High School Sports

01/24/08

Large Schools

CASSANDRA CLARK

Oakdale basketball

Though she arrived on campus this season with a reliable outside shot, the emphasis has been on getting the 5-foot-7-inch freshman guard to be more aggressive while taking the ball to the basket.

"She's very tough both physically and mentally, so the contact is not something she shies away from," coach Gary Smith said. "She has a passion, so I think it is fair to say she will just continue to get better and better. It will be fun watching her grow."

Clark scored 17 points to lead the Mustangs over Central Valley 55-34 -- Oakdale's first Valley Oak League victory -- and provided a season-high 22 points during a 61-42 loss at the hands of rival Sonora.

The emergence of the shooting guard has provided a boost for the Mustangs, who struggled to put the ball in the basket during the first month of the season. She is one of two freshmen on Oakdale's varsity roster.

MALACHI BATT

Johansen basketball

The 5-foot-9-inch sophomore guard provided the game-winning shots in leading the Vikings to two Modesto Metro Conference victories, including a stunning 55-53 upset of Davis.

"He plays point guard, but he can play either guard position," coach Tony Heintz said. "He is very quick and has a great scoring mentality. He is very athletic and likes to play defense."

Batt scored a season-high 27 points and his layup at the buzzer snapped a 53-53 tie. That came a day after he had 12 points against Beyer and hit a layup at the finish for a 64-62 victory.

"Against Davis, he did most of his damage around the area of the free-throw line, although he did make two 3-pointers," Heintz said. "He is very quick with the dribble and has a very good crossover. He was getting into the key, pulling up and making the 15-foot jump shot, as well as getting all the way to the basket."

Small Schools

JENNIFER HANSEN

Le Grand basketball

The Southern League's most valuable player last season, the 5-foot-6-inch Hansen returned for her senior year with a reputation and plenty of respect.

"Teams have started to play a box-and-one against Jennifer, to try and slow her down," coach Danny Crosby said.

Rather than forcing the offense through the specialty defense, Crosby said, Hansen has been able to keep the ball moving to her open teammates while still averaging 16 points per game.

Hansen had 15 points and 13 rebounds in a 56-36 win over Denair, and posted another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to beat Turlock Christian 44-33. She also totaled six assists and seven steals in the two Southern League wins.

"Jennifer has worked on her ball-handling and taking the medium-range jump shot," Crosby said, "which has made her more of an offensive threat."

TIM OSWALD

Mariposa basketball

The 6-foot-2-inch point guard has been running the Grizzlies' offense since his sophomore year and has expanded his game each season.

"Tim has always been a scorer. However, he has become a great leader and has been a player who works hard at sharing the basketball and getting his teammates involved," coach Trace DeSandres said.

He had 23 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals in a 74-45 win over Delhi, and 22 points, 11 boards, five assists and four steals to help beat Denair 77-54 and keep the Grizzlies atop the Southern League with a perfect mark.

"He was all-league first team as a sophomore and the Southern League most valuable player as a junior," DeSandres said. "Despite having great success, Tim has worked harder than any player we have had over the past 10 years to continue to elevate his game. He is one of the gym rats who will play anytime, anywhere."

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA
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