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NORCAL EDITION VOL. 7 ISSUE 125 NOVEMBER 24, 2016


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Salesian boys hoops is ranked No. 1 for many, many reasons

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The full Boys Preseason NorCal Top 20: Where does your school rank?

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Boys or girls hoops, Manteca will demand your respect

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in the magazine

Magnificent 22

Mitty

They have a national ranking and everything else you could possibly want in a contender. Archbishop Mitty is left with no choice but to chase history. Page 26

Norcal Boys Hoops Starting 5: Who are the five can’t-miss players

The full Girls Preseason NorCal Top 20: Who is No. 1 in our rankings?

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Basketball is the Forbes family business & Folsom is reaping the benefits

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NorCal Girls Hoops Starting 5: Star players ready to shine

in the network

a look at the biggest stories from the Cal-Hi SportStars Network

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SportStarsOnline.com

CalHiSports.com

SportStarsOnline.com

Section Title Coverage, Regional Bowl Previews & Predictions

Boys Preseason Hoops State Rankings. Top 35 PLUS 20 bubble teams

Udpates & Coverage from CIF State Volleyball Championships

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23 2016 NOVEMBER

N SOCAL EDITIO

NORCAL EDI TION

VOL. 7 ISSU E 125

JOIN OUR TEAM PHONE 925.566.8500 FAX 925.566.8507 EDITORIAL Editor@SportStarsOnline.com Editor Chace Bryson • Chace@SportStarsOnline.com Staff Writer Jim McCue • JimMcCue16@gmail.com Contributors Bill Kolb, Matt Smith, Clay Kallam, Dave Kiefer, Tim Rudd, Trevor Horn Copy Editor Bill Kruissink Photography Bob Larson, Jonathan Hawthorne, James K. Leash, Norbert von der Groeben, Phillip Walton, Doug Guler, Berry Evans, III Marketing/Events Ryan Arter

NOVEMBER 24, 2016

E 125 VOL. 7 ISSU

CREATIVE DEPARTMENT Art@SportStarsOnline.com Production Manager Mike DeCicco • MikeD@SportStarsOnline.com

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PUBLISHER/PRESIDENT Mike Calamusa • Mike@SportStarsOnline.com

It’s All Happening

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K, I feel like we can all agree that I’m not overstating things when I say the 2016 calendar year has had some pretty unprecedented twists and turns. I mean, the Cubs won the World Series for Pete’s sake. (That’s not where you thought I was taking you, was it?) It’s definitely been a wild year of ups and downs. Really though, who saw Brangelina ending? (And should that be considered an up or a down?). While everything after the World Series has felt like a down for some, or more likely a fiery freefall, we here at SportStars are actually excited to broadcast a few ups. Of the two primary pieces of SportStars news I want to share here, the one with the most immediacy is that we have finally made the leap to Southern California. With basketball being a state championship sport followed by fans up and down Interstate 5, we thought our Hoops Preview would be the perfect launching point to begin our SoCal Edition — which can be found exclusively at SportStarsOnline.com. By the way, if you’re reading this column for the first time as part of the SoCal Edition, sorry for the redundancy. And, welcome! Expanding into Southern California is always something we’ve hoped to achieve. The timing was just never right. Now it is, thanks to our ever-growing partnership with Cal-Hi Sports. The Cal-Hi SportsStars Network, or CHSN, is going to power our SoCal Editions. Every NorCal edition will now be accompanied by a SoCal edition, posted exclusively at SportStarsOnline.com. Our next SoCal edition in mid-December will feature more hoops coverage, as well as reporting from the CIF State Volleyball Championships. You’ll also notice that more SoCal content will begin to permeate our social media channels, namely Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To our local, longtime NorCal readers: you’re not losing a single page of content. That’s one thing that was important to us. We wanted to make sure we could add SoCal coverage without it being at the expense of what we already do for NorCal. With so many elite athletes and teams from both ends of the state competing against each other, it’s our hope that NorCal fans will still have interest in the stories and rankings that comprise our SoCal editions. Ditto the other way, too. Finally, we’re also looking forward to a redesigned SportStarsOnline.com, which is expected to debut sometime in early 2017. It’s coming together in the background and should serve as a great new platform to excite our loyal readers and welcome new ones. See — not everything in the last eight weeks of 2016 has to be dismal. In fact, if you’re a high school sports fan, there may not be a better time of year. State volleyball championships, section and state football championships, basketball tournament season and more. Cheer up, fans. We got this. ✪

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YOUR TICKET TO CALIFORNIA SPORTS ADMIT ONE; RAIN OR SHINE This Vol. #7, November 24, 2016 Whole No. 125 is published by Caliente! Communications, LLC, 5356 Clayton Rd, Ste. 222, Concord, CA 94521. SportStars™© 2010-2014 by Caliente! Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. Subscription rates: 16 issues, U.S. 3rd class $35 (allow 3 weeks for delivery). 1st class $55. To receive sample issues, please send $3 per copy for $6 total fo bulk. Back issues are $4 each. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of Publisher is strictly prohibited. The staff and management, including Board of Directors, of SportStars™© does not advocate or encourage the use of any product or service advertised herein for illegal purposes. Editorial contributions, photos and letters to the editor are welcome and should be addressed to the Editor. All material should be typed, double-spaced on disk or email and will be handled with reasonable care. For materials return, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope. SportStars™© and STARS!™© Clinics are registered trademarks of Caliente! Communications, LLC.

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Divisional Dizziness W

hether you are a football player still going in the postseason, or a hoopster just starting out, it’s becoming more obvious every season not to pay too much attention to the division number your school is shown for in the playoffs. In these days of competitive-equity postseason brackets in which results from most recent seasons have yet to impact particular divisions — or whether your CIF section still uses enrollment totals to help determine postseason placement — the bottom line is that a team from a so-called lower division can often find itself placed above some from higher ones. Going to the first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football playoff game this year for Manteca proved that point and showed that the athletes themselves can easily get confused with all of the playoff guidelines for determining which divisions teams get placed in. The Manteca players actually felt slighted and disappointed for being in this year’s SJS Division IV playoffs instead of Division III. “The kids don’t want to be down, and they wanted to be in D3, same as Oakdale,” Buffaloes coach Eric Reis said after his team defeated Dixon 42-13 in a first-round game at Gus Schmeidt Field. “They wanted the bigger challenge. “I’ve told them it’s about enrollment, but many still took it as a slight. It’s been a sell job.” To the players, yes it was completely about enrollment in the SJS divisional system. It all depends on which teams qualify for the playoffs and then how many are Div. I, II, III, etc. If strongly favored Manteca does indeed go on to win the section title, the division number won’t have any bearing on where the Buffaloes get placed in the CIF NorCal bowl board when the CIF section commissioners meet Dec. 4 to choose regional bowl matchups. What will continue to be most important, will be factors such as head-to-head results, common opponents, strength of schedule and more. The same will be true for the football teams from the CIF North Coast Section. Division IV-favorite Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa, for example, has been ranked higher than any Div. II or III team throughout the region this season. Even in the CIF Southern Section — where competitive equity-based divisions have greatly diminished the level and scope of first-round playoff blowouts that have become so uncomfortable to follow in many other places of the state — a team from a lower division number can be placed in a higher division. The best example from there is Calabasas football, which is Div. V but may be in a higher SoCal bowl game than CIFSS teams that win Div. III or IV section titles. Then there’s Ventura girls volleyball, which won the section’s Div. II title but has a head-to-head win over NorCal Open Div. top-seed Archbishop Mitty-San Jose. If Ventura were to win the CIF Div. I state title and Mitty wins the Open, it’ll be hard not to rank Ventura higher than Mitty and higher than all of the other Southern Section Div. I teams. For the kids, the best advice is simply to enjoy the ride no matter where it takes you and let the adults worry about the details. “All we know is that we have a max of four games left after tonight, if we were to go to state,” said Manteca junior quarterback Gino Campiotti after the first playoff game against Dixon. “Our guys just love playing football together and we just want to keep playing.” ✪

