McNair’s Romero leads batch of locals in The California Wrestler Top 40 Rankings

McNair junior Roman Romero is the only local wrestler ranked in the Top 10, of The California Wrestler’s Weekly State Top 40 Rankings.

Romero is ninth in the 182-pound rankings, a year after finishing second in the Sac-Joaquin Section in 152s.

There are eight other local wrestlers ranked in the Top 40 of their divisions, too:

113: West sophomore Greg Viloria down to 19th from 12th.

120: Lincoln senior Alex Olivera down to 22nd from 18th.

138: Kimball senior Reese Chew up to 11th from 12th.

182: Calaveras senior Ayden Garcia up to 36th from 37th.

195: Escalon senior A.J. Camarena up to 30th from 33rd.

220: Lincoln senior Yates Hunter down to 13th from 12th.

220: Tokay junior K.C. Kranich down to 28th from 27th.

220: Calaveras junior Shane Torre up to 38th from 39th.

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Thunder sale/league move update

There wasn’t any official news on Wednesday regarding the sale of the Thunder, other than Brad Rowbotham confirming he still officially owned the team, at least as of late that afternoon. But the changes, they are a coming.

The Thunder will certainly be purchased by the Calgary Flames of the NHL, and it will likely happen over the weekend or early next week. And the move from the ECHL to the American Hockey League next season also looks as if it’s no longer in doubt.

Further proof came via a blog by Mark Pudy of the San Jose Mercury News, who said sources have confirmed that the Sharks will put its AHL franchise in the Shark Tank for a year and would officially announce it on Jan. 29.

So the all-California division of the AHL would look like this:

Calgary’s AHL team in Stockton
San Jose Sharks in San Jose
Edmonton Oilers in Bakersfield
L.A. Kings in Ontario
Anaheim Ducks in San Diego

Here’s the link to the Mercury News blog:

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/purdy/2015/01/21/sharks-minor-league-team-moving-san-jose-sap-center-yes-really/

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Girls Basketball Power Rankings, Vol. II

St. Mary's junior Mi'Cole Cayton (left) battles against La Jolla Country Day Monday. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

St. Mary’s girls basketball has done nothing but to prove its national, state and local ranking is correct. The Rams are among the best the nation has to offer.

And so St. Mary’s is an obvious No. 1 again, atop my Vol. II of local girls basketball power rankings: including teams from the Tri-City Athletic League, San Joaquin Athletic Assocation and Valley Oak League, and a freelance squad as well.

Here is the ranking, team, last week’s ranking in parenthesis and record:

1. ST. MARY’S (1) 17-1, 3-0 TCAL

The Rams have players fourth or fifth off their bench that could be league MVPs in other situations. Senior Angel Johnson has an offer from NCAA Division I Hawaii, and just got into the starting lineup for the MLK Showcase. Junior Sydney Fadal, also off the bench, has verbally committed to Pacific, where former Rams Kendall Kenyon, the Tigers’ all-time rebounds leader, and Unique Coleman already play.

St. Mary’s slammed La Jolla Country Day 85-52 Monday, after staving off Sierra Canyon 85-77 Friday. In the Sierra Canyon game, the Rams led by 32, 54-22, at half before easing up a bit.

Brookside Christian's Ra'kyra Gabriel practices during her sophomore season. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

2. BROOKSIDE CHRISTIAN (3) 14-2

Last week, I should’ve had the Knights at No. 2 instead of Lincoln, separated only by a common opponent (Prairie of Washington) that Brookside Christian beat but Lincoln lost to.

The Knights, who will drop in NorCal and state rankings, did lose to Berkeley by a bucket, 55-53 over the weekend, but are still led by junior and Washington commit Aarion McDonald, a triple-double that could strike at any time.

Lincoln's Zahria Hendrix (left) fights for a rebound against St. Mary's Naje Murray during her freshman year. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

3. LINCOLN (2) 15-2, 3-0 TCAL

The Trojans have ripped through their TCAL games against Lodi, West and Tokay, but fell to a tough Narbonne team Monday at St. Mary’s MLK Showcase.

Sophomore Zahria Hendrix hits a ton of 3-pointers and gets rebounds, while guards Lianna Tillman and Celeste Almendarez provide all kinds of energy.

