Lomas (19-10) at Lodi (23-6)
Shasta (18-10) at Bella Vista (25-5)

Translation: Mitty got the top seed, as expected, give its pedigree this season and with so many players back from its state title team of last season. A bit of a surprise is Antelope gaining just a No. 4 seed, despite having the state's longest winning streak of 29 games. Clearly, the Bay Area teams and sections were rewarded with tradition and overall strength of schedule. Antelope is on the same side of the bracket as Mitty, meaning a potential game at the Monarchs on March 13. Newark Memorial could draw Bella Vista in a second-round game. Serra of San Mateo got the No. 3 as survivors of the rugged, battle-tested West Catholic Athletic League.

Division III
1. Sacred Heart Cathedral, SF 25-5
2. Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland (NCS) 24-5
3. Foothill, Sacramento (SJS) 28-3
4. Campolindo, Moraga (NCS) 22-6
5. Mission, San Francisco (SFS) 23-10
6. El Camino, South San Francisco (CCS) 25-5
7. Enterprise, Redding (NS) 20-8
8. Sierra, Manteca (SJS) 27-3
9. Miramonte, Orinda (NCS) 19-9
10. Lindhurst, Olivehurst (SJS) 24-7
11. El Cerrito (NCS) 20-8
12. Center, Antelope (SJS) 21-8
13. Foothill, Palo Cedro (NS) 21-8

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Miramonte (19-9) at Sierra (27-3)
Center (21-8) vs. Mission (23-10) at Kezar
Foothill-Palo Cedro (21-8) at Campolindo (22-6)
Lindhurst (24-7) at Enterprise (20-8)

Translation: Foothill-Sacramento seeks its third NorCal title under coach Drew Hibbs, and is in the same bracket as second-seeded Bishop O'Dowd, the two-time defending NorCal champion. The Mustangs fear no one, of course, and have beaten all four of its Sac-Joaquin Section playoff foes by at least 20 points. A Foothill-O'Dowd showdown would happen in Oakland on March 13. O'Dowd is big, headed by Washington State-bound Richard Longrus. Sacred Heart is the top seed and routed Jesuit earlier this season.

Division IV
1. Salesian, Richmond (NCS) 30-2
2. Modesto Christian, Modesto (SJS) 26-5
3. Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton (CCS) 21-6
4. Central Valley, Shasta Lake (NS) 20-8
5. Ripon (SJS) 18-13
6. St. Patrick/St. Vincent, Vallejo (NCS) 19-11
7. Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa (NCS) 26-5
8. Half Moon Bay (CCS) 23-6
9. Calaveras, San Andreas (SJS) 19-9
10. Marshall, San Francisco (SFS) 15-14
11. Riverbank (SJS) 23-4
12. Gridley (NS) 14-13
13. Arcata (NCS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Calaveras (19-9) at Half Moon Bay (23-6)
Gridley (14-13) at Ripon (18-13)
Arcata (24-5) at Central Valley (20-8)
Riverbank (23-4) at St. Patrick/St. Vincent (19-11)
Marshall (15-14) at Cardinal Newman (26-5)

Translation: It's Salesian by a landslide, given the state power's size, speed, skill and schedule, including a win at Sheldon. Modesto Christian is the second seed and gives the Sac-Joaquin Section some hope.

Division V
1. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda (NCS) 26-4
2. Pinewood, Los Altos Hills (CCS) 25-2
3. Capital Christian, Sacramento (SJS) 25-5
4. Liberty Christian, Redding (NS) 25-1
5. Central Catholic, Modesto (SJS) 24-6
6. Branson, Ross (NCS) 24-9
7. San Francisco University (NCS) 20-10
8. St. Francis CCC, Watsonville (CCS) 17-12
9. Durham (NS) 19-10
10. Ripon Christian, Ripon (SJS) 23-6
11. Fall River, McArthur (NS) 23-5
12. Bentley, Lafayette (NCS) 23-7
13. Sacramento Waldorf, Fair Oaks (SJS) 25-4
14. Tulelake (NS) 24-4

Opening-round game, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:Durham (19-10) at St. Francis-Watsonville (17-12)
Bentley (23-7) at Central Catholic (24-6)
Sacramento Waldorf (25-4) at Liberty Christian (25-1)
Tulelake (24-4) at Capital Christian (25-5)
Fall River (23-5) at Branson (24-9)
Ripon Christian (23-6) vs. SF University (20-10) at Kezar

Translation: Capital Christian, first-time Sac-Joaquin Section winners, has the more favorable bracket as it will not have to face No. 1 St. Joseph-Alameda until the finals, should it get that far. Capital is young yet dangerous with senior leader Matt Donlan and veteran coach Terry Battenberg. St. Joseph is led by legendary coach Don Lippi, who has 698 wins, and he was able to replace an entire rotation that won two straight NorCal titles. Sacramento Waldorf and state scoring-leader Chris Schwartz-Edmisten is still alive.