Jim Rael photo

Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa QB Jordon Brookshire could lead his team to an NCS Div. IV title before likely ending up in CIF Div. II regional bowl. 8

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Mark Tennis is the co-founder of Cal-Hi Sports, and publisher of CalHiSports.com. Contact him at markjtennis@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter, @CalHiSports.

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TOP 25 STATE FOOTBALL RANKINGS After games of Saturday, Nov. 19 1. (1) — Mater Dei-Santa Ana 12-0 Sophomore QB J.T. Daniels continuing to post Jake Browningtype numbers and has 4,200 yards and 63 TD passes with perhaps three games left. 2. (2) — Centennial-Corona 11-1 Head coach Matt Logan looking for third straight CIFSS top division title, and will go up against St. John Bosco in semifinals. 3. (3) — St. John Bosco-Bellflower 10-2 QB Re-al Mitchell is super fast. How fast? He was in state track meet as a sophomore. 4. (5) ▲ Rancho Cucamonga 12-0 Jaylon Redd rushed for three TDs and Thomas Graham had a 72-yard pick six in 42-26 win over previous No. 4 Mission Viejo. Cougars to play Mater Dei next. 5. (6) ▲ Narbonne-Harbor City 12-0 Gauchos rolling along in L.A. City Div. I playoffs. They beat Crenshaw 47-7 in quarterfinals. 6. (8) ▲ De La Salle-Concord 10-1 Wins over Monte Vista-Danville and Clayton Valley-Concord seem to indicate Spartans are pushing to higher level they’ll need to be at for chance at another CIF Open Div. title. 7. (7) — Cathedral Catholic-San Diego 12-0 Watch for the Dons to be in CIF Div. I-AA state bowl game. They’ll probably have to beat Narbonne to get there.

Kairee Robinson of De La Salle

8. (9) ▲ Freedom-Oakley 11-0 If the Falcons can knock off DLS in NCS Open final, they’ll play next in CIF Open Division state final. Can’t see CIF going in any other direction for that selection.

17. (21) ▲ La Mirada 10-2 Matadores are top seed in CIFSS Div. III bracket and have only lost to St. John Bosco and Mater Dei.

9. (4) ▼ Mission Viejo 11-1* Loss to Rancho Cucamonga in CIFSS Div. I quarterfinals ended 39-game winning streak.

18. (NR) ▲ Edison-Huntington Beach 12-1 A 42-0 loss to Mater Dei early in the season is now looking like it’s one of the closer games the Monarchs have had.

10. (10) — Murrieta Valley-Murrieta 10-2 No typo. This team had 829 yards offense in wild-and-wacky 65-48 Southern Section Div. II playoff win over Norco.

19. (18) ▼ Clayton Valley-Concord 9-2* Since the Ugly Eagles were pegged higher than Monte Vista for NCS Open Division, a loss to DLS doesn’t change that.

11. (12) ▲ Calabasas 12-0 Coyotes may be Div. V for CIFSS playoffs, but they’ll be much higher on the SoCal bowl board if they win section crown.

20. (20) — Monte Vista-Danville 11-1 Only loss to DLS and will now play Antioch for NCS Div. I title. Unfortunately, NCS Div. I winner doesn’t go on to CIF NorCal bowl games.

12. (13) ▲ St. Mary’s-Stockton 11-1 Jake Dunniway threw for 315 yards and five TDs in playoff win over Pitman-Turlock that set up SJS Div. I semifinal showdown vs. Oak Ridge. 13. (15) ▲ Folsom 11-1 Now that Sac High (Folsom’s lone loss) has been upset in SJS Div. II bracket, no chance the SJS Div. II winner will go higher on NorCal bowl board than SJS Div. I winner. 14. (14) — Helix-La Mesa 9-2 This team only lost to Cathedral Catholic by one score earlier in the season, and may play Dons again for San Diego Open Div. title. 15. (11) ▼ Pittsburg 9-2* Both of the losses by the Pirates were to Freedom. First game was closer, but Pitt has other wins to stay ranked high. 16. (25) ▲ Rancho Bernardo-San Diego 12-0 This is the team that beat Sacred Heart Prep in CIF state bowl final last year. It plays Helix in San Diego Open semis.

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Dennis Lee photo

21. (NR) ▲ Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 10-2 Trojans have a loss to Reed-Nevada, but look dangerous heading into SJS semis opposite St. Mary’s-Stockton. 22. (NR) ▲ Valley Christian-San Jose 11-1 Although it says Open Div. III in CCS, Warriors are ranked higher than any CCS teams in Open II or Open I. 23. (22) ▼ Santa Margarita-Rancho SM 7-5* Two losses to Bosco, one to Mater Dei and one to Mission Viejo. Key playoff win vs. Serra-Gardena. 24. (23) ▼ Serra-Gardena 7-4* Cavaliers were up to No. 9 before their playoff loss to Santa Margarita. 25. (NR) ▲ Elk Grove 11-1 We decided for this week’s rankings to include all final four teams from the SJS Div. I playoffs. * Indicates team’s season is complete.