Kimball freshman Raziya Potter (top) is an integral part of the Jaguars' success in 2014-15. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

4. KIMBALL (5) 17-0, 4-0 VOL

The Jaguars keep rolling through their schedule untouched. They’ve been so dominant, they haven’t lost a game in single digits yet. Freshman Raziya Potter, sophomore Donwanae Anthony and senior Sarah Nunes provide the Jaguars a great trio.

Their best test in league play so far comes Jan. 27 at home against Weston Ranch, which was No. 5 on last week’s rankings.

5. VA EXCEL (NR) 12-5, 4-0 CCAA

Excel has thrived quietly this year, and gets a chance to take down a titan against Brookside Christian on Thursday. A key win came this weekend, edging Weston Ranch by a bucket at the MLK Showcase at Modesto Christian.

On the Bubble:

  • Weston Ranch Cougars
  • Bear Creek Bruins
  • McNair Eagles
  • Manteca Buffaloes

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Vol. II

St. Mary's senior Lance Coleman goes for a dunk at home at Morelli Gymnasium. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAXPREPS).

Sierra boys basketball made a statement Tuesday night.

The Timberwolves, winners of three consecutive Valley Oak League championships, outlasted rival Manteca at home at The Den in a 48-40 defensive battle.

That kept Manteca, which was No. 3 in my last week’s power rankings behind Sierra at No. 2, at bay.

Here’s the latest edition of my rankings, involving large and medium schools from the Tri-City Athletic League, San Joaquin Athletic Association and VOL. As the season gets into the homestretch, I’ll begin a small-school ranking as well.

Here you go, with the rankings, team, last week’s ranking in parenthesis and record.

1. ST. MARY’S (1) 12-6, 2-0 TCAL

It’s been a rough go of it for the Rams against Bay Area powers of late. St. Mary’s fell 76-55 to Richmond-Salesian in the MLK Showcase at Cal’s Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, after dropping a 78-72 game to Moraga-Campolindo at home the weekend before.

The Rams have been tested in TCAL play, in a 71-53 win over West and a 56-44 win over Tokay, but have prevailed, and are tied for first atop the league with Lincoln heading into Wednesday’s action.

Senior Lance Coleman II is having a phenomenal year, averaging 22 points and nine rebounds.

Sierra guard Daniel Wyatt (center) competes during the McDonald's Classic hosted by Edison. (CRAIG SANDERS/THE RECORD)

2. SIERRA (2) 16-2, 5-0 VOL

For a moment, it seemed like last night was Manteca’s night. When sophomore Tydus Verhoeven nearly forgot the clock was running out, and hit a jumper at the first-quarter buzzer for a six-point lead, it seemed inevitable.

But when Sierra forward Joshua Patton, a 6-foot-8 senior, checked back in after missing a few minutes with two fouls, the Timberwolves took the game over.

Sierra was a Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up when Patton was a sophomore, for the second straight year, and he and the Timberwolves could be contenders to return to Sacramento.

Bear Creek senior Brandon Moss goes up for a dunk during the McDonald's Classic hosted by Edison. (CRAIG SANDERS/THE RECORD)

3. BEAR CREEK (4) 17-3, 3-0 SJAA

The Bruins appear to be heavy favorites in the SJAA, and with good reasons.

Bear Creek has very, very solid seniors in starters Andre Green, Brandon Moss, Craig Perkins and Quinn Ryan, and junior John Berna is the true point guard missing from many teams’ mixes.

Green is putting up 21 points, five boards and three assists per game.

Manteca junior Anand Hundal (left) nearly had triple-doubles twice in VOL's opening week. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MANTECA BULLETIN)

4. MANTECA (3) 12-5, 4-1 VOL

The Buffaloes will be able to compete with the length and scoring ability of Verhoeven, the dominance in the paint of 6-8 junior Anand Hundal and the energy from scorer and all-around talent Marcus Montano: who hit a game-winning layup against Central Catholic in overtime recently.

But the Buffaloes will need to learn how to sift through different zone defenses, as coach Brett Lewis admitted Tuesday. Because as a big-man focused team, they will surely see more and more of it.

Weston Ranch's Jaelen Ragsdale (center) goes up for a shot against Sierra during his sophomore year. (CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD)

5. WESTON RANCH (5) 11-6, 4-1 VOL

The Cougars responded from a frustrating, early VOL loss to Manteca by winning three straight to improve to 4-1 in league.

Weston Ranch is still in the hunt for its first VOL championship since 2010-11, when it went 14-0.

