January 29, 2010
No. 13 Rocklin upsets No. 2 Woodcreek in boys basketball tonight

It's been a good week for the Rocklin High School boys basketball team.

On Wednesday the No. 13 Thunder went to Loomis and beat No. 15 Del Oro 86-83, then tonight they turned around and downed No. 2 Woodcreek 66-61 at home.

Tony Williams and Alika Lemon each scored 18 points and Cody Kale added 14 for Rocklin (16-6, 5-2) Nik Milani topped Woodcreek (18-4, 6-1) with 25 points.

The win moved the defending Sierra Foothill League champions to within a game of Woodcreek for first place.

Kale and Williams, both seniors, are having fabulous seasons. Coming into Friday's game, Kale was averaging 24.5 points per game and Williams 19 points.

The Thunder has also been getting a nice boost from the all-around play of senior guard and four-year player Jackson Cummings, who had five points against Woodcreek.

The 4.5 student is starting to heal from all his dings suffered during the Thunder's historic season and some exhausting recruiting that took him across the country. He has committed to play football for Yale next fall.

"More than anybody he wants to help the team," said Rocklin coach Steve Taylor. "It's his makeup. It was stressing him out a lot that he had to miss some practice time. But as he works into things, we could be pretty good."

January 29, 2010
Sac-Joaquin Section offers response in Barry eligibility decision

The California Interscholastic Federation and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Remi Barry, an elite French basketball player determined to be ineligible to play for Del Oro High School due to eligibility violations.

Every year, the CIF resolves the vast majority of disputes over eligibility and other rules violations through a well-established administrative procedure to assure fairness and due process. This includes an exhaustive appeals phase that allows a thorough review of all evidence and viewpoints.

In a small number of situations, an aggrieved party may seek to pursue additional relief through the legal system - an avenue now chosen by those representing Remi Barry, the French superstar basketball player whom they want to play for Del Oro High School.

CIF would like to balance the discussion on this matter for the public at large and especially for anyone interested in shielding high school sports from the undue influence of those trying to game the system. Specifically:

Not only was CIF established to protect the integrity of high school sports, but it also is charged with ensuring fairness and a level playing field for all teams and players - including those who would be displaced from a squad to make room for an ineligible player.

The rules are crystal clear - a student will be found ineligible if his or her transfer is established to be athletically motivated and/or subject to undue influence. The preponderance of evidence in this case, as will be detailed in court, substantiates that a now former college basketball coach actively sought to "shop" Mr. Barry around to several high schools, including Del Oro. Unlike Del Oro, one Bay Area high school understood these rules and would not allow Mr. Barry to play.

The CIF conducts annual workshops expressly for educating and training schools on eligibility rules so that they can anticipate and handle these matters in advance of any controversy.

Contrary to assertions made in recent media coverage, all parties had an opportunity to present any and all information pertinent to this case during the appeals process, which involved a five-hour hearing throughout which Mr. Barry, his host parents - Chris and Lori Hendricks - and their attorney fully participated. The former basketball coach found to have served as an agent promoting Barry's athletically motivated transfer had an opportunity to participate, but apparently chose not to.

Finally, this matter is not about Remi Barry as a person or his skills as a highly coveted, superstar prep basketball player. It is about how people have sought to manipulate the system to advance their own agendas.

There is much more to say on this matter, however, the proper venue for doing so will be in court. We trust that this process will ultimately support our findings and demonstrate that CIF has acted in accordance to clearly established rules intended to protect the institution of amateur high school sports in California.

# # #

CIF Sac-Joaquin Section oversees high school athletics for 189 schools and 225,000 students. Its geographic boundaries stretch from Merced in the south, Grass Valley in the North, Napa to the west and the Nevada state line to the east. The Section is the second largest of California's 10 athletic sections.

January 28, 2010
Rocklin boys will try to slow down No. 2 Woodcreek Friday night

Defending Sierra Foothill League boys basketball champion Rocklin will try to close the gap with front-running Woodcreek when the Thunder plays host to the Timberwolves 7:30 p.m. Friday.

No. 2 Woodcreek (18-3) is 6-0 in league play. No. 13 Rocklin (15-6) is 4-2 in league after beating No. 15 Del Oro 86-83 in overtime Wednesday night in Loomis.

Cody Kale scored 34 points to lead Rocklin and Tony Williams added 22. Kyle Russell with 20 points and Aaron Hendricks with 19 topped Del Oro (13-7, 3-3).

January 27, 2010
Vista del Lago is latest top-ranked team to fall; Eagles lose to Oak Ridge

Top-ranked Vista del Lago became the latest boys basketball team to be knocked off by an unranked squad when the Eagles fell 49-48 to visiting Oak Ridge Tuesday night in a Sierra Valley Conference game.

