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Queen of the Mountain softball tournament returns

The 2014 high school softball season will kick into gear for many local teams this weekend at the Queen of the Mountain tournament. One of the state’s best early-season tournaments — now in its 32nd year — starts Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Pleasanton Sports Park. The championship game is 5 p.m. Saturday. Another reason to be excited — warm weather with no rain in sight.

There will also be some great teams and exceptional players. The tournament includes two teams ranked in Cal-Hi Sports’ preseason state top 25 and two more on the bubble. That group is headlined by three-time defending tournament champion Amador Valley, which is No. 3 in the state and No. 7 in the nation in preseason rankings and features five college-committed seniors.

California High, ranked No. 10 in the state and led by standout pitcher Lindsey Chalmers, is on the other side of the bracket from Amador Valley. Cal High is part of one of the more intriguing opening-round games of the tournament. The Grizzlies face Rocklin, which has six college-bound players and made a deep run in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last season.

Not to look too far ahead, but Amador Valley vs. Alhambra has the potential to be a second-round matchup very much worth the price of admission. The best pitcher in the area — Amador Valley’s Johanna Grauer — would face one of the very best hitters — Alhambra shortstop Kylee Perez. The travel ball teammates are both headed to UCLA. Their senior seasons are also off to fantastic starts. Grauer tossed a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts against Deer Valley in her opener, while Perez homered and drove in four runs as Alhambra beat defending NCS Division II champion Concord 12-0.

Other locals teams that could make some noise at Queen of the Mountain — Castro Valley, Clayton Valley, Newark Memorial, Livermore and Freedom.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students. For the complete tournament bracket, schedule, rosters and other information visit www.queenofthemountain.org

(And shout out to tournament director Julie Marshall for the excellent web site packed with great information)

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: Softball | 1 Comment »

Monte Vista boys will compete in Division I in NorCals

The Monte Vista High boys basketball team has decided to stay in Division I for the upcoming Northern California regional playoffs rather than opt up to the Open Division.

The Mustangs, who played in and won their first NCS title since 2009 Friday night, didn’t meet the qualifying criteria that would have automatically put them in the running for a spot in the Open Division. But as one of the top squads in Northern California, Monte Vista had the opportunity to opt up to the premier division and hope to be selected. After the NCS championship win over Freedom, head coach Nick Jones said that he would let the players make the decision.

The team met Saturday morning, and the Mustangs announced their decision on their Twitter account, posting “Monte Vista will not petition to join the open division of NorCal’s. They will instead pursue a D1 state title.”

Posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Under: Basketball | No Comments »

Update: Bishop O’Dowd girls still exploring postseason options

The Bishop O’Dowd High girls basketball team is still holding out hope that it will have the chance to defend its Open Division state championship, but the Dragons’ prospects don’t look promising.

O’Dowd was disqualified from the North Coast Section playoffs after it was discovered that the Dragons had played 27 games, one more than the section allows. In a statement, the school said that it “failed to designate one of our contacts as a scrimmage.”

O’Dowd athletic director Mike Bowler met with North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon on Monday to determine if the Dragons might still be eligible for the Northern California Open Division regional playoffs. Bowler will contact Lemmon for an update on Tuesday, according to Carlos Arriaga, O’Dowd’s associate athletic director.

A possible loophole in the CIF Open Division criteria may be the Dragons’ last hope. There are four ways to qualify for the Open Division and only three mention the section playoffs.  The final criterion (one that O’Dowd satisfies) states, “A school was ranked in the Top Ten of Cal Hi Basketball, Cal Preps and/or MaxPreps Rankings (early March) the past two years (current year and previous year).”

But on Monday morning, a spokesperson for the California Interscholastic Federation, which runs the regional and state championships, said a team must participate in its section playoffs in order to advance to the regional playoffs.

“If a team can’t qualify for its section tournament, it can’t qualify for the state tournament because (the state tournament) is an extension of the section tournament,” the CIF spokesperson said.

 

If O’Dowd is denied a spot in the regional playoffs, it’s likely that the NCS will send Salesian, St. Mary’s, Carondelet and Miramonte to the Open Division.

