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February 11, 2009 > HAAL basketball nearing the end

HAAL basketball nearing the end

By Gary van den Heuvel

The Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) basketball season is going to come right down to the wire on the boys side of the ledger, while the girls season looks to be a little more clearly defined - but with four league games remaining for the girls leaders, nothing has been settled yet.

With each boys team having at least two league games remaining in the season, the four-team logjam at the top of the conference won't likely be resolved until the season's final night. The leading horse in the race at this juncture is the San Leandro Pirates, with an 11-1 league record. The Pirates maintained their slight edge with two wins last week, routing Mt. Eden, 82-42, and Tennyson, 90-52.

With three games remaining, San Leandro could conceivably fall to fourth place, depending on the fortunes of the three teams nipping at the Pirates' heels.

With identical 10-2 HAAL records, Castro Valley, Bishop O'Dowd and Hayward are all still very much alive for the HAAL crown, only one game behind San Leandro. All three teams were undefeated last week - O'Dowd crushed Arroyo, 80-34, and San Lorenzo, 70-31; Castro Valley bounced back from a two-game losing streak (to San Leandro and Hayward) which knocked them from first place, with dominating wins over Moreau and Arroyo; and resurgent Hayward, following their spirited 69-58 win over Castro Valley on January 28, won handily over Mt. Eden, San Lorenzo and Moreau.

Big matchups are still looming - three of O'Doud's final four contests are at Castro Valley, a home battle against San Leandro and a road finale at Hayward. Hayward finishes their regular season with a roadie against Castro Valley, who surely will be looking for revenge against the Farmers.

Even with four league games left, Bishop O'Doud's girls team looks to be a near-lock for first place, at 12-0 in the league (20-2 overall).

Two games behind O'Dowd is Moreau (10-2), a team O'Dowd has handled with little trouble in two matchups this season. Moreau won twice last week, 78-52, over Castro Valley, and 55-33 over Hayward (who are 6-6 and in fifth place). Stephanie Carnes scored 15 and Kayla Griffin added 11 for Moreau in the Hayward win.

Tied for third place are Castro Valley and San Lorenzo, both at 7-5, but only a game ahead of Hayward, and two in front of Arroyo (5-7).

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