The night that Jesuit earned The Bee's No. 1 ranking on Jan. 6, the Marauders fell to then unranked Davis 59-56 in the Delta Challenge. A week later, on Jan. 13, top-ranked Sheldon was beaten by unranked Pleasant Grove 66-61 in a Delta River League game.

Vista del Lago (19-2, 5-1) took over the No. 1 ranking Jan. 19 and also was No. 1 in the latest rankings, released Tuesday.

Oak Ridge prevailed when Vista's Hayden Lescault missed the last of three free throw attempts after being fouled on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. Lescault made the first two foul shots, before the last rimmed out.

Tyler Simms' 3-pointer with 23 seconds left proved to be the game winner for Oak Ridge.

The win moves Oak Ridge (12-9, 5-1) into a first-place tie with Vista.

January 27, 2010
Placer upset of Colfax tightens up PVL boys basketball race

It was a good win for Placer coach Mark Lee and his Placer Hillmen and helps tighten up a Pioneer Valley League race in which No. 10 Colfax appeared to be coasting.

The visiting Hillmen won at Colfax 73-68 Tuesday night to close to within a game of the Falcons (17-4, 5-1) in the league race. Placer (12-9, 4-2) remains in a three-way tie for second with El Dorado and Lincoln.

Michael Jensen led Placer with 26 points. James Taber added 20. Ryan Salmonson topped Colfax with 18 points.

January 26, 2010
Watch out! Here comes Folsom High boys basketball

Don't look now, but two-time defending D-I sectin champion Folsom is starting to come on, despite playing with a largely new lineup from last year's bunch that went 31-2.

The No. 20 Bulldogs (10-10) are 3-0 and tied with Jesuit for the Delta River League lead. In the last two games, the Bulldogs lost in the final seconds, 71-70, to No. 4 Sacramento in the Common Good Classic Jan. 18 at Del Oro, then beat No. 9 Sheldon 74-65 on Friday.

Folsom's Mike Wall, The Bee's Coach of the Year last season, is doing another marvelous job molding a competitive team that now appears to have a good shot at being a factor in the D-II playoff field as declining enrollment has them down a divisison.

Folsom graduated five of its top six players from last season, including Bee All-Metro first teamer Tony Johnson, now playing at Lafayette College. Jordan Richards, a key contributor last season as a sophomore guard, also opted not to play to focus on football.

But two-time all-league guard Kori Babineaux is back and relishing his role as Folsom's new leader. He had 26 points against Sheldon and is averaging 18.8 points for the season.

Most of the other Bulldogs, including football studs Tyler and Tanner Trosin, Rich Olpin, Marcus Hendricks and Gurminder Dosanjh are in the first season of varsity play.

Folsom plays Wednesday night at Monterey Trail, then faces No. 3 Jesuit on Friday.

January 24, 2010
Kennedy Girls Postgame at McClatchy
Interviews with Kennedy Girls Coach Dave Parsh after a 54-44 victory at McClatchy and freshman Lynnette Johnson who scored 18 points to be the Access Sacramento Player of the Game. Video Highlights from Access Sacramento's Game of the Week. Games can be seen Tuesday's at 7 pm, Friday's at 8 pm and Saturday's at noon on Comcast and Surewest Cable Channel 17

January 21, 2010
A video look at The Bee's top two girls basketball teams - Sacramento and Oak Ridge

The Bee's top two girls basketball teams played Monday at the Common Good Classic in Loomis, and fitting to the event, this one was a classic down to the wire.

Sacramento came in ranked No. 2 by The Bee, and motivated that it wasn't No 1, and held off top-ranked Oak Ridge by a point, prompting a flip-flop in the next rankings.

In this footage shot by JOCK you will see from both clubs the crisp passing, the defense, the leadership of standout leaders Brittany Shine of Sacramento, headed to Florida on scholarship, and Sara James of Oak Ridge, the do-all wonder headed to Stanford.

JOCK is Junior Observer, Cameron Know-it-all, otherwise known as my works-cheap 11-year-old son. He knew all the right angles for this game. You can also read his blog of the game and thoughts here

January 20, 2010
Kennedy-McClatchy girls hoops showdown Saturday is must-see entertainment

For years, a McClatchy-Kennedy basketball showdown was the top game in town.

That was in boys hoops, throughout the 1980s and into the '90s when famed coaches Harvey Tahara of McClatchy and Spider Thomas of Kennedy would match wits.

This decade, it's been the girls who have led the way in basketball prominence, with Tahara leading McClatchy and Steve Matsuura, Jodi Hashigami, Brandon Yung and this season Dave Parsh heading Kennedy. The teams have played each other for section championships and regional bragging rights, and they'll play again Saturday at McClatchy at 7 p.m.

Kennedy is ranked No. 3 by The Bee and McClatchy is No. 4. Both teams expect to be riding 15-game winning streaks. The teams are experts in making the extra pass, contesting shots, hustling on defense. Both are exceptionally well coached and fundamentally sound.

