Concord July 4th

Heartbreak at final hurdle for top area teams

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Since 2003 Carondelet High basketball has only failed to win the North Coast championship three times. For the seniors on this year’s Cougars team they knew nothing but finishing up the Section playoffs in first place. This year’s team included, front row from left, Sydnee David, Annie Bonderer, Jayme Blackard, Emily Howie, Kimani Holloway, Isabella Zumbo, Kristel Neypes; middle row, Brooke Phillips, Paloma Barajas, Ali Bamberger, Tatyana Modawar, Natalie Nicolosi, Erica Miller, Alex Brown, Megan Dickert, Kiana Wannomae; back row, Ryan Rodrigues, Anthony Bonanno, head coach Michael Morris and Brandon Grays.

Ygnacio Valley High boys soccer along with the De La Salle and Carondelet basketball and soccer teams all enjoyed great success this winter season, including in the post season, but all five teams fell just short of their ultimate goal in CIF State competition.

Soccer
Ygnacio’s boys soccer team got all the way to the Northern California Division IV championship game but their long bus ride to top seed Chico turned sour when they fell 2-0 to the host Panthers. The Warriors of coach Cesar Chavez were seeded second and defeated Corning 5-2 and then edged Pleasant Valley of Chico 2-1 in a pair of home games leading up to the championship match.

Losing in the NorCal finals came after YVHS lost to defending Division III champion Bishop O’Dowd 2-1 in overtime of the North Coast Section title game. The teams were tied 1-1 at halftime and battled through a scoreless second half before the Dragons claimed the D-III crown in OT.

Ygnacio was looking to repeat its NCS championship in 2016 and came up just short after posting three straight playoff shutouts before the finale.

De La Salle looked like it was headed for a repeat Division I boys championship before the Spartans gave up three late goals in the title game to Berkeley. For the second time in three years the Yellowjackets beat the Spartans in the Section finale.

Coach Derricke Brown summed up the season: “Credit to Berkeley on a terrific season. Some of the soccer they showed in the second half of the NCS final was brilliant. But we certainly won’t let the final score of that match tell the story of our season. Despite having a young squad, the team showed their quality from the start. 20 wins is not easy to earn and it certainly gives us a great starting point for the 2019-20 campaign.”

The Spartans then lost their Northern California Division I tournament opener in Fresno 1-0 to Central.

Carondelet overcame three straight years of heartbreaking losses in the NCS championship game when they beat EBAL rival San Ramon Valley 2-0 for their first Section title since 2011. San Ramon had defeated their crosstown Danville rivals and top seeded Monte Vista in the semi-finals 1-0. Second seed Carondelet did not allow a goal in four games.

Coach Amy Apodaca’s Cougars were seeded second again at NorCal and rolled over Clovis North 5-1 after giving up the game’s first goal in the quarterfinals.

That put them back on the field against nemesis Monte Vista in the semi-finals. The Mustangs again got the best of the Concord school 2-1, the same score they won the championship game over top seed Davis. Monte Vista has won the first two CIF NorCal Regional soccer championships.

Basketball

DLS withstood a tough James Logan of Union City 54-46 to win its third NCS Division I championship in four years. Coach Justin Argenal’s team tied Dublin for the EBAL title before beating the Gaels 64-62 in the league tournament finale.

The Spartans held all four NCS opponents to 46 points or less. They opened up the NorCal Open Division tournament with a 48-42 win over Weston Ranch of Stockton.

That put them in the semi-finals against Sheldon of Sacramento, who is led by junior Marcus Bagley, the younger brother of Sacramento Kings No. 1 draft pick Marvin Bagley III. DLS lost 60-53. Sheldon went on to beat Modesto Christian 58-48 for the NorCal title but fell last Saturday evening to Sierra Canyon for the State Open championship.

Carondelet won its fourth straight NCS girls basketball title with an 80-70 victory over second seed Heritage. This was the third year in a row that Carondelet beat the Patriots in the Division I championship game. The Cougars have only been denied a Section crown three times since 2003.

First-year coach Michael Morris saw his team get the second seed in the CIF Northern California Open Division playoffs, giving them a first-round bye. In the semi-finals they lost to visiting Pinewood 51-39 to end their season. It also was the final game for the quintet of seniors who enjoyed winning four consecutive NCS titles—Ali Bamberger, Eric Miller, Emily Howie, Alex Brown and Tatyana Modawar.

For Pinewood, it was revenge for an early January loss in Concord to Carondelet. The Panthers followed up victory over Carondelet by beating Salesian for the NorCal Open Division championship. The small school from Los Altos Hills fell in the State championship game last Saturday to Sierra Canyon, which completed a boys and girls Open Division basketball championship double.

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