March 3, 2012
Sheldon beats rival Jesuit in thriller to three-peat as D-I champion

By Joe Davidson

On the white board in the team locker room this week at Power Balance Pavilion, the Sheldon Huskies have a reminder in ink about what is at stake.


"Cement your legacy."

Consider it cemented.

The top-seeded Huskies beat Delta River League rival and No. 2-seeded Jesuit 49-44 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game on Saturday night, crowning the Elk Grove Unified School District program as large-school champions for the third consecutive season.

Sheldon overcame bouts of sloppy play and gritty Jesuit defense to become just the third D-team to three-peat, and it came at the expense of their respected rivals the past two seasons. All told, Sheldon (26-5) has beaten Jesuit (25-6) seven consecutive times, three times this season alone, a hearty feat given the competition.

It is the Huskies' fifth title in nine seasons, a clear dynasty for this era - and it's still a team heavy on underclassmen.

So given all that, it seemed a bit amusing to hear a college recruiter say with conviction that Sheldon didn't boast "of much talent at all." Sir, you may need a new set of bi-focals or another line of work.

There's talent and leadership in point guard D'Erryl Williams, who took over down the stretch with three inside power plays and two late free throws. The junior had 18 points and eight rebounds. Dakarai Allen had six points, 10 rebounds and was presented with the sportsmanship award. Nate Iese, the national football recruit headed to UCLA to knock people around, muscled inside for nine and had six rebounds.

The one downer for Sheldon is a significant one as one of the key cogs to the machine had to be helped off the floor with a knee injury. Armani Hampton was the only Huskies player who wasn't all grins when it was over. It's too early too tell how bad the knee is.
Jesuit targeted this title as a last-chance shot to win a section title.

It is a senior-dominated team led by Bryce Pressley and Parker Uu. Pressley had nine points after he had 22 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots as he labored with a bad ankle. Uu had 12 despite a sore back. Brian Glodowski, another senior, had nine points and seven rebounds for the Marauders, playing in their 16th title game and seeking their first large-school title since 2000.

Sheldon struggled at times on offense but played its typical stout defense. Uu was only 4 of 14 shooting, Akachi Okugo, the steady point guard leader, was 1 of 12 - and Jesuit as a team shot 15 for 52, including 3 for 24 from three-point range.

Sheldon wasn't much better, making 17 of 53 shots and 3 for 14 from long range, but it made three of five down the stretch inside to ice it.

In general, Sheldon is ecstatic with the win.

"It feels great, especially with a young team," said Sheldon coach Joey Rollings. "It's greatest feeling in the world. We're not done. The goal is to go all the way. We think we have the team to do it."

Both teams will advance to next week's NorCal D-I tournament where things generally get a lot more taxing and difficult. The NorCal field has for decades been dominated by Bay Area programs. De La Salle of Concord is expected to be the No. 1 seed, the same team that eliminated the Huskies last season in the NorCal semifinals.

Photo by Randall Benton: The Huskies' #4 Dakarai Allen reaches for a rebound.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 3, 2012
Kennedy outlasts Oak Ridge in double OT in girls D-I title

By Joe Davidson

So much for the spacious confines, the setting, the stakes and any nerves.


Outside some early jitters two underdog girls basketball teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs produced as good a championship game that's been played in Power Balance Pavilion, even dating back to the Arco Arena days of yesteryear.

The No. 4-seeded Kennedy Cougars had just a bit more in the tank to toppled sixth-seeded Oak Ridge 62-58 in double overtime in the large-school title round Saturday night.

There were big shots, big free throws, big plays throughout in a gym notorious for defusing hot teams and derailing seasons. And there were plenty of pileups in an all-out scrum for a loose ball in a thoroughly entertaining and exhaustive show.

"It was a great effort and everyone dug deep," a relieved Kennedy coach Dave Parsh said. "We were in a constant battle and finally pushed it over the top."

It's the fifth section championship for Kennedy, all since 2001, and it was the third such title for Parsh, who won two banners with St. Francis in the 1990s. It was also the only title game that of the weekend that didn't have a No. 1 seed.

Kennedy didn't win the Metro Conference - that went to D-III champion Sacramento - but it did win the defacto Delta River League, beating DRL members St. Francis, top-seeded Pleasant Grove and Oak Ridge on its way to its eighth NorCal D-I tournament in 11 years. And the Cougars do so with a lineup that has no 6-footers and with just two returning starters from last season.

Lynette Johnson, the humble team star, had 24 points and nine rebounds. Steady floor leader Lori Wong had 11 and unsung Katie Lee had nine, including two three-pointers during a 9-0 late fourth-quarter run.

