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Quick first step

One of the best memories I have of Myleka Emerson is when El Cerrito played host Pinole Valley for the second time during the 05-06 season. It was late in the third quarter and Emerson drove left was met by two defenders but eluded both by spinning back toward the center of the key and finishing with an uncontested lay up. Unfortunately, the referees called traveling, something the crowd even the Pinole Valley contingent disagreed with. The parent of a Pinole Valley player let the ref know by saying "She didn’t travel. The move was just too quick for you." Which it was.

So it was a little shocking when I found out that Emerson wasn’t being recruited to play at the next level. Her first step was by far the quickest I saw all year, and trust me I saw a lot of basketball. She took shots no one else wanted, including the Gauchos second game of the 05-06 season where she sat most of the game in foul trouble but came in with under 30 seconds to play and took the game-winning shot. The shot rolled off the rim and El Cerrito lost 40-39 to Lynwood. She was one of the unquestioned leaders of an El Cerrito team that won its first North Coast Section title since 1988. That is why I was glad to hear she was off to the University of Missouri-Kansas City with former Gauchos and fellow freshman Chazny Morris. 

Thanks to Ron Williams for letting me know about Emerson’s story and what she did to overcome it. Thank you also to Carrie and XL Emerson for allowing me into your home and sharing your story.

The only bad news to come out of this story is that Carrie will have to find a new person to drive her around on her errands. Not to worry Solomon, Emerson’s younger brother, should be driving in about three years.

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DLS going to Carson?

Ending months of speculation, De La Salle High School principal Brother Christopher Brady told the Times on Tuesday afternoon that the Spartans football team would play in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I state championship game if invited.

Here’s the link to the story.

This comes as good news not only to members of the team, but to the CIF as well. The possibility of having a high-profile team like the Spartans in the large-school Division I final may increase interest and boost television ratings. Gate revenues may also be helped.

It also gives the CIF more flexibility in choosing a large school representative from Northern California. If De La Salle won the NCS title and decided not to go, and Division II teams Valley Christian-San Jose and St. Mary’s-Stockton won its respective section titles, then the CIF’s options for choosing NorCal’s large-school representative would have been severely limited. Mark Tennis of CalHiSports.com has rankings for NorCal’s Division I and explains some scenarios here.

1. De La Salle (Concord) 11-2

2. Monte Vista (Danville) 11-1

3. Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 13-1

4. Grant (Sacramento) 11-2

5. Pittsburg 8-3

6. West (Tracy) 11-3

7. Merced 8-2

8. Napa 10-2

9. Foothill (Pleasanton) 9-3

10. Franklin (Stockton) 7-3

11. Oak Grove (San Jose) 9-3

12. San Ramon Valley (Danville) 6-6

13. Granite Bay 8-4

14. Hayward 8-3

15. Lincoln (Stockton) 10-2

On the Bubble:

CIF Dream Scenario:

Nightmare Scenario:

New Enrollment Division Most Unkind To:

Of course, it is not a given that De La Salle will get to go. Both Monte Vista and Pittsburg should give the Spartans all they can handle should they meet in the NCS playoffs. In fact, it can be argued that Pittsburg is playing just as tough a schedule as De La Salle, seeing as how the Pirates play nonleague games against Valley Christian, Long Beach Poly and San Leandro.

Manteca of the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Buffs are just over the new cutoff and previously would have been Div. II. De La Salle goes unbeaten and doesn’t accept invitation. St. Mary’s of Stockton wins Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I title and Valley Christian of San Jose wins Central Coast Section Open Division title, which would leave CIF with limited eligible teams to chose from.De La Salle beats Mission Viejo, finishes 13-0, wins another North Coast Section title and accepts bid to play in first Div. I state final.Manteca 12-1, Skyline (Oakland) 4-6, Woodside 6-5.

Division I North