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March 12, 2008

 

Sports

Men's Basketball Team Breeze Their Way to Elite Eight in State Tournament

BY PAUL WERTHEIM
EDITOR

Men's basketball team player Brandon Martin gets air on March 8.

JAMES SLATTERY / GUARDSMAN

Sophomore guard Brandon Wiley scored 19 points as the top-ranked Rams men’s basketball team trounced the eighth-seeded Los Medanos College Mustangs 77-57 in the third round of the men’s state basketball championship on March 8.

The Rams (29-3) set the pace and went on a 22-5 run in the first 11 minutes and 17 seconds of the game. The Mustangs (25-9) came out cold, missing 11 of their first 12 shots.

Rams 6-foot-2 shooting guard Robert Owens got the hot hand early, draining five of six field goal attempts, grabbing eight rebounds in the first half and scoring 11 points on the night.

“We gave it all we got tonight,” Owens said. “Our goal is just to get to the state championship game and win it all. We’re still humble. If we play as a unit, we can’t be stopped.”

The weekend before in the second round of the playoffs, on March 1, the Rams breezed past the sixteenth-seeded Lassen College Cougars (19-14) 112-70 at the Wellness Center Gymnasium. Freshman shooting guard Roburt Sallie had 22 points, and Owens scored 20. The Rams carried that momentum into the third round.

“It’s good to see we’re picking it up during playoff time,” Sallie said. “It’s just going to get tougher and tougher.”

The Rams led by as many as 28 points in the second half. Head coach Justin Labagh rested freshman guard Justin Brownlee who had the flu and got hurt early in the game. Brownlee had five points on the night, well below his 17.5-point season average.

The Mustangs never contained the Rams offense and looked bewildered during the first half. Poor shooting and turnovers undermined their efforts to generate offense against the Rams aggressive zone defense. Three of the Rams starters had double figures, and 6-foot-4 freshman guard Tyrone Cook came off the bench to score 10 points.

The Rams head to the California Community College State Final Eight on March 14, in Stockton, Calif., to face the fifth-seeded Sequoias College Giants (22-9), who beat the Foothill College Owls 68-65 on March 8.

“I hope we can win it all this time,” assistant coach Adam D’Acquisto said. “The way we’ve been playing, there’s no reason we should not.”
E-mail:
sports@theguardsman.com

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com


Season Ends for Rams Women's Basketball Team

BY BONTA HILL
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Rams guard Kimberly Hom tries to boost Rams in 56-55 loss.

JENNIFER NICHOLS / GUARDSMAN

The Rams women’s basketball team’s late 17-point rally fell just short in their 56-55 loss to the De Anza College Dons in the first round of the playoffs.

Freshman power forward Monique Cavello, who missed most of the first half due to an ankle injury, led the Rams with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“This hurts, this hurts really bad,” Cavello said.

De Anza took command with a 12-0 run midway through the first half. The Rams found themselves down 34-25 at the half, due to shooting 28 percent from the field and going 0 for 12 from the 3-point line.

“Offensively, we were not on the same page in the first half,” said Senoj Jones, who finished with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

De Anza came out after halftime hot-handed with a quick 8-0 run to push their lead to 17 points with 17:33 left in the second half. Coach Jamie Wong called a timeout to settle her team down and inspire them to play as a team.

After the timeout, Rams remained cold offensively. A De Anza technical foul changed things.

The Rams scored a quick 6 points, but after a Dons rally, they found themselves down 13 points with 10 minutes left.

“The crowd had a lot to do with us coming back,” Jones said. “I’d like to thank them because they brought us back to life.”

After the Dons went up 54-45 with under 5 minutes left, Cavello continued her dominance scoring 6 points and after a 26-10 run, the Rams were down just 1 point with 51 seconds left. Freshman point guard Georgia Onyemem missed an 18-foot jumper with 4.3 seconds left.

