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Peaking Wildcats making a run at a National Championship……

 

It’s not that we didn’t think they could do it, but to expect it was totally unfair.

The Chico State men’s basketball is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota getting ready to take on Lincoln Memorial at the Elite Eight for Division II basketball. The Wildcats magic carpet ride was punctuated last weekend with three splendid performances against the three respective regular season champions in the West Region.

First, Chico knocked off high-scoring Western Washington 96-83. Despite giving up 83 points the Wildcats were more than happy getting in a shootout with the Vikings. For the first time in a long time the Wildcats found room to move on the floor. Passing lanes that were clogged and impediments that were common place during CCAA play all of sudden turned into wide gulfs of space with which they could run their offense unimpeded against a Western team that gave up nearly 80 points a game. It must have felt like a jail-break for Chico State.

The free-flowing offense where movement and motion was rewarded. It had been a while since Chico had been that wide open for drives and shots. The game was truly a testament to how good the CCAA is. To win the CCAA you MUST play defense, if not you will get carved to pieces.

On day two the Wildcats encountered a frisky bulldog-tough type of team in Hawaii-Pacific. If the Sharks were a baseball team I would affectionately call them a bunch of “dirt-bags.” Fluidity of play and dogged aggressiveness characterized the Pacific West Conference Champions. We saw them systematically take care of the best defensive team in the country, CCAA-rival Sonoma State. I was thoroughly impressed with their defensive doggedness and anticipated Chico State would have their hands full.

Chico’s 15-point lead with 9:30 to go eventually turned into a one-point deficit with 1:55 to go. A furious 25-9 rally by the Sharks had the Wildcats on their heels, before Chico State righted the ship. The Wildcats ability to rescue the game after coughing up a 15 lead showed Chico State had come a long way in a year. After Isaiah Ellis took a charge with the Cats down and with 4 fouls, Robert Duncan made a driving lay-up. After Corey Silverstrom registered a steal and driving bucket the Cats had the whip-hand and outlasted HPU 77-74. The win showed many of us Chico State lifers a toughness that at times had been missing over the last few years. It’s hard to be critical of a team that has had as much success as the Wildcats for the last several years. But, sometimes and on rare occasions, when things went south, the Cats had a hard time pulling themselves out of the abyss, especially in the middle of a game. Not this time, though.

This Chico State team made winning plays to beat Hawaii-Pacific. Sealed the game with defense and disciplined offense and moved on to the regional championship game against UC San Diego.

The championship tilt against the rival Tritons will simply go down as one of the great basketball games in Chico State Wildcats history. 10 days before this title match-up UCSD had come out in the CCAA semi-final game and as All-American guard Robert Duncan said, “punched Chico in the mouth.” With 4 minutes left in the 1st half UCSD had jumped out to a 27-11 lead. The Wildcat offense was stagnant. There was not movement, no aggressiveness, a passivity to their flow that was not conducive to winning basketball. When the final horn sounded it was San Diego 65-53 over Chico State. The final score only told a portion of the story. The Tritons had taken the fight to Chico State, and for this team to accomplish the things they wanted to accomplish, that had to change.

Right from the out-set you could tell the Wildcats wouldn’t lose this game for a lack of fight. On their first possession they would grab two offensive rebounds. They would attack on the offensive end. The ball moved, the players moved, there was cutting and motion, it was a thing of beauty. It was nothing like the three games the Wildcats had played against UCSD this year. There was a precision and rhythm to the Cats’ offensively that showed this team at their peak. To quote Norman Dale in the movie Hoosiers, “all pistons firing operating as one.”

Ellis was simply other-worldly. The Wildcat junior scored 19 of his game high 34 in the first half. The Tritons having watched Chico hit 25-of-50 from three-point range in the first two games of the regional were reluctant to double Ellis, out of fear of leaving the triumvirate of Wildcat shooters open, they paid the price.