Earlier this week, the area was treated to a showcase game between top-ranked girls teams as No. 2 Sacramento held off No. 1 Oak Ridge by a point in the Common Good Classic. In our rankings released Tuesday, I flip-flopped the teams. Right on the heals of those clubs are Kennedy, which lost by five to Sacramento, and the Lions.

Tahara returned all five starters from last season, a group headed by the incomparable Ariel Thomas, a scoring dynamo of a guard who can also pass, run the floor and defend. She leads the section in scoring at nearly 27 points a game, with outbursts of 40 and 43 in recent weeks. Jackie Wada is again the section's top three-point shooter, looking for a Thomas pass when she drives the lane.

Kennedy, meanwhile, has been typically steady under a new coach with a ton of experience Parsh. He led St. Francis to a state title in 1993 and is back on a varsity sideline for the first time since the 1998 season. The Cougars are led by Shanice Butler, Cydni Matsuoka and Leslie Leong, the student body president.

"We always look forward to playing them," Leong said.

Game on.

January 19, 2010
Several venues bid to host CIF state football bowl games

They already have the California Interscholastic Federation state cross country and track and field meets.

Now the Clovis Unified School District is going after the State Bowl football championships, the five-game event that has been held at the Home Depot Center in Carson for the first four years.

The district hopes to land the new three-year contract and play the games at Buchanan High School.

Clovis has held the state cross country championships at Woodward Park the last 23 years. Last year the district hosted its first state track and field finals at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Before Clovis won the bid, the state track meet had alternated between Sacramento's Hughes Stadium and Cerritos College in Southern California.

Clovis is pitching its central location between Southern and Northern California as a huge positive.

But Clovis isn't the only ones bidding on the games, according to CIF sports information director Quwan Spears.

The Home Depot Center wants them back while Bakersfield, the Los Angeles Coliseum, San Jose State and Stanford all have made bids.

Spears says a recommendation will be presented to the CIF executive board on Feb. 4, with the winner to be announced after that meeting.

January 18, 2010
Common Good games today at Del Oro feature good teams, great talents

It's cold, dark, gloomy and wet out.

It's also a perfect reason to head to Loomis today and catch some of the Common Good basketball action at Del Oro High School, a worthy fundraising cause showcasing superb talent.

The early game featured Laguna Creek against Bradshaw Christian, followed by the Kennedy girls against Campolindo at noon.

The schedule from there:

1:30 p.m.: Del Campo vs. Center.
3:15 p.m.: Vista del Lago vs. Pleasant Grove.
5 p.m.: St. Mary's-Stockton girls vs. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose.
6:30 p.m.: Oak Ridge girls vs. Sacramento.
8 p.m.: Folsom vs. Sacramento.

Vista del Lago is one of the upstart boys teams in the section, and Pleasant Grove is an athletic power in the Elk Grove Unified School District.

National recruit Sara James leads Oak Ridge against the talented Sac High program, and the nightcap will feature Kori Babineaux of Folsom against Josiah Turner and company of Sac High.

Daily tickets: Adults, $10; seniors, students, children ages 6-12, $5; age 5 and under, free.

January 17, 2010
Top-ranked Sheldon beats Del Oro, but Golden Eagles' Butterfield has game to remember

It isn't often that top-ranked Sheldon's mega-talented Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton are overshadowed on the basketball court.

Even though they played big roles in beating No. 14 Del Oro 74-65 Saturday night in the marquee event of the day-long, seven-game Common Good Classic in Loomis, they had to take a back seat to the Golden Eagles' Spencer Butterfield.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard scored 34 points and, if not for some second-half foul trouble, he might have had a lot more.

"It definitely hurt when Spencer got in foul trouble," Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles said. "They went on a little run when he came out of the game. Then we had to protect him a little bit when he came back.

"Offensively he was probably a little less aggressive going to the basket than he normally would be. But he played a phenomenal game. Thirty-four points, he rebounded the ball, and I don't know if he had a turnover."

Butterfield wound up fouling out with 19.9 seconds.

"Oh, yeah, he's a nice player," said Sheldon coach Joey Rollings. "He really went off in the first half, and we were a little loose on him. I thought we did a better job on him in the second half, doubling him and making him give up the ball."

Nelson also was in foul trouble, getting his fourth with 7:53 to play, but Del Oro (11-6) couldn't knock the 6-6-, 240-pound junior out of the game. He scored eight of his team-high 22 points in the final quarter. Eaton had 18 points and freshman D'erryl Williams also had 18, including a basket with 4:17 to play that put Sheldon (16-3) ahead for good, 62-60.

In addition to Butterfield's 34, junior guard Aaron Hendricks had 19 points for Del Oro.
Although the game has no impact on the Sac-Joaquin Section power ratings, both Broyles and Rollings approached it as if it were a playoff game.