The Rams were forced to foul and sent De Anza to the free-throw line with 0.8 seconds left. Although the Dons missed the first shot of a one-and-one, the Rams desperation shot at the buzzer missed. The Rams shot 39 percent from the field and went 0-4 from the 3-point line in the second half.

“In the end, we should be proud of the season we had,” Cavello said. “The experience I had with this team was incredible, and I will always love my teammates for that. We’ll be back.”

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com


Jones Closes Out Productive Career

BY BONTA HILL
EDITER

Men's basketball beats Las Positas 68-65.

ANNE-MARIE STARK / GUARDSMAN

Rams sophomore point guard Senoj Jones, selected first-team all-conference for the second season in a row, finished her season with solid numbers, averaging 10 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds a game.

At Lincoln High School, Jones asserted herself on the court. In her sophomore season, she was named player of the year and led Lincoln to the city championship.

“All we kept talking about was the championship and to do it and beat Lowell,” Jones said. “It felt sweet. It was like rubbing it in and making them regret not accepting me.”

After high school, she set her mind on attending a four-year university.

“I really didn’t want to go to City College, but I wanted to play and I knew I would have had to sit out a year or two if I went to a four-year college,” Jones said. “I knew my skills were better than that.”

Her older sister was an assistant coach for the Rams women’s basketball team and pushed Jones to play for the program. Jones went to a game and was impressed.

“The Rams only had eight players on the roster, yet they had so much heart and determination,” Jones said. “That was the type of team I wanted to play for.”

Going into her last season, Jones was asked to play point guard. She rose to the challenge and made the All-Conference team for the second year in a row. She helped lead the Rams to one of the best records in history.

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com


Rams Baseball Closes Out Gavilan in 7-4 Win at Home

BY MATT MCFADDEN
STAFF WRITER

Ubungen pitched a perfect three innings to beat Gavilan March 4.

MICHAEL P. SMITH / GUARDSMAN

The City College baseball team improved to 6-7 after defeating Gavilan College, 7-4, on March 4 at Crocker-Amazon Park.

The arms of freshman Irvin Hureta and sophomore Lorenzo Ubungen led the Rams, splitting the pitching responsibility for the game and holding Gavilan to just 4 runs.

“I felt we played really well,” sophomore catcher Galen Volpondesta said. “Our pitchers threw well and threw a lot of strikes.”

In the top of the sixth inning, the Rams built a 4-2 lead, but the first two Gavilan batters got aboard. Lorenzo Ubungen relieved pitcher Irvin Hureta, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Gavilan’s Mike Bolin to tie the game at 4-4.
Ubungen pitched three scoreless final innings.

“I hit my spots,” Ubungen said. “I got my off-speed pitches over the plate and our defense played really well. I was just hoping to keep the game close, knowing sooner or later we would score some runs.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score still knotted, freshman first basemen Barney Evans got on first base by an error, and sophomore shortstop Andrew Ontai had a lengthy at-bat drawing a walk.

“I just needed to get on base,” Ontai said. “I was hoping to give my team some life.”

With runners on first and second base, Ubungen laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Gavilan third basemen Tyler Ozborne overthrew the ball into right field, allowing Evans to score from second base.

“I was just trying to lay the bunt down and move guys over,” Ubungen said. “Good things happened.”

Volpondesta came to the plate next and hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Ontai from third base. Freshman Ryan Demello singled home Ubungen.

The Rams went into the top of the ninth inning with a 7-4 lead, and Ubungen shut the door, retiring Gavilan in order and striking out two of three batters.

“Our team is looking good,” Ubungen said. “We have a lot of experience and we’re proving to teams that we belong.”

e-mail: matt.mcfadden@theguardsman.com


Opportunities Abound for Roburt Sallie

BY PAUL WERTHEIM
EDITOR

Rams shooting guard Roburt Sallie will attend the University of Nebraska in the fall.

JENNIFER NICHOLS / GUARDSMAN

Former Rams defensive back Gibril Wilson will be playing football in the Bay Area again — but not at Rams Stadium.