ON THE BUBBLE

  • Lincoln Trojans
  • Tokay Tigers
  • Tracy Bulldogs

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Gameday Preview: Manteca-Sierra VOL Rivalry

Senior guard Devin Nunez (center) and Sierra host arch rival Manteca tonight in a Valley Oak League showdown. (MANTECA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

High school basketball is getting serious.

League play is well into its slate already, but now, rivalries are popping up. In tonight’s case, it’s a rivalry that could ultimately decide the Valley Oak League boys basketball champion.

Sierra (15-2, 4-0 VOL) entertains in-town arch rival Manteca (12-4, 4-0 VOL) at 7 p.m. The Timberwolves have only lost in overtime to Bear Creek, and to perennial NorCal power Modesto Christian, where they only mustered five second-half points.

Manteca quietly had a solid preseason, and made a statement with a double-digit win over Weston Ranch a couple weeks ago.

Here’s a look at Players to Watch and probable starting lineups.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

JESS SPIVEY (Sierra F, Jr.)

Spivey has been clutch of late for the Timberwolves, a versatile complement to fellow forwards Joshua Patton and Hunter Johnson.

He can flummox defenses by hitting 3-pointers, soon after being a viable threat in the paint. Sierra needs him against the length of Manteca’s Anand Hundal and Tydus Verhoeven.

TYDUS VERHOEVEN (Manteca G, So.)

Verhoeven is in the vein of Penny Hardaway, who was an All-Star point guard for the Orlando Magic in the 1990s, but at 6-foot-7. The sophomore Verhoeven is the same height, and his scoring and length could create matchup problems for Sierra.

POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUPS

MANTECA (12-4, 4-0 VOL)

F – Anand Hundal (6-8, Jr.)

F – Tyler Graves-Kelso (5-10, Jr.)

G – Tydus Verhoeven (6-7, So.)

G – Angel Perez (5-10, Jr.)

G – Marcus Montano (5-11, Sr.)

Head coach: Brett Lewis

SIERRA (15-2, 4-0 VOL)

F – Joshua Patton (6-7, Sr.)

F – Jess Spivey (6-4, Jr.)

F – Hunter Johnson (6-4, Sr.)

G – Devin Nunez (5-11, Sr.)

G – Daniel Wyatt (5-10, Jr.)

Head coach: Scott Thomason

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Boys Basketball Weekly MVP: Robin Hong

Lincoln senior Robin Hong is my latest Boys Basketball Weekly MVP. (PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK)

“Senior guard Robin Hong arrives at 6:30 a.m. daily to the Lincoln gym in solitude to practice his perimeter shooting, believing the extra work some day might make a difference.”

A great passage from Kevin Niendorf, one of The Record’s sports correspondents, on Lincoln boys basketball senior Robin Hong and his daily ritual.

And, if last week was any indication, Hong’s sleep sacrifice is paying off.

Hong posted 21 points and six boards in a close win over Lodi, and 18 more points with three assists in a double-digit win over West.

That’s why Hong is my second-ever Boys Basketball Weekly MVP, following Manteca junior Anand Hundal from a week ago.

Hong, a 5-foot-10 guard, is averaging 13 points. Lincoln and St. Mary’s are tied at 2-0 atop the Tri-City Athletic League entering this week. The two play at Lincoln Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Congratulations, Robin. And as always, thanks for reading, everybody.

BOYS BASKETBALL WEEKLY MVPs

Jan. 12-17: Anand Hundal (Manteca, Jr.)

Jan. 19-24: Robin Hong (Lincoln, Sr.)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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Girls Basketball Weekly MVP: Raziya Potter

Kimball girls basketball freshman Raziya Potter (right) is my latest Girls Basketball Weekly MVP. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GOLDEN STATE NEWSPAPERS)

The best-kept secret in San Joaquin County girls basketball is hiding in Tracy, as the newest school in a town with three large high schools.

Heading into this week, Kimball is 17-0 and 4-0 in Valley Oak League play, thanks in large part to its depth and length.

At the forefront of nearly every game, it seems like, is 5-foot-10 freshman Raziya Potter. Potter scored 18 points to power Kimball to an 84-47 win over Sierra last week, and had 16 points to back up senior Sarah  Nunes’ game-high 26 in an 80-50 rout of a talented Manteca team.

That’s why Potter is my second-ever Girls Basketball Weekly MVP, following Weston Ranch’s Brijanee Moore from a week ago.

