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Alameda High basketball coach steps down

Brad Thomas has stepped down as Alameda High’s girls basketball coach after 28 seasons guiding the Hornets. Thomas had a 503-264 overall record and his teams played in the North Coast Section playoffs in 27 of those 28 seasons, missing it only in 1985-86.
Thomas, 54, made his decision official last week. The 1980 Alameda High graduate has been a mainstay in the Hornets basketball program. His coaching career started with the boys junior varsity team in the 1981-82 season, then spent three seasons coaching Alameda’s junior varsity team. He started coaching the girls varsity team in the 1985-86 season, and except for three seasons as a University of San Diego assistant coach and one other season away from the game, he’s been on the sideline for the Hornets.
“I’ve been doing this 35 years. I wasn’t really happy this season with the energy I had put into this. I don’t think I’ve put in the time to build up relationships. I’m a little tired. I need to recharge the battery,” Thomas said. “It was a very tough decision. It has been a huge part of my life, my whole adult life. … I think it was best for the program right now to make a change.”
Thomas, who said that he would continue as Alameda High’s athletic director, also said that he is proud of his team’s NCS playoff run.
“We fought hard for that every year,” he said. “I liked that we were consistent. That has been our consistent pattern every year.”
But what Thomas is most proud about does not have to do with his win-loss record.
“It’s fun to win, but the game isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about teaching the game and teaching life skills and building relationships with kids,” Thomas said. “The thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve been invited to eight to 10 of my ex-players’ weddings. … The big deal to me is building life-long relationships, knowing I’ve made a positive impact in somebody’s life.”

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St. Joseph Notre Dame’s Cooper Teare to focus on 3,200 race

St. Joseph Notre Dame boys track and field star Cooper Teare will be dropping the 1,600-meter race this postseason to focus on the 3,200, per his coach Tony Fong today.

In an e-mail to the Bay Area News Group, Fong wrote that “he wants to focus on the 3200 for state and for him to run solid intervals this week and next we would like him to train hard and only run one race per week.”

According to the PrepCalTrack.com state top 100 list this afternoon, Teare ranks 10th in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 7.78 second) and third in the 3,200 (8:54.14) in the state this season.

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Minyon Moore named Cal-Hi Sports Division IV State Player of Year

Salesian High girls basketball star Minyon Moore was named Cal-Hi Sports Division IV State Player of the Year today.

Moore averaged 21 points, 5.2 steals, 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for the Pride as a senior this past season. The guard has signed with USC.

Moore is the first Northern California player to earn Division IV Player of the Year honors since 2010, when Modesto Christian’s Brandi Henton won the award.

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Sabrina Ionescu named CalHiSports.com Ms. Basketball

Miramonte High girls basketball star Sabrina Ionescu was named today as the CalHiSports.com Ms. Basketball for 2016.

Ionescu is the first girl from Northern California to be named Ms. Basketball by CalHiSports since 2010, when Chelsea Gray from St. Mary’s-Stockton won the award. She is the first East Bay athlete to win the award since Piedmont’s Courtney Paris in 2005.

Ionescu, who will play in the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game in Brooklyn tomorrow at the BarClays Center, has already been named MaxPreps national player of the year. She averaged 25.3 points, 8.8 assists, 7.6 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 1.3 blocks this season for the Matadors.

Here’s a link to the CalHiSports.com story:

Ms. Basketball 2016: Sabrina Ionescu

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Track star Cooper Teare notches top national time

St. Joseph Notre Dame High School boys track star Cooper Teare gave the rest of the state’s distance runners, let alone the nation, something to think about.

Teare won the 3200 meters at the Dublin Distance Fiesta on March 19 with an outstanding time of 8 minutes, 56.07 seconds. It is the top high school time in the nation this season according to DyeStat.com’s national rankings.

St. Joseph Notre Dame High coach Tony Fong said via e-mail that Teare took the lead on the last lap, which he ran in 61 seconds. Teare passed through 1600 meters in 4:30, Fong said.

Two other runners also broke the elite nine-minute mark in the race.  Davis’ Michael Vernau was second in 8:57.70, and Armijo- Fairfield’s Luis Grijalva was third in 8:59.98.


