by Boonville Booster
Well, another week of basketball has come and gone and it should be considered a successful week for the men and women Panther cagers. Potter Valley came to town on Feb 4th with a tough season behind them already. The Anderson Valley JV girls have had a successful season thus far and look to be in a position for a shot at the league title. With strong play from likes of sophomores: Citlaly Correa, Sarah Kreinhop, Maggie Mendoza, Valeria Franco and Lisset Elijio, the JV girls look to be cementing the ground work for a run at a couple Varsity titles in the next couple years. They’re supported by Lexi Johnson, McKenzie McLain, Kim Cornejo, Larissa Ceja, Berenice Martinez and Brittani Kinsey. They’re fast, they can shoot and their defense is improving every game with quick hands from the front three and some serious height down low. AV came out strong and never really looked back, handing Potter Valley another defeat. Unfortunately, my age has gotten the best of me and while writing this article I was unable to find my digital file I use to keep track of scores and notable accomplishments for both JV girls games this week. Ladies I apologize and they will be included in next week’s report.
The JV boys had seen Potter Valley earlier in the year. They didn’t have much trouble in the first game and the second was much of the same. With the entire team playing equal minutes and almost every member of the Panthers scoring AV won 54-42. Potter Valley, playing with just 5 players, gritted the game out and did a good job, they were just unable to keep up with the Panthers fast paced offense. Gerardo Torales had a great game with 18 points followed by big man Tony Pardini with 10 pts. All 12 boys put in a great effort and it was a well deserved win.
The one sore spot for this fan was the amount of fouls called during the game. There were 26 combined fouls called between AV and PV in the FIRST HALF! Which resulted in 36 free throws for the half. Now I don’t typically take issue with refs having called HS volleyball and basketball in Central Texas years back. But there is an obvious quality issue that I’ve noticed along with other Mendocino County fans of sports. Yes, the NCL III is not the biggest league and no we don’t draw the same amount of fans to the sport, but what we lack in size we make up for in passion. My only serious critique for some officials in this league is: Be professional. Yes, you’re friends with everyone. Feel free to joke with the players and fans. But don’t expect us to like you when you have trouble making a call. Act like you take your job seriously. Make the call and stick with it. Blow your whistle like a man for peet sakes!
The Varsity Girls have been playing well the last few games adding frosh Riley Lemons to the lineup early in the season. Sandra Gutierrez, Juana Manriquez, Kaylie Mendoza, Grecia Herrera and Aileen Elijio have been supported by Lemons, Mariah Nunely, Jessica Ceja, Mayte Guerrero, and Marisol Jimenez all season. Potter Valley has some tall ball players on their team and if I were to still be coaching a girls program, I would take either of those two redwoods and build a team around them. They appeared to be recent converts to the hardwood and will definitely improve in the coming years but alas the night they met the Panthers would not be a night of conquest. The hustle plays from Lemons, Gutierrez and the like kept Potter on the defensive for most of the game. Herrera, who has a knack for shooting on one foot, was having a consistent game. Mendoza, who appears taller than her father (Chato) when he was a senior, is quick on the dribble and typically was beating Bearcats down the floor with the ball. Manriquez, the tall and thin center for the Lady Panthers found herself in the good position for rebounds on both ends even being outsized by the Bearcat middle. AV walked away with this one in the fourth quarter and all AV players saw some floor time. AV 46 – PV 30
The Varsity Boys had played Potter earlier in the season and had excelled against the younger, less experienced Bearcats. This game had much of the same style and substance. AV came out hot and with a full court defense jumped to an early lead in the 1st quarter with help from Cesar Soto and Erin Perez (6 pts each) and a three by Jose Gaxiola. (1st 19-2) Strong play from reserve Will Lemons in the second and some key rebounds kept the lead going into half. AV would never look back in the second half, extending their lead to plus forty points in the fourth quarter. When the dust settled and the score was tallied, AV walked away with a final score AV 73 – PV 37. Jose Gaxiola had a game high 16 points, followed by Soto (12 pts), Perez (10 pts) and little brother Elvis Gaxiola (10 pts). PV was led by Blundell 16 pts and Salinas (10 pts).
Talking to PV Coach Geri Zamora prior to the start of the game, it appeared she experienced the same sportsmanship AV experienced in Point Arena earlier in the season. Coach Zamora stated the PV/PA game fell apart in the second half with the officials unable to control the style and force of play being exhibited by PA players. The PA head coach, newly ordained Point Arena HS Principal, apparently was unable or unwilling to take control of the direction of the game causing Coach Zamora to call the game early for fear the game would result in fisticuffs causing an all out riot and PV seriously outnumbered. I ran into another NCL III coach later that week and he stated his most recent game at PA was just as uncivilized and out of control. It is understood the AD of PA is obviously undermined considering his coach is his boss, so what can he say? But this once again falls back on the officials. Take control of the game. You are paid to keep our kids safe and call the game as the rules state. Sure let them play, but not at the expense of a concussion or a broken arm or leg. Here’s hoping the upcoming AV – PA game is officiated by two seasoned NCOA members. Late breaking……Just received word Geyserville canceled their upcoming PA game on 2/11 due to concerns for their kids.
Mendocino @ Anderson Valley
The Cardinals rolled into rainy Anderson Valley with a chip on their shoulders. Both boys teams had suffered a loss to the Panther Boys earlier in the year and they looked to make amends for the dastardly deed. The Cardinal Ladies were confident they could walk in and out like a quick stop at Mendosa’s for a soda pop.