Kimball does not have any statistics posted on MaxPreps, so I cannot say what Potter’s totals look like, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was pushing a double-double nightly.

The Jaguars get a great test coming up next week, hosting Kimball Tuesday, Jan. 27.

GIRLS BASKETBALL WEEKLY MVPS

Jan. 12-17: Brijanee Moore (Weston Ranch, Sr.)

Jan. 19-24: Raziya Potter (Kimball, Fr.)

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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The Record’s Girls Basketball All-Area Player of the Year Watchlist

St. Mary's Mi'Cole Cayton (left) is a candidate for The Record's All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year. (CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD)

AARION MCDONALD (Brookside Christian, Jr.)

McDonald has had no trouble adjusting to the Knights, averaging 27 points, eight boards, five assists and five steals. She’s a transfer from Fresno-Bullard and a verbal commit to the University of Washington. She’ll be key as Brookside Christian battles toward a second state championship.

MI’COLE CAYTON (St. Mary’s, Jr.)

Cayton didn’t receive enough press preseason, but is playing incredibly well for the Rams, tied with freshman Aquira DeCosta by averaging a team-high 12.9 PPG.

JASMINE PHARMS (Stagg, Jr.)

Pharms isn’t the tallest player in the area, at 5-8 or 5-9, but she’s been an absolute terror for the Delta Queens, averaging 17 points and 17 boards.

RA’KYRA GABRIEL (Brookside Christian, Sr.)

Gabriel, though her scoring load is down with McDonald around, is still a 6-foot-2 force, averaging 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. The Knights will need her to own the paint come March.

RAZIYA POTTER (Kimball, Fr.)

Potter and the  Jaguars don’t get nearly enough credit. They’re now 17-0 after their Valley Oak League win Friday over Manteca, and Potter has consistently been one of their top offensive performers.

ELISABETH ALEXANDER (Weston Ranch, Sr.)

Alexander is a senior standout for the Cougars, averaging 21 points for game. She’s the reason why Weston Ranch should compete for a VOL championship with the Kimball Jaguars.

ZAHRIA HENDRIX (Lincoln, So.)

Hendrix does not look like a sophomore on the court. She was averaging 14 points, six rebounds and six steals coming into Saturday, where she hit five 3-pointers in a rout of Redding-Enterprise.

AQUIRA DECOSTA (St. Mary’s, Fr.)

DeCosta, ranked the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2018, has thrived at the high school level, with 13 points and nine rebounds per game. She can already dunk a volleyball, and will be pivotal for the Rams — a mostly shooter-oriented team — in the state playoffs.

MORE NAMES TO WATCH

Kat Tudor (St. Mary’s, Jr.)

Breeana Grigsby (Lincoln, Sr.)

Sierra Smith (St. Mary’s, So.)

Leah Manuleleua (Manteca, Jr.)

Loretta Kakala (Manteca, So.)

Donwanae Anthony (Kimball, So.)

Precious Younger (Bear Creek, Jr.)

Ariana Vaughn (Brookside Christian, Sr.)

Anmarie Freiermuth (Lodi, Sr.)

Jada Menchaca (VA Excel, Jr.)

Brandi Hornsby (McNair, Sr.)

Macie Linker (Bear Creek, Sr.)

Elizabeth Tolbert (Manteca, Jr.)

Jazlyn Maletino-Faga (VA Excel,  Jr.)

Mia Jones (McNair, Sr.)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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The Record’s All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year Watchlist

St. Mary's Gabe Vincent is the reigning All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAXPREPS)

Boys basketball players around the area are doing their best to do what Gabe Vincent did last year.

Vincent, a 2014 St. Mary’s graduate, was last year’s All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

This year, there’s a treasure trove of worthy candidates. And that’s a good problem to have for those teams and for us as basketball reporters.

This is my first installment of a weekly Player of the Year Watchlist (Which I’ll do for girls, too). In weeks after this, I’ll have these candidates trending a certain way — whether it be neutral, up or down.

Here you go:

DRUCE ASAH (Tracy, Sr.)

Asah, a 6-foot-2 commit to Cal State East Bay (NCAA Division II), is a 20-points per night caliber player. Tracy doesn’t have updated stats on MaxPreps, but if they get some I’ll update as to Asah’s progress.

JAELEN RAGSDALE (Weston Ranch, Jr.)

