By Brett Appley-Correspondent

Posted:   03/05/2014 10:22:58 PM PST- CHICO ENTERPISE-RECORD

OROVILLE >> The Oroville High boys basketball team fell short Wednesday, losing 67-54 to Enterprise in the semifinals of Northern Section CIF playoffs.

The Tigers, who were the No. 2 seed in the tournament, escaped against Paradise in the quarterfinals Saturday. Although Enterprise was ranked as the No. 3 seed, the pregame talk revolved around how Oroville would be able to handle Enterprise’s stars, including Kaelan Crisosto and Justin Abney.

Oroville immediately started the game with high-pressure defense, which created lots of physicality. While the Hornets successfully moved the ball around and created quality possessions, the Tigers relied mostly on driving to the rim. Enterprise took advantage of the sloppiness and broke out to a 22-11 first quarter lead.

Led by Kahliel Wyatt and Derrek Gordon, Oroville slowly mounted a comeback, inching closer and closer to a tied game. But while the Tigers fought their way to the free-throw line countless times, they struggled, and finished the half 6/12 from the line. Enterprise took a 28-26 lead into the locker room, led by 10 points from Abney. Wyatt was the leading scorer for Oroville at the half with nine points.

The Hornets came out re-energized in the second half and didn’t let pressure or energy from the home crowd affect their style of play, stuffing shots under the hoop and finding open buckets. As time elapsed, the refs became involved on almost every play and the game started to get chippy. Oroville constantly got to the line, but couldn’t take advantage of it, shooting slightly more than 50 percent.

Enterprise stayed calm and used their outside game in combination with big inside threats to spread out the Tigers’ defense. At the end of the third quarter, Enterprise still had control and was winning 46-39.

Oroville mounted one final comeback in the fourth quarter, as Tyler Liese scored six points and Gordon scored several of his own. But little mistakes, like not boxing out or throwing sloppy passes contributed to too many second-chance points, and Enterprise never gave up the lead. Back-to-back steals in the final minute sealed the deal for the Hornets and Crisosto finished the game at the line on nearly every possession.

Crisosto was one of a few stars for Enterprise in this contest, scoring 26 points, 19 in the second half. Abney also dominated on offense for the Hornets, scoring 19 points from everywhere on the floor, with a huge dunk in the mix.

Gordon led the scoring charge for Oroville with 15 points, followed by nine points from Wyatt.

“It was the best season I ever had,” Gordon said. “I love playing with my family and these group of kids. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Oroville head coach Robert Anderson said mistakes were really costly against the tough opponent.

“In the key moments, we didn’t take care of the ball,” Anderson said. “We turned it over to them, which you can’t do if you’re going to be in a game against a great team like Enterprise. This season is definitely a success and it’s because of these kids. These kids deserve all the credit. I just get to be the head of the ship and hopefully steer them in the right direction.”

Enterprise will face No. 4 seeded Shasta in the finals Friday.

By Brett Appley-Correspondent

Posted:   03/01/2014 03:10:28 PM PST- CHICO ENTERPRISE-RECORD

CHICO>> The Pleasant Valley boys’ soccer team dominated Shasta in a 3-1 victory Saturday, claiming the Division I title in the CIF Northern Section championship.

The Vikings entered the game as the No. 1 seed with a 20-1-1 record and a powerful offense. Shasta, which finished the season as the No. 2 seed with a 12-4-1 record, has relied much more on its defense.

The Vikings controlled the game from the first minute, dominating possession with fluid play from all ends. In the eighth minute, PV notched its first goal on a brilliant free kick from Brandon Sauceda, who took the set piece from about 25 yards out on the left side of the box and dipped the curling shot over the keeper and into the right corner.

“Our plan for every set piece was to be quick and catch them off guard,” Sauceda said. “I wanted to test the keeper and it ended up the way I wanted it to.”

Shasta played tough defense, but the Wolves’ offense couldn’t hold possession for more than a touch or two, giving the Vikings a mess of opportunities. After a few shots that glanced wide, Ian Melton scored the second goal for PV in the 22nd minute, on a diving header from a well-placed corner. The pass came from the right side and Melton slipped through the defense toward the ball and glanced the header into the bottom left corner.

In the final minutes before halftime, Shasta grew aggressive and committed a slew of fouls, resulting in plenty of set-piece opportunities for the Vikings. The half was almost entirely played in front of the Wolves’ goal and PV dominated the touches inside the box. At halftime, the score was 2-0 in favor of PV.

Shasta came out confident in the second half, with nothing left to lose. In the 48th minute, Riley Davis slammed home a goal for the Wolves to bring the score to 2-1. The shot came off a missed touch by the Vikings defenders, and rolled lazily to the edge of the box for Davis to pound home. Shasta clearly grew in confidence from the strike, as the bench and on-field players seemed to get new life.