"You might as well win every game you can," Rollings said. "It's a big game and for a good cause. We came in to give the fans a show, and I think we did that."

Broyles said playing a team as talented as Sheldon will be a plus for the future.

"When you play quality teams, you find out things about yourself. Hopefully this is going to help us in league and help us in the playoffs. I thought our kids played very well tonight.

"It was lot of fun to be a part of, and I think the fans really enjoyed it."


January 15, 2010
No. 7 Center defeats No. 6 Foothill in CVC boys basketball showdown



video highlights from the game


It was turn-back-the-clock night in a packed Center High School gym this evening.

The No. 7 Cougars (13-2, 4-0) played a methodical, smart and disciplined game to beat No. 6 Foothill 59-43 to take the leg up on the Mustangs (13-3, 3-1) in the race for the Capital Valley Conference boys basketball championship.

Coach Ray Gagnon's Cougars impressed at both ends of the court in bypassing the up-tempo style that is so popular these days. They held Foothill to just 29 percent shooting from the floor. The Cougars made 47 percent of their shots, many on lay-ups and short jumpers as the Cougars patiently ran their offense. Center also made 14 of 25 foul shots.

Connor Haysbert, Center's impressive looking 6-foot-8 senior center, had a game-high 18 points. He made 6 of 7 from the field and was 6 of 8 from the foul line.

Sophomore guard Chris Smith added 11 points and junior forward Chad Haysbert and senior guard Elliot Hearld had eight points apiece.

Senior guard Nick Stanley topped Foothill with 14 points, but made only 6 of 19 shots. Devonn Hightower added 10 points.

Center, which lost to Foothill 50-49 in the Jack Scott Tournament Dec. 5 at Rio Americano, led from the start, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Foothill cut the lead to six points, 43-37, late in the third quarter on a Stanley three-pointer.

But the Mustangs scored only six points in the final quarter.

Center's only other loss this season was 79-77 to No. 2 Vista del Lago in the Folsom Bulldog Classic Dec. 12.

The Cougars will play Del Campo 1:30 p.m. on Monday in the Common Good Classic at Del Oro High School, then will host West Campus in a CVC game on Tuesday night.

Foothill will play host to Dixon.

January 15, 2010
Jesuit basketball showcase proves to be more than about basketball

As part of its Father Kelly Tribute showcase basketball event, Jesuit High contributes a portion of its gate receipts from the event to a worthy charity or cause.

This year's five-game event held last Saturday raised $500 for Jenna & Patrick's Foundation of Hope, which supports research into the rare but devastating childhood disease, cystinosis. The disease can lead to kidney failure and a host of other complications, including muscle deterioration, blindness and diabetes.

Athletic Director Phil Nuxoll said cystinosis research support was selected because Marauders coach Greg Harcos is a friend of a family who has a child with the disease.

"Greg brought them up immediately," Nuxoll said. "He went on the web-site and researched it and was blown away by what the disease can do."

Last year's event raised $800 to send two families who lost loved ones in the line of duty to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial's annual candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C. The memorial honors nearly 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

January 14, 2010
6-11 Kurtz, Milani lead No. 3 Woodcreek past No. 13 Oakmont

A boisterous crowd filled the Woodcreek High School gym tonight to watch two of The Bee's top boys basketball teams battle and a couple of the best big men in the Sac-Joaquin Section go toe to toe.

In the end, No. 3 Woodcreek (15-3, 3-0) prevailed 64-57 over No. 13 Oakmont (12-5, 2-2) to remain at the top of the highly competitive Sierra Foothill League race.

Five of the seven SFL teams are ranked in The Bee's Top 20 this week.

But Woodcreek is clearly the team to beat and the front-runners to dethrone Rocklin as the defending champions mainly because center Mike Kurtz has evolved from a role player as a junior last season to a dominating 6-foot-11, 195-pound force as a senior.

Kurtz, a UC Davis scholarship signee, had a team-high 19 points and in the three-plus quarters we witnessed, blocked eight shots.

Kurtz moves and jumps well for his size, has a nice touch around the basket and is deceptively strong for his slim build. He was seven for seven from the foul line.

Senior forward Nik Milani added 18 points and senior guard Ryan Milat had nine for the Timberwolves.

Fred Mobley, a smooth, left-handed shooting 6-3 senior guard, topped Oakmont with 22 points and 6-8, 225-pound senior center Tony Gill had 13 points and 6-6 junior forward J.T. Adenrele nine points.

Although Oakmont started strong, taking a 14-11 first-quarter lead, the Vikings quickly fell behind early in the second quarter and remained behind for almost the remainder of the game.

Mobley, a standout wide receiver in football, gave Oakmont a brief 42-41 lead with a minute to play in the third quarter when he connected on an 8-foot banker.

