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March 4, 2009 > Newark up, Logan down in NCS hoops, Hayward teams advance

Newark up, Logan down in NCS hoops, Hayward teams advance

By Gary van den Heuvel
Photos By Bill Mancebo

The two big dogs in the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) entered the North Coast Section (NCS) Division I playoff tournament, but as of week's end, only the bigger dog - in this case the Newark Memorial Cougars - still survive to fight over another bone.

The James Logan Colts got into the tournament as an at-large invitee, and they very nearly knocked perennial MVAL champion Newark from their perch in a close defeat in the MVAL tournament finals last week, so they were hungry. With a new post-season life, the #8-seeded Colts disposed of San Ramon Valley 66-48 on February 24 at the Logan gym. All-league guards Dwight Abad and Salaimon Siddiq did most of the scoring for Logan: Abad, 19, and Siddiq, 17.

Logan's shot at another rematch with their league rival Newark came to an end in the quarterfinal against vaunted De La Salle, currently ranked #2 in the state and seeded first in the NCS tourney.

In this game, it was all about the first quarter - De La Salle roared out to a 25-6 lead at the end of the period. Logan gave a spirited effort and after opening the third quarter with an 8-0 run, trailed by only eight points at 37-29 - but that was as close as they got. De La Salle won it, 65-55 (the 55 Logan points being the most points scored against De La Salle this season), led by Beau Levesque's 15 points and John McArthur's 12. For Logan, Abad led the scorers with 15, Terrell Gates had 13 (including three 3-pointers) and Siddiq contributed 11.

Newark Memorial's opener against Berkeley High on Saturday night was closer than they would have liked. The Yellowjackets (24-4) were riding a 15-game winning streak and looking to keep the streak going against the Cougars, who were playing on their home court.

Berkeley very nearly kept their streak alive, leading 43-42 with four minutes left, but Newark gutted out another nail biter, largely due to Khion Sankey's four clutch free throws in the closing minutes. Sankey scored nine for Newark, who were led in points by Isaiah Clark's 13. Bobby McCall scored eight for the victors who, as a reward for their win, will get to tangle with De La Salle on Wednesday night, 7:30, at De La Salle's home court, in the semifinals.

Hayward's two representatives in the basketball North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs gave a good account of themselves last week. Both Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) teams - the Hayward High Farmers boys and the Moreau Catholic Mariners girls - won their quarterfinals matchups.

The Farmers entered the Division II tournament following a fourth-place finish in the HAAL, which doesn't sound that impressive until one considers their league record of 11-3 (now 18-8 overall), and the fact that the league boasted a top-heavy trio of powerhouses in San Leandro, Bishop O'Dowd and Castro Valley. So, battle tested the Farmers certainly were, and they came into the tourney as the top seed.

Hayward's home opener against the Clayton Valley Eagles was a taut, back-and-forth, see-saw battle - for three of the four quarters. At the end of the first, the Farmers trailed 14-13, but led at the half 28-27. But apparently Clayton Valley wasn't notified that the third quarter had started, because they didn't show up for it; Hayward dominated the period, outscoring the Eagles 20-4 and coasting through the fourth for the 65-49 win.

Davion Berry led Hayward with 15 points and Jabreed Nasir and Keith Martin both kicked in 14. The Farmers will host Heritage in the semifinals Wednesday, March 4.

Moreau, coming off a second place HAAL finish, hosted the Fortuna Huskies on Saturday, Feb. 28, in the Division IV tournament. Much like the Hayward-Clayton Valley game, this was a tightly-contested battle for three of the four quarters: after a 17-17 first half and a 25-23 score (Moreau leading) at the end of three quarters, Moreau absolutely exploded and whacked the Huskies 19-1 in the fourth to prevail by a final score of 44-24.

For Moreau, Stephanie Carnes led the scorers with 12 points. Megan Scully and Kayla Griffin each contributed 11, and Alitta Boyd chipped in seven for the winners.

Moreau's semifinal will be a road trip to Marin Catholic on Wednesday night.

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