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Tournament Season Arrives In Placer Valley, Highlighted By 8th Annual Titan Classic Hoops

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s the high school basketball season is getting underway, Antelope High knows just how to kick into high gear with their annual Titan Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament taking place Dec. 8-10. This year marks eight great years of this highly competitive tournament and 2016 is the biggest year yet! Freshmen, junior varsity and varsity players will be competing and they have nine top-notch teams from each division coming from throughout Northern California and the Bay Area to participate. The team list includes: Antelope, Bella Vista, Davis, Inderkum, Kennedy, Oak Ridge, Saint Mary’s, Woodcreek and Yuba City high schools. Titan Head Coach, Rob Richards explained that this is one of the top Northern California high school basketball tournaments because of the caliber of teams competing. “The quality of basketball is phenomenal,” Richards said. “And the fans won’t be disappointed, as there are several stand-out players competing that will make for some nail-biting games.” All the junior varsity and varsity games will be played at Antelope High located at 7801 Titan Drive in Antelope, and the freshmen bracket will be competing at Wilson C. Riles Middle School at 447 PFE Road in Roseville. Spectator cost will be $6 for adults, and students will pay the discounted price of $3. Mark your calendars because the Titan Holiday Classic promises the best in high school hoops! ✪

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No Guts! No Glory! Wrestling Tourney Returns To Usher Out 2016 In A Big Way

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he 11th Annual No Guts! No Glory! Wrestling Tournament will close out 2016 with a bang! Placer Valley Tourism, in conjunction with Natomas High, is thrilled to bring this incredible tournament back to Hardwood Palace in Rocklin on Dec. 29-30. Year after year this tournament has proven to be one of the largest and most competitive in the state. This year will undoubtedly be more of the same, with a projected 150 teams expected to hit the mats. Varsity, junior varsity and girls divisions will be competing in various weight classes. Natomas wrestling coach Jeremy Arsich explained that this is one of his favorite events of the year. “We love the venue,” he said. “Hardwood Palace has a great layout for this style of tournament and the competition is just outstanding. “Every year some of the best high school wrestlers in the nation compete in No Guts! No Glory! We have state finalists and semi-finalists, and it turns up the heat for all the wrestlers - bringing the best out in every competitor,” added Arsich. Along with the high-caliber competition, the tournament awards are truly top-notch. Special awards are given to all champions, high-quality medals are awarded to top finalists, the top teams in varsity and girls are also given special awards and most outstanding wrestler awards are presented as well. It’s not too late to get your wrestlers signed up. Go to www.noguts-noglory.info to register today! ✪ —All copy and photos provided by Placer Valley Tourism

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n already towering bar of success has been raised to loftier heights for Salesian College Preparatory-Richmond’s basketball team. And that’s something the Pride’s players and coaches realize and fully embrace. It’s a natural progression for a team that shook off a “young” tag last season. Youth proved no barrier in a stellar 28-5 campaign that ended with a narrow overtime loss to No. 1 seed De La Salle in the first round of the CIF Open Division playoffs. Long a North Coast Section power — Salesian has six section titles in the past 11 years — the Pride is now entrenched as a Northern California force with bona fide aspirations to play for a state title. “We want nothing less than a state championship,” point guard James Akinjo said. “We of course want to win our league, win NCS, and then a state championship.” The Pride has captured state Division IV titles in 2009 (led by Jabari Brown and Desmond Simmons) and 2012 (fueled by future Cal star Jabari Bird). And it begins this season having been moved up by the NCS one spot to Division III. The drive to play for such a program often begins before high school.

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Ke’mare Wright said he knew he wanted to play at Salesian, when he watched his cousin, Davion Mize, playing in the 2012 state championship game. Wright is respectful of the opportunity he has. “I’m lucky to be able to play here,” Wright said. “They didn’t have to let me come here and let me play. So that makes me want to do my best.” Last season, with just two seniors and one junior, the Pride brought a 21-game win streak into its NorCal Open Division matchup with De La Salle. The Spartans emerged with a 51-45 overtime win, and went on to play for the state title. But in pushing De La Salle to the brink, the Pride cemented its high status among elite programs. “That team played extremely hard every game,” said Bill Mellis, now starting his 19th year as Salesian’s head coach. “It didn’t matter if we were playing a good team or one that’s not so good. The players never really got fazed by who we were playing and didn’t let up against the teams that weren’t so good.” Continuity is king at Salesian. Most of those players are back. As is Mellis, who also is the chair of the school’s physical education department.

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A roster loaded with returning talent & experience, Salesian begins the season as NorCal’s top-ranked team From left, Salesian’s Ke’mare Wright, Jaden McClanahan, James Akinjo, Jovan McClanahan and Derrick Langford hope to have plenty to smile about in 2016-17. Story by Mike Wood | Photos by Berry Evans III

“We want nothing less than a state championship.” — Point guard James Akinjo

The longtime teacher is appreciative of those he was able to learn from. It’s an impressive list, which starts with one of California’s most heralded coaching families. Mellis’ high school playing days came at Santa Cruz High for Pete Newell Jr., who established himself as a prep coaching icon, following in the coaching ranks of his father, the legendary Cal and USF coach. “I would say Pete Newell Jr. is one of the best high school coaches you could imagine,” said Mellis. “One thing I have taken is how important details are. Both he and his father have great minds. Coach Newell could blow a whistle anytime and point out a detail. He was not afraid to stop the flow of practice.” The Newell-Mellis connection goes back one more generation. Spiro Mellis, Bill’s father, was Pete Newell Sr.’s team manager in the first season of Newell’s fabled run at Cal. “Awesome” is how Mellis sums up his opportunity to learn from the Newells. Mellis went on to Cal, where he met Lou Campanelli, serving as student manager for the coach, from 1988-93, finishing with Jason Kidd’s first season at Cal. “Lou was a lot of X’s and O’s, with the press breaks, a style I took from him,” Mellis said. “He and I are very close. He comes to a couple of games a year, and we go out to breakfast or lunch

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Jovan and Jaden McClanahan a couple times. I still reach out to him often.” The third coach whom Mellis cited as having a major impact on him is Bill Treseler, now the Albany High coach and an academic advisor at Salesian. Mellis’ entry to Salesian came when Treseler was the school’s head coach. Mellis served as an assistant for five years under Treseler, and when Treseler left (and eventually became San Francisco State’s head coach), Mellis began his run as Salesian head coach. “It’s really great to have him as a resource,” Mellis said. “He’s someone I can walk down the hall and talk to.” Continuity runs deep. Eddie Foster has been an assistant coach with Mellis for all 19 years. And there’s former player David Jobe, an assistant dating back to the 2008-09 season.

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Derrick Langford & Ke’mare Wright