					
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De La Salle’s Jonathan Harvey breaks meet record

De La Salle High track star Jonathan Harvey won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles tonight at the California Relays with an outstanding time of 37.42 seconds. It is the best time for the event in the state this season according to Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack.com. The time also broke the meet record, according to De La Salle coach John Harvey.

Jonathan Harvey won the North Coast Section Meet of Champions title in the event last season as a junior with a section-leading time of 37.74. He also placed ninth in the CIF state championship final of the event last season.

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Amador Valley’s Nate Esparza breaks NCS track and field record

Amador Valley High’s Nate Esparza, a senior, shattered a 35-year-old North Coast Section record to win the boys shot put at the Dan Gabor Sprint & Distance Festival on March 5. His mark of 65 feet, 3 1/2 inches was more than a foot better than the previous record (63-10 1/2), set by Santa Rosa’s Dennis DeSoto in 1981.

Esparza’s mark ranks second in the state this season according to PrepCalTrack.com.

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Rick Sira steps down as Amador Valley football coach

Rick Sira confirmed that he has stepped down as Amador Valley High’s football coach after 30 seasons.
“I had been thinking about it for a while,” said Sira, 62. “After I retired as (an Amador Valley) vice principal (in 2014), it was a year-by-year thing. After the season, I thought about it and I thought I would step down.”
In the 2015 season, Sira was the longest-tenured East Bay high school varsity football head coach with one school. In addition to his years at Amador Valley. He was also the head coach at Irvington from 1982-1985 and an assistant at John F. Kennedy-Fremont, under his high school coach and mentor Pete Michaletos, from 1974-1981.
Sira, who said he turned in his letter of resignation on Feb. 22, mentioned a couple main reasons for his decision.
“I was an off-campus coach for the first time in my career, and it was really different,” he said. “I just didn’t have that comfort level with that.”
He cited the lack of “interaction with the kids throughout the day. See them at lunchtime, see them throughout the day, being aware of how things are going for them.”
“The other thing, I was hoping that there would be a PE opening at Amador Valley. Perhaps this was an opportunity to bring someone that could be there 20 or 30 years.”
Sira’s teams won outright East Bay Athletic League titles in 1996, 1997 and 2004, and shared titles in 1994 and 1990. His teams reached North Coast Section playoff championship games in 1996, 1997 and 2004.
Sira hopes to still be connected with the Amador Valley team.
“I would like to stay involved in some degree with the team, whether that’s coaching or breaking down film … passing equipment out, whatever,” he said.
Sira said “the principals and the superintendents that allowed me to coach and be a vice principal have been spectacular,” and mentioned the principal (Cyril Bonanno) and superintendent (Bill James) in his first season in 1986. Sira said there were “umpteen” parents and staff members “a wide array of people that have been so supportive of me and my program.”
He also thanked longtime assistant coaches Keith Roberts, Rich Hanson, Steve Riddle and Bob Riddle.
“I was extremely fortunate to have support from parents and coaches and community members,” Sira said.

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MVAL boys basketball title scenarios

As we enter the final weekend of regular-season competition, the Mission Valley Athletic League boys basketball title chase is far from over. Moreau Catholic (12-1 in MVAL action) has a one-game lead over Newark Memorial (11-2 MVAL) and James Logan (11-2 MVAL).

If Moreau Catholic defeats Newark Memorial tomorrow, the Mariners will clinch the outright league title. But if Newark Memorial wins … things will get a little complicated.

If Newark Memorial and James Logan (which plays Mission San Jose) win on Friday, there will be a three-way tie for the MVAL title. MVAL Commissioner Tom Breen confirmed to me today that in that scenario, the three teams would be tri-MVAL champions.

But there is still the matter of which team would get the league’s automatic berth into the North Coast Section playoffs, so the league’s tiebreaking system would come into play.

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head results. Since Moreau Catholic would have lost to Newark Memorial twice, Newark Memorial has lost twice to James Logan, and James Logan has lost twice to Moreau Catholic, they would all cancel each other out.

The second tiebreaker is a team’s record against the rest of the league. Again, there would still be a three-way tie.

Breen said that in that case, there would be a chip draw on Saturday to decide which team gets the league’s NCS automatic berth.

If this occurs, I will try to get you more information on this.