May 19, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Worden is walk-off winner SSU Equestrian wins third Credo closes season with a win The Gryphon dominates the Eagles Credo wins softball rematch Cougars pounce on Tigers Boys lacrosse played last home game Vasquez digs in hard Seawolves bow out in round 1 of NCAAs Rancho plays last home game Titans secure division win! Rancho Senior Varsity and Coach Hotaling Ranch boys and girls played mixed Wait, I have it! “To be a Cougar, you have to have a heart of a Warrior” Technology High Seniors being honored Credo/Technology volley ball Cardenas makes good use of errors Honoring Tech High Lady Titans 24-hours of Lemons at Sonoma Raceway O’Daniel makes it back INDYCAR Showcase Honoring Tech High Lady Titans Phan, player of the year Rancho Cotate High School Credo over Tech, 8-1 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 Cougars score narrow win 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 Cougar seniors wave farewell 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 A well-deserved win Parking lot rally brings families together A nice tight race Nguyen shows thanks Worden lays it up Heart break for Cougars Cougars trounce Pumas Rancho graduate signs with Holy Names University Laughlin makes a diving save Senior night for the volleyball team Cougars shutout Eagles Excitement for new football season  Cougars triumph over Vikings Cougars overcome Pumas Tech baseball, a learning season 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 Cougars stumble in overtime Winding up for an out Rancho ends losing streak Girls played last game Going for a goal Misi ready for the big hit Great job Lady Titans Sandoval scores against Piner Roby goes high Wildcats beat Seawolves Rancho stumbles against Terra Linda Race to the stars Seniors were defeated by the staff Hayes comes in first Titan’s vs. Anderson Valley Balint, pitcher for the U of Oregon signing autographs Ca. School for the Deaf wins 72-60 RP prepares for opening day Parker reaches for a basket Oppenheim, Sarudiansky, Nudell Named All-PacWest Local playing with Ducks Northern California locals round out SCCA Championship Runoffs Rancho girls beat El Molino Shots don’t win the game SSU briefs Titans’ baseball: Learning respect for the game Game on home turf SSU Sports Briefs Cross country standouts Mata player of the match 8th Annual John’s march against Stomach Cancer Titans lose to Wildcats SSU Track and Field season opener 15 hits fuel SSUs 11 run victory SSU Smith blocks A world of difference Scoring the final goal Tech High started a blaze Getting better all the time Strong showing at Hornet Invitational Tech Titans: A Band of brothers and sisters Credo defeats Tech 15 to 3 39 years for championship Gryphons advance to semi-finals Seawolves place first Cougars clash with Cardinals Morie with determination Rancho NBL Redwood Champions After the last game of the season Seawolves top Jacks in series final two games A much-needed win Cars and coffee at the Speedway Pumas defeat Cougars Credo out on the road next week Seawolves sweep over Cal State East Bay Backhanding very nicely Rancho Cotate defeats Santa Rosa Cougar win breaks 39-year dry spell Finished up with a win Tech High Seniors honored Tam defeats Cougars Tigers sweep it all! I am the leader of the pack Jaguars crush Cougars Exhibition match brings out the stars Cougars march toward playoffs Cougars finish season with a win Playing the last home game Seawolves earn team ethics and sportsmanship award Rancho beat Ross Valley Cronin is safe A solar car will be on the track Rain does not stop Credo softball Cougars' winning streak continues Tomales defeats Tech High Coyotes bring down Titans Credo stumbles in overtime Gray battles to the hoop Racing begins March 9th Is the ball in there? Finding victory in defeat Tech High Reim swimming Roseland Beats Tech High Cougars remain undefeated RCHS girls’ basketball team honored their seniors Cougars rain on Lobos’ parade First year gymnasts come in third Will I do it? Rancho alumnus signs with New York Red Bulls Wildcats beat Cougars Healdsburg takes the win Martinez has a powerful kick Hayman flips it up Tech High doesn’t have enough steam Lambrecht puts on pressure Alfaro makes a hit

Cougars fought and lost hard

  • Keyonee Neal, a freshman at Rancho Cotate High School, pushes past a member of the Montgomery High School basketball team during their game Fri., Feb. 15. The teams played against each other in the NCS quarterfinals at Montgomery High School. The Vikings defeated the Cougars 60-42, stopping the Cougars from advancing further in the playoffs. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
February 22, 2019

The Rancho Cotate Cougars couldn’t overcome the Montgomery Vikings’ lead, 60-42, Fri. despite a strong comeback in the second half. 

