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Franklin and Foothill adjusting to new landscape

Published: Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 9C

Foothill's Drew Hibbs and Franklin's Jesse Formaker are two of the area's most successful boys basketball coaches.

Hibbs' teams have won two CIF state titles, captured last season's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship and made the playoffs all 15 seasons he's coached the Mustangs.

Formaker's Wildcats have won the Delta Valley Conference the last four seasons and been to every postseason since he started coaching them in 2004.

But this season has been different for two coaches used to 20-plus-win seasons.

The victories are fewer and the challenges greater as both their teams showed during the 11th annual Father Kelly Tribute showcase and charity benefit Saturday at Jesuit High School.

The event pitted four area teams, including No. 3 Pleasant Grove and No. 12 Jesuit, against four top Bay Area programs.

In the opening games, Foothill fell to Campolindo of Moraga 75-59 and Franklin lost to San Leandro 60-43.

Franklin led San Leandro by four points and Foothill trailed Campolindo by one at the half before things imploded for both in the second half.

So with league play beginning this week for both teams, Foothill is 5-10 and Franklin 6-9.

Graduation, inexperience and inconsistency have hit both programs hard. So have changing times.

"In the last three or four years, we've started to see kids moving around, and the formation of these super teams," Formaker said. "So I think you're going to see more ups and downs for purely neighborhood teams like ours."

Washington scholarship signee Darin Johnson, a star last season as a junior, would have been Franklin's go-to player this season, but he transferred to top-ranked Sheldon, a state power. Formaker said he had no problem with that decision.

Foothill had to drop its freshman boys program this season because of a lack of interest.

"We're not going to be at a Sac High level or a Sheldon level," said Hibbs. "We don't get kids wanting to come to Foothill, and I don't understand that because we've been successful."

Hibbs and Formaker still enjoy coaching, and say they are mentoring good kids with a strong desire to improve this season.

"As coaches, you can't help but cheer for them," Formaker said.

Here is a recap of Saturday's games:

Deer Valley-Antioch 79, Jesuit 59 – Marcus Lee, a 6-foot-10 post, put on a show of dunking, shot blocking and behind-the-back dribbling as the Wolverines (10-3) topped the Marauders (8-8). Lee and guard Kendall Smith each scored 21 points. Sophomore Isiah Bailey topped Jesuit with 16.

No. 3 Pleasant Grove 64, Newark-Memorial 57 – Down 53-48 with 3:37 left, the Eagles (12-3) outscored the Cougars (6-6) 16-4. Captains Malik Thames (22 points), Matt Hayes (20) and Cole Nordquist (19) scored all but three of the Eagles' points.

Campolindo-Moraga 75, Foothill 59 – Sophomores Chris Hansen and Matt O'Reilly combined for 40 points to lead the Cougars. Douglas James topped the Mustangs with 15 points.

San Leandro 60, Franklin 43 – The Pirates unleashed six second-half three-pointers to overcome a four-point halftime deficit. San Leandro's Kennon Noble scored 24 points, including five threes. Marvin Timothy led Franklin with 12 points.

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