Roger Blake and his staff at the California Interscholastic Federation office in Sacramento strive to give student-athletes the "wow factor" at championship events.
How's this for a wow? Under executive director Blake as the driving force, the CIF and Kings have agreed to host the state high school basketball championships at Golden 1 Center through 2021.
The arena, in its first year, hosted the 37th event last season, and Blake was hoping for a long-term deal. When the Kings played at Arco Arena, which later became Sleep Train Arena, the CIF state finals were a mainstay there since 1998.
"The CIF is grateful to the Kings organization for their continued support of education-based athletics," Blake said. "Golden 1 Center is a world-class facility, providing many memorable moments for all those involved."
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Santa Clara's Leavey Center will host the CIF NorCal Open and Division I and II girls and boys finals on March 17, with other divisions at home sites.
The NorCal playoffs start this week.
A year after its unbeaten season was derailed due to a player competing in an out-of-state event, Folsom celebrated its 1-0 win over McClatchy in the rain in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I final.
Seventeen players returned from last season, including Ethan Atterberry, who was ruled ineligible a year ago. Kevin Grewal scored the goal against McClatchy, which stunned powerhouse Jesuit in the semifinals. Grewal headed in a shot on a free kick from Quentin Petcu.
Folsom went 20-1 last season and is 22-0-4 this season. The Bulldogs earned the No. 1 seed in the first CIF NorCal playoffs and will host every game if it wins, including the final Saturday.
The Davis girls three-peated as D-I champions beating Granite Bay 1-0 on a goal my Maya Doms. Davis (22-0-4) extended its unbeaten streak to 71 games in going 81-2-8 over four years.
Davis is the No. 4 seed in the NorCal D-I field and will host Carondelet of Concord on Tuesday.
Bella Vista won the boys D-II section title 4-3 on penalty kicks over No. 16 West (the teams were scoreless heading into the tiebreaker), Antelope took the D-III title with a 4-1 win over Pacheco, Galt won 3-2 in overtime in D-IV over Livingston, and West Campus beat Escalon 2-0 in D-V.
In girls, River City beat Roseville 1-0 in D-II, Woodland topped Central Valley 1-0 in D-III, Center beat Liberty Ranch 4-2 in overtime in D-IV, Bradshaw Christian beat Western Sierra 4-0 in D-VI, and Golden Sierra defeated Holt Academy 2-1 in D-VII.
Visit cifstate.org for NorCal girls and boys brackets.
Evan Gibbons of Franklin tossed the first perfect game in program history, striking out 15 in a 2-0 victory over Vacaville.
The Sacramento State-bound senior struck out the side three times.
Franklin scored on a Jake Pina two-out single, driving in Carson Stevens. Gibbons scored on a wild pitch in the sixth, and then ended the game with a strikeout in the top of the seventh.
Track and field
Monterey Trail sprinter Zach Larrier and Natomas jumper DeAndra McDaniel were double winners at Saturday's Sacramento State High School Classic, ushering in the season while the weather cooperated.
Larrier, a Bee All-Metro football pick, took the 200-meter dash in 22.34 seconds and the 400 in 48.34, edging Devin Bright of Cosumnes Oaks (47.76). McDaniel cleared 22 feet, 3 inches in the long jump and won the triple jump at 45-10.
Other regional boys winners: Patrick Acholonu of Pleasant Grove in the 100 (10.83); Colin Ullrich of Liberty Ranch in the 1,600 (4:23.31), edging Matt Strangio of Jesuit (4:23.86), and Sondre Guttormsen of Davis in the 110 hurdles (14.44).
Kennedy won the 4x400 relay in 3 minutes, 26.92 seconds with relay legs Jalon Cummings, Andrew Davis, Damaris Burt and Kyle Matthews, inching ahead of Monterey Trail, anchored by Larrier (3:29.38).
In field events, Sebastian Garcia of Jesuit won the discus at 172 feet, 7 inches, Donovan Jones of Roseville the high jump at 6-4 and Elliot Raskin of Jesuit the pole vault at 14-0.
For the girls, Tai McDonald of Sheldon was a double winner in the speed events. She won the 100 in 11.99 seconds, ran second on the 4x100 relay that clocked a 48 flat and included Imani Dupree, Tatumn LaChapelle and Emily Lemp.
Sheldon won the 4x400 relay in 4:08.96 with Aniya Breed, Jordin and Simone Abdur-Rahim and LaChapelle.
Olivia O'Keeffe of Davis took the 1,600 in 4:55.35, Sydney Vandergrift of St. Francis the 3,200 in 11:12.23, Nia Collins of Monterey Trail the 300 hurdles in 46.52 (edging Jaida Robinson of Franklin in 46.92), Tiya Kamba-Griffin the high jump at 5-0, and Jada Harper the long jump at 16-9.