MLK Classic at Haas Pavilion highlights busy holiday hoops weekend

Once again, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend will offer some of the best matchups you’ll see before the postseason. A few of them will be at the MLK Classic, hosted by De La Salle at Cal’s Haas Pavilion on Monday. The event is in its 18th year and features some of the top boys teams and players in the state.

Highlighting the slate is De La Salle vs. Chaminade-West Hills, the defending Division III state champion, at 5:45 p.m. and upstart Moreau Catholic against perennial South Bay power Archbishop Mitty-San Jose at 7:30 p.m.

De La Salle is off to an 11-1 start, playing at a faster pace than the defensive-minded Spartans teams of the past. Jordan Ratinho, Vince Romeo and Nikhil Peters have led the way for the Spartans. Chaminde is 14-2 with its two losses coming by a combined five points.

Moreau Catholic reached the Division IV state final last year with almost exclusively underclassmen. Their top players, Oscar Frayer and Damari Milstead, are both back as juniors. Frayer, a Cal commit, will get to play on his future home court. The Mariners will have to stop Mitty big man Ben Kone.

El Cerrito and Berkeley renew an old rivalry to kick off the event while Newark Memorial and Salesian both play teams from the Sac-Joaquin Section in the middle of the day.

Here’s the full lineup:

10:30 a.m.: Berkeley vs. El Cerrito
12:15 p.m.: Franklin-Elk Grove vs. Newark Memorial
2 p.m.: Salesian vs. St. Mary’s-Stockton
3:45 p.m.: Sacramento vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral
5:45 p.m.: De La Salle vs. Chaminade-West Hills
7:30 p.m.: Archbishop Mitty vs. Moreau Catholic


PRESALE available this week at the DLS bookstore or online: General Admission bleacher seating – $7/Adults, $5/students, seniors, children; Reserved Chair back Seating – $15 – includes all day in/out access

GAME DAY: General Admission bleacher seating – $10/Adults, $5/students, seniors, children; Reserved Chairback Seating – $20 and includes all day in/out access; Courtside – $30 for each game and includes all day in/out access

The games will also be streamed online at www.delasalletv.com.


Final 2014 East Bay football poll

Here’s our final East Bay football poll of what turned out to be an outstanding season.

Team Record Points Last week
1. De La Salle (5) 14-0 75 1
2. Campolindo 16-0 69 6
3. Pittsburg 10-3 64 3
4. Clayton Valley Charter 15-1 62 5
5. California 9-4 53 4
6. Foothill 9-3 52 2
7. Concord 12-2 44 9
t8. Liberty 9-3 37 12
t8. Salesian 12-1 37 13
10. McClymonds 8-4 28 8
11. San Ramon Valley 7-5 27 10
12. James Logan 8-3 19 7
13. St. Mary’s 11-2 9 NR
14. Las Lomas 9-3 8 14
15. Freedom 7-5 6 11

Also receiving votes:  Kennedy-Fremont (10-1, 4 votes), Piedmont (12-1, 4), Antioch (7-5, 2).  The East Bay Football Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are final.


St. Mary’s High football players commit

A pair of St. Mary’s High senior football players announced their oral commitments this evening on Twitter.

Ron Smith tweeted “Happy to announce my commitment to San Diego State University to continue my football career.” Smith, rated as a three-star safety by espn.com, had six interceptions this season. He was also rated as a three-star athlete by rivals.com.

Aaron Mercadel III also tweeted today “Blessed to say I will be taking my collegiate football career to North Dakota State.” Mercadel  had more than 100 tackles at linebacker for the Panthers this season.

On Tuesday, St. Mary’s Ben Schrider announced on Twitter that he committed to the University of Richmond. Schrider had 15 sacks and five fumble recoveries as a defensive end for the Panthers this season.

All three players were selected to the all-Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division first-team defense.






My picks for East Bay Cross Country Coaches of the Year

Tony Fong, St. Joseph Notre Dame — Despite losing its top runner and two seniors in its top five from last year’s Division V state championship squad, the Pilots were within 13 points of winning its third straight California Interscholastic Federation Division V state title. St. Joseph Notre Dame finished second with a score of 99, and beat highly-regarded Flintridge Prep-La Canada Flintridge by 11 points. Its team time of 1:22:22 was one second faster than team champion Xavier Prep-Palm Desert. The Pilots also won their fourth straight North Coast Section Division V championship title, and dominated the Tri-County Athletic League championship race with an outstanding score of 19.

Chuck Woolridge, Campolindo — The Cougars came within 11 points of winning its second straight CIF Division III state championship, as they finished second with a score of 95. Its five scorers had a good 42-second gap between them, and the Cougars’ team time of 1:33:31 was 20 seconds faster than champion Palos Verdes-Palos Verdes Estates. Campolindo also won its third straight NCS Division III title with an outstanding score of 26 and a team time of 1:31:48. The Cougars also won the Diablo Foothill Athletic League championship race with an excellent score of 21.