James Akinjo & Bill Mellis

Salesian’s formidable list of key components starts with point guard James Akinjo. The junior already is being heavily recruited by Texas A&M, Nevada, and there’s definite Pac-12 interest, Mellis said. It starts with dedication to the game. “I can not drag him out of the gym,” Mellis said. “He has that ultimate work ethic. And his ball-handling is really good right now.” Derrick Langford, a junior guard, is strong going to the bucket, with a good defensive ethic, Mellis said. Yet another impressive junior is Jamario Bibb, who has started since his freshman year. He’s an inside-outside player now focusing on perimeter play. “He could knock down a 3, and he’s sure to be our lead rebounder,” the coach said. Mellis said versatile Joshua Jefferson, on varsity since his freshman season, is poised for a breakout season. “I think it is really his time,” Mellis said. Wright, one of four football players on the basketball team, is a physical scorer. “He provides a nice counterattack with James.” Then there are the McClanahan twins, who impressed as freshmen a season ago. Jaden McClanahan, a point guard, is a solid distributor and passer and a really tough defender, the coach said. Jovan McClanahan, the school’s star running back on the gridiron, is a wing. The tallest player is 6-foot-9 Manny Adeoye from Nigeria, part of the school’s international program. There’s junior Brandon Betson, who can shoot 3s. There are four freshmen: Tyler Brinkman, Shane Bell, Austin Hernandez and Alondre RayLove: “It really comes down to how much they’ll jell and how much they will commit to playing hard on the defensive end,” Mellis said. We don’t have a ton of size. This is a team that is going to have to find to creative ways to get rebounds.” There’s no shortage of vocal leaders, Mellis said, whether it’s Akinjo, Bibb, Wright or the McClanahans. “That’s very helpful and takes a lot of stress off me,” Akinjo said. “That allows me to play freely.” This season’s schedule again is chock full of tough opponents. At the Jan. 16 MLK Classic at Saint Mary’s, Salesian will meet its brother school, St. John Bosco-Bellflower. Prior to that, the Pride will play in three challenging tournaments. It starts with the Gridley Tournament Dec. 8-10. The Pride return to the Modesto Christian Tournaments, Dec. 27-30, opening with Berkeley. Perhaps biggest is when the Pride travel to Las Vegas to be part of the Tarkanian Classic Dec. 15-20. The 16-team lineup includes Bishop Gorman, Mater Dei, defending state Open champ Chino Hills, and Crossroads-Santa Monica, which features Shareef O’Neal, Shaq’s son. And the Pride’s league is the furthest thing from an afterthought. The Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division also boasts postseason perennials El Cerrito, St. Joseph Notre Dame and St. Patrick-St. Vincent. So it’s key that Salesian’s players stay grounded. Mellis cites their ability to keep the focus on the game at hand, not on the number of Ws they have racked up. “Last year when we had that big long streak, and people were asking ‘Do you feel pressure?’ — Our kids didn’t really know how long the streak was,” Mellis said. ✪

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1. Salesian-Richmond (28-5): With just two seniors lost to graduation, and only ONE junior on last year’s 28-win team, the Pride has one of the most promising two-year championship windows of any team in the state. Considering they were that young a year ago and eventual CIF NorCal Open Div.-champion De La Salle STILL needed OT to vanquish them, a more seasoned Pride should have plenty potential contenders concerned. James Akinjo leads a slew of backcourt talent that also includes Derrick Langford, Ke’mare Wright and twin brothers Jaden and Jovan McClanahan. Jamario Bibb (6-4) and Manny Adeoye (6-9) will lead the team in the paint. 2. Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland (17-15): Last season was one of growth for a young Dragons team in the wake of the previous year’s CIF Open Div. state title run fueled by a super-talented senior class. With the rebuilding year behind it, O’Dowd has a dynamic and versatile roster ready to dominate the East Bay and beyond. Coach Lou Richie’s talented group of guards includes senior B.J. Shaw and juniors Elijah Hardy and Nasim Gaskin. Raymond Hawkins, a 6-9 sophomore, could be the Dragons next great post player.

From left, Salesian’s Ke’mare Wright, Jaden McClanahan, James Akinjo, Derrick Langford and Jovan McClanahan.

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3. Capital Christian-Sacramento (19-10): The Cougars are a perennial power poised to build on its dynasty status among the region’s small schools. Head coach Devon Jones may have the most young talent in NorCal with the likes of 6-4 Zach Chappell and 6-11 Tolu Jacobs, who are both juniors. Most impressive, though, may be a pair of incoming freshmen in 6-8 Kendall Munson and 6-1 Fred Burton, who could carry the Cougars for years to come.

4. Moreau Catholic-Hayward (25-5): It would seem like this is the year for the Mariners to fall back after posting 75 wins over the past three seasons. The senior class that drove that run graduated last spring, but AllState guard Damari Milstead (right) is back and there’s plenty of new faces ready for the spotlight. That includes freshman Kyree Walker.

8. St. Patrick/St. Vincent-Vallejo (20-12): After graduating just two from last year’s NCS Div. IV runner-up (losing final to Salesian 64-53), this has the potential to be one of the best Bruins teams ever. B.J. Standley (17.1 ppg.) and Tavian Henderson (17.0) both return.

9. Folsom (27-5): The Bulldogs graduated four starters who played large roles in Folsom winning 87 games and two section titles in three years. However, junior post Mason Forbes and rising guard Martis Johnson will still make the Bulldogs a very real threat.

10. De La Salle-Concord (31-3): Justin Joyner, who sank two free-throws to seal the Spartans’ 2006 Div. I state championship win, will now lead De La Salle from the bench. He inherits key pieces from last year’s NorCal Open champs, including Colby Orr, Connor O’Dea and Emeka Udenyi

5. Woodcreek-Roseville (20-9): Jordan Brown continues to grow into one of the mostly highlytouted and sought-after big men to come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. He’s arguably NorCal’s best player (26.7 points and 15.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season), and if the rest of the Timberwolves can gel around him, Woodcreek will be awfully tough to beat. 6. Oakland Tech (28-4): USF-bound swingman Souley Boum leads a Bulldogs team which graduated seven from last year’s squad, but returns enough to be a major threat in the OAL and Division I.

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7. St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda (26-9): The defending CIF Div. V state champions graduated just three from last year’s roster and will be led by Pepperdine-bound guard Jadé Smith. The Pilots are one of four TCAL-Rock teams in the Top 20.

11. Sheldon-Sacramento (23-6) 12. Bellarmine-San Jose (19-9) 13. Dublin (23-4) 14. Monte Vista-Danville (24-8) 15. El Cerrito (22-14) 16. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (15-14) 17. Central Catholic-Modesto (27-6) 18. Serra-San Mateo (26-5) 19. Jesuit-Carmichael (25-6) 20. Marin Catholic-Kentfield (19-11)

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★★★★ Beginning in January a new boys Top 20 drops every Monday at SportStarsOnline.com

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Manteca’s Tydus Verhoeven And Loretta Kakala Keep Buffaloes More Than Relevant Into 2017