Before O’Dowd’s disqualification, Miramonte appeared headed to the Division III state tournament unless it was able to beat O’Dowd in the NCS Division III finals. Each section can send a maximum of four teams to the Open Division.

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014
Under: Girls basketball | 4 Comments »

De La Salle vs. Monte Vista basketball game sold out

Just a reminder: If you don’t already have a ticket to tonight’s Monte Vista vs. De La Salle basketball game, you’re not getting in. The 7 p.m. game between the two teams tied for first place in the East Bay Athletic League sold out yesterday. But you’re not completely out of luck. The game will be streamed live by delasalletv.com.

Posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Under: Basketball | No Comments »

East Bay girls basketball poll — 2/4

Here’s this week’s East Bay high school girls basketball poll. We have very few changes from last week.

Team Record Points Last poll
1. Bishop O’Dowd (5) 17-3 75 1
2. St. Mary’s 19-5 69 2
t3. Carondelet 17-3 63 3
t3. Salesian 18-5 63 4
5. Miramonte 18-1 55 5
6. Monte Vista 18-2 50 6
7. Berkeley 14-6 45 7
8. Deer Valley 15-5 40 8
9. James Logan 13-7 35 9
10. Moreau Catholic 17-3 30 10
11. Castro Valley 15-5 25 11
12. Alameda 13-7 20 12
13. Foothill 13-7 12 14
14. Piedmont 12-6 11 13
15. Campolindo 14-7 4 15

Also receiving votes: Valley Christian (19-3, 2 votes), Heritage (12-8, 1). Records are through Jan. 25. The East Bay Girls Basketball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay.

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Under: Girls basketball | No Comments »

Mixon, Houston, Pickett, Webster named to all-state team

The East Bay is well represented on the Cal-Hi Sports’ all-state first team with Freedom’s Joe Mixon, De La Salle’s Sumner Houston, El Cerrito’s Adarius Pickett and Deer Valley’s Nsimba Webster all receiving honors.

Mixon, one of the nation’s hottest college prospects and the MVP of the Army All-America game, was honored at running back. He will sign with Oklahoma on Wednesday when the signing period begins.

Houston (defensive tackle) and Pickett (defensive back) were honored for their defensive prowess, even though both were major contributors on the offensive side of the ball, as well. Pickett, who is headed to UCLA, was the East Bay Player of the Year while Houston (Oregon State) was the East Bay Defensive Player of the Year.

Webster made the team as a multi-purpose pick. The dual-threat quarterback earned East Bay Offensive Player of the Year honors after registering more than 3,500 total yards in his senior year. He’s expected to announce his college decision on Wednesday.

Posted on Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Under: East Bay Football | No Comments »

Moore, Green, Cowling named McDonald’s All-Americans

One of the best classes in East Bay girls basketball history was recognized on a national level Wednesday when Salesian High’s Mariya Moore and St. Mary’s teammates Gabby Green and Mikayla Cowling were named McDonald’s All-Americans.

After countless matchups over the past four years in league play, the North Coast Section playoffs and Northern California regional championships, the three seniors will compete on the same court one last time before starting their college careers.

Green and Cowling, who are both Cal signees, are part of the West team while the Louisville-bound Moore is on the East squad for the April 2 all-star game at the United Center in Chicago.

Watching the McDonald’s All-American selection show after school with many of her St. Mary’s classmates, Green said she was relieved when the girls rosters finally aired. She was also thrilled to share the moment with Cowling.

“It’s like we’re just taking all these steps together,” said Green, who is averaging 14.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and five assists for the Panthers this season.

Moore didn’t watch the show, but monitored her phone for the news.

“I was so happy,” said the 5-foot-11 wing, who was named co-MVP of the Tri-County Athletic League with Green last season. “I feel like NorCal is kind of dominating right now. I play with (Green and Cowling) all the time and it’s cool for all of us to have made it.”

St. Mary’s is the only high school this year to produce two McDonald’s All-Americans. With Moore also selected, the area will have its biggest presence in the game since Piedmont’s Courtney and Ashley Paris and Oakland Tech teammates Alexis Gray-Lawson and Devanei Hampton went in 2005.