Jenn Hoffman had 24 for Oak Ridge, including six threes. Hoffman made two free throws to force the first overtime and Johnson had a buzzer-beating putback to force the second extra session. Johnson gave her plucky team the lead for good at 60-58 with a three with 1:05 to go and Mele Kolokihakaufisi had two free throws to account for the final score with 31 seconds remaining.

Parsh said his team surged late in the season and the Cougars shared the ball, upped their defense and generally bought into the team-now theme.

"This is my family," an elated Johnson said, pointing to her teammates. "I love them so much. We had our ups and downs....We can keep winning if we fight hard and keep playing together."

Jenna Klein had 11 and Haley Anderson each had 11 points for Oak Ridge, which beat No. 2-seeded Armijo of Fairfield in a semifinal. All told, Oak Ridge made seven threes and Kennedy eight.

Kennedy and Oak Ridge both advance to the NorCal playoffs, with the Cougars hoping for a No. 2 or 3 seed.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 3, 2012
Antelope overcomes controversial ejection of star player to beat Lodi in boys D-II title game

By Joe Davidson

Adversity, even in small doses, doesn't even seem to provide much of a speed bump for the Antelope Titans.


Eight days after trailing by 10 at the half in an early round Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff game, the Titans regrouped and shattered St. Mary's of Stockton.

On Saturday night at Power Balance Pavilion against upstart Lodi in the title game, top-seeded Antelope overcame the bizarre and hugely controversial ejection of one of its top talents in the second quarter, regrouped and savaged the No. 7 Flames en route to a 77-55 rout for the program's first section crown.

Isaiah Ellis, known for his calm demeanor as much as his zest to defend and rebound, was ejected in the second quarter for what one referee deemed taunting and even cursing, all of which Titans players and coaches denied. None of the scores of baseline photographers mere feet away from the action or court-side reporters heard or saw such behavior. The referee in question - from out of region - would only explain to Antelope coach Rob Richards that he saw Ellis' "lips move." Richards said Ellis was merely congratulating a teammate on a blocked shot.

Regardless, Ellis was tossed, and per prep rules, he must sit out the next game, a NorCal Regional D-II game next week - unless the ejection can be overruled through appeal.

Antelope (30-1) showed impressive resolve without it's ace defender and dominated in stretches in extending its winning streak to a section-best 29-game winning streak.
Gabe Bealer produced yet another superb playoff outing with 24 points and 11 rebounds, Kei'Shaun Sinclair had 13 points and six rebounds, Jarvis Watkins had 13 and five and Caleb King had 12 and seven.

All this from a school sporting its first full four-year senior class. And all this with the backdrop of the Titans Red Zone rooting section, clearly the section's largest, loudest and most entertaining - and a group that cheers without demeaning opponents. To cross the line in the Red Zone is to risk the wrath of Antelope activities director Kristin Patten, who was decked in red from head to toe, including a wig and face paint.

"I'm having so much fun with this," she said before the game.

Said Richards on his team in general, "We've had all these players since their freshman season, and I couldn't be more proud of the amount of work and time they put into school, the community and this team."

Lodi was led by Brandon Michelucci's 14 and Colton Machado's 13. Lodi will also advance to the NorCal Regionals and looms as a dangerous road draw.

As for Ellis, Richards defended his junior forward, insisting he did not curse, nor did he even taunt. The referee who ejected Ellis also challened Richards during the second quarter, ordering the coach to not look at him and to "just coach."

Antelope will find out Sunday what seed it will get in the D-II NorCal tournament. It could be as high as a No. 2 seed, behind defending state champion Mitty of San Jose.

"We feel we can go toe-to-toe with Mitty or Serra (San Mateo)," Richards said. "I see us as a 2 or 3 seed, and we can represent this section and make some noise."

Photo: Antelope High School basketball head coach Rob Richards talks to his team during a time out. Brian Baer/ Special to the Bee

Check Bill Paterson's report on this game after midnight on or in Sunday's print version of The Bee.

March 3, 2012
Despite D-IV girls loss to Calaveras, West Campus has come far

By Bill Paterson
West Campus girls basketball coach John Langston affectionately calls his players "my babies."

He's amazed and pleased at how far his underclass-dominated team has come in such a short time.

So on Saturday, Langston was more father figure than task master in a 30-minute post-game locker room pow wow after the third-seeded Warriors lost 56-45 to No. 1 Calaveras in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls championship game at Power Balance Pavilion.

He wanted them to consider the positives:

March 3, 2012
Calaveras holds off West Campus of Sacramento to win girls D-IV section title

By Joe Davidson

In a meeting of old school against a much newer place of learning, tradition won out in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls championship Saturday afternoon.

