SportStars of the Week
The one thing missing in Derrico Kwa's decorated volleyball career is an NCS title. His teams have been close in the past, making it to the playoffs every year before bowing out in the semis (2010 and 2012), and finals (2011, vs. De La Salle). Things might change this season as Kwa has helped the Wolverines to a 26-1 record with a masterful 20-game winning streak that's still going. It doesn’t hurt that Kwa now has 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American basketball player Marcus Lee to set to at the middle hitter position, either.
The forward scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over host Cosumnes Oaks to claim the outright lead in a tight Sierra Valley Conference race. The Eagles, who tied the Wolf Pack 1-1 in the first meeting between the two teams, attacked on offense for much of the final 15 minutes of play before Gonzalez found the back of the net with five minutes left in the game. As of April 15, Vista del Lago held a slight edge in the league standings over Liberty Ranch, Cosumnes Oaks, and River City. Gonzalez leads the Eagles with nine goals and three assists with five regular season games remaining.
The senior guard led the Eagles’ offense through much of the postseason, coming up biggest in the CIF NorCal and State Championship games. Hayes averaged 16.2 points per game in the regional and state playoffs, including team highs in the final two championship contests. He scored a game-high 20 points in a 73-60 victory over Deer Valley-Antioch and followed that with a team-high 19 in the 73-57 state final against Santa Monica one week later. For the season, he finished with averages of 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest.
After dramatically winning the state title last year in the 138-pound division, Villareal defended his crown in Bakersfield on March 3 when he beat Elijah Davis of Riordan-San Francisco 3-1 at Rabobank Arena. Even though he doesn't have a college picked yet, he knows he wants to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, perhaps his one and only shot.
Sweany captured the CIF State Championship at 195 pounds with a pin of Elk Grove’s Scott Votino under the spotlight at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield on March 3. Sweany’s state title was an impressive follow-up to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters championship he won the previous week at Stockton Arena. Over the grueling two-day schedule at the state tournament, Sweany recorded two decisions and three pins, including the title-winning pin at the 4:00 mark in the final. The win not only gave the storied Vacaville program its 11th state champion (and second in as many years), but also lifted the Bulldogs to a third-place team finish in California.
The star junior posted a whopping stat line of 35 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. But she'd trade it in for a state championship in a heartbeat. The Pride's bid for a title came up just short as they fell 62-60 to Serra-Gardena in the CIF Div. IV state championship on March 23. Still, Moore left little doubt who the best player on the court was.
It comes as no shock that once again St. Mary's and Salesian are locked in a battle for NCS Div. IV supremacy. Salesian won Round 1 in January but the Panthers took the last two meetings, including a 48-40 victory in the TCAL championship on Feb. 16. Green was sensational finishing with 21 points, six steals and four rebounds. She also had 21 points against the Pride in a 59-53 win on Feb. 5.
McCullough scored a team-high nine points, including a three-pointer that put the Lady Hillmen ahead for good in a 48-46 Pioneer Valley League road win over rival Bear River-Grass Valley. The following game, she tallied a team-high 16 points in a come-from-behind 52-44 win over Foothill to capture a share of the program’s first league title since 2008. Placer (23-4, 8-2) shared the PVL title with Bear River and Colfax, and earned the No. 4 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
With key Huskies out due to injury and illness, Johnson scored a career-high 42 points in a 97-92 shootout win over Bay Area power Deer Valley-Antioch. He scored 19 in the third quarter alone. His performance outshined Kentucky-commit Marcus Lee in the process. In Sheldon’s following game, Johnson led the section’s top-ranked team to an 85-79 win over neighborhood rival Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
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