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asketball coaches hope they can field a lineup that can score inside, Verhoeven’s profile is beginning to reach the big time and is getting the score outside, rebound, defend and pass. At Manteca High School, attention of Division I schools who look beyond just scoring as a measure the boys and girls basketball coaches have individuals who can of talent. College programs often recruit multiple players who average 20-25 s “Tydus bring do all of that and play each of the five positions on the floor, if needed. points per game in high school, so Verhoeven’s versatility and unselfish play is Senior Loretta Kakala and Tydus Verhoeven are the Buffaloes’ “fiveappealing to college coaches looking for a team-first player who can complea little bit of tool” players whose versatility and talent are rare luxuries for coaches ment scorers in more ways than one. d n a g everythin Ryan Bono and Brett Lewis. Kakala has already used her multiple basketball talents to secure a Division e m a g e h “It’s nice to have a 6-foot-3 girl that can bring the ball up, run the floor I scholarship, having recently signed with Louisville. In the meantime, the t s t affec and finish a fast break,” Bono said of Kakala. “How many bigs in high senior who will likely play at power forward or small forward in college will y in every wa school girls basketball can do everything on the floor and do it well?” focus on contributing to the Buffaloes’ success from wherever Bono wants her And the Louisville signee’s male counterpart, Verhoeven, is equally to be on the court. possible.” adept as a multi-dimensional player for the defending CIF Division III “Aside from her size, she has tremendous skill and a soft touch,” said Bono, is Brett Lew state champions. who takes over as girls varsity coach this year after serving four years as — Boys coach “Tydus brings a little bit of everything and affects the game in every an assistant on the boys coaching staff. “She can do it all, and she has high way possible,” Lewis said. “He can post up and score with his 7-foot wing expectations for herself and the team.” y “It is a luxur span, and he can handle the ball and beat the press.” Manteca’s girls equaled the boys in 2015-16 with a second-place fino t h Verhoeven scored a modest 9 points per game as a junior, but added 5.6 ish in the Valley Oak League, but Kakala and company could not extend c a o c a r fo rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.9 blocks per game for a Buffaloes team loaded with their season the way they boys did. A 19-10 season ended in the section ne have someo weapons on both ends of the court. Lewis believes that the top returner from quarterfinals, but Kakala is determined to achieve more in her final high t a h t d the state title winners could easily average 20 points per game this year, but his school season. n a r like he star prefers to spread his talent all over the floor and share the scoring glory. “Loretta has been putting in a lot of time to improve her skills and s e certainly rais “Scoring is not his number one priority, but he loves to pass the ball,” Lewis made a commitment to improve herself and the team.” d said. “He will probably average more this year, but he won’t change his game.” The Buffaloes return only four players, so the learning curve with a our hopes an Verhoeven has been making a difference on the floor for Manteca since new head coach and lots of new players will be steep, according to Bono. s.” expectation earning playing time as a freshman when Lewis joined the Buffaloes’ staff as But the challenges facing the coach and his players can be overcome with an assistant. Now in his third year as head coach, Lewis expects to lean on his the help of Kakala and her many talents. Ryan Bono — Girls coach senior forward’s experience and maturity. “Not many teams have a girl with her size and capabilities,” Bono add“He has grown up a lot and understands the game more,” Lewis said. ed. “It is a luxury for a coach to have someone like her and that certainly “The experience he brings will be huge, and the extra experience from raises our hopes and expectations.” ✪ playing NorCal and state games is big time.” — Story by Jim McCue | Photo by Jim Johnson

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JORDAN BROWN

TYDUS VERHOEVEN

Woodcreek-Roseville, Junior POSITION: Center HEIGHT: 6-10 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 26.7 points, 15 rebounds, 2.8 blocks THE RUNDOWN: He‘s without question the highest-ranked boys recruit in Northern California, period. Brown was the Cal-Hi Sports State Freshman of the Year in 2014-15 and State Sophomore of the Year last season. The talented post player, who is already a two-time gold medalist for USA Basketball (most recently at FIBA U-17 World Championships in Spain), holds offers from Arizona, UCLA, Cal and Nevada.

Manteca, Senior POSITION: Forward HEIGHT: 6-8 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 blocks THE RUNDOWN: He’s a skilled big man who can create matchup problems on both ends of the floor, and can fill up every column of the stat sheet. He posted 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four blocks in last year’s CIF Div. III state final. He’ll take on a bigger scoring role this season for the defending state champs following the graduation of Kenny Wooten Jr. and Anand Hundal.

SOULEY BOUM Oakland Tech, Senior POSITION: Wing HEIGHT: 6-3 COLLEGE DESTINATION: San Francisco 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 21.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.4 steals, 3.1 assists THE RUNDOWN: Boum broke out in a big way during his junior year, leading the Bulldogs in almost every category and helping push them to a 28-4 record. He continued to shine during the summer with Team Lillard on the AAU circuit, where he picked up a handful of mid-major offers before choosing the Dons of USF. The Cal-Hi Sports All-State selection (2nd-Team Juniors) can score at the rim and has a strong outside shot as well.

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DAMARI MILSTEAD Moreau Catholic-Hayward, Senior POSITION: Guard HEIGHT: 6-2 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Grand Canyon 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 19.1 points, 5.4 assists THE RUNDOWN: Milstead was the most consistent performer on the Mariners’ 25-5 squad a year ago. He was a SportStars 1st-Team All-NorCal selection and Cal-Hi Sports 3rd-Team All-State Elite honoree. Following the graduation of a talented senior class, Milstead will take the main spotlight and look to keep Moreau among the Bay Area’s top programs.

JADÉ SMITH St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda, Senior POSITION: Guard HEIGHT: 6-2 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Pepperdine 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals THE RUNDOWN: Smith’s all-around game is as smooth as they come. He’ll be looking to help a talented Pilots team make a run at another state title. Smith led St. Joseph to the Div. V crown a year ago, scoring 21 points in the state final. The versatile backcourt star fielded a number of WCC offers before settling on Pepperdine.

THE NEXT FIVE ›› JAMES AKINJO Salesian-Richmond | Point Guard | 5-10 | Junior ›› JOEY CALCATERRA Marin Catholic-Kentfield | Guard | 6-2 | Senior ›› ZACH CHAPPELL Capital Christian-Sacramento | Wing | 6-4 | Junior ›› MASON FORBES (RIGHT) Folsom | Forward | 6-7 | Junior ›› NASIM GASKIN Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland | Wing | 6-3 | Senior

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November 24, 2016

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go the dis A Pair Of Scenic And Fun Running Events Highlight The Onset Of 2017 In The Redding And Shasta Lake Region

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ffectionately referred to as “26.2 With A View,” the Redding Marathon returns for another year of distance running among some of Northern California’s most scenic landscapes and landmarks. January 15 is the date circled by several distance running enthusiasts who will line up near the Shasta Dam for the start of the Redding Marathon, an event that features a breathtaking 26.2 mile jaunt across some of Northern California’s finest landscape. Competitors can take a free bus to the start of the Redding Marathon. Enjoy the warmth of the Visitor‘s Center located near the start of the race and be ready for an 8 a.m. start. Runners enjoy a scenic journey downstream along the Sacramento River on paved running trails. Watch for bald eagles, osprey and other wildlife. Athletes competing in the Redding Marathon will cross over the Shasta Dam, through an old railroad tunnel and across the historic Diestelhorst Bridge, the Ribbon Suspension Bridge and to the finish line located on the famous Sundial Bridge. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in  the heart of Redding. Opened on July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as access to Redding‘s Sacramento River Trail system. Not quite prepared for marathon distance? That’s fine. Take part in the three-leg marathon relay, or participate in the Sundial 5K which begins at 9 a.m. Also, for those serious runners, it’s worth noting that the Redding Marathon is an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Competitors can register online right now at reddingmarathon.org