Woodcreek then went on an 11-point run to go up 52-42 with 5:54 left before Oakmont made one last push, cutting the lead to 58-54 on Matt Daly's layup with 35 seconds to go.

But Kurtz made four free throws and Ryan Sondhi two to close out the game, much to the delight of Woodcreek's large "Black Mob" student rooting section, decked out in a sea of back shirts.

January 13, 2010
Sac High boys overcome star's absence, turnovers to beat Grant

Even with star guard Travon Abraham sidelined by injury and a sloppy night in which it turned the ball over 32 times, Sacramento High wasn't going to allow a repeat of last season.

In 2008-09, the Pacers stunned the Dragons in the Metro Conference opener 77-72 in Del Paso Heights. It was Grant's first Metro loss in 21 games since returning to the league in 2006-'07 from the Capital Athletic League.

Behind Josiah Turner's 24 points and 14 more from Will Davis, the No. 5 Dragons (9-5, 1-0) held off visiting Grant 76-69 in tonight's Metro Conference opener. It extends the Dragons' latest league win streak to 10 games.

The No. 18 Pacers (11-5, 0-1) played hard throughout for first-year coach John Saintignon in making a game of it, but they were hurt by 23 turnovers and 12 missed free throws.

An Eddie Sparks' basket with 2:36 to go closed the gap to four points, 67-63, but Sac's 6-foot-11 Robert Garrett quickly responded with a monster dunk. Grant then turned over the ball and Sac's Khalil Ray hit a layup as the Dragons again pulled away.

Although getting his share of contact from Grant's active and physical defenders, Turner hit 8 of 17 shots from the field and went 7 of 10 from the foul line.

Among the 6-3 junior guard's showman highlights: A forceful block underneath the basket on Grant's 6-7 Dontae Reid with 1:12 to play, despite having four fouls, and a no-look, behind-the-back flip toss that the 6-9 Davis slammed home on a dunk.

Garrett was a welcome return for Sacramento after sitting out Saturday's 88-81 loss to Oakland in the Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit because of tender Achilles'. The junior had eight points and combined with Davis for 10 blocked shots.

Abraham, a senior headed to Rice on scholarship and averaging 14.9 points per game, did not suit up because of soreness in his left ankle that he broke during the summer and tweaked again against Oakland.

But guards Ray, Darius Graham and Leander Carter helped pick up some of the slack in combining for 20 points, although they lacked the steady ball-handling that Abraham offers.

Ronald Johnson, who shoots a beautiful arching rainbow jumper, topped Grant with 16 points and Sparks, a speedy guard, added 13. Ronald Fields and Kemauree Daniels each had 10 points.

But James Sample, the team's leading scorer at 11.3 points coming into the game, was held scoreless. The Bee All-Metro first team defensive back went 0 for 6 from the field.

January 12, 2010
No area teams make Cal-Hi boys basketball's top 20 list

Perhaps no better indication that this is a down year for area high school boys basketball is Cal-Hi Sports' latest boys top 20 state rankings.

No area squad made the cut. Previously No. 9 Jesuit dropped out after losing to Davis in the Delta Challenge on Wednesday.

Five teams are on the bubble - Jesuit, Sacramento, Sheldon, Vista del Lago and Woodcreek.

Here this week's Cal-Hi top 20:

1. Westchester (Los Angeles), 11-2; 2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 13-1; 3. Loyola (Los Angeles), 14-0; 4. Salesian (Richmond) 12-1; 5. Poly (Long Beach) 12-3; 6. Serra (Gardena) 15-1; 7. Newark Memorial, 13-2; 8. Price (Los Angeles) 12-3; 9. Centennial (Corona) 12-3; 10. Taft (Woodland Hills) 10-3; 11. Ocean View (Huntington Beach) 12-3; 12. Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 10-3; 13. Leuzinger (Lawndale) 9-6; 14. Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 14-1; 15. Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 13-3; 16. Clovis West (Fresno) 12-2; 17. Chaparral (Temecula) 15-0; 18. San Ramon Valley (Danville) 13-1; 19. Serra (San Mateo) 11-1; 20. Fairfax (Los Angeles) 8-5.

January 11, 2010
Oak Ridge girls still No. 2; Sheldon boys climb to No. 9 in NorCal basktball rankings

Sheldon has climbed ahead of Sacramento in the latest NorCalPreps.com Northern California boys basketball top 20.

Sheldon is No. 9, moving up from No. 11 after wins over Elk Grove, Franklin and Clovis East. Sacramento dropped from No. 6 to No. 11 after an 88-81 loss to Oakland at the Father Kelly Tribute on Saturday.

Woodcreek is No. 14, Jesuit No. 15, Vista del Lago No. 17 and Valley No. 19.

