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New determination for Del Oro

Golden Eagles hungry for a rematch, but they need two more wins in the NorCal playoffs
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Teenagers are resilient. But even four days after the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game, the Del Oro High girls basketball team was still dealing with the sting of a crushing defeat. “No doubt, there was a great investment in that game, both physical and emotional,” Del Oro coach Mike Takayama said. “Anytime you invest that much into one game there’s always a chance you have some jet lag in the next game. But we’ve been able to respond all year. That’s been a strength for us.” The 70-65 loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton now serves as motivation. The Eagles are determined to earn a rematch with the Rams, who are the No. 1 seed in the CIF Northern California playoffs. Del Oro’s mission begins tonight. The fourth-seeded Eagles host No. 11 Chico at 7 p.m. The Panthers upset Clayton Valley on Tuesday night. Takayama said he took three pages of notes on Clayton Valley Tuesday night before realizing that the Panthers were going to pull the upset. “(Chico) went on the road and won pretty good,” Takayama said. “They’re a very fundamental team. They hustle and all the teams in it now know how to win. But if we’re focused, it’s a team we can beat.” If common opponents mean anything, Del Oro is a big favorite in tonight’s game. The Golden Eagles crushed Chico’s rival Pleasant Valley 72-47 back in December. The Vikings beat Chico three times this season, including in last Saturday’s Northern Section title game. Junior forward Jordan Mootz, who averages 14 points per game, leads Chico (18-7). Seniors Sam Conroy and Tiffany Chiu are also dangerous scorers for the Panthers. Del Oro (25-4) has scoring options all over the floor. Inside-outside threat Madeline Campbell leads the way with 15 points per game. Senior Crystal Sewell and sophomore Brianna Ruiz both average more than 11 points per game and Belle Obert tosses in nine. The winner of tonight’s contest will face the winner of the El Camino-Presentation game on Saturday in the NorCal semifinals. Presentation, of San Jose, is the No. 2 seed and would host a semifinal if it wins tonight.