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Late Elk Grove coach, Sheldon basketball among Sacramento Kings foundation honorees

Elk Grove coach Larry Price talks with his team before losing 62-45 to Granite Bay in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff opener on Feb. 20.
Elk Grove coach Larry Price talks with his team before losing 62-45 to Granite Bay in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff opener on Feb. 20. jvillegas@sacbee.com

A team, a player and a coach who impacted their high school basketball programs and communities beyond wins and losses will be recognized by the Kings on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

After the first quarter of the game against the Detroit Pistons, public address announcer Scott Moak will introduce the fourth annual Pete Saco winners in conjunction with the Sacramento Kings Foundation, as presented to those who exemplify sportsmanship and community service. Saco is the retired commissioner of the Sac-Joaquin Section, the governing body of high school athletics in the valley.

Saco remains involved in high school sports; he's the CIF State basketball tournament director for the finals that will be held at Golden 1 on March 23-24.

This season's Saco Team Award will go to the Sheldon Huskies, top-ranked by The Bee since December. The Huskies, under coach Joey Rollings, are in a CIF Northern California championship game for the fourth time since 2013, seeking their second trophy.

Sheldon plays Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland on Saturday night at Santa Clara's Leavey Center for the NorCal Open Division championship. The Huskies, however, have done some of their best work away from arenas and gyms, including turkey drives for the needy during the holidays. Sheldon has regularly posted some of the best team GPAs in the Elk Grove Unified School District, for any sport and gender.

"We have kids who do a lot of good things," Rollings said. "Very proud of them."

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Franklin forward Keilen Valdry, left, and guard Raymond Sim, right, force Capital Christian's Damion Malott Jr. into a turnover during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs second round on Feb. 23 in Sacramento. Jose Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com

The Saco Individual Award winner is Raymond Sim of Franklin basketball. A slightly built senior guard and a 3.9 student, Sim was paramount in the Wildcats reaching the CIF NorCal Division I playoffs, and his skills are outweighed by his contributions in the class.

"This is the sort of player Raymond is: He's drew nearly 20 charges in each of his three years as our starting point guard," Franklin coach Ken Manfredi said. "The kid is tough as nails. He's a great example of that famous quote (from Mark Twain) - 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog.' The amount of punishment Raymond took in big-time collisions was amazing. It shows what kind of teammate he is. Just a great leader in basketball and in the classroom, a great role model to his siblings."

The Saco Coach Award is for Larry Price, the beloved Elk Grove girls basketball coach who died Monday at 61. A two-time Bee Coach of the Year, Price led Florin and Elk Grove to championship success, including leading Elk Grove to the 2016 NorCal D-II championship. Price's wife, Cindy, and family members will accept in his honor.

Price was a Detroit native who said sports kept him on a safe path as a child.

"I know this was heaven sent," a tearful Cindy Price said. "The Kings play Detroit, Larry's all-time favorite team. I knew it was meant to be. We express sincere gratitude for keeping Larry's memory alive. I know Larry is loving all of this."

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