In the girls top 20, Oak Ridge remains at No. 2 behind St. Mary's of Stockton. Kennedy is No. 8 and Sacramento No. 10 after a 97-55 loss at St. Mary's Saturday. St. Francis is No. 13.

Here are the latest rankings:

Boys Top 20 - 1. Salesian-Richmond, 12-1; 2. Bellarmine Prep-San Jose, 12-0; 3. Newark Memorial, 13-2; 4. Serra-San Mateo, 11-1; 5. Bishop O'Dowd-Oakland, 11-1; 6. St. Mary's-Berkeley, 11-3; 7. San Ramon Valley-Danville, 13-1; 8. De La Salle-Concord, 11-2; 9. Sheldon, 14-2; 10. Castro Valley, 10-3; 11. Sacramento, 8-5; 12. Westmont-Campbell, 11-1; 13. St. Francis-Mountain View, 10-2; 14. Woodcreek, 14-3; 15. Jesuit, 12-4; 16. Oakland 7-8; 17. Vista del Lago, 15-1; 18. Analy-Sebastopol, 14-1; 19.Valley, 12-1; 20. San Leandro, 9-5.

Girls Top 20 - 1. St. Mary's-Stockton, 12-1; 2. Oak Ridge, 14-1; 3. Bishop O'Dowd-Oakland, 10-3; 4. St Mary's-Berkeley, 11-2; 5. Carondelet-Concord, 9-3; 6. Berkeley, 12-2; 7. Modesto Christian, 11-2; 8. Kennedy, 11-1; 9. McKinleyville, 12-2; 10. Sacramento, 10-5; 11. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, 8-4; 12. Northgate-Walnut Creek, 11-2; 13. St. Francis-Sacramento, 8-3; 14. Fortuna, 13-1; 15. Dublin, 13-2; 16. Miramonte-Orinda, 11-3; 17. Heritage-Brentwood, 13-1; 18. Valley Christian-San Jose, 10-2; 19. Campolindo-Moraga, 11-3; 20. San Benito-Hollister, 12-1.

January 10, 2010
Nelson puts on show in leading Sheldon to overtime victory

Darius Nelson plays pretty well on one leg.

The 6-foot-6 junior, the younger brother of state scoring prep legend DeMarcus Nelson, put on a marvelous show in Sheldon's up-tempo matchup with Clovis East Saturday night in the Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit High School.

Nelson poured in a career-high 44 points in leading Sheldon to a 92-86 overtime win over the Fresno-area power.

He did it despite playing gingerly on a left Achilles strain that sidelined him for practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and the Huskies' first-round Delta Challenge game Wednesday against Elk Grove.

He did it less than 24 hours after hobbling into the Sheldon gym the night before and helping the Huskies beat rival Franklin 69-59 with 19 points in the final day of the Delta Challenge.

Nelson, who had seven fourth-quarter points in helping the Huskies pull away from Franklin, also saved his best for the end against Clovis East.

The 240-pound post who handles the ball like a guard scored 12 of Sheldon's 17 overtime points and showed poise in helping the Huskies rally in regulation.

With the clocking winding down to the final seconds, Sheldon trailing 75-73 and three Clovis East defenders draped on or near him, Nelson whipped a missile of a pass to a wide open D'Erryl Williams under the basket. The freshman made the layup with 2.2 seconds to send the game into overtime. Sixteen seconds earlier Nelson had hit a three from the top of the key to help the Huskies close to within two.

Nelson's cousin and fellow junior Ramon Eaton continued to dominate on the defensive end and the boards while adding 18 points.

You could say it was the night of the juniors at the Tribute, which featured five games. Among the highlights:

Kevin Bailey, a 6-5 forward, tallied 42 points for Clovis East.

Sacramento's Josiah Turner scored 34 points and Oakland's Jabari Brown 33 points in Oakland's 88-81 win over the Dragons. Brown, a 6-5 wing, was playing his first game for the Wildcats after transferring from national power Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev., earlier in the week.

Newark Memorial's 6-4 forward Kendall Andrews scored 19 points in the Cougars' 53-24 win over Folsom.

Berkeley 6-7, 220-pound forward Akil Johnson had a game-high 14 points in the Yellowjackets' 82-47 loss to Jesuit.

One standout junior who didn't get to showcase his talents Saturday was Folsom's Kori Babineaux.

The two-time All-Delta River League guard watched from the bench in the Bulldogs' loss to Newark Memorial.

Folsom coach Mike Wall said Babineaux has missed the last three games because of "team issues."

He wouldn't elaborate.

January 9, 2010
Sheldon impresses in Delta Challenge win over Franklin

After mostly sleepwalking through the first 16 minutes of Friday's game against No. 7 Franklin in the Delta Challenge, No. 4 Sheldon unleashed some awe-inspiring second-half basketball to show that they just might be this area's most physically gifted team, if not the most entertaining.