CLIKAPUDI TRAIL RUNS Just two weeks before the Redding Marathon takes place, outdoor enthusiasts can spend New Year’s Day taking part in the Clikapudi Trail Runs which occurs along the shores of Shasta Lake. The Trail Runs offer a variety of distances: a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. Races begin at 10 a.m. at the the Jones Valley Boat Ramp approximately 10 miles north of Bella Vista. The trail is a seven-mile loop on the south shore of the lake. Runners begin on a one-mile stretch of road to the trail crossing where 5K runners turn right, and 10K and half-marathon runners go left. The road portions of the race feature gently rolling hills. The 5K portion of trail is relatively flat single track and the 10K portion is mostly flat with three medium climbs along the way. All races have a 1:30 p.m. cut-off time and half-marathon participants must finish the first lap by noon or they will only be given credit for a 10K. Walkers and hikers are each welcome in the 5K and 10K. Registration is open and greatly favors those who sign up early. Competitors who register before Dec. 1 will receive the greatest discount ($17 for 5K, $22 for 10K and $33 for half-marathon). Registering between Dec. 1-30 will still save you some money ($24/$33/$44). Prices will be $30/$40/$50 on Dec. 31 and race day. Visit shastatrailruns.com/clikapudi/ to sign up now. ✪


stance ›››› Hiking & Biking Trails Sacramento River Trail Turtle Bay East Trail Sacramento River-Rail Trail Fisherman’s Trail Hilltop to Sundial Bridge Trail Arboretum Loop Trail Buenaventura Trail

Upper Sacramento Ditch Trail Lower Sacramento Ditch Trail Chamise Peak Trail Flanagan Trail Hornbeck Trail Francis Berg Trail (FB) Whiskeytown Area Trails

Mule Ridge & Swasey Trails Cloverdale Loop Piety Hill Loop Clear Creek Greenway Trail Parkview Trail John Reginato River Access

Salt Creek Trail Middle Creek Trail Blue Gravel Mine Trail Westside Trails Lema Ranch Trails Churn Creek Trails Clover Creek Trail


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With Every Key Championship Trait, Nationally-Ranked Mitty Girls Set Up For Historic Run

ou may have heard of Kerri Walsh — but not that many are aware that the Olympic volleyball star was a superb basketball player at San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty High back in the day. And she wasn’t alone in 1995, as nine other girls who became Division I college athletes were also on that state championship roster. Then in 1999, Mitty went 31-0 with players like Rometra Craig (Roger Craig’s daughter), Aimee Gryzb and Kristin Iwanaga, among others, and won another state title. But it’s not like coach Sue Phillips doesn’t have a memory bank full of teams that most coaches would be ecstatic to coach just once. After all, she’s got 28 league titles, 25 Central Coast Section titles, 11 NorCal titles and six state championships. So when Phillips is willing to say that her 2016-17 edition of the Monarchs “has the potential to be her best team,” that is saying something. Let us count the ways… TALENT: Usually when a team has four Division I seniors, that’s where the talent is concentrated — but not at Mitty. The consensus is that the underclassmen (led by Haley Jones and Karisma Osborne) are even more talented. Still, Madeleine Holland will be playing at Saint Mary’s College next year, Tahlia Garza and Daniella Guglielmo will be at UC Irvine, and Heleyna Hill will go to San Jose State. That group, in and of itself, is a top-three team in Northern California, but when you add in shooters such as Krissy Miyahara and inside players such as Nicole Blakes, not to mention Jones and Osborne, you have as talented a roster as has ever taken the floor in Northern California.

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VERSATILITY: It’s one thing to be talented, but sometimes the pieces just don’t fit. If a coach has three really good point guards, that’s great — but only one can play the point at any given time. This Mitty team can go in numerous directions, as Phillips can deploy a small, quick, pressuring lineup, or she can roll out a group that can pound the ball inside, or anything in between. The obvious advantage is that Mitty can dictate to opponents how they must try to play, but of equal value is the ability to handle any kind of opposition. The press is on? Get the small guards in there. A frontline where everyone’s 6-3? Phillips can handle that too, which leads to … SIZE: Versatility and talent will take you a long way, but basketball is a game that rewards the tall. If necessary, Phillips can put five players on the floor all taller than six feet and have a lineup that makes sense. Jones, at 6-1, and Ortiz, at 6-0, can both play the point, and the 6-2 trio of Garza, Blakes and junior Julia DeVine can step in up front. Or maybe Phillips feels like going with 6-1 Kate Conaway or 6-0 Camille Morales. CHEMISTRY: Perhaps the hardest thing for any coach to control, or even have an influence on, is how the players get along. The buzzword is “chemistry,” but it’s a lot more complicated than three syllables. It’s about leadership, it’s about followership, it’s about accepting roles and it’s about that magical connection that turns a disparate group of individuals into a team. One advantage Phillips has in her situation is the aforementioned versatility. Because she’s going to be able to do a wide variety of things, she’s also going to be able to employ a wide

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Mitty’s quartet of Div. I-bound seniors (from left) Madeline Holland, Heleyna Hill, Daniella Guglielmo and Tahlia Garza.

Story by Clay Kallam Photo by Norbert von der Groeben

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variety of players. “You have better buy-in,” she says, “because everybody is going to contribute.” “We mesh so well,” says Holland. “We have such great chemistry and we get along very well.” Garza seconds that emotion. “We have a great group of girls,” she says. “There’s no barrier between the different grades and the different ages — we can’t have any of that cliqueiness.” INTELLIGENCE: Phillips is a very cerebral coach — for example, she has a “hierarchy of turnovers.” The categories range from bad decisions, bad timing, to even acknowledging a great defensive play by the opposition, but Phillips expects her players to understand the system, and understand the game. And she allows her players to develop their basketball IQ through the course of the season. At the start of the year, Phillips and her staff will dictate which option to use from an offensive set; but by season’s end, the players are expected to be able to read the correct option from how the defense sets up. “You can teach kids to play without handcuffing them,” says Phillips, and that in-season teaching has always made Mitty a better team at the end of the season than at the start. DEPTH: It’s a rarity when a high school coach has a fully healthy roster to play with every night out. It’s a long season, and depth is a necessity. Not surprisingly, Mitty won’t have to worry on that score. The Monarchs have plenty of size, lots of people who can run the point, shooters everywhere and solid defenders. Though injuries could certainly derail the Mitty train, the Monarchs are definitely better equipped to handle the inevitable injuries than any other team in Northern California, or perhaps in the entire West. SENIORS: Veteran coaches will tell you that motivated seniors can elevate a team — and with the chance for a high national ranking (Mitty will start at No. 2 for MaxPreps) and a state cham-

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pionship, leadership and a sense of urgency will not be hard to come by. COACHING: Phillips is obviously a superb coach, as her USA Basketball and high school achievements attest. But she also has an experienced, veteran staff, with Joe Guerra, Tami Monson and Brett Nichols making key contributions behind the scenes at the varsity level, and four more coaches to call on at the JV and frosh level. Add to this staff a supportive administration, and a long tradition of success, and it’s easy to understand why quality players are attracted to Mitty. OPPORTUNITY: Rankings, like those here in SportStars and on MaxPreps, are fun — but they’re also revelatory, and on the national scene, getting that final No. 1 ranking is a special, special accomplishment. Mitty will start the season very high in those rankings, behind only Paul VI of Virginia, but given its brutal schedule — the Iolani Tournament, the Nike TOC, the Eastside Prep Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and the ultra-competitive CIF Open Division playoffs — it is in position to be named the best team in all the land. That kind of opportunity doesn’t come around very often, if at all, and doesn’t always coincide with all of the pieces of the puzzle in place, but this year for Mitty, it’s a perfect storm of opportunity. It’s also an opportunity for Northern California girls basketball fans to see one of the best teams ever to come out of an area with a rich tradition of exceptional girls basketball. From Kerri Walsh to the Paris twins of Piedmont to the run-and-stun St. Mary’sStockton teams, there have been many special moments to savor — but this year’s Archbishop Mitty might just turn out to be the best one ever. Get your tickets now. ✪