Calaveras High School of San Andreas held off a spirited charge from West Campus of the Sacramento City Unified School District, winning 56-45 with a late surge in an otherwise entertaining contest of skill and speed.

It is the first section title for the decades-old Redskins since taking the very first D-II girls title in 1975. Calaveras reached three more title games before enduring a stretch in the 1990s in which it missed the postseason eight consecutive seasons.

West, meanwhole, was in a title game Saturday for the first time. The school broke off from being Johnson High West Campus in 2002 and has quickly established itself as an academic/athletic program of note, particularly in girls basketball under coach John Langston, who won a section title for the Sacramento High Dragons in 2007.

Langston raved about his young Warriors, who will return in tact next season with so many underclassmen.

Haley Shaner, a skilled forward who can shoot, rebound and run, had a game-high 23 points for West. She had 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Erianna Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who will still advance to their first NorCal Regional playoff tournament that starts next week.
* For a more detailed game story, check Bill Paterson's Bee report in tomorrow's Bee or on after midnight.Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

March 3, 2012
Red-hot Foothill looks like NorCal boys basketball title contender after belting Sierra 74-52 in D-III section championship game

By Bill Paterson
The Foothill boys basketball players served notice late Friday night that they might be making a couple of more trips to Power Balance Arena this season.

The top-seeded Mustangs dismantled No. 2 Sierra of Manteca 74-52 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game at Power Balance, which also will be the home of the CIF Northern California and State championship games in the coming weeks.

Foothill (28-3) is clearly a team on a roll. Friday's win was the Mustangs' 23rd consecutive and also ended Sierra's 26-game win streak. It was Foothill's fourth playoff win by 20 or more points.

March 2, 2012
Foothill beats Sierra to win D-III section title and program's fourth banner; things get chippy late with cursing assistant coaches

By Joe Davidson

Balanced scoring, superb defense and some major momentum carried the top-seeded Foothill Mustangs on Friday night in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game at Power Balance Pavilion, resulting in a 74-52 rout of No. 2 Sierra of Manteca.

Kelly Bender had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Michael Bryson 19 and Douglas James 16 for the Mustangs, who have won 23 consecutive wins, are 28-3 on the season and now stand as a serious threat in the looming D-III NorCal Regional playoffs that start next week.

Foothill hopes to land at least a No. 2 seed in a field that will include Bay Area powers Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco and Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland.

Foothill jumped to a 40-18 halftime lead as the faster, stronger, more composed outfit. The Mustangs beat all four playoff foes by at least 20 points. Foothill has won four section titles since 1997, three under veteran coach Drew Hibbs (the other was under Mike Wall).

Hibbs now seeks his third NorCal and third state championship.

Guillermo Nunez led Sierra with 19.

Things got a bit chippy in the fourth quarter when Bryson crashed to the floor and was kicked by a Sierra player. Assistant coaches from both teams glared and then cursed each other as Foothill fumed at the play and Sierra coaches wondered what the deal was. Sierra coaches didn't initially realize there was a kick.

But in a good show of sportsmanship and genuine regret later, those coaches sought each other out after the game during the post-game hand-shake line to apologize and wish each other well in the NorCal playoffs.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
Log onto for a link to this week's SureWest Sports Radio Show that first aired Thursday afternoon and breaks down all the title contenders in big-picture form and breaks down some of the great prep scorers in regional history.

March 2, 2012
Sacramento Dragons repeat as D-III girls champions; Jasmine Ware, Jehiah Cook lead crushing effort

By Joe Davidson

It's always an fun-to-observe transformation with the Sacramento Dragons, the girls basketball juggernaut from Oak Park.


Giddy, giggling and general goofballs outside any arena, they suddenly and collectively morph into grim-faced defensive tyrants when it counts - especially big games.

On Saturday night at Power Balance Pavilion, the top-seeded Division III Dragons put the pedal to the championship medal and blasted No. 2 Modesto Christian 73-36 in the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game in impressive display of speed, defense and offensive balance.

Sacramento has won 22 consecutive games since a six-game skid - all agonizingly close games - to state and national competition. The Dragons (26-6) are unbeaten in the section and walloped a Crusaders team that they beat by four earlier this season.

Before Friday's rematch, the Dragons had a sing-song cheerful demeanor, then were stoic in pouncing on loose balls, trapping with purpose and bolting down court on outlets in gassing the Crusaders (25-6). Afterward? Shrieks of joy, of course, so much so that Sacramento principal Will Jarrell couldn't resist getting into the group high-five act.

"I really feel this team has something special happening here," Dragons coach Michele cq Massari said. "They play so hard. We play incredible defense. They like each other. They hang out with each other. Unbelievable team chemistry."

