By Joe Davidson
Chris Jones challenged his Rio Americano High School basketball team to win a game, then another. And wow, wouldn't a 2-0 start look sparkling?
The Raiders did their old coach proud, and then some.
A 4-0 start is the best for Jones in his six seasons at his alma mater. In fact, his team hadn't even gotten off to a 2-0 start under Jones, so imagine his joy now.
"Really excited," Jones said. "This group plays hard and smart and together. We've been working hard since August with a vision to want to win, and it's been great."
Rio Americano returned one starter from last season's 15-14 season in Luke Moore, a 6-foot-5 senior wing who can shoot the three, drive the lane and a defend different positions. He's what Jones deems a "point-power forward who is very intelligent."
Josh Parkinson is a 6-3 guard, the team's emotional leader, who was named MVP of the Jack Scott Tournament.
The Raiders beat previous No. 11 Kennedy 60-43 in a second-round contest, and, in the finals, topped previous No. 6 Del Campo 67-57 as Parkinson had 19, Moore 18 and 6-4 forward Chase Hamersley had 14. Jones said Hamersley is "our glue guy."
Nick Tatar is a senior shooting guard starter joined in the backcourt by sophomore point guard Matt Lyon.
"Matt's been really good passing the ball, handling the pressure," Jones said.
Jones played for Rio in the late 1990s and has been coaching for nine years.
"It's great to be at my school," he said.
Jones said he appreciates the Rio Americano rooting section that goes by "Rowdy Raiders."
Cougar charge - Days after top-ranked Capital Christian beat No. 2 Sacramento 73-60 in a Foundation Game, a fundraising event that does not count for official won-loss record, the Cougars topped section powerhouse Modesto Christian 58-48. Stanford football recruit Nifae Lealao had 14 points for the Cougars, who play state powerhouse
Salesian of Richmond on Thursday.
Big Red rising - Jesuit won the Wild West Shootout in Reno, topping Servite of Anaheim 56-34, Galena of Reno 80-54 and in the finals Bishop Manogue of Reno 84-64. Lake Lutes scored 38 in the title game, Isaiah Bailey had 24 just days after finishing football, and Brady Anderson 15. Jesuit is the host site for the 40th Father Barry Christmas Classic that starts Friday.
Bulldog bite - Folsom swept through the Cartwright Classic in Elk Grove, downing Yuba City 100-68, McClatchy 85-43 and, in the finals, Lodi 70-56. Sophomore guard Jordon Ford earned MVP honors, scoring 30, 28 and 32 points. Alec Andrews, a sophomore wing, had 21 in the title game.
Titans stand tall - Burbank beat Antelope 56-53 to win the West Campus Tournament as senior guard Jalen Coates scored 14 points with seven assists. He was named the event MVP.
Prayer answered - Brett Bloomfield hit a running half-court shot to beat Oakmont 75-74 at the buzzer on Friday, but Davis didn't hit near enough shots the following night in the finals of the Bella Vista Bronco Round-Up, falling to Granite Bay 83-58. After a timeout, Bloomfield had enough time for one dribble and a heave against Oakmont off a play designed by coach Dan Gonzalez said. Granite Bay also beat Franklin 73-70 in the event.
Prolific quarter - Del Campo beat Rocklin 96-86 in overtime on Dec. 3, scoring 19 in the four-minute extra session. Vasilije Saraba scored 34 points and Braxton Knox 16 for Del Campo.
Check Wednesday's Bee for more basketball news and notes and the new Top 20 rankings.