Ragsdale is a precocious point guard for coach Chris Teevan and company, posting 22 points and four assists per game. Weston Ranch can move the ball, play pressure defense and shoot, and Ragsdale is the guy who can put it all together down the stretch.

ANDRE GREEN (Bear Creek, Sr.)

Green is surely a college-level player, a 6-1 guard averaging 21 points and five boards. He was fantastic in Bear Creek’s overtime win over Chavez Friday, with a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.

ANAND HUNDAL (Manteca, Jr.)

Hundal is a shot-blocking machine, as the 6-8 junior averages 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocks per game. That means he’s got 96 blocks through 16 games posted on MaxPreps. Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis says he’s coming into his own offensively, too, and he is: shooting 56 percent from the floor.

LEWIS HAYES (Chavez, Sr.)

Hayes doesn’t just look like a strong high school forward. With his musculature and skill set, he already looks like a college player. He’s posting 17 points and nine boards for the Titans, and has a heck of a jump shot for his frame.

ELIJAH TUANDO (West, Sr.)

Tuando has thrived for the Wolf Pack, averaging 16 points on a good team, but one that plays with a tight rotation of players in its tougher games. West will be ready down the stretch, having faced one of the best teams in Northern California in De La Salle, and hanging with St. Mary’s for most of their TCAL opener this week.

JOSHUA PATTON (Sierra, Sr.)

Patton is a mainstay in my basketball coverage this year. He’s a 6-7 forward, Sacramento State commit and double-double waiting to happen. His mental game is ready for college: he knows when to be selfish and when to kick the ball out. Only experience teaches that.

LANCE COLEMAN II (St. Mary’s, Sr.)

Coleman II is just an unfair matchup. He’s 6-8, but a veritable two-guard who can drill 3-pointers and back down defenders for a bucket in the paint. Coleman II is averaging 22 points and nine boards and will have to shine in the playoffs if St. Mary’s wants to contend for a section title.

L.J. REED (Tokay, Sr.)

It may be early to put Reed on this list — as he just ended his transfer sitout period — but his talent cannot be ignored. The UCLA football commit is a returning All-Metro basketball player from The Sacramento Bee’s list, and is already putting up 16 points and five boards. I think his rebounding numbers will only improve as his basketball stamina does, and Tokay needs him to compliment fellow scorer Nico Brusa in TCAL play.

MORE NAMES TO WATCH

Tydus Verhoeven (Manteca)

Brandon Moss (Bear Creek)

Nico Brusa (Tokay)

Alex Smith (St. Mary’s)

Jazz Swanson (Weston Ranch)

Robin Hong (Lincoln)

Brody Nutting (Lodi)

Jimmy Beltz (Elliot Christian)

Fred Lavender (Weston Ranch)

David Lerma (Elliot Christian)

Marcus Moore (Stagg)

Jacob Araya (Stockton Christian)

Justice Harris (Chavez)

Hunter Johnson (Sierra)

Kenyon Williams (Brookside Christian)

Jacob Aruta (St. Mary’s)

Elan Spencer (Lincoln)
Peter Van Katwyk (Kimball)

Jess Spivey (Sierra)

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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New California Wrestler Rankings: Tokay’s Kranich On the Move

Tokay High wrestler K.C. Kranich (right) competes in last year's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters in Stockton. (DAN EVANS/LODI NEWS-SENTINEL)

A great weekend for K.C. Kranich has been rewarded with some Thursday accolades.

Kranich, a Tokay High junior and wrestler, has leaped from No. 38 in the state to No. 27 in the 220-pound class up to 27th, per The California Wrestler’s Weekly State Rankings.

 

He won the 220s championship at the Joe Rios Memorial Tournament in Chico, earning his double-digit rise up the rankings. There are eight other local wrestlers ranked in the Top 40 of their divisions, too:

113: West sophomore Greg Viloria up to 12th from 15th.

120: Lincoln senior Alex Olivera down to 18th from 17th.

138: Kimball senior Reese Chew down to 12th from eighth.

182: Calaveras senior Ayden Garcia down to 37th from 36th.

195: Escalon senior A.J. Camarena down to 33rd from 27th.

220: Lincoln senior Yates Hunter remains at 12th.

220: Calaveras junior Shane Torre up to 39th from  being unranked.

285: Calaveras senior Jarred Kirk remains at 39th.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

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Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

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