The former New York Giants’ starting free safety, who won a Super Bowl ring this year after the Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14, signed a six-year, $39 million contract on Feb. 29 with the Oakland Raiders.

Wilson played under coaches George Rush and Dan Hayes in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, leading the Rams to two national titles and earning first-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore. Wilson later attended the University of Tennessee and went to the Giants as a 136th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

“He was one of the best players we’ve ever had,” Hayes said.

The 6-foot, 209 pound safety had 284 solo tackles during his career in New York.

“We are very proud of him,” Rush said. “It’s great to have him home. He’ll be a great addition to the Raiders’ defense as they try to bring back the glory days.”

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com

 

 

 

 


Former Ram Comes Back to Bay Area

BY PAUL WERTHEIM
EDITOR

Former Rams defensive back Gibril Wilson will be playing football in the Bay Area again — but not at Rams Stadium.

The former New York Giants’ starting free safety, who won a Super Bowl ring this year after the Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14, signed a six-year, $39 million contract on Feb. 29 with the Oakland Raiders.

Wilson played under coaches George Rush and Dan Hayes in the 2000 and 2001 seasons, leading the Rams to two national titles and earning first-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore. Wilson later attended the University of Tennessee and went to the Giants as a 136th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

“He was one of the best players we’ve ever had,” Hayes said.

The 6-foot, 209 pound safety had 284 solo tackles during his career in New York.

“We are very proud of him,” Rush said. “It’s great to have him home. He’ll be a great addition to the Raiders’ defense as they try to bring back the glory days.”

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com


Rams Cheerleaders Bring It On

BY KAREN KINNEY
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Ubungen pitched a perfect three innings to beat Gavilan March 4.

MICHAEL P. SMITH / GUARDSMAN

They thrust their red and white pom-poms skyward with clever cheers, dance in perfect sync and cheer the Rams to victory. The cheerleaders, who like to call themselves athletes, are becoming a bona fide professional dance squad, pumping spirit into spectators at City College’s basketball and football games.

The squad started as a small student club in 2001. They did their own fund raising, paid for their own uniforms and drove themselves to all away games.

Faculty adviser and dance instructor Paula Plessas said Vice Chancellor of Student Development Mark Robinson discovered the cheerleaders’ talent after the football and basketball teams became state champions. Robinson advocated reclassifying the squad as a class to receive athletic department funding.

“The squad was no different than our athletes. They showed their dedication by holding practice and going to all the home and away games,” Robinson said.

Plessas, who taught hip-hop in South Bronx, N.Y. and at the University of San Francisco, took over the squad last fall.

Plessas said she is trying to create a performance-driven squad while highlighting their cultural diversity.

“The skill level is there,” Plessas said. “My hope is to add another layer by improving our stunts, techniques and choreography.”

Three members of this 14-woman squad are a snapshot of the group’s diversity.

Head cheerleader Kecia Johnson, 23, was the only girl on her high school football team, but never played. Instead, she dove into gymnastics and modern jazz dance and has been on the squad for a year.

“My goal for the squad is for us to earn respect,” Johnson said. “I want to motivate the squad while I’m here and make it a good program.”

Rachel Simpson, 18, credited cheerleading for saving her life. Divorce shuffled Simpson through three homes and multiple schools. Cheerleading offered a support system and family-like environment.

“Cheerleading brought me back from falling off the edge and going down the wrong track of life,” Simpson said. “It brought back my spirit.”
Plessas said it is important to allow for cheerleaders’ self-expression. She incorporates freestyle into their routines and believes in having a balanced squad.

The common goal of this dynamic squad is to remove the stigma of being a cheerleader. Plessas said a solid ethic will help these girls in the future.

“Cheerleading is a combination of discipline, teamwork, commitment and trust — these are the ingredients for a successful squad.”

e-mail: sports@theguardsman.com