Unbelievable, team, too.

Senior leaders Jasmine Ware, Jehiah Cook and Briana Womack led an otherwise young team with typical complete-game efforts. Ware, the 5-foot-10 wing headed for UC Santa Barbara, had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and her bloodied lip spoke of her relentless nature. She swarmed on defense, crashed the boards, initiated the break, attacked the lane and hit jumpers.

Cook, a blur point guard headed to UNLV had 18 points, scoring off steals or on breaks and hitting mid-range jumpers. Womackm, a shooting forward had seven points. The support crew included junior Casey Williams, who had 10 points, sophomore Zonyia Cormier 10 and sophomore post Ayanna Edwards had six points with five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Massari heaped praise on her team and her coaches, including strength and conditioning guru Alex Van Dyke, the former Burbank High and Nevada All-American receiver who had a stint in the NFL.

"We're in shape," Massari said of Van Dyke's impact. "Every day we run like it's track practice - and we're fast."

Ware wore the look of relief and pride. Earlier this season, she crumpled to the floor with what she initially feared was a season-ending knee injury. It was just a deep bruise, and Ware has played with purpose ever since, with no hesitation.

"I'm glad I was OK, and I thank Coach Van Dyke for the rehab," Ware said, the net around her neck. "I'm going to miss my team when it's over."

It may not be over for a good while as the Dragons expect to land at least a No. 2 NorCal D-III playoff seed when brackets are announced on Sunday.

It was also a proud moment for assistant coach Darnell Hillman, who 20 years ago this week was the All-Metro point guard for Johnson's gritty team that pushed state-ranked Jesuit to overtime in the D-I large-school championship on this very floor. He didn't win that title but he now has two title patches for the Dragons repeat efforts.

Photo: Dragons' #21 Jasmine Ware reaches to steal the ball from the Crusaders' #31 Elizabeth Flores during the Girls DIII Sac Joaquin Section championship game between the Sacramento High School Dragons and the Modesto Christian High School Crusaders at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento on Friday, March 2, 2012. Randall Benton

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidsonCheck the SureWest Sports Radio Show link on for news and notes on today's games, tomorrow's title tilts and discussion on the greatest prep scorers in Sacramento-area history.

March 2, 2012
Capital Christian wins its first boys section basketball title; Battenberg is a first-time champion

By Joe Davidson

Not bad for a band of young pups, or as their oldish coach likes to call them, "Young Bucks."


Playing well beyond their years with inside passing, post moves, shooting and defense, top-seeded Capital Christian High School beat No. 2 Central Catholic 64-50 on Friday night at Power Balance Pavilion to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship.
It is the first such title in this section for the Cougars, a school that has for years enjoyed athletic success across the board.

The Cougars were section runner-ups five successive seasons from 2003-2007, losing each time to Modesto Christian, the southern region super power that has an all-divisionis section record 13 section banners.

But what impressed first-year coach Terry Battenberg - a veteran of the regional coaching ranks since 1969 - is how well his club played. He anticipated a championship run, but truth be told, not this season with so many underclassmen.

Of the main rotation, there is one core senior in 6-foot-5 forward Matt Donlan, who displayed his versatile game with 22 points and six rebounds. Nifae Lealao, a 6-5 sophomore post, had 15 points and seven rebounds, and 6-5 sophomore forward D.J. Wilson had 11 and six.

"We're Young Bucks," Battenberg said, his face awash with pride. "I don't know if we can ask any more of this young group than what they gave us. They've impressed me all year long. Sometimes they scare me."

Scary in a good way, that is. So young, so eager - and with so much potential to win more games.

"We honestly didn't think it'd happen this year," Battenberg said.

Battenberg came out of retirement after decades of success in the high school and college ranks, including league-title runs at Jesuit, El Dorado, Ponderosa and Union Mine - the Highway 50 stretch. Capital is also on Highway 50 and he jokes it made sense to answer previous coach Phil Oates' plea to take over as head coach.

Oates remained as an assistant and he stood as a proud papa of the program.

Oates and his team agonized at the finish of their season last year, when a jump shot by Summerville in the Summerville gym clearly after the final buzzer was ruled good. Battenberg praised Oates for his work over the years and this season and said he was thrilled to join the ride this season.

The Cougars will find out Sunday what seed they will earn for the Northern California D-V regional playoffs. If Capital Christian gets a top three seed - the early thinking is a No. 3 seed - it will get a first-round bye on Wednesday and then host its first NorCal game in history on Saturday.

Terry Battenberg photo by Randall Benton

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
For a breakdown of the section championship game teams and discussion on some of the great prep basketball scorers in regional history, listen to the SureWest Sports Radio Show link from this week on

March 2, 2012
Wilt scored 100 points 50 years ago; who holds the college and prep marks and does it ever happen ethically?