Even after an 11-0 run by the Tritons sent their faithful into a frenzy, giving UCSD a 57-51 lead, Chico would counter with a 14-7 run of their own and this time it was more than Ellis. Corey Silverstrom would get hot taking top of the key and wing three’s to set it off. All the other pieces for the Cats played well including the other duo on the “core-fore” Jalen McFerren and Duncan. The beauty of Duncan’s play is he facilitated much of the Wildcat success. In past year’s Chico had to have Duncan score, but this year Duncan and Wildcats thrive when he facilitates ball movement and action. His talents necessitates constant attention. That attention opens things up for his mates and in the regional Duncan has never been better. McFerren took the slings and arrows from all teams to run the offense with continuity and flow. His 37-minute 1 turnover performance may be one of the more over-looked great games of the season for the Cats, but not by those of us that saw him play.

Everyone in uniform for Chico State played well against San Diego. In retrospect there just wasn’t a player who didn’t play well, that how championship teams are crowned.

With as well as the Wildcats played they still had to withstand an incredible shooting display by the Tritons. UCSD shot 14-of-26 from three-point range, making Chico State pay for their double-teams against sophomore post Chris Hansen. The complimentary pieces were tremendous for San Diego, but as CCAA-MVP Adam Klie said after the game, “we just couldn’t get stops. They (Chico) just played really well.”

Knocking off three conference champions in four days is not an easy task. When you do it, deep down you have to think all things are possible and that is the attitude the Chico State Wildcats bring to Sioux Falls. The Cats finished in a tie for third in the CCAA, got knocked out in the semis of the CCAA Conference Tournament but their championship pedigree is undeniable.

This Chico State core pushed themselves to heightened levels of exhaustion just to win a CCAA regular season title in 2016. They would never win another game the night after they clinched. They expended so much energy to win that regular season title, they had nothing left.

There was a conscious effort as many Wildcats professed to me in October to perform and win in the NCAA Tournament. The conference accolades and rewards were nice, but the NCAA Tournament riches are better. This team knew this, and their experience in losing in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years lit a flame that, at times dimmed slightly, but never extinguished.

They are peaking. They are hungry. And, they don’t feel like they are anywhere near finished.

High School Football Playoff Semifinal Preview !!!

PART 1

PART 2

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DIVISION II

Enterprise @ Paradise and Shasta @ PV

DIVISION III

West Valley @ Sutter and Anderson @ Lassen

DIVISION IV

Colusa @ East Nicolaus and Durham @ Willows

DIVISION V

Chester @ Biggs and Fall River @ Quincy

DIVISION VI SECTION TITLE GAME

Butte Valley @ Big Valley

MIKE BACA- KPAYSports @BitoBaca and @KPAYBacaSports on twitter

TJ HOLMES- Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes on twitter

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER- CHICOER @JShufelberger on twitter

ROSS FIELD- Action News 12 & 24 @rossfield1224 on twitter

RICK SILVA- Paradise Post @Post_RickSilva on twitter

JEFF LARSON-Paradise Post @jtlarson on twitter

LEE CARRELL- Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee on twitter

DON’T FORGET TO PLAY IN THE REDDING.COM HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PICK EM’ CONTEST…

Hit the link below to enter !

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High School Football Show November 2, 2016

Sorry for the bit of a delay but here is this week’s show. Great match-ups in the final Friday of the regular season as the playoffs approach.

Our panel breaks down some of the great match-ups and also looks at playoff points.

PART ONE

 

PART TWO

 

 

*We will be at The Farm on Friday night bringing you the East Nicolaus (9-0) versus Durham (8-1) match-up. You can listen RIGHT HERE at 7:25pm and also on the KpaySports app on your mobile device……

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MIKE BACA- KPAYSports @BitoBaca and @KPAYBacaSports on twitter

TJ HOLMES- Redding Record Searchlight @tjholmes on twitter

JOSEPH SHUFELBERGER- CHICOER @JShufelberger on twitter

ROSS FIELD- Action News 12 & 24 @rossfield1224  on twitter

RICK SILVA- Paradise Post @Post_RickSilva on twitter

JEFF LARSON-Paradise Post @jtlarson on twitter

LEE CARRELL- Action News 12 & 24 @CarrellLee on twitter

DON’T FORGET TO PLAY IN THE REDDING.COM HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PICK EM’ CONTEST…

Hit the link below to enter !

http://redding.upickem.net/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=256381&utm_campaign=GOTW&utm_medium=website&utm_source=SidebarPromo

Baseball Returns To Wrigley As Cubs Seek Series Edge

By Chandler Guadagnin

ws-gm-3-pitcher-comparison

World Series baseball returns to Wrigley Field for the first time in 71 years tonight, as the Chicago Cubs will look to take advantage of what is sure to be a raucous crowd, seeking a 2-1 series advantage. To accomplish this, Chicago will look to righty Kyle Hendricks. The Cleveland Indians will look to silence the audience as they will hand the ball to their right handed Josh Tomlin.

