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February 17, 2010 > Prep boys basketball battle for post season position

Prep boys basketball battle for post season position

By Biff Jones
Photos By William Mancebo

As prep boys basketball moves from the regular season to the post season, several teams will emulate the NFL where two teams play each other in the last regular season game then face each other again in the first round of the playoffs.

Bay Counties League (BCL) play last week saw Fremont Christian High School Warriors travel to California School for the Deaf Eagles in their final regular season game with second and third seeds in the BCL playoffs on the line. This meant they would face each in their next game on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the BCL Tournament being played on the Warriors home court.

This was their second encounter of the season (Warriors won the first one on its home court). Fremont started out strong as they got their fast-break game going early and moved out to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter behind Jeremiah Herzog's nine points.

In the second quarter, CSD coach Oskar Schugg switched to a box-and-one defense so they could double-up on Herzog and it worked to perfection. While the Eagles scored 14 points in the quarter, the new defense held the Warriors to zero points and gave CSD a 24-20 halftime lead.

Now it was Fremont Christian coach Curtis Coffey's turn to make some adjustments and it was done in the 3-point shooting category. Herzog made two, 3-pointers and converted three free throws after being fouled on a shot from three-point range. Donald Anderson and Tyler Morita also dropped in one, 3-point shot each and the Warriors outscored the Eagles 15-12 in the third quarter and climbed to within one at 36-35 going into the final quarter.

Fourth quarter saw the defenses step up as the score was tied 40-40 with six and a half minutes to play. The tie would not be broken until two and a half minutes remained when Herzog finally sank a free throw. Jonathan Warren would convert two more foul shots for a 43-40 Warriors lead before CSD scored with 48 seconds left to pull the Eagles within one at 43-42.

Finally, freshman Carlos Lopez drained a 3-pointer from the corner with just under five seconds left in regulation. Fremont Christian had one last chance to win or tie the game but the ball went out of bounds before they could get off a shot and the Eagles had a 45-43 victory.

Herzog led all scorers with 22 points while CSD had balanced scoring and no one in double figures. However, the Eagles' 6-foot-6 sophomore center Antoine Nathaniel dominated the paint against the shorter Warriors, grabbing eight rebounds; blocking four shots; and was the game changer according to Coffey.

Both the Eagles and Warriors ended the season with identical 9-3 BCL records after splitting the season series. (Both lost twice to BCL leader Emery High School.)

Earlier in the week, Fremont Christian lost to Emery, 55-50, and defeated Contra Costa Christian High School of Walnut Creek, 60-27. Meanwhile CSD beat Cornerstone Christian High School, 70-29.

BCL playoffs begin on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Fremont Christian with second-seed Fremont Christian taking on third-seed CSD at 5 p.m.; top-seeded Emery takes on fourth-seed Chinese Christian High School of San Leandro at 8 p.m. Winners will play Friday, Feb. 19, at Fremont Christian for the BCL Championship. For results, go to TCV Sports Web site at www.tricityvoice.com/sports.

Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) action last Tuesday, Feb. 9, saw league leader Newark Memorial High School defeat Mission San Jose High School, 63-37; Washington High School beat John F. Kennedy High School, 89-65; and American High School win over Irvington High School, 54-48. On Thursday, Feb. 11, Washington beat American, 67-45; James Logan High School defeated Irvington, 65-50; and JFK handled MSJ, 81-69.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, in the last regular season MVAL games, JFK played at Newark, Logan at Washington and American at MSJ (results for all games were unavailable at press time). MVAL playoffs will be at top-seeded Newark Memorial with the semifinals on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 18-19, and finals on Saturday, Feb. 20. Check the TCV Sports Web site for Tuesday's results and MVAL Tournament pairings and times.

Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) does not have a post season league tournament, but those who qualify and are selected (league champion gets the automatic bid) will proceed directly to the North Coast Section (NCS) Tournament in six divisions determined by enrollment.

Last week's HAAL play on Wednesday, Feb. 10, had San Leandro High School beat Tennyson High School, 58-43; Hayward High School lose to Castro Valley High School, 63-58; leaguer leader Bishop O'Dowd High School clobbered Moreau Catholic High School, 84-37; and Mt. Eden High School defeated Arroyo High School, 68-56.

On Thursday, Feb. 11, Hayward easily won against San Lorenzo High School, 55-41. In the Friday, Feb. 12, games, Mt. Eden edged San Lorenzo, 52-49; O'Dowd won over last-place Tennyson, 75-41; and Moreau nipped Arroyo, 77-75.

To qualify as an at-large selection to the NCS post season, a team must have a winning record in one of three categories: overall games played; games played against teams in the same enrollment division; or league games played. Bishop O'Dowd, Castro Valley and San Leandro are locks to qualify from HAAL with O'Dowd traveling to Castro on Friday, Feb. 19 to probably determine the league champion. Hayward, Mt. Eden and San Lorenzo are on the bubble to qualify for NCS while Arroyo, Moreau and Tennyson will have their seasons end this week.

All regular season and league playoff games must be completed by Saturday, Feb. 20.

Selection of the 16 teams in each of the six divisions of the NCS Tournament will be made on Sunday, Feb. 21, with play beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 23, or Wednesday, Feb. 24, and finals on March 6. It is a single-elimination tournament with no consolation play.

Milpitas High School Trojans of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) El Camino Division is in the Central Coast Section (CCS). Last week, Milpitas traveled to Mountain View High School and came away with a 41-40 victory as Buddy Ames sank a free throw with one second left.

El Camino Division also does not have a post season tournament. In order to qualify for CCS play, Milpitas must defeat Monta Vista High School of Cupertino at home on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and win again on Friday, Feb. 19, at Lynbrook High School of San Jose. That would put the Trojans at .500 league record, 6-6, and is necessary if Milpitas is going to qualify for the CCS Tournament.

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