Standing Room Only: The Campolindo and basketball victories at last Friday night were a perfect example of how a packed house at a basketball game is the most exciting environment in high-school sports. With dueling chants from the student sections, and fans at a fever pitch with every three-pointer, foul call or fast break, the intensity of the games was incredible. I’m a huge fan of the "Friday Night Lights" of football season, but the excitement of a basketball game in front of a full-house is on a different level. “There was great crowd support from both sides – this is what high school basketball is all about,” Campolindo coach Matt Watson said.
Alone at the Top: While both the boys and girls teams in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League are competitive, with most teams able to knock each other off on any given night, the Dougherty Valley girls and Las Lomas boys have set themselves apart with 3-0 starts to the league season. Dougherty Valley has won seven games in a row after two losses at the competitive Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona. Las Lomas’ last two league wins on the road against Campolindo and Dublin have been by five points or less, and the team faces a tough test Friday against Dougherty Valley in San Ramon.
Top billing of the week: Girls basketball – The Campolindo Shootout, Saturday, All Day. This event at Campolindo features five games throughout the day, and includes some of the top girls programs in Northern California, including Berkeley, Pinewood and St. Mary’s-Berkeley. Northgate squares off against Alameda at noon in the second game of the seven-game slate, with Campolindo and St. Francis-Sacramento playing at 1:30 p.m. and Dougherty Valley taking on Mitty at 5 p.m.
Campolindo Shootout schedule, Saturday
10:30 a.m.: McClatchy vs. Pittsburg
Noon: Northgate vs. Alameda
1:30 p.m.: Campolindo vs. St. Francis
3:30 p.m.: El Camino vs. Lincoln (SF)
5 p.m.: Dougherty Valley vs. Mitty
6:30 p.m.: Berkeley vs. Bishop O’Dowd
8 p.m.: Pinewood vs. St. Mary’s-Berkeley
Also see: Boys basketball – Dublin at Acalanes, Friday, 7 p.m. Both teams are looking to get back in the DFAL race, and a win here would do just that. Acalanes sits at 2-2 in the DFAL with victories over Campolindo and Alhambra, while Dublin looks to rebound from last week’s two-game losing streak. Should be a good match-up between Acalanes guard Stephen Collins and the Dublin duo of Jamir Andrews and Cameron Moses.
Outstanding Performance of the Week: Las Lomas senior Treaven Duffy scored 22 points and added five assists in the Knights' , and poured in on Wednesday. Along with his play on the offensive end, Duffy was a force on defense in both games, with four steals in each.
Inside the Numbers: Through seven DFAL games, the Dougherty Valley girls soccer team remains undefeated, but five of the seven matches have ended in a tie. Senior Brianna Gaines — also a standout on the basketball team — provided a hat-trick in the Wildcats’ 4-1 win over Dublin last week.
St. Mary’s Update: After a 14-point loss to highly-ranked San Diego State, the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team has won 10 games in a row and is undefeated in West Coast Conference play. The Gaels host San Diego on Wednesday at McKeon Pavilion, before hitting the road for a weekend trip to Vanderbilt. When the team returns to the West Coast, it heads to the Northwest for a showdown against perennial-power Gonzaga on Jan. 27. Keep an eye on freshman guard Stephen Holt, who has been getting solid minutes and scored double-digits in WCC wins over Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara.
Local Football Commit: Alhambra RB/LB Jared Leaf has committed to San Jose State, according to Alhambra coach Alan Hern. Leaf was a for the Bulldogs, and is the second player from Alhambra – along with Hawaii-commit Trevor Davis – who will play Division-I football. Fellow teammate Maurice Poyadue, an All-DFAL defensive lineman, is considering Fresno State, San Jose State and Nevada.
Parting Shot: Student cheering sections at basketball games always bring a unique aspect to the event. Unlike a football game, where the crowd can be large but is often positioned outside of a track, the hoops crowd is only a few feet from the court. The crowd at the Campolindo and Miramonte boys game Friday was lively. With Miramonte trailing late in the game, the students began chanting “Let’s Play football!” (a staple at most high schools), in reference to the Matadors’ win on the gridiron. The Campo students countered with “Let’s play basketball!” to highlight the double-digit lead they are enjoying. After a few moments, Miramonte responded with “API score!” – creative, subtle and one I had never heard before.