But it didn’t take long before the Vikings took back control, led by midfielder Hernan Rodriguez, who calmed down the attack and constantly switched the field. In the 60th minute, Sauceda scored another goal from a 40-yard free kick, this time by out-jumping the Shasta defenders and flicking a header into the net.

“That’s hours and hours and hours of hard work by these guys preparing set pieces and making sure we’re dangerous on those plays,” said Vikings head coach Michael Vought. “You leave Brandon open and we’ve seen in so many games this year that he burns teams. He’s earning his own badge of respect from other teams around the league and today was no exception of that.”

The final 20 minutes were fast-paced, but the steam from Shasta’s attack slowly faded and PV controlled the game more and more. A final run wasn’t enough to complete the comeback and PV ended the game with more dominance.

“The plan was to do what we’ve done for the past 22 games,” Vought said. “Game 23 wasn’t going to be any different. The guys responded brilliantly.”

By Brett Appley-Correspondent

Posted:   02/28/2014 11:05:00 PM PST CHICO ENTERPRISE-RECORD

OROVILLE >> The Oroville High boys basketball team escaped with a 67-56 victory Friday, at home against Paradise in the quarterfinals of the Division III CIF Northern Section playoffs.

Oroville came into the game as the No. 2 seed, with a 20-5 record and an EAL regular season championship. Paradise had a challenging season and finished last in the EAL with a record of 2-22. In two previous matchups, Oroville crushed the Bobcats 71-31 and 51-39.

But Friday’s contest, which had a trip to the semifinals on the line, wasn’t at all reminiscent of the big defeats. Oroville started the game receiving a technical foul for pre-game dunking, which gave Paradise two free-throws and the ball to start the match. Additionally, Oroville head coach Robert Anderson was forced to remain seated throughout the entire game as a penalty.

“I didn’t mind the technical too much, just because I know kids are excited about playing the game,” Anderson said. “I didn’t like the fact that I had to sit down because of it. It kind of crimped my coaching style a little bit.”

The Tigers, who were clearly the more physical and athletic team, came out strong in the early minutes, forcing several turnovers that stemmed from a strong full-court press. Paradise looked shell-shocked and wasn’t able to move the ball with any efficiency.

Down 12-3, Paradise started hustling and diving for loose balls and seemed to find a short-term answer to the press. Jonathan Dixon came alive and took over for the Bobcats, scoring 13 points in an amazing first-half comeback. The underdogs took back-to-back charges, followed by two quick steals from Andrew Machado, which gave Paradise the lead. The stunned Tigers went to the locker room down 35-28, in what would shape up as an exciting second half.

Oroville opened up the third quarter with a scoring spree, similar to the one which started the game.

Derek Gordon and Kahliel Wyatt combined for several high-flying dunks and alley-oop attempts, as the Tigers shifted the game’s momentum. Oroville continued to put pressure on Paradise, and while the Tigers’ overwhelming skill became clear on each possession, the Bobcats struck back with hustle and heart, keeping the score within reach.

Paradise was only down 50-42 to start the fourth quarter, but fell to a mess of turnovers, in what was a consistent theme throughout the game. Oroville recorded steal after steal and put on an impressive show to finish the game strong.

The close, competitive game was evidence of how hard our boys worked, said Paradise head coach Jerry Hight.

“It’s proof that if you work hard, success is going to happen,” Hight said. “I loved our effort and sticking to the game plan. I loved what my guys did tonight.”

Wyatt led the Tigers’ offense with 14 points and Marcus Wilhite chipped in another eight. Dixon was the man of the match for Paradise, as he scored 19 points, followed closely by 12 points from Machado.

“John Dixon is a really, really hard worker and he makes the most of his basketball ability with heart and hustle,” Hight said.

Oroville will take on No. 3 seeded Enterprise in the semifinals March 5, in what’s shaping up to be a thriller.

“Were just gonna come out and play hard,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we can get two good practices in next week and amp up our game to play against arguably the best team in our section.”

By Brett Appley-Correspondent

Posted:   03/11/2014 04:57:20 PM PDT- CHICO ENTERPRISE-RECORD

CHICO >> The No. 14-ranked Chico State women’s golf team sputtered to a third-place finish Tuesday at the InterWest Wildcat Invitational at Canyon Oaks Country Club.

The Wildcats were the defending champions of their home event and came into the contest on a hot streak, ready to face tough competition. The event featured four teams ranked in the top 40 by Golfstat, including No. 25 Sonoma State, No. 29 Cal State Monterey Bay, No. 35 Cal State East Bay and No. 38 Academy of Art.