The Cougars’ loss in the quarterfinals of the NCS Girls Basketball Division 2 Championship marked the end of the team’s history making season. For the first time in 39 years the Cougars brought home their division pennant, along with securing the honor of the team’s first playoff victory. 

Those are a pair of significant honors, and they’re ones the Cougars’ coach, Mario Newton, was honored to share with his team. 

“Montgomery is a good team. I’d have rather gone out to a team like Montgomery than Newark Memorial,” Cougar coach, Mario Newton, said. “Oh I’m so proud. I told my girls to look out in the stands and see that we have more fans from Rancho Cotate in these stands than any time in my four years.”

All through this year the Cougars’ strongest weapon was their physicality—their twin demons, Keyonee Neal and Kierra Johnson, dominated the paint through towering height and unmatched aggression. While the Cougars were certainly no slouches elsewhere on the court, their ability to excel in the scrum beneath the basket proved the difference in more than one match. 

Yet the Vikings had a pair of demons of their own—Trinity Hawkens and Ashleigh Barr. Between the two of them, they neutralized the Cougars’ core strength and dragged the match into a foul heavy brawl. 

“It was a battle on the board, but they really killed it on the free throw line. We couldn’t make free throws and they could,” Newton said. “Games are won and lost along that line.” 

The Vikings gained the lead when Cirah Michalik received possession after a missed Cougars’ shot bounced off the rim. She rushed up the side of the court, tiptoeing along the boundary line. Cougars responded in force. As is typical to Rancho’s battle plan, they paired up against Michalik and tried to slow her down while their team repositioned, but Michalik was having none of it. She passed to her teammate, Trinity Hawkens, who waited in the wings. Hawkens swooped in from the side, neatly dancing through the Cougar defenses, and landed a layup. While the scoreboard certainly tilted in the Vikings’ favor, the Cougars weren’t ones to give up. They rallied late in the second quarter when Keyonee Neal intercepted a Viking pass. She plunged towards the basket. Five of the Vikings moved to intercept. They buzzed around Neal like a swarm of angry insects, yet she pushed her way through and leapt, juggling the ball from hand to hand between the Vikings’ probing fingers. The ball bounced off the backboard and sank through the hoop. 

 Neal wasn’t done. A few moments later as the clock ticked towards the end of the half, she pushed up to midcourt. The audience counted down the remaining seconds. Neal lined up and took the shot. The ball arced smoothly through the air and sank into the basket to the roar of the crowd and the buzz of the clock. 

With that, the Cougars shrank the Vikings’ lead to a bare seven points. 

“When I saw the clock I knew I was gonna hit the shot,” Neal said. “When it went through the net I was just proud and hyped up. I just wanted my team to feel that hype into the second half.” The rally wasn’t to last, though. The Cougars’ lost their grip in the third quarter and Neal fouled out in the fourth. There were a few bright spots for the Cougars; like when their Teiya Fronda walked passed midfield and landed an unopposed three-pointer, and when Leslie Bejaran scored a layup through significant Viking opposition, an effort which sent her sprawling. 

But those moments were fleeting. In the end they were not enough to overcome the Vikings’ lead. 

“I’m proud of us because we came a long way. We made history and I’m happy to be a part of that,” Cougar senior, Makenna Menton-Porter, said. 

Five of the Cougars are set to graduate this year. For those girls that evening’s game marked not just the end but the end of their high school basketball career. While it’s sad to go out on a loss, they’ll always have the pennant, which now hangs proudly in the Rancho Cotate Gymnasium and will for years to come.