Sunday, February 28, 2016

McLain Fired at Pleasant Grove

Officials at Pleasant Grove High School confirmed Sunday they have fired head varsity baseball coach Rusty McLain. 

The administrative team felt it was in the best interest of the student/athletes, baseball program and school that Rusty be released as head coach and the program head in a different direction.,” the school’s athletic director, Bruce Belden, wrote in an email to the Citizen.

McLain was starting his second season at the helm at Pleasant Grove. Dan Boyle, an assistant coach, will serve as the head varsity coach on an interim basis.

More on this story later this week in the Citizen.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Masters Wrestling: Elk Grove Leads In Team Scores

Day One of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Wrestling Championships at the Stockton Arena is in the books and Elk Grove has a narrow 103.5 - 100.5 lead over Del Oro. What will help the Herd in Saturday's final round is that three wrestlers - Jacob Seto (113 pounds), Kalani Tonge (132 pounds) and Terrell Turner (145 pounds) - are all in the semi-finals. Plus, several other Elk Grove wrestlers will grapple for medals on Saturday.

(See the complete Masters results HERE)

Still alive and vying for medals are Eric Spence (EG) at 120, Ethan Brewer (Sheldon) at 126, Lokahi Tonge (EG) at 126, Roger Monroe (EG) at 138, Todd Alexander (EG) at 152, Arsenio Ayala (EG) at 170, Zack Krock (EG) at 182, Jake Bellecci at 195, Stone Airoso (EG) at 220, Austin Nguyen (Monterey Trail) at 220, and Lau Ta'amu (EG) at 285.

These wrestlers must win their first matches Saturday in order to be guaranteed a medal at the Masters. The top six placers in each weight will qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championships next weekend in Bakersfield.

Friday's Playoffs: Sheldon Wins, EG, Bradshaw, CRC lose

About the only thing that didn't go well Friday night at Sheldon High School was that one of the referees didn't like how close to the basketball court the students were standing. It took a moment for school principal Paula Duncan to talk to the boys standing on court level cheering on their Huskies' boys basketball team.

Moments after the excited crowd was settled down by Ms. Duncan the rout was back underway. Sheldon lit up the scoreboard often defeating Granite Bay, 104-59, in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I second round game.

Friday's Area Scoreboard
Sheldon 104, Granite Bay 59 
Antelope 41, Elk Grove 38
Mariposa 62, Bradshaw Christian 58
Contra Costa College 84, Cosumnes River 77 
Boys' Volleyball 
Elk Grove def. Bella Vista, 25-14, 25-16, 25-20
Girls' Soccer  
Folsom 1, Elk Grove 0
Cosumnes Oaks 2, Folsom 1
Cosumnes Oaks 2, Elk Grove 0  

The third-seeded Huskies started the game scoring the first 15 points and the No. 6 Grizzlies didn't recover. Sheldon scored 33 points in the first quarter while holding Granite Bay to only ten.

Huskies' head coach Joey Rollings said after a lackluster playoff opener two nights prior against Kennedy, he was quite pleased with Friday's turnaround.

"We came out flat and didn't shoot well, had eight days off before we played Kennedy," Rollings explained. "So, we worked on being tougher defensively, rebounding because we kind of got lazy at that. I think that helped us. We started out with pressure to get everybody going, attack and hit the shots when we needed to."

Matt Manning and Isaiah Brooks each scored 21 points in the Sheldon win. Manning echoed his coaches sentiments over the improved play Friday.

"I felt good," Manning said. "I felt like our ball movement was way better tonight. We were pushing the ball up the court and we were really clicking."

"We were sharing the ball, just sharing the ball," Brooks said. "We keep playing higher, higher and higher."

The Huskies ball-hawking on defense resulted in numerous fast-break opportunities and multiple layups, particularly in the third quarter when Sheldon stretched a 20-point halftime advantage (48-38) out to 33 points (75-42). The Huskies ended the third period on a 14-0 run.

Even in the fourth quarter when Rollings put in underclassmen for their first taste of varsity basketball, impressive shots and lay-ups abounded.

Impressive, too,  was the play of Drew Cobb. He often went to the low post against the Grizzlies, who were playing without their 6-8 center Darren Nelson, and worked for several short jumpers.

"Drew was on and when he's on it spurs us on," Rollings said. "He's a point guard, but we play him down low because we have a couple guys shorter than him. So when he's on bigger guys he makes them work harder cause he's so quick."

Cobb ended up with 18 points. Elijah Duplechan scored 14 points and Devin Greene had 11 points.

The Huskies next challenge will be Modesto Christian, Wednesday in the Div. I semi-finals at Sleep Train Arena.

"They've got a big kid at 6-9 in the middle and big guards, 6-3, 6-4, who are athletic," Rollings said. "We played them a couple times during the summer and it was two-points (margin) both times. It's going to be a good semi-finals."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday's Scores - EG Heading To Semi-finals at UOP Tuesday

Walked into Cartwright Gym Tuesday night ready to watch the Lady Herd take on Bella Vista in round two of the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division II girls playoffs. But, the Broncos weren't there, Pitman was.

Huh? Is this the wrong game, wrong night? No, Brian Benson, the game announcer, assured me. Bella Vista forfeited their win Tuesday over the Pride, so Pitman got one more game. Apparently the Broncos played a girl who was academically ineligible and reported the infraction to Section officials. The results of the 57-32 defeat at Bella Vista was reversed and Pitman got its first-ever playoff win in girls basketball.