The Huskies (13-2) blocked shots, forced turnovers and shot well when it counted to rally for a 69-59 win over their cross-league rivals.

Sheldon has two of the nation's top junior prospects in Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton. Both showed their special gifts on their home court, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Nelson in spurts offensively and the 6-8, 180-pound Eaton at both ends.

Despite playing with an injured Achilles' in his left foot that had sidelined him earlier in the week, Nelson scored 19 points and Eaton added 12 points and had at least a half-dozen blocks and several steals.

But they have some nice pieces around them in seniors Raymond Dickerson, Burnis Chambers and Eric Williams, junior Mansel Simmons and freshman D'Erryl Williams. He filled in nicely for a sidelined Nelson in a 67-50 win over Elk Grove in the Delta Challenge's first round Wednesday, scoring a game-high 20 points.

But Sheldon still has a way to go in the eyes of first-year coach Joey Rollings.
"It was a good win for us," Rollings said. "Do I think we played our greatest? No. But that's how basketball goes sometimes."

They played poorly in the first half. The smaller Wildcats (11-2) were all over the offensive boards in getting put backs and drawing fouls. The only thing preventing them from having more than a 34-30 halftime lead was senior guard Michael Rosaroso's struggles with his shot.

Although the Wildcats' star eventually finished with 19 points, he missed seven first-half attempts, including several that rimmed out.

"I told the guys at halftime, we had to get after it defensively," Rollings said. "I said, 'We're bigger, stronger and can jump higher.' Finally Ramon started blocking shots. We started to get loose balls, and that helped us to become a little smoother offensively.

"It all starts with defense. We're so long. We've got six guys who are 6-5 or taller. They're not just big. They're athletic. They can handle the ball, and they can play different positions."

Nelson and Eaton said the Huskies didn't want to let down the fans after playing so poorly at the start.

"They were beating us to the ball, and we were doing things like grabbing rebounds with one hand, then losing them," Eaton said. "I felt I had to step up on defense and help create pressure. But that's what's good about this team, if one guy steps up, everyone steps up. We started playing as one on defense."

Added Nelson, "After the coaches got done with the Xs and Os and we're leaving (the locker room), we as players said to each other, 'It's time to pick this up.' We wanted to pick things up for our fans and friends and because we were playing in our house."

Nelson remains day to day. He may or may not play this evening against Clovis East in the Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit High School.

Before he arrived at Sheldon Friday night, Nelson was getting physical therapy on the left heel, which has bothered him most of the season. He tweaked it again on the last day of the Oaks Christian Tournament in Southern California, which forced him to have to watch him teammates practice and play this week.

"I'm not really explosive with the left foot right now," Nelson said. "I can't change directions well, and I can't get up the floor like I'd like. I'm about 75 percent."

Nelson moved tentatively in the early going and struggled with his shot. Although he had 19 points, he was just 5 of 15 from the field and 8 of 14 from the foul line.

But his layup with one second to play in the third quarter gave the Huskies their first lead of the game, 46-45, a lead they never relinquished as Nelson and Eaton combined for 15 fourth-quarter points.

"The guys look up to me and Ramon because we've been playing three years (on varsity) and we've played high-level (AAU) basketball outside of Sheldon High," Nelson said.. "We're just trying to bring our basketball IQs to the team."

Sheldon was the only Delta River League team to win both games in the Delta Challenge, which pits the DRL against the Delta Valley Conference over two days.

The DVC went 8-4, countering the DRL's 10-2 performance in last season's inaugural.
In other Friday games, the Delta River's Pleasant Grove beat Elk Grove 50-43 and Jesuit topped Kennedy 68-57. The DVC's Davis, which upset top-ranked Jesuit 59-56 on Wednesday, beat Folsom 55-42 and Laguna Creek downed Florin 62-57.

Eaton said playing and beating Franklin was one of the highlights of a productive preseason.

"It's a rival," he said. "Everybody wants to play hard. It's just the battle of the best."

January 7, 2010
Jesuit's No. 1 Cal-Hi D-II state hoops ranking likely to be short-lived

The problem with posting mid-week state basketball rankings is how quickly things change.

That's certainly the case for Cal-Hi Sports, which posted its state boys and girls divisional rankings this morning.

Jesuit was listed as No. 1 in California Division II and No. 3 in Northern California but those rankings obviously don't reflect last night's results in which Davis upset the Marauders 59-56 in the Delta Challenge at Kennedy High School.

In addition to Jesuit, Woodcreek is No. 4 in D-II behind No. 2 Murrieta Valley and No. 3 Hoover of San Diego.

Vista del Lago is No. 5 in Division III behind Serra of Gardena, Centennial of Compton, Ocean View of Huntington Beach and Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland. Sacramento is No. 6 and Center No. 9.

Colfax is No. 8 in Division IV.