By Joe Davidson

Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game 50 years ago this week, an NBA record sure to withstand the test of time.


Remarkably, Chamberlain rarely talked about the feat, how he made 36 of 63 field goals and 28 of 32 free throws (incredible for a man who struggled from the line) in a 169-147 win over the New York Knicks.

Reporters who covered him or interviewed him years later said he was more proud of how he once led the NBA in assists. He also liked to talk about the, um, 20,000 or so women he "met" during his lifetime in a different act of scoring.

Darrall Imhoff, the former center from Cal, guarded Chamberlain plenty during their NBA careers, including that 100-point night in Hershey, Pa. for the Philadelphia Warriors. Wilt won all the battles, once saying of his battles with Chamberlain, "It was a privilege to have spent 12 years in his armpits."

For nearly as long as they have played basketball, 100 has been something of a mythical and magical number - for all levels of play. But only Chamberlain's effort seemed to come in a the spirit of true competition, against a worthy foe. Pore through other monstrous scoring efforts and no game was close.

Chamberlain scored 90 points in a high school game in 1955 for Overbrook High in Philadelphia, which turned out to be the second most in his life. He was 36 for 41 from the floor and 18 of 26 from the line and did not play in the fourth quarter of a 123-21 beating of Roxborough. So yeah, Wilt could make free throws if bearing down on 100 points.

That Philadelphia city record for either gender stood until 1981 when Linda "Hawkeye" Page, a 5-7 guard had 100 points in a 131-38 Dobbins Tech win over Mastbaum.

College scoring -
The college record for most points in a game is 113, set by Bevo Francis in 1954 for the University of Rio Grande. Francis was a skilled 6-foot-9 shooter for the NAIA power who also had a 116-point game that was not recognized long term as an all-levels college record since it came against a junior college opponent - Ashland College of Kentucky.
The only other recognized college player to go for 100 points in a game was Frank Selvy with 100 for Furman University against Newberry College in 1954.

And the preps -
The first prep to score 100 in a game was in 1913 when Herman "Buzz" Saygar, who went for 113 in a 154-10 win for Culve, Indiana over Winamac.
Ed Vondra had 102 for Brainard, Neb. in 1922, and it wasn't until 1953 that someone had 100 again when Dick Bogenrife of London, Ohio had a record 120 in a 137-47 triumph of Canaan.

Danny Heater - perfect name here - scored the most points in a high school game when he went for 135 for Burnsville, West Virginia in 1960, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

All told, 20 players have broken the century mark in high school, not all that surprising considering the sheer volume of players and teams - and the timeless pursuit of such a mark at all costs of the overwhelmed opponent.

In Heater's record showing, a 173-43 rout of Widen High of West Virginia, Heater scored 85 points in the second half alone, including 55 in the final 10 minutes. He finished with 32 rebounds.

If those results happened now with the media storm clouds always hovering, there would be a national outrage. The winning coach would likely be fired for completely disregarding sportsmanship. It's happened in Texas in recent years where coaches have been dismissed for running up outrageous scores in an effort to set scoring records.
Players scored a ton in 1960s era. Six players had at least 100 in a game in a three-year stretch, one seemingly trying to top the other.

Johnny Morris went for 127 in a game in 1961 for Portsmouth, West Virginia in a 173-47 rout of Mary Smith High. Pete Cimino had 114 for Bristol, P.a. in 1960 against Palisades, Pa., scoring all 69 of his team's points in the second half of a 134-86 win. Cimino went on to pitch four years in the Major Leagues.

Also from that immediate era: Ken Robinson had 108 for Cassatt Midway, South Carolina in 1961 and Danny Boyd 104 for Camden, Tenn. in 1961.

And Greg Procell of tiny Ebarb High in Noble, La., in 1961 had 100 in a 139-79 win over Elizabeth. He had a stunning 3,173 points that season and 6,702 for his career and still owns the national high school career total by nearly 1,400 points.

On Jan. 16, 2001, two players scored 100 in blowout efforts. Cedrick Hensley of Heritage Christian in Texas had 101 against Banff Christian in a 178-46 win and Dajuan Wagner dropped 100 for Camden, N.J. on Gloucester Tech, N.J. in a 157-67 win.

California records
The California state record for most points in a game is 100, by Tigran Grigorian of Pico Rivera Mesrobian in 2003 in a 114-47 demolition of Pacific Christian of Los Angeles. He had 11 three-pointers.

Suffice to say no one goes for any where close to 100 in close games against quality opposition.

The most absurd scoring effort by any age, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records is the 272 points - yes, 272 - that 13-year old Mats Wermelin of Sweedin had in a boys tournament in Stockholm. To add to the crazy nature of that record, Wermelin scored all the points in that 272-0 game.

