March 22, 2013
Pleasant Grove beats Santa Monica for historic D-I state title

The senior trio of Matthew Hayes, Malik Thames and Cole Nordquist combined for 48 points and sophomore Marquese Chriss had nine points and nine rebounds to lead Pleasant Grove to a 73-57 win over Santa Monica tonight in the CIF State Division I boys basketball championship game at Sleep Train Arena.


It marked the first time a Sac-Joaquin Section boys team won a D-I boys state title and capped an amazing run by a team that didn't win its own league or section championships because of rival Sheldon, a team that lost to Archbishop Mitty of San Jose last Saturday in the first NorCal Open Division championship game.

The Eagles become only the fifth area team to win a state boys basketball championship, joining Oak Ridge at D-II and Foothill (twice) and Folsom at D-III.

It also was Northern California's only win of the night in the six state finals contested throughout the day. Six more will be played Saturday at Sleep Train, including the first Open Division boys and girls finals.

With a large partisan Sacramento crowd cheering them on, Pleasant Grove led 36-27 at the half and 56-40 after three quarters.

Hayes had a team-high 19 points, including three three-pointers. Thames added 16 points and six rebounds and Nordquist 13 points and nine rebounds as the Eagles finish the season 28-6, with three of the losses coming to neighborhood rival Sheldon.

The Eagles' defensive trio of Matthew Smrekar, Thomas Fitzgerald and James Watson added a combined 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Collectively Pleasant Grove shot 48 percent from the field while limiting a quick and athletic Santa Monica to 34 percent shooting. The Eagles outrebounded the Vikings 43-32.

Santa Monica senior forward Chris Smith led the Vikings (29-7) with 20 points and eight rebounds but Cal-bound star Jordan Mathews was limited to nine points and five rebounds in playing less than 13 minutes because of injury (back cramp) and foul trouble.

He fouled out with 7:15 minutes to play.

Bee photo by José Luis Villegas: Pleasant Grove High senior guard James Watson exults after the Elk Grove school beat Santa Monica 73-57 Friday night at Sleep Train Arena for the Division I state championship.

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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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