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February 18, 2009 > Newark-Memorial wins MVAL boys hoops title

Newark-Memorial wins MVAL boys hoops title

By Gary van den Heuvel

There were no big surprises or dramatic upsets at the end of the Mission Valley Athletic League boys basketball season. Newark-Memorial's Cougars locked down the title with an undefeated league record (12-0, to go along with an overall record of 22-4 and a ranking in the top 40 in the state), ending the regular season with a 65-40 win over the American Eagles.

And the game against American wasn't even that close - the Cougars took their foot off the gas pedal after a first half in which they outscored American, 37-9. For Newark, Ifeanyi Ezeofor scored 20 and Evan Kobori had 12 points. Ezeofor finished third in the league in scoring average with 12.3 points per game.

James Logan's two wins weren't enough to challenge Newark's dominance, but they looked good in the process; first by defeating American, 60-35, led by Salaimon Siddiq's 15 points and Hulen Johnson's 11. The Colts finished their season with a 59-51 win over Irvington (1-10 MVAL). Siddiq (who finished second in the MVAL in scoring, with 14.6 points per game, behind Irvington's John Lang with 19.0 ppg) and Joshua Belich both scored 17 for Logan, and Hulen Johnson had 11 points to go with 14 rebounds.

In the middle of the pack were the Washington Huskies and the Kennedy Titans. The Huskies won their final two games to claim third place, beating Kennedy 53-47 on Kennedy's home court, and winning another road game, this time at Mission San Jose, by a 61-50 score.

Both Washington and Kennedy finished with a 6-6 MVAL record, but the Huskies' overall record of 14-12 bested the Titans' 12-14 mark for third place. Kennedy finds themselves with a number-four seeding when the MVAL playoffs begin this week.

An interesting - and to some observers, controversial - aspect of the MVAL basketball playoffs is that every team in the league is still alive and has a spot in the tournament. The first place team, Newark-Memorial, was awarded a first-round bye; yet even Irvington, in seventh place with a 1-10 league record, could catch lightning in a bottle and win the tournament to advance to the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs.

The tournament begins Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Logan's gym; Kennedy plays American (the winner to play Newark-Memorial), Washington plays Mission, and Logan squares off against Irvington.

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