After a wet and wild first round Monday, the Wildcats were sitting in second place with a combined score of 325, trailing Academy of Art by five strokes. Sonoma State was just one stroke behind Chico State with a score of 326.

Sarah McComish led the Wildcats on day one with a 5-over-par 77 and Dani O’Keefe finished the first round with a 9-over 81. But on day two, while the conditions were better and brighter, the scores were not.

Sonoma State had a tremendous second-round 319, which propelled the Seawolves to a seven-stroke first-place finish with a total of 645. Academy of Art finished second with a second-round 332 and an overall score of 652. Chico State was able to muster a score of 330 Tuesday and a total score of 655, which secured third place.

“Strategy always changes from day to day because conditions are always different,” said Chico State head coach Kathy Dais. “That’s the beauty of the game. The strategy today was to play your low shots into the wind, don’t over-swing and try to make putts. Our course is so hard; it’s one of the hardest courses that we play all year.”

O’Keefe led the charge Tuesday for the Wildcats with a second round 5-over 77 and finished tied for third with a 158. McComish tied for fifth with a second-round 82 and a total score of 159. Spencer Downey tied for 18th with a 171 and Abbey McGrew finished 20th with a 172.

“Today the course wasn’t quite as wet and soggy so the ball was rolling a little better from tee to fairway,” Downey said. “The greens are really tricky, the pin placements were tougher and the wind as it was picking up it made things lot more difficult. You had to putt well. If you putted well, you scored well.”

Heather Fegley, who was competing as an individual, finished in 11th place with a score of 165, after two consecutive scores of 82. Bianca Armanini, whose first-round 83 counted for the Wildcats on day one, was forced to withdraw due to health reasons. This forced the Wildcats to take all four of their team scores, instead of the usual best four scores from the group of five. Sydney Zink, who was also competing as an individual, finished the tournament in 25th with a score of 181.

“We know this course better than any other team and I think that makes the loss worse,” Downey added. “We’re trying to defend our title but we couldn’t deliver and we feel bad about it, but that gives us more of a drive to do well in Monterey.”

By Brett Appley-Correspondent

Posted:   02/28/2014 01:29:32 AM PST CHICO ENTERPRISE-RECORD

CHICO>> The first event of a highly anticipated track and field season began Thursday for decathletes and heptathletes at the Chico Multi Classic at University Stadium.

Two-time defending NCAA Division II Champion J Patrick Smith from Chico State headlined the competitor list, which also included NCAA championship contenders Theodore Elsenbaumer and John Brunk. Elsenbaumer finished ninth at the championships last season, while Brunk finished fourth in 2012.

Other notable competitors in the decathlon field were Adam Nikssarian from Chico State, Mark Thayer from Butte College and Teigan Eilers, who was running unattached.

The first day was comprised of five events, including the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400.

Smith crushed the first event with a 100 time of 10.95 seconds, and would continue to shine for the rest of the day. Brunk and Elsenbaumer tied for second with a time of 11.02.

Smith then won the long jump with a distance of 7.2 meters, placing himself atop the Group A leaderboard with a point total of 1,734 after two events. Brunk finished second again with a distance of 7.04 meters, and Eilers and Elsenbaumer finished third and fourth with distances of 7.01 and 6.97 meters, respectively.

In the third event, Smith notched a personal record with a shot put distance of 12-72.

“It’s a lot of frustration come out because I didn’t PR in the shot put once last year, so it’s a PR from two years ago,” Smith said. “The shot put is by far my worst event. I just got 60 points more in that event than I’ve ever scored before. It’s a little satisfying because I’ve been really frustrated for a very long time in that event, so it feels good.”

Most athletes are running for a provisional qualifying score of 6,200 points, but the Chico State seniors are running for an automatic qualifying score of 7,000 points, said Chico State head coach Oliver Hanf.

“We try to peak at the end of the year, but for decathletes, there are limited opportunities,” Hanf said. “It’s like running a marathon — there’s only so much the body can handle.”

In the women’s heptathlon, Kristen Brunk and Jessica Mixon are on target to score NCAA Provisional marks when the Chico Multi resumes with the final three events today.

Brunk, a redshirt freshman, sat atop the heptathlon’s B standings Thursday, earning 2,360 points, with Mixon in second with 2,345 points. Brunk posted personal bests in all four events, winning the 200-meter dash (26.08 seconds), placing second in the 100-meter hurdles (16.74 seconds), second in the shot put (30-feet-0.25) and sixth in the high jump (4-feet-05.5).

Mixon won two heptathlon events Thursday, placing first in the 100-meter hurdles (16.48 seconds) and the shot put (a personal-best 31-feet-07.25). The junior came in second in the 200-meter dash (28.61 seconds) and tied for second in the high jump (4-feet-10.25).