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5. Oak Ridge-El Dorado HIlls (29-3): Usually the loss of a player like Hailey McCoy would be a devastating blow to a high school team — but McCoy’s relocation to San Diego still can’t dim the state’s tallest and most talented front line. Yes, there are question marks in the backcourt, but with Minnesota move-in Marie Olsen (6-2), University PrepChico transfer Shayley Harris (6-6) and returner Kassidy DeLapp (6-3), Oak Ridge has enough size for an entire league, much less one team.

6. McClatchy-Sacramento (23-6): Jordan Cruz will carry a lot of the load for McClatchy, but she’s far from alone. Courtesy Clark is an outstanding guard, and Kamryn Hill will supply rebounding and scoring. One question mark, though, is new coach Jeff Ota, who may have to make some adjustments to coaching girls after coaching boys in recent years.

7. Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa (31-5): The one-two post punch of Hailey Vice-Neat and Lauren Walker carried Newman to the Division IV state championship last year — and both return, along with a host of other talented players. Coach Monica Mertle is playing a difficult schedule, which is a good thing, because she’ll probably wind up in the Open this year instead of going for her second straight championship at the smaller school level.

Daniella Guglielmo, left, and Heleyna Hill 1. Archbishop Mitty-San Jose (23-4): Mitty will begin the season No. 2 in the nation for MaxPreps, and though one of the toughest schedules in the country (if not the toughest) will make it difficult to hang on to that lofty spot, this is one of the best teams Sue Phillips has ever had – and that’s saying something. Sophomore Haley Jones may be the best player, but the four Division I-bound seniors are awfully good too. The Monarchs have size, quickness, depth, versatility, coaching … and might be just as good, if not better, than last year’s St. Mary’s-Stockton team that came within a few (well, 16) Pinewood-Los Altos Hills 3-pointers of a national championship.

2. Salesian-Richmond (27-6): After stunning Mitty in the NorCal Open Division last year, coach Steve Pezzola bid farewell to the architect of that upset, Minyon Moore – but St. Mary’s-Stockton transfer Sierra Smith moves in as a senior point guard to run the show for a very young, but very talented roster. Angel Jackson, a 6-5 post, improved dramatically from the beginning of last year to the end. Though just a sophomore, she’s a force to be reckoned with. As is Salesian.

3. St. Mary’s-Stockton (28-1): It will take a while for the bitter memories of the regional playoff upset loss to Pinewood to fade, but coach Tom Gonsalves and his team can take solace in the return of Aquira DeCosta and Ariel Johnson. But injuries and transfers have cut into the depth that St. Mary’s has relied on the past few seasons, so there may be some adjustment necessary — but don’t expect it to take long.

8. Pinewood-Los Altos Hills (24-6): The over/under on 3-pointers for Pinewood in any given game hovers around the 30 mark – or maybe 35. Hannah Jump is an exceptional young player, and she’s surrounded by well-coached, athletic, talented teammates. And as St. Mary’s discovered last year, just because Pinewood only has 210 students doesn’t mean they can’t knock out the big girls.

9. Elk Grove (24-11): When people talk about the top coaches in Northern California, somehow Larry Price’s name never comes up – but it’s time that he gets the credit he’s due. He built Florin into a power and then took Elk Grove to the state championship game last season. Elk Grove has plenty of firepower returning, and another year in Price’s system should make them even tougher to beat.

10. Sacramento (24-10): Michele Massari isn’t one of those coaches who come into the season automatically telling you how good her team is going to be – in fact, it’s usually the opposite. This season, though, she says her youngsters are very good, and that’s not very good news for the Dragons’ opponents. Last year, Sacramento lost by one to Elk Grove in the Norcal championships, but don’t be surprised if the Open beckons in 2017.

11. Carondelet-Concord (23-7) 12. Folsom (21-9) 13. Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland (24-7) 14. Miramonte-Orinda (32-1) 15. Vanden-Fairfield (24-9)

4. Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. (21-9): Building around IImar’I Thomas is a pretty obvious first step. But Thomas isn’t alone. LyRyan Russell returns almost all of the firepower for the defending Division III state champs. The two — or three (Central Coast) or four (NorCals) — games against Mitty are must-sees for West Bay fans. Of course, any chance to watch Thomas play is worth the trip.

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16. Campolindo-Moraga (25-6) 17. West Campus-Sacramento (25-8) 18. Antelope (29-3) 19. Arcata (24-6) 20. Eastside College Prep-East Palo Alto (20-11)

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★★★★ Beginning in January a new girls Top 20 drops every Tuesday at SportStarsOnline.com

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From left, Max, Mason & McKenzie Forbes have fun in the classroom under the supervision of their father, Sterling

From Two Generations of Harlem Globetrotters, Folsom’s McKenzie, Mason and Max Forbes Are Excelling In The Family Business

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he family that plays together … keeps playing together and extends a basketball legacy for another generation. The Forbes family of Folsom is deeply involved in hoops in their community, from playing and coaching at Folsom High to teaching and reaching out to aspiring young players. “From a young age, we knew that the game was about more than just winning and losing,” said McKenzie Forbes, a junior at Folsom and the youngest of four basketball-crazed children. “It’s about bringing people together. We learned that early and have really taken that with us.” McKenzie and older brothers Mason, Max and Marcus received outstanding hoops genes along with basketball knowledge and life lessons passed down by two previous generations of professional basketball players. Their grandfather, Sterling Forbes, played at Pepperdine University before being drafted by his hometown Lakers. After a back injury cut his NBA career short, he played with the Harlem Globetrotters in the early 1960s. Their father, Sterling Forbes, Jr., played at Southwest Texas State before following in his father’s footsteps and joining the Globetrotters in 1988 after a brief pro stint in Argentina. Dad retired in 1995 before the oldest of his and wife Sasha’s kids, Marcus, was born. Despite never watching their father play for the Globetrotters, the Forbes family was regularly in attendance at the traveling team’s exhibitions in California, exposing the children to the sport that they would grow to love. That love was seasonal for the Forbes children as soccer, baseball and football all had their time. As long as there was a ball and

