High school boys basketball: No. 1 Sheldon boys top No. 2 Pleasant Grove to clinch DRL title

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 8:16 am

Tuesday was Senior Night at Sheldon High School.

A baseline wall poster painted by students pretty much sized this group up as a whole: Studs.

Studs and scholars, actually.

The Huskies, ranked No. 1 by The Bee all season and state-ranked fifth by Cal-Hi Sports, is a collection of versatile basketball players who also lead by example academically, including honors classes in producing the sort of grades that make for scholarship locks.

With their senior lineup scoring, rebounding and sharing the ball, the Huskies held off No. 2 Pleasant Grove 84-77 in another Delta River League thriller, to lock up the championship outright.

Dakarai Allen, headed to San Diego State, had 27 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots.

Washington-bound guard-forward Darin Johnson scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half. Ryan Manning went for 13 points with inside plays and three-pointers, San Diego State-bound floor leader D'Erryl Williams had eight points, eight rebounds and six assists. Unsung grunts Antonio Lewis and Jalen Hicks combined for 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Sheldon made nine three-pointers and was 23 of 31 from the line. The Huskies (21-5, 10-0) scored their final 11 points from the line on 14 attempts.

Pleasant Grove (21-5, 8-2) again showed it could go toe-to-toe with Sheldon, the three-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion. In the first meeting Jan. 25, the visiting Huskies prevailed 85-79. In the rematch, Cole Nordquist scored 31 points with 12 rebounds, and fellow three-year senior starters Malik Thames and Matt Hayes went for 21 and 12, respectively.

Section seedings and brackets will be released today. Sheldon expects the No. 1 seed with Pleasant Grove the likely No. 3 seed, meaning on the opposite bracket with a chance for a third bout in the section finals at Sleep Train Arena next month.

"Yes, definitely I think we'll see them again," Allen said. "There's a reason we're ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the area. But we know we've got to take care of business first and win the early rounds."

Sheldon unleashed its full school arsenal. It started with a packed gym by halftime of the junior varsity game.

"It's a lot of fun playing PG," Williams said. "The fans got here early and (it) was great."

Lewis scored a putback at the halftime buzzer for a 37-35 Sheldon lead, and Thames dropped in a buzzer-beating three to pull Pleasant Grove to within 59-57 after three quarters.

In the fourth, there were 11 ties or lead changes. Manning's three gave Sheldon a 67-66 lead and a Johnson tip with 3:47 left put the Huskies up 71-69, a lead they would not lose.

Pleasant Grove collectively was disappointed but hardly discouraged. A new season looms.

"I like our chances," Eagles coach John DePonte said. "We can't make mistakes, though. We don't have the horses that they do and afford mistakes."

On Nordquist, DePonte said, "We can never fault his effort. He gives us his heart and soul."

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