The Bee's Top Local Sports Stories of 2012Loading
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    The following is a list of top local sports stories of 2012, compiled by The Bee's sports department and sacbee.com.

    No. 1: Kings arena deal collapses



    An agreement that would lead to a new downtown arena for the Kings seemed to be in place, and fans figured the team's flirting with other cities would end and a new golden era of pro basketball would rise like a glowing valley sunrise. Alas, the Maloof family (some picture, from left: George, Gavin and Phil), which owns the Kings, decided the deal was no good and scuttled it. They deny they want to move the team. Meanwhile, the Kings are playing some of their worst basketball in front of dwindling crowds in perhaps the NBA's lamest arena.
    JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS | jvillegas@sacbee.com
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    3. GIANTS WIN ANOTHER WORLD SERIES

    Winning their second World Series championship in three seasons puts the Giants atop the major leagues' pecking order. The Giants did it with a starting lineup significantly different from the outfit that won in 2010, and after losing their best hitter - left fielder Melky Cabrera - to a steroid suspension and their closer - bewhiskered Brian Wilson - to season-ending surgery early in the campaign. But with catcher Buster Posey returning from a major injury and emerging as the National League MVP, fine starting pitching and memorable individual performances in key games, the Giants showed their class. Improbable comebacks in the N.L. Division Series against Cincinnati and in the NLCS against St. Louis were followed by a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
    PAUL KITAGAKI JR. | pkitagaki@sacbee.com
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    7. RAIDERS: NEW REGIME, SIMILAR STRUGGLES

    General manager Reggie McKenzie (pictured, left) gained unprecedented front-office power and responsibility - for the Raiders - following the 2011 death of Al Davis. He hired Dennis Allen. (pictured, right) early in 2012 in hopes that together they could revive the franchise. Effort and resources went into rebuilding a moribund defense, and offensive hopes were pinned on quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden. Both have played well, but the defense has given up an average of nearly 29 points a game, worst in the AFC. The team will finish with a losing record - other than back-to-back 8-8 seasons in 2010 and 2011 the Raiders have no winning record since 2002 - and appears to need another makeover. The guarded optimism that came with a post-Al Davis world has receded into familiar disappointment.
    PAUL SAKUMA | Associated Press
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    8. GRANITE BAY WINS STATE FOOTBALL TITLE

    At least looking at its record, Granite Bay High School's football team seemed to have a rocky road after three early-season losses. Never mind those setbacks came against top-flight teams. But as the season progressed, the wins stacked up, and momentum carried through the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, the inaugural Northern California regional playoffs and, ultimately, the state Division I championship game. The Grizzlies made their final statement in that game, fashioning a late game-winning drive of 77 yards that ended in a touchdown by John Cooley (pictured, just after scoring the key touchdown). The extra point was the final margin in a 21-20 victory over Long Beach Poly and the happiest possible ending to a remarkable season.
    JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS | jvillegas@sacbee.com
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    10. MOUNTAINS RETURN, THEN LEAVE, THEN . . .

    The Mountain Lions, Sacramento's UFL franchise playing its third season in the capital, were here then gone, just like the league itself. Franchises disappeared, the schedule was truncated, practice times always were iffy, and payrolls weren't met. Finally - or at least temporarily - the league and the Lions gave up on 2012, suspending play and claiming the whole show will return in the spring of 2013. Fans who attended home games at Raley Field (pictured) were disappointed, and the UFL's promise to return is being taken as more of a suggestion than an iron-clad word of honor.
    BRIAN BAER | Special to The Bee
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