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January 20, 2010 > Maryland dominates Clerc Classic

Maryland dominates Clerc Classic

By Biff Jones
Photos By Mike Heightchew

California School for the Deaf (CSD), Fremont Eagles hosted the 10th Annual Clerc Classic Basketball Tournament and Cheerleading Contest Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 14-16.

Teams from nine schools for the deaf across the country participated in the three-day event. Also, eight deaf referees were brought in from around the country to make it easier for the coaches to communicate with the officials.

Schools that sent teams besides the host CSD were CSD-Riverside, Indiana (ISD), Maryland (MSD), Metro Deaf School-North Star Academy of Minnesota (MDS-MNSA), Model Secondary (MSSD) of Washington D.C., South Carolina (SCSD), Texas (TSD) and Wisconsin (WSD).

Each tournament had eight schools in the field with eight first-round games on Thursday; semifinals on Friday; and finals on Saturday. In addition, consolation games were played both Friday and Saturday, so each team played three games in three days. The cheerleading competition was held Saturday with six teams competing.

Playing for CSD girls, coached by Debbie Ayres and assistant Stephen Farias were: Alexandria Brinkley, Priscilla Castaneda, Ri'Chara Glenn, Samantha Hyland, Alexis Madayag, Brittany Dike, Maya Penn, Nha Kim, Natalie Lizarraga and Emily Livermore. Student Manager is Juan Dillard.

Thursday, CSD girls opened against Texas with an easy 49-14 win despite TSD taking an early 6-0 lead. Almost half of the first quarter was played before CSD got on the scoreboard. Second half saw Texas make one foul shot for its only points. Leading CSD was Hyland with 13 points and Lizarraga with 10.

In the semifinal game for the Eagles they tipped off against the defending girls Clerc Classic champions, Model. Again it took CSD half of quarter number one to sink a basket as they fell behind 5-0 and trailed 14-5 after the first quarter.

By halftime, CSD was able to close the gap to 22-19. In the third quarter the Eagles tied the score at 24-all and finally took the lead, 30-28, with just over six minutes left in the fourth. Then Lizarrage - held to one point over the first three quarters - got hot and poured in 10 points in the final period as CSD outscored MSSD, 21-12, in the fourth to knock out the defending champs, 47-34. Brinkley led all Eagles with 16 points while Lizarrage finished with 11.

In the final on Saturday against Maryland, CSD fell behind early and trailed 15-4 after a quarter and 28-13 at halftime. Eagles did outscore MSD 12-5 in the third quarter but that was their only run as the Maryland School took the championship, 48-34. Brinkley again led the Eagles in scoring with 12 points. Both Brinkley and Lizarrage were named to the 10-member, All-Tournament Team. CSD is now 8-7 overall.

CSD boys, under the tutelage of coach Oskar Schugg and assistant Reyes Ribera, are comprised of Conrad Baer, Carlos Lopez, Jacy Pedersen-Dike, Romel Thurman, Odunayo Akintomide, Austin Miller, Steven La, Antoine Nathaniel, Richie Dunn and Adam Escamilla. Student Manager is Ronnie Cuartero.

CSD opened against Wisconsin and the Eagles started strong as they, up11-6 after one quarter and extended it to 34-13 by the half. Second half saw WSD outscore CSD by four points but it was not nearly enough as the Eagles won 51-34 to advance to Friday's semis. Leading the Eagles were Thurman and Miller, each with nine points.

In the semifinals against defending boys champion Indiana, CSD jumped out to an 8-2 lead only to see ISD go on a 16-2 run and take a 20-17 halftime lead. Third quarter was all Indiana and the Eagles, who never got on track offensively, fell 44-35 to last year's champs.

Coach Schugg said he told his team they had to refrain from fouling as ISD was too good at the charity stripe. Turns out coach was correct because the team from the Hoosier State made 17 of 31 free throws compared to only 2-4 for CSD. Thurman led the Eagles with 12 points.

Saturday, CSD played Texas in the third-place game. TSD jumped out to a 14-4 lead after one quarter, maintained the 10-point lead during the halftime break, and then outscored the Eagles, 21-10 in the fourth for a 56-31 third-place finish. Point guard La led the Fremont school with seven points. Again, the offense struggled and their Achilles all year, free throw shooting, struck as CSD was only 3-13 at the line while Texas was 16 for 25.

Maryland edged Indiana, 45-44, for the boys championship. Thurman was the only CSD Eagle to make the 10-person, All-Tournament Team. CSD's overall record now stands at 8-6.

CSD cheerleaders are comprised of Valerie Farr, Malage LeBlanc, Maria Nixon, Mariel Ortiz, Rachelle Richardson and Erika Schwehr. They are coached by Heather Montero and she is assisted by Svenna Pedersen.

Indiana won the cheerleading competition with Model Secondary coming in second. Ortiz was chosen for the six-member, All-Tournament Team. All the girls, except LeBlanc, are seniors.

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