They should have stayed home in Turlock Thursday night. The Pride were completely out-classed by the Thundering Herd. Elk Grove's ball-hawking defense and fast-break were too much as they cruised to a 67-30 win.
Mira Shulman who had 21 pts in Elk Grove's win Thursday

It means the Herd is now in the Section semi-finals which will be played Tuesday at the University of the Pacific and have also assured themselves of a spot in the CIF Northern California Regional Tournament in a couple weeks. Elk Grove will take on Vanden, 66-33 winners over Roseville Thursday, for the right to advance to Sleep Train Arena March 5 for the Division II championship game.

The Herd was led by Mira Shulman's 21 points. Paiton Demps scored 17 points while Madison Wong added 16. The win was Elk Grove's 20th of the season against nine losses.

Elk Grove led 18-6 after one period then scored the first 19 points of the second quarter and when Pitman finally hit a bucket with 2:45 remaining in the half, it was 37-6, Herd.

Thursday's Scores:

SJS Div. I - Girls
St. Mary's 113, Modesto Christian 43
Oak Ridge 40, McClatchy 33
Folsom 44, Golden Valley 41
St. Francis 67, Lincoln-Stockton 62 (Kyra Huffman 18 pts, Lauren Craig 17 pts)

SJS Div. II - Girls
Sacramento 71, Ponderosa 53
Elk Grove 67, Pitman 30
Vanden 66, Roseville 33
Antelope 72, Rocklin 39

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wednesday's Scores - SJS Boys Basketball

Here are the scores of Wednesday's boys basketball games around the Sac-Joaquin Section:

Division I
Sheldon 65, Kennedy 53
Oak Ridge 68, Lodi 59

Division II
Elk Grove 67, Bethel 35 (Herd outscored Bethel 44-14 in the second half)
Grant 80, Beyer 72
Sacramento 91, Vacaville 39
Vanden 59, Yuba City 58
Burbank 87, McNair 52

Division V
Bradshaw Christian 80, Vacaville Christian 45 (Kaito Williams 22 pts., LJ Williams 16 pts, Isaiah Matthews 15 pts.)

Editor's Note:
In Thursday's Citizen I will have a feature on former EGHS wrestling coach Curtis Mettler who passed away Feb. 15 at the age of 79.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Herd Wrestlers Dominate Delta League Championships

Not only did the Sac-Joaquin Section's dual champion Elk Grove squad win the Delta League championships today at Elk Grove High School - they dominated the event. Thirteen of the 14 Herd wrestlers won their weight class, seven by pinfall.

Austin Nguyen of Monterey Trail decisioned Stone Airoso of Elk Grove, 13-4, to prevent the Herd from a complete sweep. The last time Elk Grove did that at a conference championship match was in 2009.

There were two other matches where Elk Grove wrestlers just escaped with wins. At 126 pounds, Lokahi Tonge actually was inches away from being pinned by Sheldon's Ethan Brewer, but the horn sounded to end the first period. In the high scoring match, tied 8-8 going into the third period, Tonge earned an escape followed by a takedown to take a 11-8 lead with 1:15 left in the match.

Brewer scored a takedown 15 seconds later, but Tonge reversed on him followed by a reversal by Brewer and just :28 left. Tonge then escaped to register a 14-12 decision.
Monterey Trail wrestler Austin Nguyen grabs the leg of Elk Grove's Stone Airoso

At 190 pounds Jake Bellecci had Franklin's Tylar Flaherty in a near-pin position only to have Flaherty roll him over and place him in the same predicament. Bellecci held his position to the end of the first period. In the second period, Bellecci took Flaherty down quickly and finished him off with a fall in 2:32.

The top four wrestlers at each weight will now advance to this Friday's Section Division I-A championship which will also be held at Elk Grove High School. In that group will be five wrestlers from Sheldon, ten from Franklin, six from Pleasant Grove, five from Davis, four from Monterey Trail, eight from Jesuit and two from Grant.

Delta League Wrestling Championships

Championship Round
106 Ryan Elgarico, EG, pinned Sue Feng Xiong, SH, 2:55
112 Jacob Seto, EG, pinned Edison Alanis, FR, 1:37
120 Erik Spence, EG, dec. Thyson Xiong, SH, 5-0
126 Lokahi Tonge, EG, dec. Ethan Brewer, SH, 14-12
132 Kalani Tonge, EG, pinned Jesse Soza, SH, 1:21
138 Roger Monroe, EG, pinned Greg Valencia, PG, 2:49
145 Terrell Turner, EG, pinned Quinn Davies, Dav., 2:25
152 Todd Alexander, EG, dec. Kyle Hagy, Jesuit, 6-4
160 Tyler Gore, EG., dec. Lian Grandbois-Smith, PG, 7-4
170 Arsenio Ayala, EG., dec. Mitchell King, FR, 2-1
182 Zack Krock, EG, pinned Christian Flores, Jesuit, 1:30
195 Jake Bellecci, EG, pinned Tylar Flaherty, FR, 2:32
220 Austin Nguyen, MT, maj.dec. Stone Airoso, EG, 13-4
285 Lau Ta'amu, EG, dec. Beau Medicine Crow, Grant, 8-1

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Franklin's Jackson Picks Nebraska

In a creative, entertaining video produced by Bleacher Report, Franklin High School athlete Lamar Jackson announced Tuesday he will play college football at Nebraska. The entertaining video shows young men with college wear from UCLA, Oregon, USC and Arizona State enticing him but in the end Lamar selects Nebraska of the Big Ten.
A screen shot from Lamar Jackson's announcement video posted on Bleacher Report

Watch the video ...

Early Wednesday several other local athletes will sign their National Letters of Intent. Read about those in today's and Friday's Citizen.