Sophomore Jake Rodrigues boxes out for a rebound Saturday Night
Photo by Barbara Rogers

Saturday, Mar. 10

Varsity Boys Division Six Norcal State Semifinal

Redding Christian—Varsity Boys 31  Sacramento Adventist 48

Hoop, there it Is! From Redding Christian School

By Wil Keepers,


The Redding Christian Varsity Boys have accomplished a lot this season, winning the 5-star League, winning the Northern Section, and advancing to the Northern California State Semi-finals.  But there was one more goal ahead of them, winning a Norcal title.  Standing in their way was the Sacramento Adventist Capitals, the runner-up from the Sac-Joachin section around Sacramento that sported a 26-5 record.  The Lions came out sharp early, but so did the Capitals,  The team brought over 100 fans up from Sacramento, and the gym was packed and extremely loud.  It must have seemed to the Lions almost that they were playing a road game.  The Capitals defensive plan was simple, don’t let Austin Larson beat us.  Every time he touched the ball, he was hounded by 2 and sometimes 3 defenders.  Other teams have tried this, but didn’t have the athletes to accomplish it.  Sac Adventist did.  Their offense was simple too.  Create open space, spread the floor, and when you get a mismatch attack.  Also, every rebound every steal, even when they have to take the ball out after a made basket, push the ball up the floor and make the Lions defend every second.  And their game plan worked almost to perfection.  The teams played even for the first 6 minutes or so, but a late barrage led to an 11-6 first quarter lead.  In the second, the frenetic pace continued, and while the Capitals could rotate in fresh players, the Lions found themselves struggling to keep up.  After a 17-7 second quarter, the Lions faced a 28-13 halftime deficit.

If the Lions were going to win, they would need to show the resolve and heart the girls team did last week facing down an 11 point halftime deficit.  They certainly tried.  The Lions Austin Larson scored his first field goal 22 seconds into the 3rd, and it looked like the Lions might be about to mount something.  But the Capitals slowed the offense, and with excellent ball movement, got open shots and even as the Lions clawed and fought so hard, they extended their lead to 21.  Near the end of the 3rd, the Lions had their best stretch of the game, an 8-0 run fueled by the effort of Ty Vickery, who is normally more of an outside shooter.  He went into the inside, fought for a rebound against a much taller player and got fouled.  After hitting his foul shots, the Lions scored on two consecutive 3-pointers, by Austin Larson and by Ty, but the Capitals answered, and the lead was back to 15 to end the quarter.  The Lions played hard and kept the score near even through the 4th, but the lead was too much to overcome, and the Capitals went on to a 48-31 17 point victory.

The Lions were led by 13 points from Austin Larson, along with 15 rebounds, 6 points from Hayden Madieros and 6 rebounds, and 5 points by Ty Vickery.  Jackson Black added 4 points and 5 rebounds.  The Lions finish their season 28-3, and ought to be proud of all they accomplished.  They were a fun, selfless team to watch, and accomplished much.  A first league title in 8 years, first section title in 5 years, and semifinalist in the Norcal tournament are accomplishments to be proud of.  Sac Adventist will face Ripon Christian, also from the Sac-Joachin Section, in the final next week.