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Story by Jim McCue | Photos by James K. Leash a place to play, the Forbes were game and among the best and most competitive. “We tried everything,” said Mason, a junior center/forward for the Bulldogs. “We played every sport until we got to high school and narrowed it down to just basketball.” Sterling and Sasha were always supportive of their kids’ varied athletic endeavors and never pushed them toward the family basketball legacy. Sterling recalled his father’s careful approach to let him make his own choices about what sport to play, and embraced that philosophy with his own children. Sterling, Sr. would not wake up his son for early basketball games on the weekend, but would rather wait in his bedroom for young Sterling, Jr. to come to him to ask to take him to the game. “He made sure that I really wanted to play,” he said. “He didn’t want to push me into the game and I felt the same way with my kids. “I always thought that if they like it, I will teach them to the best of my ability what I’ve learned, and if they didn’t like it, that was fine. At the end of the day, you just want your kids to be happy.” As it turned out, basketball is what made the kids and the family happiest. “Pressure can be so heavy on kids to perform,” said Lynn Wolking, the Folsom girls varsity coach and longtime friend of the Forbes family. “(Sterling and Sasha) are there for them, and that lack of pressure from their parents matters.” The pressure-free results have paid dividends for the Forbes and for local high school basketball programs. Marcus was a guard at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs before becoming a student-athlete at Occidental College in Southern California. Max is a senior at Folsom, and will be asked to fill the void left by a large group of graduated Bulldogs. He has Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, and like us on Facebook!

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been offered a walk-on spot at San Jose State, but he will weigh his college options to pursue his academic and athletic dreams. The best, or at least the most sought after, talent from the Forbes family are Mason and McKenzie. Both are juniors — born 16 months apart but as close as if they were twins — and are gaining increased recruiting interest after solid sophomore seasons and impressive AAU campaigns over the summer. Mason is a 6-foot-7 center who grew into his body and an expanded role over two seasons and 55 wins with the Bulldogs, including a Sac-Joaquin Section title and NorCal Open Division invitations. As a sophomore, he averaged 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as the lone underclassmen in head coach Mike Wall’s starting lineup. “He has gone from understudy to starter/role player to the leader and go-to guy for our team,” Wall said. “He is a nightmare matchup because he can guard smaller or bigger guys. He is big and mobile, and those are the guys that go on to the next level.” Mason caught the eyes of Division I recruiters playing for JT Elite and Oakland Soldiers travel teams over the summer. Mason and McKenzie have taken several unofficial visits to California schools and he will certainly have offers to weigh after the high school season concludes. McKenzie has already surpassed her siblings in letters of interest from Division I programs, but that is one of very few things that she isn’t competitive with her siblings about. As the youngest of four athletes and the only girl, she always wanted to do whatever her brothers did — and wanted to do it better. Pickup hoops games with the Forbes were rarely just for fun, and the siblings will still mix it up with one another for family bragging rights. Wolking watched in horror as his star player defended big brother Mason in the Folsom gym recently and took an elbow to the mouth. She shook off the blow and continued to practice and train while Mason offered up the explanation that his sister “got too close.” “Her level of competitiveness is ridiculous,” Wolking said of his undisputed team leader. “Her will and desire to win is unmatched, and that fires her teammates up.” While the Folsom girls have not had the same level of recent success as the boys, Wolking expects his Bulldogs to compete in a deep Sierra Foothill League that features heavyweight Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills. Forbes and her many talents certainly help the coach’s confidence. “She is passionate about basketball and has a self-motivation that you can’t teach,” Wolking said. “She gets it, and is like a coach on the floor who can teach and communicate with her teammates. That’s a luxury to have.” McKenzie played for the Arizona Elite AAU team and logged lots of frequent flier miles while spending weekends training in Arizona or traveling to tournaments around the country. She also made unofficial visits to Kentucky, Louisville, and Tennessee with her mother to help pare down her college choices to a manageable group of around 10 schools. With all of the practices, training sessions, family workouts and schoolwork—Max, Mason, and McKenize boast GPAs from 3.7 to 4.0 — the family may be stretched to be together all of the time. However, a new tweak to the SFL schedule will help the Forbes this season. Friday night league contests will feature girls and boys varsity doubleheaders on the same court for the first time. The perfect opportunity for the Forbes family to keep playing together. ✪ 34

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JORDAN CRUZ McClatchy-Sacramento, Senior POSITION: Guard HEIGHT: 5-10 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Utah 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 16.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.0 steals THE RUNDOWN: After overcoming a frightening seizure as a sophomore, and undergoing three straight days of brain surgery to correct a congenital problem, Cruz rebounded to have a great junior year – and is primed to do even better this season. One of the deadliest perimeter shooters in Northern California, Cruz is also a gritty rebounder and tough defender for one of the area’s best teams.

IIMAR’I THOMAS Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F. POSITION: Wing HEIGHT: 6-1 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Cincinnati 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 23.9 points, 12.4 rebounds, 53.9 shooting percentage THE RUNDOWN: Thomas is pretty much unstoppable, as she combines strength, skill and savvy in a deceptive package. She doesn’t look as quick as she is, and though she’s brutally effective in the paint, she can’t be left alone beyond the arc either. She rebounds and blocks shots too, making her the two-way engine for one of NorCal’s top teams.

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AQUIRA DECOSTA St. Mary’s-Stockton, Junior POSITION: Forward HEIGHT: 6-2 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 15.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 53.5 shooting percentage THE RUNDOWN: Though it seems like she has been on the local scene about as long as Steph Curry, DeCosta is just a junior, and will continue to terrorize opponents. She’s marvelously athletic for her size, and though her perimeter game is still developing, even teams that focus on denying her left-handed penetration and domination of the boards can really do little more than hope she has an off night.

HALEY JONES Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, Sophomore POSITION: Wing HEIGHT: 6-0 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Undecided 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 10.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 assist/turnover ratio THE RUNDOWN: Jones may just be a sophomore, but the big-time college coaches are already salivating — and why not? A coach’s daughter, Jones had an amazing 1.7 assist-toturnover ratio as a 6-foot freshman to go along with 1.4 blocks a game. Given Mitty’s balance, the relatively low 10.0 ppg is not that surprising, but expect that number to go up this season. In fact, expect everything to go up, including expectations.

LORETTA KAKALA Manteca, Senior POSITION: Center HEIGHT: 6-2 COLLEGE DESTINATION: Louisville 2015-16 STAT AVERAGES: 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 54.5 shooting percentage THE RUNDOWN: Give Kakala the ball on the block, and watch her work. She’s tall and strong, sure, but watch her footwork and post moves – she’s got much more than just physicality. No one at this level, or maybe the next, can guard her one-on-one, so double- and tripleteams will be commonplace, but not necessarily that effective.

THE NEXT 5 ›› MCKENZIE FORBES (RIGHT) Folsom | Wing | 6-0 | Junior

›› KIARA JEFFERSON West Campus-Sacramento | Guard | 5-9 | Junior

›› JULIA BLACKSHELL-FRIAR Vanden-Fairfield | Wing | 5-10 | Senior ›› MYAH PACE Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland | Guard | ›› ANGEL JACKSON 5-10 | Senior Salesian-Richmond | Center | 6-5 | Sophomore

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November 24, 2016

SportStars™

37



Rugby NorCal Issue 125