Day two begins this afternoon at 12:30 with the 110-meter hurdles, followed by the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.

By BRETT APPLEY-Correspondent
Posted:   02/20/2014 12:28:31 AM PST – Chico Enterprise-Record

OROVILLE — Oroville High is the Eastern Athletic League champion.

The Tigers boys basketball team squashed Pleasant Valley 62-50 Wednesday night at home, capping off a surprising ascent to first place for Oroville, which swept PV in the season series.

The win pushed Oroville to 6-1 in league play, while PV dropped to 5-2, with both losses coming at the hands of the Tigers. More importantly, with one game left, even if the Tigers lose and PV wins, Oroville holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Vikings.

Derrek Gordon had 24 points for the Tigers, with 20 coming in the second half.

“The kid loves basketball more than life itself, almost,” said Oroville head coach Robert Anderson. “He was amazing tonight, a little banged up, but he played right through it and gave us what we needed, which is what he’s done pretty much the entire season.”

PV opened the game strong, with Zack Suttles getting to the free-throw line for a point and taking a charge on the opposing end. There was an extremely fast pace on both sides, and it clearly affected the offense, as both teams couldn’t sink a shot.

Gordon, who would play a major role later in the game, got the first points for Oroville on a strong move to the hoop. The score was at a 2-1 standstill for a long time and it wasn’t until the end of the first quarter when things started to heat up. James Jones grabbed a rebound for the Tigers and drained a half-court buzzer beater to end the first quarter up 15-9.

As the first half progressed, it became clear that Oroville was the physically dominant team, but PV never backed down. A huge three-point play from Jerry Migasi, who finished the game with nine points, brought the score to 18-14 near the end of the half.

Frequent turnovers, sloppy shots and strong defense on both sides contributed to the low-scoring half, which ended 20-18 in favor of Oroville. The Tigers ended the half with three players tied with four points, while PV had two players with four points.

The second half, which became the Gordon show early, was filled with much more scoring as both teams found their rhythms. Oroville busted out to a 39-27 lead in the third quarter, led by Gordon.

PV kept chipping away at the lead throughout the half, but the Tigers wouldn’t give it away easily. Migasi got to the free-throw line constantly for PV and Brandt Hughes, who finished with 11 points, was a major offensive component.

“We have to come together better as a team and not commit stupid plays like we did tonight,” Hughes said. “We’ve got to be the better, smarter team.”

Costly mistakes hindered the Pleasant Valley comeback, including three second-half technicals. Oroville was too strong down the stretch and looked like the better team, and finished the final minutes strong for the victory.

“The win was important for us psychologically because we had a down game last week,” Anderson said. “To come here and play like we know we can play was huge for us. It will give us momentum going into the playoffs.”

PV plays its final game at home against Paradise, while Oroville finishes the season on the road at Las Plumas.

2014 Off-season: Oakland A’s style

Posted: December 10, 2013 by brettappley in MLB, Written by @nwoodard25

billy beane

Moneyball my ass. The A’s are wheeling and dealing this offseason.

After finishing atop the American League West in 2013, Oakland has sought a strategy that differs from the off seasons of year’s past. They are adding big pieces to the puzzle.

With free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour leaving the team as free agents, the A’s quickly added a pair of players to fill those spots on the roster. They signed free agent Scott Kazmir to a 2-year, 22 million dollar deal and dealt Jemile to find their new closer in Jim Johnson.

The team has also added a pair of secondary players through trade in outfielder Craig Gentry from Texas and reliever Luke Gregerson from San Diego.

All four players will figure to have key roles heading into 2014 as the Athletics aim to continue their reign atop the West.

And while they have been considerably active early this offseason, they aren’t done yet.

Teams can always use another bat. The A’s are no different. Oakland currently has a gaping hole at designated hitter, and seven starting pitchers on the roster. See the connection?

One Brett Anderson, set to make 8 million this upcoming season, could find himself on the way out as part of a package to grab a consistent bat.

Then again, you can never have enough pitching. Just look across the bay to what happened when a strong five from San Francisco’s world champion 2012 campaign faltered in 2013.

If Anderson is in fact dealt, however, there are a few strong fits. The Blue Jays, who fell to fifth place after a spending spree last offseason, need pitching with Josh Johnson gone. And with plenty of offense to go around, they could afford to give up, say, an Adam Lind for Brett Anderson.

Lind hit .288 in 2013 with 23 home runs in 2013, numbers that would be a welcoming fit for Oakland.

Of course, this is all just speculation. Oakland could very well be finished as far as significant offseason moves are concerned. On the flip-side, you can never count out the brilliance of Billy Beane.

Ahh, the beauty of the offseason.

 

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