Here are insights/highlights from tournament director Mat Bradley on last weekend's fifth annual Cosumnes River College Summer Challenge boys basketball tournament at Cosumnes River College and Monterey Trail High School.
Championship: Natomas d. Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco 63-60
Final Four: Natomas 65 Laguna Creek 59, Sacred Heart Cathedral 43 Rio Americano 40
Third Placer: Laguna Creek defeats Rio Americano
Consolation Championship: Antelope defeats Oakland Tech
TEAMS GOING 4-1
Cosumnes Oaks, Oak Ridge, Encina Prep, Atwater
Pleasant Grove, Capital Christian, River City, Liberty Ranch, Monterey Trail
It's always exciting to have an annually competitive field, especially with successful and respected programs such as Sacred Heart Cathedral, Pleasant Grove, Antelope and Capital participating, but it was refreshing to watch programs like Natomas, Rio Americano and Laguna Creek have solid showings this year. These are programs that have been highly successful in the past and look to make competitive runs this upcoming basketball season. Some other teams that we expect to have playoff promise are Cosumnes Oaks, River City and Liberty Ranch. These teams displayed experienced youth, size and athleticism that is geared for playoff pushes. This weekend was a nice taste of what's to come this upcoming season in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and CIF NorCals.
Most all star games are full of individual play, but this year was a different story. It was truly enjoyable to watch elite-level players sharing the ball while still being aggressive throughout the game. The game had good flow, and the score was close throughout. Sometimes you'll find all-star games slow paced and without much of a defensive showing. This game felt different. Guys were hustling, moving the ball, and creating some great highlights. Whether it was dunks, no-look passes for easy scores, or contested deep threes that touched nothing but net, I just felt a satisfaction of solid, competitive basketball with a nice balance of elite-level players from D1 to D5. I noticed both teams were a reflection of the coaches that led them...John DePonte of Plesasant Grove (North Team) and Darrell Barbour and Demetrius Jackson of Sacred Heart Cathedral.
1) Nilo Yuson - senior point guard from Excel Academy of Stockton played with a motor, pushed tempo and involved his teammates.
2) Connor Sende - senior guard/forward from Oak Ridge played explosive, rebounded well and knows how to score.
3) Others who impressed - senior Jalen Davis of River City, freshman guard Ryan Chappel of Capital Christian, junior forward-center Marquese Chriss of Pleasant Gove, senior swing Phil Morgan of Natomas and senior guard Anthony Lewis of Lodi.