The national girls record for most points in a game is held by Cheryl Miller of Poly-Riverside when she went for 105 in 1982. Lisa Leslie and her Morningside-Inglewood coach set out to shatter that record in 1990. She had 101 points at the half against South Torrance - and then South Torrance made a stand by refusing to play the second half, claiming outrageous sportsmanship on the part of Morningside in its quest for a record.


And locally...
The Sac-Joaquin Section record for most points scored in a single game is held by Bill Cartwright of Elk Grove with 66 in 1975. Cartwright also holds the section championship game record with 44 points in '74 (he is also second all time in the section with a 38-point title showing in 1975).

Cartwright led the state in scoring in 1975 at 38.5 points a game. He certainly could have scored 100 in a game as the nation's No. 1 recruit - NBA teams considered drafting him right out of high school - but Thundering Herd coach Dan Risley usually had his 7-foot center on the bench by the fourth quarter.

Top photo: In this March 2, 1962 AP file photo, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors holds a sign reading "100" in the dressing room in Hershey, Pa., after he scored 100 points, as the Warriors defeated the New York Knickerbockers 169-147. For 50 years, Chamberlain's 100-point night has stood as one of sports magic numbers. Bottom photo: Bill Cartwright of Elk Grove accepts the Sac-Joaquin winner's trophy at last Saturday night's wind-up, with Elk Grove scoring an astonishing 79-57 upset over Grant, a team they had earlier managed to beat by only four points, 53-49. Big Bill scored 38 points in both the final and semi-final games, wound up his year with 1117 points and a state-record average of 38.5. Bee file photo, 1975 / Skip Shuman

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 2, 2012
Yuba College men (31-3) takes on Santa Rosa (26-5) for State Final 4 bid

By Joe Davidson

Yuba College takes a host of numbers into the biggest game in school history Saturday night against a foe it knows well in Santa Rosa.

A 20-game winning streak, a No. 2 Northern California Regional Men's basketball seeding, a No. 3 state ranking - and the hearts and hopes of all packed into the cozy gym in Marysville with a chance of history hanging in the balance.

The 49ers (31-1) are a win away from advancing to the State Final Four for the first time. The Final Four will be held at Cosumnes River College in South Sacramento next weekend. The only other men's basketball team to win a state championship from the greater Sacramento region was Sacramento City College in 1986 under All-American guard Kenny Drummond.

Yuba beat Las Positas 86-83 in a second-round game Wednesday and now prepare for No. 3 Santa Rosa, a club the 49ers have faced three times. Santa Rosa won 70-68 on Nov. 12 - game two of the season. Yuba won the following two meetings, 86-82 on Dec. 2 and 82-70 on Dec. 17 in the finals of the Kris Kringle Tournament held at Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa (26-5) is an impressive shooting team, making 15 three-pointers to eliminate Cosumnes River 74-52 on Wednesday. That was a 58-point swing from the last time the teams met in a Big 8 Conference game from 13 days earlier, won by CRC. The Bear Cubs trailed 19-10 to CRC before taking over with a 17-0 run.

"They are the best shooting JC team I've ever seen," Yuba coach Doug Cornelius said. "It should be a great game."

Cornelius expects another full, rabid crowd.

"Our crowds have been unbelievable," he said. "The local fire marshall was here at Yuba (on Thursday) checking the capacity of the gym to see how many we can cram in here."

Yuba is led by Spencer Butterfield, who had 14 against Las Positas and averages 16.6. Butterfield had a late three and two late free throws to ice Las Positas. Yuba guard Anthony Romero made his first six three-pointers and had 23.

Kevin Crabb muscled inside for 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Cody Kale, the point guard, had 14 points and six assists, and the versatile forward De'Aundray Robinson had 10 points and six steals for Yuba.

Santa Rosa is coached by Craig McMillan, a household name in that region. He was a 6-foot-6 McDonald's All-American point guard for small-school Cloverdale High, the son of a coach, and won a State Division III championship in 1983. He was a four-year starter for Lute Olon at Arizona and played with Sean Elliott, Tom Tolbert and Steve Kerr for a team that made the Final Four in 1987. McMillan had coaching stints at Marquette, Tennesse, Kuwait and Lebanon. He's been the Santa Rosa coach since 2001.

Santa Rosa is led by Sama Taku, the Big 8 Conference Player of the Year.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

March 1, 2012
Victory Christian boys join girls in winning D-VI section title

The Victory Christian senior trio of Robby Maxey, Clayton Coppernoll and Blake Owen capped brilliant three-year varsity careers by combining for 38 points in the top-seeded Vikings' 65-46 win over No. 2 Sacramento Adventist in tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI boys basketball championship game, a battle of Carmichael schools, at Galt High School.