In his last start in the Postseason, Game 6 of the NLCS, Hendricks bested a shaky Clayton Kershaw. Hendricks shutdown a potent Dodgers offense, going seven and a third shutout innings and allowing only two hits while walking no one.

It was more of the same for Tomlin in his last start. Against the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the ALCS, he went five and two thirds innings, allowing just one run on 3 hits; while walking two and striking out six, to help the Indians to a ALCS Game 2 victory.

With both starting pitchers being so dominant this postseason, it may well be that, the team to score first will claim Game 3. Another X factor will be the effectiveness of the bullpens; and, if it occurs, which ‘pen cracks first.

Chicago’s offense will be without a big bat in the middle of the order, as Kyle Schwarber has been held out of the Cubs lineup. Schwarber who has not played the outfield since his collision and subsequent injury on April 7th, has not been cleared by  the doctor to play the field tonight and will only be available to pinch hit in games 3, 4, and 5.

Catch all the action of historic game 3 from Wrigley Field at 5:00PM PT on Fox or listen via ESPN Radio. Be sure to log on to www.kpaysports.com following the final out for postgame analysis.

Statistics courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com

Header image text courtesy of www.cooltext.com

Chico State hoops on the road against LA and Dominguez Hills

The Chico State women continued their amazing run through the CCAA with a couple of big road wins in Southern California. The Wildcat women gutted out a 73-67 win over second-place Cal State Los Angeles on Friday night. The Cats got 16 points from Hannah Womack, including four three-pointers as the Cats beat their closest pursuers in the CCAA.

The Wildcats made several hustle plays that led to victory including this sequence late in the game….

This three-pointer from Womack on an in-bounds play underneath the Chico bucket would be the dagger Chico needed….

Chico would bounce back the next night and take on a solid and improving Cal State Dominguez Hills program. Former Chico State coach Molly Goodenbauer had her freshman laden team coming at Chico. The Wildcats led by 17 in the first half but saw the Toros whittle that lead to one late in the game. Chico got this big bucket from Jazmine Miller to go up three with under three minutes to play….

Chico would beat the Toros 70-63 and now sit at 13-1 overall and 9-1 in the CCAA. Wildcat senior Monnie Davidson-Mays would be named the CCAA Player of the Week after her strong offensive and defensive efforts for the Cats. The Cats have a two-game lead in the CCAA over Cal State Los Angeles and Cal Poly Pomona. The Cats will play Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay coming up this weekend at Acker Gym. The women will play at 5:30 on both nights with our pre-game on Newstalk 1290 KPAY at 5:06pm both nights.

 

It was not a great weekend for the Chico State men as they dropped a pair of road games in tough venues in LA. The Cats suffered their most debilitating loss both physically and mentally on Friday night losing to Cal State Los Angeles 54-53. The Cats not only lost the game, but they lost two starters in the final 5-plus minutes. Jason Conrad was hit hard going for a dunk and suffered a concussion and Amir Carraway pulled his hamstring.

The Cats got off to a great start jumping out to a 13-0 lead on LA. This Rashad Parker three made it look like it might be an easy night for the Cats…..

Defense led to some offense for the Cats late in the first half as the Wildcats would grab a nine-point lead right before the break…

But, Cal State LA would clamp down as it turned into the defensive struggle one would expect from two of the best defensive teams in the country. The Wildcats would have the lead, but seven missed free throws in the second half doomed the Wildcats as they found themselves in a tie game in the waning moments….

Chico had one last chance, but couldn’t take advantage of it as the clock expired…..

On Saturday the Wildcats would be missing three starters and it showed as they scored 3 points in the first 10 minutes of the game and were routed by Dominguez Hills 67-41. With the losses the Cats fall to 8-6 overall and 5-5 in the CCAA and fell into sixth place. The Cats welcome Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay to Acker Gym this weekend. Game time for the men is 7:30 on both Friday and Saturday nights.