Sports
February 17, 2019
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Heart break for Cougars Shots don’t win the game Titans lose to Wildcats Getting better all the time 39 years for championship Rancho NBL Redwood Champions Seawolves bow out in round 1 of NCAAs Pumas defeat Cougars Titans secure division win! Rancho Senior Varsity and Coach Hotaling Finished up with a win Wait, I have it! “To be a Cougar, you have to have a heart of a Warrior” Technology High Playing the last home game Credo/Technology volley ball Cardenas makes good use of errors Honoring Tech High Lady Titans 24-hours of Lemons at Sonoma Raceway Gray battles to the hoop INDYCAR Showcase Honoring Tech High Lady Titans Phan, player of the year Rancho Cotate High School First year gymnasts come in third Youth tennis camp is huge success Lacrosse holds free clinic Sept. 21 Advancing to the next round Anudokem leaps for the basket Technology High Cougars lose grip in final minutes Panthers trounce Cougars A collision bound to happen Not where I wanted it Warriors struggled during semi-finals Warriors and All Star Blue RC Girls’ basketball won invitational Cougars finish season with a win RC Cougar fan facing surgery receives outpouring of support Heading for a goal Seschin and Curry watch with interest Scott goes up for a shot Roseland beats Tech High Titans Credo stumbles in overtime Parking lot rally brings families together A nice tight race Nguyen shows thanks Worden lays it up Cougars rain on Lobos’ parade Rancho graduate signs with Holy Names University Laughlin makes a diving save Senior night for the volleyball team Cougars march toward playoffs Excitement for new football season  Cougars triumph over Vikings Cougars overcome Pumas Coyotes bring down Titans Move aside Man of Steel, we’ve got Ironman: Ironman triathlon returns to Sonoma County Getting it over the net Kuhlman watches the orb sail Lady Titan’s vs St. Helena Royals win bronze Cougar Ladies dominated RCHS girls’ basketball team honored their seniors Going for a goal Misi ready for the big hit Great job Lady Titans Sandoval scores against Piner Roby goes high Healdsburg takes the win Hayes comes in first Titan’s vs. Anderson Valley Balint, pitcher for the U of Oregon signing autographs Hayman flips it up Local playing with Ducks Northern California locals round out SCCA Championship Runoffs Rancho girls beat El Molino Lambrecht puts on pressure Cross country standouts Mata player of the match 8th Annual John’s march against Stomach Cancer Tomales defeats Tech High Scoring the final goal Tech High started a blaze Cougars remain undefeated Wildcats beat Cougars Martinez has a powerful kick Tech High doesn’t have enough steam Alfaro makes a hit Exhibition match brings out the stars Cougars' winning streak continues Roseland Beats Tech High Rancho alumnus signs with New York Red Bulls

Cougar win breaks 39-year dry spell

  • Kierra Johnson, senior at Rancho Cotate High School and member of the girls' varsity basketball team, fights to dribble around a member of the El Molino basketball game. The girls played against each other in the first round of the NBL Tournament. Rancho defeated El Molino 58-43, they move on to the next round which will be played at Analy High School Fri. at 6:30pm. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
February 8, 2019

The Rancho Cotate Cougars took home the North Bay League Championship pennant Tues., Feb. 5 against the El Molino Lions, 58-43. 

It’s the girls’ first championship pennant in 39 years. They won the last one way back in 1980 where it has hung in the Rancho Cotate gymnasium ever since. The old pennant is a weather worn, yellowed banner these days, but with the new theater, arts and gym building due to open later this season, it makes this year the perfect year to hang another. 

“I’m very proud of the girls. I’m happy that they got to have it presented here at home,” Cougar coach, Mario Newton, said. “To go undefeated in league like that...well, it’s a good reward to the girls for all their hard work and dedication. They practice two hours a day seven days a week, unless they’ve got games.” 

Undefeated in league is an unexpected title to apply to the Cougars. Last year the girls went 6-8 and stumbled in the North Bay League playoffs against Cardinal Newman. It must have stung to come so far and fall short, but failure can teach a team better than success ever could. They took last years’ lessons to heart and used everything they learned this year against the El Molino Lions. 

The game started slow. While Rancho took the lead right from the tip off, their play lacked the ferocity that is their trademark. Cougar coach, Mario Newton, cycled through his deep bench of 14 players, looking for a spark to get of his team moving. 

Newton finally found it in Teiya Fronda. 

Fronda is small for a basketball player, standing at an even five feet—but she’s fast. Really fast. A diminutive stature can also come in handy in evading notice from her much larger opponents, which is exactly what happened when a tug over the ball under the Lions ‘basket ended in the Cougars’ favor. 

Cougar Keyonee Neal went to the sidelines to bring the ball back into play, but the Lions’ defensive pattern left few openings. The referee counted down the seconds until the turnover. Then Fronda saw her chance. She dove into the weaving bodies, waving her hand above her head with a shout. Neal passed her the ball. The Lions looked for where it had gone, but Fronda had already gone for the shot. 

It was good. 

“We’re all really close,” Fronda said. “[I was feeling down] when the refs called some fouls that weren’t actually fouls—but my two best friends, Keyonee Neal and Mitra Mcferren, they always keep my head up. Even if it’s down they push it up.” 

But the Cougars didn’t get it all their own way. The Lions staged a brief comeback in the third quarter. 

It started when the Lions’ Ellie Roan intercepted a pass to the Cougars’ Natalia De La Cruz. The Cougars realized their mistake quickly and compensated, but not fast enough to stop Roan. She rushed the basket and the Cougars lagging far behind, went for an unopposed layup. It bounced off the backboard and fell into the net. 

Roan’s charge sparked new fire in the Lions. They followed it up with a three three-point basket by Alex Foszcz and a layup from Grace Anderson. 

The Cougars responded in force. Cougar Makenna Menton-Porter slapped down a pass between two Lions. The ball rolled across the court to settle at the feet of Cougar Jessica Phillips. Phillips scooped up the ball, dodging between two Lions that moved to block her. She passed to Cougar Keyonee Neal. 

Neal spun around the probing hands of the Lion defenders. Each step brought her closer to the basket. She leapt. The ball sailed from her outstretched fingers and swished through the net. 

“Rancho is a very talented team. They’re 10-0 in league. They’re hard to defend. They’ve got a lot of weapons and they’re big and on the board,” Lion coach, Keith Nordby, said. “I told my team after the game that the adjustments we made at halftime really improved. When you lose the first two games by 30 points then you go fishing, trying to find anything that works.” 

Next up for the Cougars is the North Coast Section Playoffs. Their first game is Tues. Feb. 12.