After the Big Valley Christian High wrestling team lost a tough dual meet to Mariposa earlier this month, coach Matt Ippolito was approached by one of his athletes.
“He said, ‘Coach, you got in our heads a little bit,’” Ippolito said. “In the past, (Mariposa) had a reputation for dominating and I kind of fed into it by talking about Mariposa to the team.”
It was a different story Saturday in Stockton where Big Valley and the Grizzlies squared off in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI team championships.
“I told them, ‘Treat Mariposa like they were another opponent,’” he said.
The Lions did just that, beating the Grizzlies, 45-33, to win the school’s first championship.
“We were on cloud nine and were ecstatic,” Ippolito said. “It was a weight lifted off our shoulders.”
Big Valley Christian, which lost to Mariposa in the 2017 championship, had three standout performances from senior Daniel Jones (132-pound), sophomore Briggs Alavezos (138-pound) and junior Javyn Drobnick (220-pound).
Several members of the team helped Ippolito and his wife move on Sunday and the fifth-year head coach said a lot of the conversations were about the previous day.
For Oakdale on Saturday, it was business as usual as the Mustangs beat Pitman, 41-23, in the Div. II championship to win the school’s 11th straight title.
“We had strong performances up and down the lineup,” Mustangs coach Steve Strange said. “Looking into the next month, each individual needs to continue to be disciplined and make improvements each week.”
Seniors Ricky Torres (145-pound) and Gabe Martinez (170-pound) and sophomore Henry Porter (134-pound) all went undefeated Saturday.
Beyer advanced to the Div. IV semifinals while Escalon advanced to the Div. V semis and Hilmar lost in the Div. V final. Turlock also advanced to the Div. I semifinals where they lost to Elk Grove.
Section finals are Feb. 8-9 at various high schools with Gregori hosting the Div. II Championships.
MC’ Fantazia impressed by Oak Hill Academy’s Cole Anthony: After his team’s 97-72 loss to Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) at the Nike Extravaganza in Santa Ana on Saturday, Modesto Christian coach Brice Fantazia felt the same way about Oak Hill senior Cole Anthony as most of America does: “He’s the real deal.”.
Anthony, the son of former NBA guard Greg Anthony, is the No. 3 player in the Class of 2019, according to 247Sports and the No. 1 guard.
The 6-foot-2 Anthony is the first New York City native to be ranked No. 1 at his position since former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, according to Slam Magazine.
Anthony had 21 points in the victory over the Crusaders, most of which came in the first half.
“We will see him in the NBA in another two years,” Fantazia said.
The MC coach was pleased with his guard play on Saturday, especially junior Michael Pearson.
“He is just letting the game come to him and not forcing the issue,” Fantazia said.
Pearson had 22 points.
Former Gregori goalie signs with Deportivo Guadalajara: Eduardo Solorzano, a 2014 Gregori graduate, recently signed with Deportivo Guadalajara, a third tier soccer team in Spain.
Solorzano is on the reserves but made his debut with the second team a week ago.
“The lifestyle is something I absolutely love,” Solorzano said via Twitter message. “In training, I do about 4-5 hours a day, both with my team and on my own. You have to be willing to put in extra work, be patient, and have faith. You never know when his opportunity will come, therefore you must always be prepared. It’s also a difficult life in the sense that nothing is guaranteed.”
Solorzano was named to first-team All Modesto Metro Conference in 2014 and played on the Modesto Ajax club team.
He also played with the San Jose Earthquakes Academy team.
Section Basketball Leaders
Here are Modesto-area athletes who rank among the top in their categories in the Sac-Joaquin Section, according to MaxPreps.
Points (t-1): Waterford senior guard Michael Vivo (27.5 points per game)
Rebounds (2nd): Ripon Christian senior center Cade Alger (12.4), 3rd- Ripon senior center Vincent Olmo (12.2)
Blocks (2nd): Central Catholic sophomore forward Myles Clayton (3.3)
Points (3rd): Livingston senior guard Annie Winton (27), 4th Beyer senior guard Alicia Jones (23.4)
Rebounds (3rd): Turlock junior forward Paige Vieira (14)
Assists (3rd): Ripon Christian junior guard Morgan Van Elderen (6.2)