Whitney, Del Oro fall in Winter Tournament

JV Championship Del Oro vs. Whitney
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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The Whitney High boys basketball team made a masterful attempt to get back into the game against Vallejo Friday but eventually fell to the Apaches 69-56.

Scoring just 13 points in the first half, the Wildcats entered the locker room trailing by 18. But the team that emerged was not the same one that went in.

Whitney came out attacking the basket and going to the foul line. They scored 15 points from the charity stripe in the second half and coupled that with some solid perimeter shooting. At the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the ‘Cats trailed by just two, 53-51.

Still, the maroon-and-gold could not match Vallejo on the backboards. The Apaches’ 6-foot 5-inch, 250-pound center, Sean Taylor, proved too much to handle. With 3:15 left in the game, Whitney’s center Matt Gruber fouled out.

“Lefty,” as he is called, exited with11 rebounds and 15 points – 11 in the second half.

The Wildcats were forced to send Vallejo to the free-throw line where they converted 6-of-9 down the stretch.

Unofficially, Nolan Eger scored 23 for Whitney and Cameron Ripple added five points on six free throws.

The Wildcats will close out the tournament Saturday at 4:30 p.m. against Del Oro.

Laguna Creek 55, Del Oro 52 OT

The Golden Eagles had a similar game to Whitney’s when the boys from Loomis made a serious charge in the second half to come back on the Cardinals. However, Laguna Creek recovered to outlast Del Oro in overtime.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 21-14 lead in the first period and extended it to 30-19 by half. But with seven players suited up, fatigue began to show for Laguna Creek.

Eagles head coach Geoff Broyles’ strategy took affect in the third quarter as Del Oro began to wear down Laguna Creek and opened with an 8-0 run. By 5:50 of the fourth quarter, the Eagles took their first lead, 38-37.

Still, the Cardinals ability to deploy forward Malik Pope in the backcourt gave Laguna Creek a unique advantage. At 6-8, Pope is an excellent ball handler and an easy target to find when the team is under duress. Also, he can easily go over the top of a double-team to find the open man.

Still, the Eagles held Pope to just six points in the contest, including overtime.

The heartbreaker for Del Oro came with 1.5 seconds left in the extra period. Fouled on a 3-point shot, Ryan Takayama went to the line with his club trailing 55-52. After missing his first two shots, he was forced to miss the third in hopes of a rebound but it never came.

The black-and-gold had trouble on the charity stripe most of the night. By the time regulation play ended with the score 46-46, Del Oro had missed the front end of three one-and-one opportunities late in the game.

Unofficially, the Eagles’ Danny Becker and Collin Mitchell had 12 points apiece. Laguna Creek’s Ladarius Nguyen was high point with 22.

Laguna Creek and Vallejo will play in the championship game Saturday at 6 p.m.

North Valleys 75, Paradise 53

The Panthers got off to an early lead and went on to defeat Paradise Friday.

Mauricio Varela and Jalil Walker both had 18 for North Valleys. Trevor Salisbury led the Bobcats with 14, Presten Hardin added 10.

North Valleys will play Center in the consolation game today at 3 p.m.

Center 42, Natomas 31

Again, the Nighthawks played tough but couldn’t overcome the Cougars’ physical size.

Isaiah Jones led Center with 10 points, Austin Hampton added seven. Natomas’ Jalen Manning was high for the game with 13, Charles Marlborough scored six.

Natomas will open Saturday’s tournament play against Paradise at 1:30 p.m.

Whitney Winter Tournament

Boys Basketball at Whitney High School

Friday’s Results

Center 42, Natomas 31

North Valleys 75, Paradise 53

Laguna Creek 55, Del Oro 52 OT

Laguna Creek 69, Whitney 56

Saturday’s Games

Junior Varsity Championship

Noon – Whitney vs. Del Oro


1:30 pm – Natomas vs. Paradise

3 pm – Center vs. North Valleys (Consolation)

4:30 pm – Del Oro vs. Whitney

6 pm – Laguna Creek vs. Vallejo