The JV Girls game started off a little slow, our Lady Panthers having a hard time getting the ball to drop, at the end of the 1st quarter, Mendo led 12-3. I don’t know what coaches Brian Wyant and JR Collins said to the girls, but it obviously worked and by the 2nd quarter, the girls had found some kind of rhythm, outscoring the Cardinals 8-2. The 2nd half was much of the same with our young Lady Panthers showing some heart and continuing the great run in probably the most exciting JV Girls game of the season thus far. This hard fought game was won by AV by the slim margin of 38-36. Let it be known though that the old saying “All gave some, some gave all” was clear and present during this game with high scorer Lexi Johnson (11pts) going down in the final minutes of the game, from what I’ve heard was later diagnosed as a broken collar bone. This Booster is proud of her effort and wishes Lexi a very speedy recovery.
The JV Boys game was not as exciting with inconsistent play from our young Panthers team. For reasons unknown to me, in the first matchup between Anderson Valley and Mendocino, future Mendo star Jasper Painton did not play and it became clear that his presence on the court is critical to any Cardinal win. The Boys from Boonville just never seemed to find any type of rhythm, finding themselves down at halftime 26-17. It should be noted that in their previous matchup the Panthers were also down at the half, but this time they just couldn’t seem to hold it together long enough to pull out the win. Not a single player wanted to take charge of this team and pull them out of whatever funk they were in and it was obvious they suffered for it. The final score AV 33 – Mendo 46. Mendocino’s Jasper Painton was able to score 20 points this game, with AV’s high scorer, Gerardo Torales, 8. Izac Parra, Christian Natareno and Fernando Ferreyra all had 5 points each.
Now if you’re looking for exciting basketball, the Varsity Girls are up to the task. The Lady Cardinals came out victorious in their first meeting, but not by a lot, and out Lady Panthers were able to make the adjustments needed. The 1st quarter was a low scoring one, with AV up 7-4. Grecia Herrera and Kaylie Mendoza were able to keep the pace during the 2nd quarter, helping the Panthers outscore the Cardinals 11-9. Score at halftime: 18-13, AV. With little fanfare, the 3rd quarter started and the Panthers were able to keep the pace, once again outscoring the Cardinals 11-8. But there are four quarters in a basketball game and the Lady Cardinals were not going to go down quietly. With five Mendocino players scoring in the 4th quarter, and shooting 4/6 of their late game free throws, the Cardinals were able to outscore the Panthers 17-9 in the 4th, tying the game at 38. Luckily for us, there’s always overtime and the Panthers were able to squeak out 5 more points and hold Mendocino scoreless to pound out the win. AV 43 Mendo 38
It’s always a welcome sight to see former AV coaches back in our gym and Jim Young is no exception. And then on the other hand, it’s always good to beat former coaches. The Panthers starting lineup saw a change in this game, with Elvis Gaxiola taking a spot for the still recovering, yet still formidable Abraham Sanchez. By now we all know that our Panthers team is a fast one, and Mendocino spent most of the 1st quarter trying to keep pace, but even their fans knew that this was going to be a hard task with shouts coming from the stands like, “Slow down Mendo! This isn’t the NBA!” Obviously those fans assumed that you can actually slow down a Panther but we all know what happens when one assumes…The Panthers were able to come out with a quick 16-8 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, with a total of 7 Panthers putting up points in the 1st. Elvis Gaxiola was able to wow the crowd with 6 points in the 2nd quarter and Abraham Sanchez might have sprained his ankle a couple of games ago, but besides the athletic tape, you would have never known. He was able score another 6 points in the 3rd quarter and even though the game was able to slow down enough for the Cardinals to keep pace after the 1st quarter, the damage was already done. Halftime score: 31-24 Panthers. Both teams came out scoring 15 in the 3rd, but a couple of lights out 3’s by Jose Gaxiola in the 4th sealed the win. Final score: AV: 62 – Mendo 51 Notable players: J. Gaxiola 14pts, A. Sanchez and E. Gaxiola both had 12. Noah Thomas had 11 for Mendo.
The call for the colors to be flown had gone out last week and sure enough it was heard by lifetime Panther faithful. On a rainy Friday night, no less than five (5) letterman jackets were observed in attendance. Coach Espinoza, Coach Soto, Tony Sanchez Sr and Jr, and Tia Debbie Sanchez were present and accounted for. While it by no means is the end of the call, I’ll just yell louder this time. This time though, Panthers young and old need to come out and cheer on our teams against the Pirates. We know everyone has a little brown / gold in their closet. This Friday night, let’s make it a most romantic evening with your love by spending it at the gym. JV Girls will kick off the night right at 3:30pm, followed by the JV Boys at 5pm, Varsity Girls at 6:30pm and Varsity Boys at 8pm. These last games are the very last home basketball games for Seniors Jose Gaxiola and Ernesto Contreras and cheer captain, Danielle Anderson. We want to see another large crowd for what is bound to be a hard fought, loud, passionate game against the Point Arena Pirates.
And lastly, I would like to send my deepest congratulations to retiring Coach Flick McDonald for being voted All-Empire Volleyball Coach of the Year. Along with Sephany Garcia for making 1st team and Danielle Anderson and Alex Farber for making the 2nd team. Great job!
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TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: AV is playing in Laytonville and so far both JV teams have won. Here are the scores:
JV Girls: AV 41 — Laytonville 32
JV Boys: AV 61 — Laytonville 52