In the state rankings, Jesuit is behind No. 1 Salesian of Richmond and No. 2 Newark Memorial (which plays Folsom on Saturday at Jesuit's Father Kelly Tribute). Vista del Lago is No. 8, Sacramento No. 9, Sheldon No. 14 and Woodcreek No. 15.

In girls, Oak Ridge is No. 2 in Northern California behind St. Mary's of Stockton and No. 3 in state Division I behind No. 1 Long Beach Poly and No. 2 Troy of Fullerton.

Kennedy is No. 8 in D-I. Sacramento is No. 5 and Del Oro No. 10 in D-III.

January 7, 2010
Oak Ridge girls basketball coach still waiting for crowds to show

Top-ranked Oak Ridge (13-1) is considered one of the best girls basketball teams in the state, if not the nation.

The Trojans also have one of the country's top players in senior Sara James, a Stanford scholarship recruit.

But coach Steve White says it didn't translate into huge crowds for back-to-back tournaments Oak Ridge hosted at the school last month.

"There hasn't been a lot of people showing up to watch us play," White said. "And we don't get a lot of Oak Ridge students. We do get a nice group of alumni coming back and we get a pretty good turnout from the eighth grade middle school girls. They really support us. They idolize the varsity girls."

Still, White said the Oak Ridge Shoot Out Dec. 5-11 and the Oak Ridge Toss Up Dec. 21-23 were good team fund-raisers and a nice respite for an ambitious travel schedule that included highly competitive tournaments in Southern California Dec. 1-5 and Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 28-30.

Oak Ridge opened Sierra Valley Conference play Wednesday with a 66-32 win at Ponderosa.

January 6, 2010
Oak Ridge top-ranked in NorCal D-I girls basketball rankings

Oak Ridge's reputation as a long-time Division II girls basketball power - the Trojans were NorCal runners-up last season - has followed it into Division I.

The 12-1 Trojans are NorCalPreps.com's top-ranked D-I team in divisional rankings released Tuesday.

Berkeley is No. 2 followed by Kennedy of Sacramento at No. 3. McClatchy is ranked No. 8.

An enrollment boost has bumped Oak Ridge into the highest division of 2,191 students and above.

January 6, 2010
Six area teams among top 10 in NorCal D-II boys basketball rankings

The Sac-Joaquin Section's football Division II was the strongest by far in Northern California this season, thanks to the presence of area teams Rocklin, Grant, Granite Bay, Folsom and Del Oro.

D-II boys basketball figures to be pretty potent, too. Six area teams are currently ranked in NorCalPreps.com's D-II Northern California boys top 10 rankings and one of them isn't Rocklin,the defending California Interscholastic Federation Northern California D-II champion.

Jesuit, our top-ranked team this week, is No. 1, followed by Westmont of Campbell, St. Francis of Mountain View and Mitty of San Jose.

Woodcreek is No. 5, Valley No. 6, Oakmont No. 7, Granite Bay No. 9 and Yuba City No. 10. Chico is No. 8.

January 4, 2010
Del Campo's Dimino in running for football State Player of the Year honor

CalHiSports/ESPN will announce its Mr. Football State Player of the Year next week, and among the seven candidates is a local standout.

Bee Player of the Year Ryan Dimino of Del Campo is in the mix, deservedly so, after he led a 13-1 team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship and setting regional records for a quarterback, even though he's best known for his instinctive, hard-hitting plays as a scholarship linebacker.

Dimino is the first player in state history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for 2,000 in the same season. A quarterback who ran like a fullback, Dimino had 2,702 yards rushing and 2,089 yards passing. He is a three-year starter headed to UC Davis on scholarship. Still, Dimino is a longshot as the award generally goes to a southern California player or one from De La Salle. But being in the mix is progress - and more proof that Sacramento football is recognized state wide.

Other players in the running for State Player of the Year are:

* Tyler Bray of Kingsburg (3,321 yards passing, 41 touchdowns, Fresno Bee Player of the Year)
* Cody Fajardo of Servite-Anaheim (passed for 2,385 yards, ran for 1,085 in earning Orange County Register Offensive Player of the Year honors for leading a state super power)
* Malcolm Jones of Oaks Christian (2,470 yards, 45 touchdown, 130 tackles for team that was state ranked No. 1 most of the year)
* Dillon Baxter of Mission Bay-San Diego (2,974 yards rushing and 79 total accounted touchdowns)
* Terron Wood of De La Salle (set school rushing records for the national superpower with 2,050 yards this season in a season in which he sat the second half of some blowouts for the State Team of the Year)
* Robert Woods of Serra-Gardena (1,112 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 96 tackles for a 15-0 team).

To read about the local players who did not make the candidate cut, read JOCK's blog here..

JOCK is Junior Observer Cameron, Know-it-all, who has seen a lot of players this season as videographer and he has a good blog read.



About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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