A 6-foot-1 guard, Green was a favorite to receive the McDonald’s All-American recognition after being one of just three high school players picked for the USA under-19 national team last summer.

But being selected to the prestigious all-star game is an honor she’d been hoping for ever since her dad, Will, planted the idea in her head when she first started playing basketball.

“Making Team USA was huge and was probably one of the biggest opportunities that I have ever gotten,” Green said. “But being a McDonald’s All-American is really special to me because that’s the first thing my dad ever said to me about basketball.”

Cowling, a 6-1 wing, is averaging 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds for St. Mary’s.

Moore’s outstanding senior season at Salesian includes four triple-doubles, a quadruple-double and averages of 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists.

No local boys players were honored this year.

Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Under: Girls basketball | No Comments »

East Bay girls basketball poll — 1/28

Here’s this week’s East Bay high school girls basketball poll. We have a new No. 1 team and quite a bit of movement in the No. 9-15 range.

Team Record Points Last poll
1. Bishop O’Dowd (5) 15-3 75 2
2. St. Mary’s 16-5 69 1
t3. Carondelet 14-3 63 3
t3. Salesian 16-5 63 4
5. Miramonte 17-1 55 5
6. Monte Vista 16-2 50 7
7. Berkeley 11-6 44 6
8. Deer Valley 13-4 41 9
9. James Logan 11-7 35 NR
10. Moreau Catholic 15-3 30 8
11. Castro Valley 13-5 23 11
12. Alameda 11-7 16 NR
13. Piedmont 10-6 15 10
14. Foothill 12-6 14 NR
15. Campolindo 12-6 5 NR

Also receiving votes: Pittsburg (12-6, 1), Valley Christian (17-3, 1). Records are through Jan. 25. The East Bay Girls Basketball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay.

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Under: Girls basketball | No Comments »

De La Salle announces 2014 football schedule

De La Salle High’s 2014 football schedule could be highlighted by a Sept. 12 home game against South Carolina power Byrnes of Duncan. The Rebels have won 11 state championships and were 12-2 last year, ending their season in the Class AAA I state semifinals. The schools are in discussions about a Sept. 12 game, but a deal has not yet been finalized.

The rest of the Spartans’ schedule was announced Sunday and includes many of Northern California’s top programs. They will have rematches with several of their 2013 opponents, but have also added Jesuit-Carmichael as their season opener, replacing Clayton Valley Charter. The Marauders are coached by Marlon Blanton, a 1991 De La Salle graduate.

Serra-San Mateo, Del Oro-Loomis and Servite-Anaheim will also play De La Salle early on in the season. Serra gave De La Salle its closest regular season game last year, losing 21-14 on a late touchdown run. Del Oro reached the Division I state final in December while Servite is expected to be one of Southern California’s top teams next season.

Here’s the full schedule:

Aug. 29 — JESUIT

Sept. 5 — SERRA-SAN MATEO

Sept. 12 — TBD

Sept. 19 — at Del Oro-Loomis

Sept. 27 — SERVITE-ANAHEIM

Oct. 3 — at San Ramon Valley

Oct. 10 — JAMES LOGAN

Oct. 17 — Bye

Oct. 24 — FOOTHILL (senior night)

Nov. 1 — at Amador Valley

Nov. 8 — at California

Posted on Sunday, January 26th, 2014
Under: East Bay Football | 3 Comments »

East Bay boys baketball poll — 1/14

 

Team Record Points Last poll
1. Bishop O’Dowd (5) 7-4 75 1
2. Monte Vista 14-0 70 3
3. Campolindo 11-4 64 6
4. De La Salle 9-3 61 7
5. Freedom 11-4 50 8
t6. St. Joseph Notre Dame 13-3 49 10
t6. El Cerrito 15-1 49 2
8. San Ramon Valley 12-2 40 4
9. Castro Valley 9-4 37 9
10. Berkeley 11-0 28 11
11. Salesian 9-6 27 5
12. Amador Valley 12-2 19 13
13. Dougherty Valley 11-4 15 12
14. College Park 9-3 11 15
15. Newark Memorial 7-7 5 NR

Also receiving votes: None. Records are through Jan. 11. The East Bay Boys Basketball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay.

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Under: Basketball | No Comments »