By Mauricio Matusiak
It was one of those grand finales of basketball games that could easily be a Hollywood movie. But the Lady Rams made it real, beating DeAnza College with two free throws with 1.4 seconds left in the game, winning 57-55.
It was surely a tough win. The Rams had an inconsistent first half, missing many shots and struggling to hold DeAnza's offense. Nevertheless, Rams' guard Latisha Canady scored with 2:37 left in the first half, starting an 8-2 run that made a one-point deficit (22-21) into a five-point lead.
At halftime, the Rams led 29-24.
The second half started with many turnovers for both teams. DeAnza tied the game at 35 but didn't take advantage of the Rams' passing problems.
Once Rams Coach Tom Giusto settled things down, the Rams got back in the game.
The Rams were leading 50-49 with 3:08 left in the game, but blew a one-point lead with two consecutive offensive mistakes.
Suddenly, DeAnza led 53-50.
Then Rams' guard Marissa Evans-Ling scored a three-pointer that tied the game at 53 with 22 seconds remaining, but DeAnza responded immediately, scoring in the following play. But the game still had 15 seconds to go, and in basketball, everything can happen in 15 seconds.
In an awesome play, Rams' forward Kristin Ray got a shot off with only nine seconds left and tied the game at 55.
And when it looked like the enthusiastic crowd would see a overtime period, Rams scoring leader Lakeia Hargraves stole the basketball and had a chance to score.
But with 1.4 seconds left in the game the referee called a foul. Hargraves had the game in her hand with two free throws. She didn't miss the chance, putting the two shots in and giving the Rams a difficult but extremely important win in the playoff run.
"We played as a team, not as individuals. That's really why we won. We beat DeAnza the first time and we knew we would beat them in the second round," said Canady.
"We could see a lot of improvement when all the freshmen came in. We had problems shooting, but we've got one of the best coaches in the league and there we go," she said.
The Rams now are heading to the first round of playoffs in the Northern California Regionals on Mar. 2.
By Satoshi Asano
With 35 years of experience as the Rams football coach, Mike Parodi changed hats as soon as football season was over. Parodi now is in his third year of coaching the women's badminton team.
The Rams' badminton team is ready to start.
"I'm trying to get as many girls, trying to get more girls out to play," Parodi said.
"I just want them to compete better, just improve with these games," he added, talking about his goal for this year.
Two of the star players from last season are no longer on the team. Bonnie Chan, a singles Northern California champion in 2000, transferred, and Eiei Tun, also a singles Northern California champion in 2001, is taking the year off.
However, two Rams' sophomores, Ann Wong and Shin Mei Wong, remained. Six freshmen joined the club: Angela Lee, Baljinder Heer, Harriet Hoang, Lily Leong, Stephanie Liou and Wendy Guan.
"We're still trying to figure out who these girls are. At least two girls we know pretty well because they played for us last year, but I think everyone right now is pretty even. Everybody is about the same. We haven't had any competition yet."
The Coast Conference League starts on Mar. 19 against Skyline College, the 2001 league champion team. Each of the six college teams are going to battle twice at home and twice away until May 2. Then, the winner of the league goes to the Team State Championship, which will be held in the following week.
The short history of the Rams' badminton team has been a successful one. Pa-rodi's team finished in third place last year and in second place in 2000.
Skyline and De Anza College, the latter a league champion in 2000, are two challengers for the new Lady Rams, but City's athletic abilities are well able to handle their opponents.
Every player can play at least one game, of both single and double, when league play is over, in the Coast Conference Championships on Saturday, May 4 at Mission College, San Jose. Only the top four women will qualify to play in the Individual State Champion-ship on May 10- 11.
Two assistant coaches, Ed Pon and Ray Tan, explain causes of missed shots to the ladies while they were in practice.
"The girls are really nice and very polite people, and I have good assistants," Pa-rodi said.
"Very little coaching goes on during badminton matches because you cannot talk to the players. In football, the coach can make calls and talk to the players, but in badminton you can't . . . that is the biggest difference."
The new team practices Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the North Gym.
When basketball season is over, they will practice in the South Gym.
Their first home game is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 4, in the South Gym.
By Mauricio Matusiak
The City College Rams beat Cañada College handily on Feb. 13 at the South Gym. It was an easy but important victory for the undefeated Rams (28-0), led by star player Derrick Tarver.
It took only five seconds for Tarver to score the first two points of the game for the Rams. Three minutes into the game, the Rams led 10-2. Later in the quarter, Cañada College finally started scoring, but still trailed 16-9.
Then, the Rams lost their momentum and Cañada got back in the game, thanks to the precise shooting of Matt Washington. But the Rams still led by four, 18-14.
Cañada kept scoring, but never closed a five-point gap between themselves and the Rams, even though the Rams had quite a few offensive mistakes. With 3:25 left in the half, the score was 32-27.
An incredible four-point run with 30 seconds left in the half gave the Rams a 40-33 lead at halftime.
"It was a good first half for us," said Tarver.
The Rams finally showed the basketball that makes them the best team in Northern California in the second half. With consistent defense and extremely fast offense, the Rams pulled away on the board, 57-44 with 13:23 left in the game.
Cañada struggled to score because its best players, Washington, Brandon Re-ginald and Twann Rucker, couldn't put down their shots. As a result, Cañada, trailing 62-44 with nine minutes left, was totally dominated by the Rams.
With the Rams leading 84-56, Rams Coach Harry Pantazopulos put in backup players, and they just kept rolling over the powerless visitors.
The Rams were victorious by 26 points, 86-60.
"I thought they (City College) were a little more physical, and I thought the referees didn't call that physical mess," said Cañada coach Al Klein.
"It was a good game. I feel that we played hard and the team played well," said Tarver, who finished the game with 34 points. Guard LeVinciano Fowler also had a good game, scoring 14 points.
Other Rams scorers in-cluded Justin Hassell with 9 points, Jacque Kent, 9, Michael Watters, 9, Dijon McNulty, 8, Bobby Barnes, 3.
The playoffs start Mar. 1 with the first round in Nor-thern California play.
Adrian D. Varnedoe
It's a new season for the women's tennis team, and that means a new team line-up.
This year, the women's tennis team will be filled with freshmen until or unless Yeo Narelle, the lone returnee, returns after having a baby.
Things may look very grim for the Rams this year, but they aren't in the dark yet because many of the Lady Rams have played in clubs and on high school teams.
"My boyfriend talked with the coach and the coach said she needed players. So I decided to join," said freshman Janice Lew, 18, who played at two high schools. "My friends play it (tennis). My family plays it and I kind of fell into it."
The season started at the beginning of February.
The Rams have started slow, losing their last two matches against San Fran-cisco State and Mission College, two non-conference teams.
"It's coming along some days," said freshman Kathy Sullivan, 36, on the team's beginnings.
Like in the past, many of the team members are former students of Head Coach Mary Graber's tennis class, where they came to like the way she trained them.
"I want her (Graber) to teach me tennis. I like her technique," Helen Schwartz said after a match.
"I really want to improve my game, my stroke, my technique, everything," she added.