Coppernoll had 14 points, Owen 13, Maxey 11 and senior Jacob Smith added 10 as the Bob Grexton-coached Vikings (20-5) won their third section boys title and first in the new D-VI level created for teams with enrollments of 150 or fewer students.

The Vikings won D-V titles in 2001 and 2010. They have a lifetime playoff record of 26-18 and have made the playoffs 18 of the last 20 seasons.

It also was a sweep of D-VI for Victory Christian. Earlier in the evening the girls defeated Wilton Christian 45-37.

Senior guard Alec Thompson led Sacramento Adventist (14-9) with a game-high 17 points. Coach Nathanael Dunn's Capitals were making their first section title appearance.

March 1, 2012
Victory Christian defeats Wilton Christian for D-VI girls title

Top-seeded Victory Christian went on a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter and rallied to defeat No. 2 Wilton Christian 45-37 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI girls basketball championship game tonight at Galt High School.

Wilton Christian entered the final quarter with a 33-31 lead but scored only four points in the final quarter against Victory Christian's relentless man-to-man defense.

Junior guard Molly Huffman led Victory Christian with 18 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, as the Vikings won their first girls section basketball title.

Senior post Kendra Jeffcott topped Wilton Christian with a game-high 24 points, 18 rebounds and blocks.

This is the first year for a D-VI girls and boys (Victory Christian is playing Sacramento Adventist now), a division created for schools with 150 or fewer students.

Unlike the upper divisions, D-VI champions do not advance to the CIF Northern California Regional playoffs.

March 1, 2012
Here's schedule of teams playing in River Cats baseball series

The River Cats will play host to 48 high school baseball games this season, beginning with El Camino vs. Laguna Creek in a 6:30 p.m. game Saturday at Raley Field.

The 2012 Raley Field High School Baseball Series will culminate with the inaugural High School Showcase Games on Sunday, June 3, beginning at 1 p.m.

The doubleheader will feature players from 43 participating high schools who will compete in front of college coaches and pro scouts.

Here's a list of scheduled games involving area teams (all varsity games are at 6:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted):

March 1, 2012
Kevin Johnson to be inducted into National High School Hall of Fame for basketball, baseball excellence

By Joe Davidson

Someone find Kevin Johnson and hustle him over to a stack of Lottery tickets armed with a trusty scratch-off dime. The Mayor is rolling in momentum about now.

Still elated with the tentative new arena agreement and humbled by the standing ovation at Power Balance Pavilion on Tuesday when he wasn't bear-hugging Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, Johnson learned today that he will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in July.

This Hall honor certainly validates Johnson's remarkable playing career at Sacramento High School in Oak Park from nearly 30 years ago. He was an impossible-to-stop point guard for the Dragons under coach Ron McKenna in 1983 when he led the state in scoring at 32.5 points. McKenna, who now spends his game nights watching grandson Ryan Manning play for top-ranked Sheldon High in the playoffs, still maintains that KJ is the quickest, most explosive baseline-to-baseline prep player he has ever seen. Some might argue that Johnson was one of the quickest to ever play the NBA, too.

Johnson also enjoyed baseball, and he was dominant on the diamond, batting .500 for the Dragons. He was drafted by the A's and played minor league ball in the organization while at Cal, where he set a bevy of records for the Bears.

Johnson played 13 NBA seasons, mostly with the Phoenix Suns. He has been the
Sacramento Mayor since 2008.

A year ago this week, Johnson sat with a mixture of glum and glee at Power Balance, watching the girls and boys teams from his beloved old high school win Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championships.

Johnson spoke proudly of the current-day Dragons, heaping praise on the coaches and the student athletes, but he was also greatly concerned on the future of the Kings. The mood then was that the Kings were headed to Anaheim, that Power Balance would soon go dark.

Later that evening, Johnson went to the Dave Hotell Pavilion to shoot baskets to burn off steam. He said it was the first time in a long while since he'd even touched a ball, and it was certainly the longest time shooting since the end of his playing career.

Now? Johnson might just head back out to the old place the kids call "The Hotell" and see if he's still got some jump shot left.

If the National High School Hall of Fame has a pick-up game this summer, we sense KJ will be ready to blast down the lane.

In the past seven years, the other Sacramento-area athletes to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame include Debbie Meyer of Rio Americano (set 15 world records in swimming, won three gold medals in the 1968 Olympics); Karen Smith of Rio Americano (dominant in three sports in late 1970s and set section assist records); Denise Curry of Davis (pioneering basketball great in the 1970s) and Cordova baseball coach Guy Anderson, who faced Johnson in the Metro League in the early '80s and is still coaching the Lancers.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

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 or

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